Introduction (a lockdown Personal Anthology)

I’ve long wanted to submit my own Personal Anthology but, as I hope previous contributors have found, where to begin? Where to end? How to choose twelve stories that highlight the best of what short fiction can be? 
At the moment I’m in lockdown away from home: safe, comfortable, but separated from my own and personal library. Knowing this might be the case for a while, I took a small selection of books with me, mostly ones I had yet to read, but one or two I didn’t want to be without or else because the urge to read them simply struck me. I’ve since added to this selection, resisting the temptation to buy books I already own but which happened to not be to hand… It may not be the Personal Anthology I might have written, but it’s the one I’ve got.
Of course, the internet abounds with good fiction and perhaps an alternative anthology could be made of the best of an online library, but I liked the Oulipian approach outlined above. Some of the stories discussed here were new to me, but they all – I think, hope – have something to recommend them, both in and of themselves, but also the rest of their authors’ works, something I’ve found the best Personal Anthologies have always done.

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