Mon 31 Mar 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

A bloodless revolution, a changing of the guard. Yay for Matt Kressel! The series is funded out of Matt and Ellen’s pockets (unless you’d like to throw some $$$ their way?) so why not buy them a drink next time you see them?

New co-host of Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series

Ellen Datlow is proud to announce that she has a new co-host, writer/editor Matthew Kressel, for the KGB Fantastic Fiction Reading Series.

Kressel, publisher of Senses Five Press and Sybil’s Garage, is taking over for Gavin J. Grant as co-host of the monthly reading series at the famed KGB Bar in New York City.

Terry Bisson and Alice K. Turner started the reading series in the late 1990s, attempting to bring together mainstream writers with writers of speculative fiction in order to show, in Alice Turner’s words, “that at a certain level they were plowing exactly the same field.” In the spring of 2000 Ellen Datlow took over for Alice K. Turner and in August 2002 Gavin J. Grant, publisher of Small Beer Press, stepped in for Bisson when he moved to California.

For six years Gavin has co-hosted the series with Ellen. We wish to thank him for the bang up job he’s done, for the dedication he has shown to the authors and their work.

The KGB Fantastic Fiction readings—in addition to showcasing many of the major voices of the field—regularly bring together the members of New York City science fiction, fantasy, and horror communities where writers, editors, and readers can mingle and promote excellent fiction.

The readings (which are always free) are held on the third Wednesday of each month at 7 PM at KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street (just off 2nd Ave, upstairs).

Upcoming readers include P. D. Cacek, Jack Ketchum, James Patrick Kelly, Cassandra Claire, Christopher Barzak, Jeff Somers, Stefan Merrill Block, JoSelle Vanderhooft, and John Kessel.

For a full schedule visit:

KGB Bar website:

Subscribe to our mailing list:

To submit materials for consideration please send titles to:

Ellen Datlow

KGB Readings
PMB 391
511 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10011-8436


Matthew Kressel
Senses Five Press
307 Madison St, Apt 3L
Hoboken, NJ 07030-1937

Camberwick Green

Sat 29 Mar 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

The first half of the second season of Life on Mars is pants, mince, rubbish, etc. The 5th episode instead of just featuring the rightly-scary test card girl also featured Camberwick Green:

That 800lb gorilla

Fri 28 Mar 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

From today’s Shelf Awareness a note that’s going to affect a ton of indie presses:

Amazon has notified publishers who print books on demand that they will
have to use Amazon’s POD facilities if they want to sell their books
directly on, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“The move signals that Amazon is intent on using its position as the
premier online bookseller to strengthen its presence in other phases of
bookselling and manufacturing,” the Journal continued. Amazon “has
evolved into a fully vertical book publishing and retail operation. Most
recently, Amazon acquired audiobook seller Audible Inc. Amazon also
sells its own ebook reader called the Kindle.”

Publishers will have to use Amazon’s BookSurge POD subsidiary. Among
competitors are Ingram’s Lightning Source and

Read the whole piece here (put in any WSJ headline into Google News and you can read the whole thing).

Is Greater Than

Mon 24 Mar 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Some of the fine people from the much-missed Punk Planet have a new website, Is Greater Than, looking at all things indie, leftish, and interesting from fine foods (the all-veggie KFC Famous Bowl) to the ongoing Afghan War. They’ve been running a series on independent presses and have featured Tin House, Featherproof Books, and now Small Beer Press.

featherproof.jpgThis Will Go Down on Your Permanent RecordNot sure about the 3rd one there, but the first two are definitely worth checking out. (Or rather, check in from your zoned out state and see what they are up to.)

Tin House, well, we know you know. Fantastic journal and now putting out some wild books.

Featherproof are a newish press coming straight out of the Pork Center of the Americas, Chicago. Jonathan Messinger’s collection Hiding Out should just have enough weirdness to keep you happy. Or you could try their first step into the YA field with Susannah Felt’s novel This Will Go Down on Your Permanent Record (great title!).

Swanwick & Keck

Wed 19 Mar 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Tonight’s Fantastic Fiction reading at the KGB Bar in NYC will be hosted by Matt Kressel, the man behind the curtain at Senss Five Press (publisher of the zine Sybil’s Garage and a new anthology, Paper Cities). Tonight’s reading, beginning at 7 PM features Michael Swanwick (The Dragons of Babel) and David Keck (In a Time of Treason).

Amtrak question

Tue 18 Mar 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 7 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

OK, so is there an arm of Amtrak (the Amtrak Foundation?) or Rail Canada which gives grants to writers (or, er, indie presses) who want to, just to pick a wild example out the air (or, more appropriately if less of an actual fit, off the land), for instance take the train across the USA, up to Vancouver, and then across to Calgary. (Or at least to Edmonton, since Calgary doesn’t seem to have a train connection.)

