Pop! The sound of a mind exploding.

Mon 31 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Review of Alan DeNiro’s collection at Strange Horizons. Pop! The sound of a mind exploding. [Note: Here’s the wince inducingly-named Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.]

– Also, an interesting story, “The Women of Our Occupation” by Kameron Hurley. (Thanks to Gwenda for pushing the story.) Which, with the wonders of the web, looks like this once it goes through Regender.com.

– It’s the last day of July. Celebrate! Or, dig a hole and hide underground from the heatttt.



Brudders of der Head

Fri 28 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Check our email announcement list for some more news. Especially about “Brothers of the Head” which is a dark, elegant film about a proto punk band formed around a pair conjoined twins. Opens in NYC and LA Friday.



Delocate yourself for coffee, books, films

Fri 28 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Add things to Delocator, make it even more useful. You can find indie cafes, bookshops, and cinemas — this is what I’ve been looking for for ages. Brilliant idea. There are probably hundreds of such sites but this one didn’t have tons of distracting ads and so on, it just does what it says it does. But, it needs more content, so: add your fave coffee shop today.



A bright spot

Fri 28 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Try Robert Sydney’s The Bright Spot is a paperback noir/sf original from last year with a great cover design that just grabs you and says read me! Nick Bainbridge (not his real name) is an actor on the second go around after everything he was in in his first shot bombed. He’s picked up work at a crappy educational film maker (ok, it’s virtual something or other, but think low-rent film production studio) who remake lit classics in more populist forms (you have to read it to find out what they do to Frankenstein). Nick and his costar Lu are offered under-the-table parts in a weird sting operation on a powerful old man, James Dumfries — the inventor of “ware”, software that runs on people so that they can do anything. The software helped the USA win the last (unnamed) war but is now used for everything from roadworkers to chefs. The sting goes off but something goes wrong and Nick and Lu’s contact disappears and they don’t get paid. The government starts keeping tabs on them and Nick can’t let go the feeling that there’s more to their own story than meets the eye. All the right parts are here: beautiful blondes (who don’t automatically end up dead!, conspiracies and backroom deals, and through it all smart biting comments on the world today. The Bright Spot is perfect for a bus or train ride or just sitting in a cafe or a bar.



Aug 20, Nantucket

Fri 28 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Added a new reading (and wine and cheese reception) for Kelly out on Nantucket island, yay! Sunday August 20, 7 PM. Brant Point Books, 17 N. Beach Street, P. O. Box 1123, Nantucket, MA 02554 508-228-5856



Poetic fruit and some readings

Mon 24 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Meanwhile, we are out the back with Seamus Heaney Blackberry Picking. We are not, however, entertaining takeover bids from the Ocean Spray cranberry collective, no matter what you may have read in today’s Wall Street Journal.– More readings: Kelly is teaching the final two weeks of the Clarion East workshop with Holly Black and is reading with Holly on the 26th at 7 PM -at the Capital Area District Library, 401 S. Capital Ave, Lansing, MI 48933 517-367-6363 and by herself at the lovely Archives Book Shop, 517-519 W. Grand River, East Lansing, MI 48823.

Half Life– Should you be on the west coast tonight, you have the chance to go see Shelley Jackson read from her new novel Half Life:

July 24, 8 PM – Dog Eared Books, 900 Valencia St (@ 20th), San Francisco (415)282-190
July 25, 7 PM — Cody’s Books 1730 4th Street, Berkeley 510-559-9500
July 26, 7:30 PM — Powells City of Books 1005 West Burnside, Portland 503-228-4651
July 29, 7:30 PM Elliot Bay Books 101 South Main St, Seattle 206-624-6600
More here.



critical mass

Thu 20 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Stop everything, read this hilarious review of the new M. Night Shyster “film” from the Philly Weekly. (Maybe it will be as bad as Signs!)Critical Mass is one of the best new lit blogs around and John Freeman put together a good post on “The Middle East — a poetical primer.” Among those he mentions is Naomi Shihab Nye who read at Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, NC, while Kelly was teaching there. Ms. Nye is an incredibly thoughtful writer and a great reader: funny, insightful, a little dramatic but never anywhere near over the top.



Sarah Langan

Thu 20 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Smartest reader at KGB? Sarah Langan! Paul Witcover knows we’re huge fans (review his books, beg him to proofread our books), so he’s pretty secure there. Sarah brought home made cookies (UK readers: biscuits) to the reading at KGB. We are so easily bought! Paul and Sarah both gave great spooky readings. Pre-order The Keeper now! Dracula: Asylum is a semi-sequel to Todd Browning’s Dracula movie and the section Paul read was deeply intense, some fantastic grim writing about a battlefield in World War One. Thought-provoking stuff to hear in a country that just keeps opening up new battlefronts.



