Sale over dude, sale over

Sat 29 Dec 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Or perhaps the quote was Game Over? Anyway. We have been too lazy to take down our sale page and so it has dragged on a bit past its sell-by date. Oops and all that. So. It will disappear soon. No, really.

In the new year there will be activity, linking to wonderful things about writers, news, all that stuff. In the meantime—



KSR @ Google

Fri 21 Dec 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Read Sixty Days and Counting, give them for Xmas (or your holiday of choice—happy solstice), read an interview with Kim Stanley Robinson, and now watch (or listen) to this alternately depressing and hopeful talk he gave at Google (which annoyingly can’t be embedded for some reason).



Episode 5: Bottling Your Homebrew

Wed 19 Dec 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 3 Comments| Posted by: Michael

Bottling is technical and tedious, nobody’s favorite part of the brewing process. So I’ll lead with the good stuff.

Ra came to where the beer stood waiting in seven thousand jars, and the gods came with him to see how by his wisdom he would save mankind.

“Mingle the red ochre of Abu with the barley-beer,” said Ra, and it was done, so that the beer gleamed red in the moonlight like the blood of men. “Now take it to the place where Sekhmet proposes to slay men when the sun rises.”

—from this great Egyptian myth retelling of the war-goddess Sekhmet’s transformation, via beer, into Hathor, goddess of fertility. Just pretend that jar of cobras on her head is a jar of blood-colored beer. Like an old timey St. Patrick’s Day!

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Kelly’s daemon

Sat 15 Dec 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Slightly different from the one she did last April(!), here’s Kelly’s new daemon:



First chance at John Kessel’s collection

Wed 12 Dec 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

baum.JPGThis week we got in a couple of boxes of galleys of John Kessel’s April collection The Baum Plan for Financial Independence—John should be getting them soon (honest, they’re in the mail!) and they’ve gone out to the trades for review. Other reviewers and so on will be getting them soon.

We’re having fun with the design of this one (or, at least, the hardcover). Not going to say what we’re doing just in case it doesn’t pan out!

something.JPGThen, yesterday we came across something unusual (and we’re not saying where) that was so unexpected that we decided to see if anyone can identify it. If someone does, we’ll send them one of the hundred copies of John’s book that there are in the world.

Usual rules apply: you have to be alive and able to read to receive this book.



The Year’s Best No. 20

Tue 11 Dec 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

ybfh20.JPGCome ye to pre-industrial pastoral hills and villages where ye cheese and bread eaters mix with the ale swillers and fight ye evil orcs. Yea, verily, tis time to till the soils and put forth magick into ye lande (and also all ye e’s missing from A Void) in ye name of Ye Annum’s Superlative Phantasies & Politicians.

A few things happening on The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror 2007: Twentieth Annual Collection front. First: the book is out there (and makes a wonderful holiday gift…).

There’s an online party at Green Man Review celebrating the 20-years-so-far run. There are reviews of all the volumes (don’t read them all at once, your head may explode), an interview with cover artist Tom Canty, an essay by packager Jim Frenkel, and an interview with Ellen Datlow and Gavin Grant:

In any given year, approximately what percentage of writers have appeared in a previous YBFH? Do you seek out just the best, or do you like to showcase new talent?

Ellen: In 2006 in my horror half there were nine stories by writers from whom I’d never taken a story for YBFH. In 2005, there were twelve. So obviously, I showcase new talent all the time. I seek out the best and that often means discovering new talent. Some of the writers have been well-known but I’d never taken anything from them before because their earlier stories weren’t the best or maybe they were too long.

Gavin: We pick based on the stories. Who the author is has nothing to do with it. It drives me crazy that an editor would only read work by familiar writers. That would make the book The Best of Who You Know instead of it always being full of surprises. Every editor likes to discover new talent.

One of the best aspects for us is to reach out into the non-genre magazines, collections, and anthologies, select something to reprint, and then to hear from the editor or writer how excited they are by it. It’s also great to find out that many of those editors and writers are reading widely across different fields and are already familiar with the anthology.

Also out there on the internets is a new handy reference guide compiled by Rodger Turner at the SF Site: The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror: by Volume:

In 1988, Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling collected together what they thought was the best short fantasy and horror from the previous year. They went through as many of the magazines, collections and anthologies published in 1987 that they could find and chose those stories which they decided best represented the fantasy and horror field. Jim Frenkel arranged for its publication by St. Martins’s Press and it has been produced every year since then. In 2003, Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant took over from Terri Windling as the fantasy editors.