It would be great publicity for the train companies….

Synth Loops

Tue 18 Mar 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

This is just fantastic (lifted whole cloth from Bookslut):

Christian Bök performs part of “The Cyborg Opera: Synth Loops” & “The Aria of the 3-Horned Enemy” (from R. Murray Schafer’s The Princess of the Stars). Kamau Brathwaite reads from Born to Slow Horses.

Podcast: Kessel

Thu 13 Mar 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Here’s John Kessel reading the title story of his new collection:

“The Baum Plan for Financial Independence”

Ex-con Sid and his sometime girlfriend Dot break into a house in the Blue Ridge Mountains and open a door to a world that changes everything.

The Baum Plan for Financial Independence (33:03)

First published in SciFiction.

Updated again with a link to a “sneak preview” of the story in the Raleigh News and Observer.  John will be reading in Raleigh in a couple of weeks: see the events calendar over there on the right (a direction that makes no sense in your blogreader of choice) or here.

Kessel reviewers

Fri 7 Mar 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We are running very low on galleys and won’t have copies of The Baum Plan for Financial Independence for a couple of weeks (see previous post). If any writer, blogger, etc. would like a PDF copy of the book for review, please either email or leave a request in the comments field.

Baum Plans for book stores

Thu 6 Mar 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Crowley, Endless ThingsIt’s almost all go on John Kessel’s new collection, The Baum Plan for Financial Independence. The book is at the printer , the proofs have been ok’d, it’s just a matter of ink being lathered onto paper then washed carefully off to leave the notes (or “letters” as John likes to call them) that you can take home and sing. Will the book be ready in time for John’s first reading at Quail Ridge Books? We are on the edges of our seats! (See more of John.)
Will you be able to find The Baum Plan in your local bookshop? Yes! The American Booksellers Association just announced their April bookseller picks and they’ve included Kessel’s book. Here’s what they had to say about this book (and a few others):

“John Kessel’s writing exists at the edge of things, in the dark corner where the fiction section abuts the science fiction shelves, in the hyphen where magic meets realism. This is one of those too rare short story collections that you can recommend with confidence to both the literary snob and the hard-core computer geek.”
Rich Rennicks, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC

THE SHADOW YEAR by Jeffrey Ford
“I loved The Shadow Year. In this story of the secrets of a 1960s Long Island suburb, Ford’s writing is hypnotic, as he examines the dark side of living in a small town through the lives of three siblings.”
Roberta Rubin, The Book Stall At Chestnut Court, Winnetka, IL

Other books on the list include new collections from Jhumpa Lahiri (Unaccustomed Earth) and Kevin Brockmeier (The View from the Seventh Layer); Jack O’Connell’s novel THE RESURRECTIONIST (which has already been highly recommended by a couple of readers we trust); the anthology of the moment, THE NEW WEIRD, edited by Jeff and Ann Vandermeer; and finally ARMAGEDDON IN RETROSPECT, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Between these and some of the rest of the list, that’s more than a month’s reading. Unless you are a book-a-day monster and then we are green and envious and trying not to be small about it all.

More on The Baum Plan:

There’s a humongous review by Nick Gevers in the March issue of Locus.

Library Thingers (now exploding locally!) your copies of The Baum Plan for Financial Independence are in the mails and may even have arrived. We look forward to your reviews. Maybe there will be copies of Ben Rosenbaum’s collection up for grabs later this spring.

Lunacon: No, we will not be there. However, there will be one copy of Kessel’s book available (along with a CD of John reading the title story) from the Book Exhibit and Raffle: “The funds raised go directly into the Donald A. and Elsie B. Wollheim Memorial Scholarship Fund, which helps beginning SF and fantasy writers attend the Clarion or Clarion West Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop.” Bid high!Listen to an episode of Starship Sofa featuring John’s story “Buffalo” narrated by James Campanella.

Listen to an episode of Starship Sofa featuring John’s story “Buffalo” narrated by James Campanella.