Alan at Magers & Quinn

Mon 17 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Tomorrow night Alan DeNiro whoops it up at a local(ish) bookshop: 7 PM — Magers & Quinn, 3038 Hennepin Avenue S, Minneapolis, MN 55408. (612) 822-4611 and the good news is there’s a reception afterward where Alan will probably not be leading the karaoke charge. Probably….



Fri 14 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

TrickedAlex Robinson, whose Tricked ain’t a bad book, writes a great piece on the music behind the book. (Which is one of those books with pictures.) One of the very enjoyable aspects of the book is that all the music and the bands are imaginary — which, for a book about a musician, is amazing fun. All this band history and hagiography gets tossed around, with tons of injokes and references, but instead of being some music scene you know/don’t know, care/don’t care about, it’s all part of the furniture and decoration of the novel. One quote:

Reading Albert Goldman’s THE LIVES OF JOHN LENNON was actually a big influence on the conception of the book. Though it seems pretty much forgotten today, Goldman’s book was very controversial when it came out in the late 1980s. Basically, Goldman said that the Lennon-Ono version of their life (Lennon and Ono madly in love and off drugs, Ono runs business while Lennon “retires” to raise son, bake bread and be a house husband, etc) was a big fat lie. In Goldman’s version, Lennon was a reclusive, violent drug addict who was about to leave the cold, cunning Ono until she had him hypnotized (!) into staying.



Fri 14 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

TrickedAlex Robinson, whose Tricked ain’t a bad book, writes a great piece on the music behind the book. (Which is one of those books with pictures.) One of the very enjoyable aspects of the book is that all the music and the bands are imaginary — which, for a book about a musician, is amazing fun. All this band history and hagiography gets tossed around, with tons of injokes and references, but instead of being some music scene you know/don’t know, care/don’t care about, it’s all part of the furniture and decoration of the novel. One quote:

Reading Albert Goldman’s THE LIVES OF JOHN LENNON was actually a big influence on the conception of the book. Though it seems pretty much forgotten today, Goldman’s book was very controversial when it came out in the late 1980s. Basically, Goldman said that the Lennon-Ono version of their life (Lennon and Ono madly in love and off drugs, Ono runs business while Lennon “retires” to raise son, bake bread and be a house husband, etc) was a big fat lie. In Goldman’s version, Lennon was a reclusive, violent drug addict who was about to leave the cold, cunning Ono until she had him hypnotized (!) into staying.



Alan in NE

Tue 11 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Tons of people at the reading in Boston last night — yay! Now Alan + Kristin are off back to Minneapolis and he gets a break until the next reading. – The Boston Phoenix blog points toward Alan and Theodora Goss’s reading tonight.

– Last night’s reading at the Amherst Bookshop was great fun. To celebrate the new issue of LCRW we had a couple of people read pieces from the new issue. Caitlin Beck and Lauren Smith read (or, really, performed) David Schwartz’s story “Play” — a playful story in two voices which was hilarious. Michael DeLuca read Fred Coppersmith’s short piece “At Uncle Ogden’s House.” Then the three of them read Dear Aunt Gwenda‘s latest column — with Caitlin reading Aunt Gwenda’s incisive and informative responses while wearing an orange boa! Jeanette Westwood (whose story “Crimson-lady at the Auction, Buying” is in the issue) dropped by to say hello but couldn’t stick around for the reading. Next time! Nice people from One Less and Zygote Games and lots of readers turned up for the wine and the reading. The evening was recorded so at some point we may be able to add it to the audio pages. We’ll send you an email when and if….



TOChicago

Mon 10 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Time Out Chicago likes Skinny Dipping:

“Deniro’s greatest gifts are those of a poet, and his prose is filled with stunning images and incantatory rhythms. Debuts often come along with press releases touting them as “assured,” and sure enough, Deniro’s was no different. But with talent as deep as his, it’s no wonder Deniro is confident in touring us around his strange worlds.” –Jonathan Messinger

Tonight: a reading!



Book Sense!

Thu 6 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Big News: Alan’s book is a Book Sense Pick for August with a great quote from Caleb Wilson of Davis-Kidd who obviously got the book. (Thanks go all those bookshops who nominated it!) So now the bookshops should have it and hopefully be selling the heck out of it!

SKINNY DIPPING IN THE LAKE OF THE DEAD: Stories, by Alan DeNiro “This is a great debut collection of loopy, off-the-wall, and still-somehow-packing-emotional-weight stories; DeNiro can weld words into some mighty strange configurations.”
–Caleb Wilson, Davis-Kidd Booksellers, Nashville, TN

If you are in Massachusetts, come meet Alan Deniro, hear him read, pick up a reader’s guide (and drinking guide), join the LCRW launch party, and see him and Theodora Goss all in the next few days:

7-9 — Readercon 17, Burlington, MA (where Small Beer will have a table and many interns will attend!)

