Best of the West: New Stories from the Wide Side of the Missouri, an annual anthology of exceptional short fiction rooted in the western United States, debuted in 1988 and continued publication until 1992. Recognizing that the West remains rewarding territory for literary explorations, James Thomas and Seth Horton are now reviving the series in Best of the West 2009.
Thomas and Horton combed some 250 literary journals and magazines to gather these eighteen stories published since the fall of 2007. They come from both emerging and established writers, including Lee K. Abbott, Louise Erdrich, Dagoberto Gilb, Antonya Nelson, Joyce Carol Oates, and Annie Proulx. Like Bass, the editors believe "the Western short story" inhabits a wide territory; the subjects in this collection range from illegal immigrants tending illegal crops in California's national forests, to mismatched Mormon missionaries on the conversion trail in Nevada, to a Native American college student exploring her sexuality, to Papa Hemingway's meditations as he loads the shotgun in his Idaho cabin. As these stories make clear, the West continues to shape our literary landscape. Thomas and Horton have preserved the best of that work in this vital anthology.