Here’s our (rather basic) page for the books which includes the fantasy contents of this year’s book which has stories and poems from

  • magazines: the late-lamented Alchemy, F&SF (including M. Rickert’s World Fantasy Award-winning “Journey into the Kingdom”), Ninth Letter, Fairy Tale Review
  • online magazines: Strange Horizons, The Journal of Mythic Arts, Diagram
  • anthologies: Salon Fantastique, Twenty Epics, Firebirds Rising, Paraspheres
  • and collections: Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, Of Tales and Enigmas, Becoming the Villianess

as well the extensive summaries and lists of honorable mentions. We think we look at ~3,000 stories a year (will have to do the math properly sometime!) and in 2006 we listed 205 Honorable Mentions, or about 1 in every 15 stories we read. For the curious after the break there’s a list of where the HMs came from and how many per venue.
Links to previous volumes:

Meanwhile even as we celebrate the 20th edition, we are deep in the reading for the 21st edition—there’s always more to read!

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Gavin’s daemon

Tue 11 Dec 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

A little late, as per usual, with the memes. Thought the film was quite good, although the rhythm of the ending was all wrong, but c’est la vie. Armored bears!



Sale!

Wed 28 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Spread the word: we are having a once-a-year (or less!) blow out. Books: cheap! 40% off. Or: Even More!

Sale

Books ship December 6th.
— To arrive for the holidays: please order Priority Mail Shipping
— Books shipped by Media Mail will probably not arrive before the holidays.
International shipping.
— Permanent remainder sale here.

Do us a favor: Go Nuts.



Mobipocket

Tue 27 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We’ve uploaded a couple of books to Mobipocket—more will follow, although probably not too fast. Hey, when did we last move fast at anything?

Generation Loss | Endless Things | Stranger Things Happen

Fun to upload stuff to Mobipocket just as Amazon probably kills it with the Kindle . . . we’ll have Kindle editions of these books, too, at some point.

Later tonight: more!



Ouch

Mon 26 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We get tough love from the Chicago Reader.

Are we hipsters? Hadn’t really considered us that way . . .

Q. Do you have a cool car?

A. Hipsters use the subway and taxis.

Q. Are your tastes impeccably aligned with next month’s Pitchfork columnists?

A. Pitchfork is so Aughts.
Q. Did you see that show by ____ at ____ last night?

A. I used to like them but since they went _____ they kind of suck.

Q. Where do you get your hair done?

A. Hey, I just woke up?

Q. You know it’s 3.08 PM and you’re in a shirt and tie at work, right?

A. Pass.



Mon 26 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Liz Hand is serializing her novella “Chip Crockett’s Christmas Carol” on The Inferior 4+1:

“Chip Crockett?” Brendan frowned, staring at his computer screen as though he was afraid Tony might materialize there. “You mean, like, The Chip Crockett Show?””Yeah, man.” Tony sighed deeply. “My brother Jake, he just faxed me the obituary from the Daily News. He died over the weekend but they just announced it today.”

There was a clunk over the phone receiver, a background clatter of shouting voices and footsteps. Tony was working as a substitute teacher at Saint Ignatius High School. Brendan was amazed he’d been able to hang onto the job at all, but he gathered that being a substitute at Saint Ignatius was way below being sanitation engineer in terms of salary, benefits, and respect. He heard a crackle of static as Tony ran into the corridor, shouting.

“Whoa! Nelson Crane, man! Slow down, okay? Okay. Yeah, I guess it was lung cancer. Did you know he smoked?”

“You’re talking about Chip Crockett the kiddie show host. Right?” Brendan rubbed his forehead, feeling the beginning of a headache. “No, Tony, I didn’t know he smoked, because I don’t actually know Chip Crockett. Do you?” (Via Boingster Hall)



Mon 26 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Liz Hand is serializing her novella “Chip Crockett’s Christmas Carol” on The Inferior 4+1:

“Chip Crockett?” Brendan frowned, staring at his computer screen as though he was afraid Tony might materialize there. “You mean, like, The Chip Crockett Show?””Yeah, man.” Tony sighed deeply. “My brother Jake, he just faxed me the obituary from the Daily News. He died over the weekend but they just announced it today.”

There was a clunk over the phone receiver, a background clatter of shouting voices and footsteps. Tony was working as a substitute teacher at Saint Ignatius High School. Brendan was amazed he’d been able to hang onto the job at all, but he gathered that being a substitute at Saint Ignatius was way below being sanitation engineer in terms of salary, benefits, and respect. He heard a crackle of static as Tony ran into the corridor, shouting.

“Whoa! Nelson Crane, man! Slow down, okay? Okay. Yeah, I guess it was lung cancer. Did you know he smoked?”