10 (Monday)– Amherst Books, 8 Main Street, Amherst, MA 01002 413.256.1547 — 800.503.5865
— with LCRW 18 launch party

11 (Tuesday) — Porter Square Books, Porter Square Shopping Center, 25 White Street, Cambridge, MA 02140 · (617) 491-2220
— with Theodora Goss (In the Forest of Forgetting)

Also on the Book Sense list in case you didn’t believe us earlier. This is a damned good book:

JAMES TIPTREE, JR.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, by Julie Phillips (St. Martin’s) “Alice Sheldon trekked across Africa with her parents in the 1920s, became an accomplished painter, joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary, worked for the CIA, received a Ph.D. in psychology, and married twice. She also had a career as an influential writer of science fiction as James Tiptree. Her complex gender identity and sexual orientation is utterly fascinating, as is her remarkable life, which is made all the more vivid in this rich biography.”
–Kris Kleindienst, Left Bank Books, Saint Louis, MO



SBP1 – Erik the Shipping Tzar

Thu 6 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Erik the Shipping Tzar (self-declared) tells the whole truth on YouTube. (More lo-res videos to come.)



Fireworks +

Tue 4 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Get out there and celebrate the freedoms you have!

– Sean Stewart came and went and signed lots of books in the meantime. And … left us an ARC of Cathy’s Book — yay!



20 rainstorms

Mon 3 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

In 20 Epics there is some rain. We sold all the copies we had at Readercon. It was an epic job of salespersonship by interns, friends, us, others. Finding the epically designed books was a long sordid tale of hidden icons, misdirection, and dead letter offices which was only concluded when Mary “I live in Iceland” Robinette “Shimmer” Kowal tracked them down far into the Labyrinth past the Steaming Kitchens of Despair. The books sold grandly, richly, with bread and cheese and some ale. They found spots by the fire in inns, they were purchased by plucky, heartfelt, surprisingly good looking kids who in a certain light looked like writers. The books were prizes, ill-gotten gains, kept in saddlebags, used as hats, ripped in two and kept by distance-separated lovers. There are at least twenty epics in the book but you only have to buy one. Lulu. Powells.

– Damn rainmakers. Damn rain gods. Damn all the Rain Cowboys. Living in the rain forest. No rainbows. Would love a rain check on the rain, thanks. Refuse to get out the rain wear. This is more of a squall than a storm. Being rained out. Sad not to be rain proof.

Alan DeNiro interviewed by John “Whatever” Scalzi. Read a couple of the stories in a funsize PDF edition.



Publication day!

Sat 1 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Alan DeNiro’s Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead officially hits the bookshops today. Street Team Alpha will be facing out the book in stores near You. Street Team Beta are being held in reserve in case they get last minute tix forthe Brazil France game later today. Street Team C will be skinny dipping in lakes all over the country. Go do the same!



Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead

Sat 1 Jul 2006 - Filed under: Books | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

July 2006 · 9781931520171 · Alan DeNiro on twitter.

Alan’s new collection, Tyrannia and Other Renditions will be published in November 2013.

“This is a great debut collection of loopy, off-the-wall, and still-somehow-packing-emotional-weight stories; DeNiro can weld words into some mighty strange configurations.”
—Caleb Wilson, Davis-Kidd Booksellers, Nashville, TN

Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead is Minneapolis-based poet and writer Alan DeNiro’s wide-ranging and assured debut fiction collection.

Read a couple of the stories in a funsize PDF edition.

DeNiro’s stories have been published in the most forward-looking magazines including Fence, Crowd, One Story, Strange Horizons, and 3rd Bed.

These stories skitter sideways across literary and genre fiction categories, using the toolbox of genres like science fiction and fantasy to grapple with issues of identity, family, gender, and politics. DeNiro is frequently funny, surreal, or slapstick, but his stories also connect with readers on an emotional level, in unexpected and surprising ways. Even in the oddest of DeNiro’s stories, his characters are real people grappling with real relationships, real heartbreaks, the small, cruel, pinprick absurdities of a universe which is larger and stranger than most writers ever realize.

A MAN LOSES his leg in a war, and a field doctor sews on a fairy tale in its place. A woman excavates her living room in order to discover what has become of her marriage. The Byzantine army invades a small college town. Giants move in next door. A boy in a town called Suddenly falls in love with a girl who lives in the Lake of the Dead. The secret history of Erie — past, present, and future — is revealed.

