Katrina + 3

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

3 years since Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Gustav is on a maybe/maybe not course for New Orleans. Which is sort of akin to the US Government’s approach to the disaster. Maybe we’ll help you. Maybe not. Which is one reason they will be voted out in November.

Over at Smith Mag they just posted the Epilogue of A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge, an amazing comics narrative that has been picked up by Pantheon and which will be published as a graphic novel at some point. But if you have a moment, try starting from the beginning.

Generation Loss on sale

Wed 27 Aug 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Generation LossWe’re celebrating Elizabeth Hand’s Shirley Jackson award-winning novel Generation Loss and sending it out there into the world for $10.

As with all our prices, that includes US/Canada shipping—please use the international shipping options if you are ordering outwith North America. Go forth and read good books!

John McCain for President

Wed 27 Aug 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Don’t miss the latest internet stunt from McCain aides. It is a legit site, right?

YB coming soon

Wed 27 Aug 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 6 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

YB21.jpgThe Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror marches toward publication. We just received an advance copy and Publishers Weekly just gave it a starred review (yay!) picking out some of our fave choices:

The 40 selections in this exemplary anthology from Link and Grant (the fantasy half) and Datlow (the horror half) reflect virtually every hue of the fantasy/horror palette: urban fantasy in Jeffrey Ford’s “The Drowned Life” and Karen Joy Fowler’s “The Last Worders”; traditional supernatural horror in Paul Walther’s “Splitfoot” and Terry Dowling’s “Toother”; modern folk fantasy in Elizabeth Hand’s “Winter’s Wife” and Eileen Gunn’s “Up the Fire Road”; and cosmic terror fiction in Laird Barron’s “The Forest” and Don Tumasonis’s “The Swing.” A handful of stories involve child abuse and abduction, of which Lisa Tuttle’s “Closet Dreams” is the most horrifying. The front matter’s snapshot summaries of the past year’s yield in fantasy, horror, comics, mixed media and music are a small and invaluable book unto themselves. (Oct.)

Some catching up

Tue 26 Aug 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

  • sThe disclosure label from New England GreenStart shows that our home power mix (we don’t get to choose for the Paragon Arts Building) is 75% hydroelectric and the rest from biomass (20.9%), solar (3%), and wind (1.2%).
    Hydro has its own impact problems (somewhat less than nuclear [storage, leaks] or coal [mining, pollution]), but seeing the solar part rise from 1% to 3% in the last couple of years is tres tres exciting.
  • The NEA recently announced that applications are open for their 2010 translation grants. Go forth, translate something weird, and query us on it.
  • Download our distributor’s catalog in PDF here and see what’s coming from us, Coffee House, Paul Dry, Manic D, and many more.
  • Gayle Shanks, president of the Am. Booksellers Association, has a thoughtful letter on Chelsea Green’s decision to restrict sales of their new Obama title to Amazon:

One of my core beliefs as a bookseller is that a free society depends on a diverse marketplace of ideas, and that closed markets, exclusive agreements, and tactics designed to achieve a short-term victory at the expense of core values are both short-sighted and counter productive.

We’re in the process of changing out BookSense.com book links over to IndieBound—we hope you’ll always consider buying our books locally (where they will generally be in stock first). Here are the links for The Ant King: Our Local Bookstore | Your Local Bookstore.

Since everyone always votes with their wallet, try this fact on people when they tell you they like to buy online:

  • Spend $100 at a local and $68 of that stays in your community. Spend the same $100 at a national chain, and your community only sees $43

That math means that your local community loses $25 of every $100 spent at chains. Which means $250 of every $1,000; $250,000 of each million dollars. Which is why local shops find it hard to compete when that much income is leaving the area. That $25 ($250, $250,000) pays people to work locally, pays local suppliers, etc. Don’t discount shop people out of jobs in your town.

Listening to someone else’s local music right now on My Old Kentucky Blog: Ben Weaver The Ax in the Oak from one of our fave labels, Bloodshot.

Episode 9: Strawberry Wheat/Wine

Mon 25 Aug 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 4 Comments| Posted by: Michael

“Furthermore, we wish to emphasize that in future in all cities, markets and in the country, the only ingredients used for the brewing of beer must be Barley, Hops and Water. Whosoever knowingly disregards or transgresses upon this ordinance, shall be punished by the Court authorities’ confiscating such barrels of beer, without fail.”
—the Reinheitsgebot, a beer purity law, the first of its kind, enacted in Germany in 1516.

And now I’m going to talk about brewing with strawberries.

They’ll take away my homebrew when they pry it from my cold dead hands!

Read more

Double dutch

Mon 25 Aug 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

While in Scotland some of our nieces and nephews (and, er, others) had great fun attempting some skipping trips—don’t expect pics of this to surface on the nets. But one participant just sent us this video which made us want to head down to the Apollo Theater for the double dutch skip offs:

Watch CBS Videos Online

Listen to John

Thu 21 Aug 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Kessel, Baum PlanListen or download a John Kessel interview on WMUA’s Writer’s Voice here.