“You’re talking about Chip Crockett the kiddie show host. Right?” Brendan rubbed his forehead, feeling the beginning of a headache. “No, Tony, I didn’t know he smoked, because I don’t actually know Chip Crockett. Do you?” (Via Boingster Hall)



Episode 4: Honey Porter

Fri 23 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 1 Comment| Posted by: Michael

In which I ramble about the history of beer in New England and demonstrate the process of brewing up a batch of a favorite and storied style.

This is a Dutch family crest hanging in the cathedral in the city of Haarlem, The Netherlands. Note the kegs. And those little golden shapes being carried in the arms of the rampant lions are sheaves of barley. I wish I had taken more pictures of these. There were some with barley, kegs AND beehives.

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More than your typical taciturn anti-hero

Wed 21 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Elizabeth Hand gives good interview at Laura Hird’s site:

‘You know, it’s like sex.’ Elizabeth Hand is very enthusiastic about writing novellas. ‘Short stories are like a quickie,’ she explains. ‘It can be kind of satisfying, but it’s over really fast. While a marathon novel-length session can be tiring and it’s a big commitment. But a novella is just the right amount of time to kind of linger over everything, build a little bit…

and a review of Generation Loss:

While utilising the form of a thriller, this book continues to exert its spell when many thrillers prove anti-climatic. After an intriguing beginning, the average thriller will have me shrug and say, ‘well, that’s it,’ when the big mystery is revealed. Then I forget about it. But the strength of the characterisation and the atmosphere carries this book into places where many other thrillers peter out and expire.

Laura’s site is in the UK. Up in Canada Ian Rogers reviews the book for The Lindsay Post:

The thing I enjoyed most about ‘Generation Loss’ is the protagonist. In a book abound with puzzles, Cass Neary turns out to be a veritable mystery herself. Her actions are often questionable, it not flat-out immoral, and she doesn’t come off as the most sympathetic character. And yet there is so much more lurking below the surface than your typical taciturn anti-hero.

What is she, then? Well, that’s part of the mystery. It’s also part of the fun. Check out the book and find out for yourself.



Formats

Tue 20 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

In our newsletter there is news(!) about the multiple formats the new LCRW is available in as well as a secret sale. Secret!

Here’s part of the skinny on LCRW:

Order: Paypal | order form | Powells | Fictionwise | Lulu

We’ll post more about the secret sale here, too.

Probably.

Later.



Evolutionary reading

Tue 20 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

Hope you are enjoying Michael’s posts on literary beer. (Mmm, beer.) More posts from Howard Waldrop are expected in a while—he’s got some stories to write which pay even better (cough) than this gig.

And in the meantime here’s something from intern, Margaret Kinney:

It is holiday time. People will be telling you that you, that we, have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas. They may mean Jesus, or pure giving or love, or something vague like that. Nowadays, they will also be telling you that, by forgetting this meaning and engaging instead in an orgy of materialism, you are destroying the environment and contributing to our wasteful, consumerist culture. But more people will be telling you that Christmas is a time for giving, abundant giving, and that you need to come to their store and spend, spend, spend on whatever it is that will assuredly make you and everyone you love so happy. And I believe them. And so do you. And we will buy things and wrap them in wasteful, shiny papers, and set them in heaps until we unwrap them together and glow with happiness just like the ads promised. Those naysayers above offer various reasons for this; we are sinful, greedy, taken in by modern temptations, we are shortsighted, our culture is irredeemably materialistic. Yes, probably. But maybe there is something else.

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Episode 3: Cider Revisited

Thu 15 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Michael

It seemed I was a mite of sediment
That waited for the bottom to ferment
So I could catch a bubble in ascent.
I rode up on one till the bubble burst,
And when that left me to sink back reversed
I was no worse off than I was at first.
I’d catch another bubble if I waited.
The thing was to get now and then elated.
—Robert Frost, In a Glass of Cider

(For the start of my cider-making exploits, see Episode 1: Traditional Hard Cider)

Today, I noticed that the bubbles of CO2 emerging from the airlock on my jug of cider had slowed to a rate of one per minute, indicating that yeast activity had tapered off and the primary stage of fermentation was complete. Being careful to leave behind as much of the sediment as possible, I siphoned off the clarified cider into a clean glass jug. Mostly, anyway–right at the end I decided I couldn’t help myself and redirected the last ounce or so into a pint glass for testing purposes.

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We are Conan

Wed 14 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Leonard Rossiter and Sue NichollsMike Levy reviews The Best of LCRW on Strange Horizons and says Kelly and Gavin…

have created something of a miniature literary empire for themselves.