And lastly here’s what Publishers Weekly thought about the book:

The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories
John Kessel. Small Beer (, $24 (336p) ISBN 978-1-931520-50-8; $16 paper ISBN 978-1-931520-51-5
This nuanced mostly reprint collection, the first in a decade from Nebula winner Kessel (Good News from Outer Space), plays on the theme of a hapless, down-on-his-luck man thrown into extraordinary circumstances. “The Juniper Tree,” the Tiptree-winning “Stories for Men,” “Sunlight or Rock” and “Under the Lunchbox Tree,” all tied to Kessel’s lunar colony sequence, explore the limits placed on a man’s life in a beautiful, woman-dominated city on the barren moon. In “Powerless,” the only story original to the volume, a hapless inventor finally perfects a strange new power generator, destroying his relationships along the way. Paying homage to the classics, “Every Angel Is Terrifying” serves as a sequel to Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” while in “Pride and Prometheus” Mary Bennet meets Victor Frankenstein. These well-crafted stories, full of elegantly drawn characters, deliver a powerful emotional punch. (Apr.)

Powerful, baby, powerful.

Emshwiller hits the Top 20

Wed 5 Mar 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Apropos of the next item, we just bought a hilarious, poignant, excellent story by Carol Emshwiller for the next issue of LCRW. She’s getting to be a regular. We’ve had stories by her in LCRW 8, 19, 21, and even in Trampoline.

Last week the io9 blog picked a list of

The Twenty Science Fiction Novels that Will Change Your Life

which so far has been seen 93,718 times. And one of those novels (which was a pretty good list as lists go) was

The MountThe Mount (2002), by Carol Emshwiller
After human civilization is destroyed by a group of invading aliens, the survivors become the ponies of their new alien overlords. Generations later, our hero is a happy mount to the alien prince, but slowly begins to realize that the life of a pampered pet is not all he wants.

That’s right! It will change your life! Changed ours. Won an award, went back to press, sold some books, sold mass market paperback rights to Penguin, sold to Spain and some other countries. And, oh yes, it is awesome.

More about The Mount:

More about Carol:

  • Carmen Dog, Chapter 1.
  • Mrs. Jones” from Report to the Men’s Club and Other Stories
  • A letter to Carol Emshwiller from James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon) written in 1975. You can see a scanned version of the letter here or read the letter here.

Date: Up.

Tue 4 Mar 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Today’s juggling of tasks incomplete landed these few on the ground as done enough for now:

Kelly is one of the readers in a Tin House/excellent indie press night on Thursday at the Dweck Center at the Brooklyn Public Library in Grand Army Plaza with Anne Carson, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Lydia Millet.

Maureen McHugh has some new stories coming up (or at least one in Ellen Datlow’s Del Rey Books of Science Fiction and Fantasy) and maybe she’s working on a novel in between more of those computer game/operas she’s working on. Catch up with her in a Locus interview.

Updated the KGB Fantastic Fiction Reading Series page with some upcoming readers. Yes, you will need to go to the page to see who. Ooh! Unless, of course, it is you, Michael Swanwick or David Keck who is reading this. Some of these readers are more firmly booked than others.

Since we just finished the selections for the next Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror now seemed like a good time to update the page a little. Not much. There really are ghostly gremlins working away to make the site better so until then, hodge and podge are the breakfast, elevensies, lunch, threesies, nibbles, dinner, supper, and midnight feast around here.


Sun 2 Mar 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

In the early 80s metal bands were pretty politically aware. Well, not sure if that’s what Iron Maiden qualify as. Metal, that is. They always seemed like a hard rock band more than heavy metal monsters—despite their predilection for a certain monster, Eddie. Yes, they were part of the New Wave of NWBHM Heavy Metal (could have picked a better acronym than NWBHM), but listen to this lovely pop song (the sound quality on this video is pretty poor) and see what you think.

Hmm. Iron Maiden are playing in LA during BookExpo. Tempting. Haven’t seen them since 1987.

This posted due to someone with a sense of humor giving me a CD of Number of the Beast at some point and me digging it up today while at work. I don’t know how often the CD will be played but it is clean, crisp old-fashioned somewhat-familiar rock’n’roll and is refreshingly noisy. Tomorrow will be time enough for calmer climes.

One funny thing is that I remember most of these songs pretty well (they were used to wake me up when I was 12 so they’re pretty deeply worn into the failing brainpan) except “Total Eclipse.” Without doing further digging to see if I still have a tape of the original album I suspect the reason is that that song may not have made it on to my tape.* Funny. It’s an ok song and there’s some fun Maiden-y time signature change-ups in the second half. Who knows why it didn’t make the cut. Funny to have it now as basically a new 26 y.o. song.

It’s ok Jed, I won’t play it while you’re here.

* Yes, as in taped album (or cassette), rather than something I owned. Naughty? Perhaps. Penurious way to acquire music in pre-internet age? Yes. Sued by record companies at the time? No. Later purchases of music owing a debt to those tapes: quite a lot. RIAA: go sue yourselves out of existence for being so anti-fan.