Table of Contents

Our Byzantium
Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead
If I Leap
The Fourth
The Centaur
Cuttlefish
The Caliber
The Excavation
A Keeper
Fuming Woman
The Friendly Giants
Quiver
Child Assassin
The Exchanges
Salting the Map
Home of the

Reviews

“Maybe the future of sf is Alan DeNiro. The title story here, set in twenty-third-century Pennsylvania, is its nameless-till-the-last-sentence narrator’s university-application essay, numbered footnotes and all, which explains why not to expect him on campus anytime soon; he is in love and considering getting gills. Maybe DeNiro is the future of alternate history: in “Our Byzantium,” a college town is invaded by horse-and-chariot-led soldiers who demolish cars, wheelchairs, and other machines; reestablish Greek as the lingua franca; and otherwise conquer. He could be fantasy’s tomorrow, too, if the offhandedness of the impossible transformations in “The Cuttlefish,” “The Centaur,” “The Excavation,” and “If I Leap” catches on. In “The Fourth” and “A Keeper,” DeNiro is one of the most powerful, least partisan prophets of consumerist totalitarianism. “Salting the Map” confounds the distinction between artifice and reality as deftly and daftly as Andrew Crumey’s Pfitz (1997) and Zoran Zivkovic’s Impossible Stories (2006). The long closer, “Home of the,” about Erie, Pennsylvania, now and then, is as laconic and associative as its title is elliptic. Refreshing, imaginative, funny-scary stuff.”
—Ray Olson, Booklist

Advance Readers say:

“Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead is a thrill ride. Men jump from buildings and walk away, Assassins are hired to murder novels, Byzantines spring from the hills and sack college towns. On each page Alan DeNiro performs feats of acrobatic skill, holding the edge with remarkable control. He has created a brand new world, and I believe every word of it.”
— Hannah Tinti (Animal Crackers)

“I’m not ordinarily an editor, so finding stories for the first six issues of Fence magazine was a guilty pleasure, and the subsequent work by formerly unknown Fence writers like Kelly Link and Julia Slavin has made me look like a prognosticator, or maybe an annoying drunk guy on a streak at a casino. Now here’s Alan DeNiro, whose “Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead” was always my favorite. I’m thrilled to see him in bookstores at last.”
— Jonathan Lethem (Fortress of Solitude)

“Alan DeNiro’s stories move in unexpected ways into unexpected places — up in the air, under the water, out of this world. He has a gift for precise language and poetic logic, his own unique sort of circus realism. Sharp, smart, and completely original, this is a lively, lovely collection from a memorable talent.”
— Karen Joy Fowler (The Jane Austen Book Club)

“Reading Alan DeNiro’s new collection, Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead, made me feel like a dog that twists its head a bit to the side on hearing a whistle too high for humans to hear. The dog is perplexed and intrigued by the sound — it knows where it’s coming from but not really. Familiar enough, but maybe not. So too with these strong, out of kilter stories. DeNiro blows his own distinctly different sounding whistle and once you’ve heard it, you can’t help but stop and take real notice.”
— Jonathan Carroll (Glass Soup)

“The wholly original, carefully crafted tales that comprise Alan Deniro’s Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead are like colorful pinatas full of live scorpions — playful, unexpected, and deadly serious.”
— Jeffrey Ford (The Girl in the Glass)

Interesting Things:

  • Alan DeNiroThe title story was shortlisted for the O. Henry award.
  • DeNiro’s got a fantastic spot on the web: Goblin Mercantile Exchange.
  • Book launch party July 18, 7 PM, at Magers & Quinn in Minneapolis. Soft launch at the WisCon convention in Madison, WI.
  • Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead was a Lit Blog Coop Pick which lead to all kinds of discussion and a podcast interview.

Interviews:

 

 

 

New story: “Meet the Elms” Journal of Mythic Arts

SF stories:

 

Credits

Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the DeadCover images © Ellen Klages (Lead Men) and Jupiter Images.
Download cover for print.

Download author photo for print.
Author photo credit: © Maria Erikson.

The following stories originally appeared in slightly different form in the following publications:

Our Byzantium, Polyphony 3 (Wheatland Press)
Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead, Fence, Vol.2, No.2
If I Leap, Altair, 6/7
The Centaur, Spoiled Ink, July 2005
Cuttlefish, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, 8
The Caliber, Santa Monica Review, Fall 2002
The Excavation, Minnesota Monthly, June 2001
A Keeper, Electric Velocipede, 6
Fuming Woman, Trampoline (Small Beer Press)
The Friendly Giants, 3rd Bed, 4
Child Assassin, One Story, 22
The Exchanges, Crowd
Salting the Map, Fortean Bureau, 17

“The Fourth”, “Quiver”, and “Home of the” appear here for the first time.

Alan DeNiro was born in Erie, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the College of Wooster with a B.A. in English and the University of Virginia with an M.F.A. in creative writing. He is the author of the collections Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead, Tyrannia and Other Renditions, and the novel Total Oblivion: More or Less. His short stories have appeared in One Story, Asimov’s, Santa Monica Review, Interfictions, and elsewhere. He lives outside of St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife Kristin Livdahl and their children.