Who knew we could build an empire without working out on our (bronz’d) thews?

Lucius VorenusSince the only empire we know of that fell and rose again was Reggie Perrin‘s and since we have recently been watching the wonderful and despair-inducing 2nd series of Rome on the televisual box now we are worrying how bloody our empire’s fall will be. Eek! We surrender, we surrender!



Numbers trouble

Thu 8 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Unread around here as yet but posted as something of passing interest to more than a few people we know. Besides Jedediah Berry’s new story, the latest issue of the Chicago Review (53:2/3) has an article about gender breakdown in poetry in Conjunctions, The New Yorker, and 10 other magazines. The article, a response, and some numbers can all be found here.



Episode 2: Beer Economics

Tue 6 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 2 Comments| Posted by: Michael

In an interview I once read in The Valley Advocate (a local Western MA arts paper), with regard to his experience starting Small Beer Press, Gavin quoted the following old chestnut: “How do you make a small fortune in publishing? Start with a large fortune.”

The same is more or less true of brewing beer. In the long run, it costs half as much to brew your own beer as to buy it, assuming you’re used to drinking beer of quality. But starting out as a brewer of small beer does require some investment in equipment. And the small fortune you accrue in savings over a long life spent developing the craft of making delicious spirits will be nothing compared to the matching spiritual fortune you will reap. The analogy to independent publishing begins to seem apt indeed.

In this episode I’m going to do some beer math (somewhat less accurate than tea math, but less jittery than coffee math, and more fun). I will lay out the financial requirements in gear and raw materials and graph that against the quantity and quality of the beer produced, in the hopes of helping you, the avid consumer of literary beer, to decide if you’re ready to brew.

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Ethical credit cards?

Tue 6 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

In the UK the link between personal spending and personal ethics are openly acknowledged and talked about in articles on the MSN, the Thrifty Scot (ahem), and in The Guardian:

This week the Co-op Bank launched a new credit card called “think”, which offers a lower rate of interest for designated ethical purchases via a link-up with partners including Ikea, cosmetics firm Lush, green electricity company Ecotricity, bikes giant Raleigh and fair trade organisation Traidcraft.

One characteristic of bad credit loan lenders not brokers is that they will generally be expensive. This is because lenders charge higher interest rates to borrowers with bad credit than they do to borrowers with good credit.

The first time the card is used, the bank will arrange for half an acre of Brazilian rainforest to be bought and protected in the customer’s name. Also, for every £100 spent on the card, 25p will be donated to the charity Cool Earth, which protects rainforests.

In the US there are “affinity” cards where donations in the range of  0.25 – 0.75% of spending go to the charity (or whatever) the individual wants to support.

Of course there’s also Working Assets but their credit card program is run by FIA, who are formerly MNBA—associated or owned or the same thing as the massive and depressingly willing to squeeze the last drop of air from your dying throat, Bank of America. Which isn’t really a friendly happy company.

After looking at some comparison websites and so on, there don’t yet seem to be ethics-slanted credit cards on the US market. So what’s left? Cash rewards and donations to charities of choice? Give it up and just go for the airline miles? Hmm.



“the star called Wormwood”

Mon 5 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

John Crowley, who popped in to the WFC this past weekend for a reading from Four Freedoms and to sign a few books for the ardent multitudes, has a letter in the NY Times Book Review.

Ron Drummond, also in Saratoga, was carrying around a printer’s dummy or blank of his crazy beautiful 25th anniversary edition of Little, Big. It is huge! 7.5 x 10 inches, 3, maybe 4 inches thick. He also had some early, nearly-final copies of the first chapter. This is going to be one awesome object.



Free Liz Hand book

Mon 5 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Elizabeth HandOver at AbeBooks in the Author’s Corner there’s an interview with Liz and a chance to win a free copy of Generation Loss.



Crowley in London, L.A.

Sat 3 Nov 2007 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

and other disingenuous titles. Actually, the London Review of Books. Has to be read on paper, one copy of which John will receive in, yes, Saratoga. Where much swapping of paper will occur.

Tomorrow in Ed Park’s L.A. Times column, Astral Weeks, he writes about Endless Things and the conclusion of the whole shebang:

The “Aegypt” cycle has always been about its own slow process, its private alchemy, its impossibility, but in the brisk “Endless Things” Crowley dismantles the machinery while dazzling us, showing how each part gleams.

Also, Strange Horizons are reviewing all the World Fantasy Award novel finalists—including The Privilege of the Sword.

More reviews:

Interfictions at Fantasy Book Spot.

Water Logic at the Feminist Review.

LCRW 20 at Horrorscope.



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