The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories just received a great thoughtful review in the LA Times:

“There is at least one universal truth running through this collection. Rejection, unlike love, is a sure thing. Its contours can be measured, its gravity weighed. In that, Kessel’s losers surely aren’t alone in stumbling off the path to paradise.”

Down in western North Carolina WNC Magazine gave the book a corker of a review in their August issue (on stands now):

“Politically conscious science fiction, macabre humor, and economical, slice-of-life storytelling…. A treasure trove of polished gems for anyone who enjoys a well-told tale.”

Update: a new review popped up on Anthem (who also have a great Feist/John McCain house-counting mashup):

What keeps the reader motivated to power through the slow points is salient feature of the book is the deftness with which Kessel builds his characters. The stories are based around misfits, nerds, and criminals—people who, for one reason or another, lie about who they are.


Thu 21 Aug 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We’re back in the office after a bit of a wander around Scotland. Lots of stuff (stuff? vocabulary hasn’t improved any) happening with books and so on. (Is there a so on or is it only books? Don’t know.) Listening to an interview with John Kessel (more on that soon) and trying to catch up on all that stuff.

Scotland: nice and cool. Tea all the time. Breakfast can be a challenge! Everyone plays Wii games better than us. We had tea (see) with Alasdair Gray(!) and met up with a few of the Glasgow mafia (of the writing sort) in a pub with the best haggis in Scotland (or so said the writing on the wall). The Olympics were easier to watch (it’s UK-centric, but much less insipid and sentimental). The beer isn’t as good as in England (if you like bitter), but there were a few good ones, including Atlas Brewery’s in Kinlochleven—which we walked past while on the West Highland Way. Nothing like a local beer after a 10-mile walk. 100s of pics were taken, some may be uploaded later.

One of the things (the many things) we forgot to bring over were pedometers which would have been fun over that week. Should you ever be tempted to go on the walk, remember to check your jacket (zipped into its own pocket) is still carabinered onto your pack before you start up from lunch. Especially if this is a borrowed North Face jacket. Oops! If anyone found said jacket between Kinlochleven and Kingshouse, we’d love to hear from you.

Poverty Castle CoverOh well. It meant a trip to the shops (and the Marks and Sparks food section…) where we went to Zavvi (previously known as Virgin before a management buyout—just as Small Beer Press will be known as Lost the Plot Press after a similar buyout here) where we picked up the first season of The IT Crowd which seems simple but funny enough.

Read fewer books than might be expected (maybe all that walking and sleeping) but very much enjoyed Robin Jenkins’s Poverty Castle which seemed to be Jenkins (perhaps best known for his dark and amazing The Cone-gatherers) in his lightest mood. There are echoes of Compton Mackenzie’s entertainments (Monarch of the Glen, Whiskey Galore, etc.), as well as of Georgette Heyer, and even a light metafictional concept (we see the writer who is writing this story) in the set up: a family (husband, wife, 5 daughters) are suddenly enriched by the death of a faraway uncle. They decide to buy and restore an old house in Argyll and from there their story intermingles with their neighbors (an old aristo family), the villagers, and one of the daughter’s roommates at Glasgow University. The class observations of 1950s and ’60s Scottish life are acute, the characters—even if sometimes over the top—are rich. All in all a great escape, even if Jenkins cannot quite stick to his optimistic guns.

Reign of the Ant King

Sat 9 Aug 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: jedediah

The Ant KingThe Ant King takes the throne and promptly showers gifts upon the people. Namely, free copies of The Ant King and Other Stories by Benjamin Rosenbaum.

This debut collection was officially released this week and now we send forth a free download. Inside you’ll find airships, gumballs, and the orange that rules the world. What you won’t find: DRM. So copy, share, remix, reuse, repeat.

The Ant King and Other Stories is available in several formats (PDF, HTML, RTF, and plain text), and is being distributed under a Creative Commons license (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0).

Mr. Rosenbaum is at Worldcon just now, and if you’re there, you can catch him today at a reading and a signing. For more about his collection, and for a link to the free download, proceed hither.

Creative Commons

The Ant King and Other Stories

Tue 5 Aug 2008 - Filed under: Books| Posted by: Gavin

A dazzling, postmodern debut collection of pulp and surreal fictions: a writer of alternate histories defends his patron’s zeppelin against assassins and pirates; a woman transforms into hundreds of gumballs; an emancipated children’s collective goes house hunting.

“Give him some prizes, like, perhaps, “best first collection” for this book.”
Booklist (Starred review)

“Rosenbaum proves he’s capable of sustained fantasy with “Biographical Notes,” a steampunkish alternate history of aerial piracy, and “A Siege of Cranes,” a fantasy about a battle between a human insurgent and the White Witch that carries decidedly modern undercurrents…. Perhaps none of the tales is odder than “Orphans,” in which girl-meets-elephant, girl-loses-elephant.”
Kirkus Reviews

Table of Contents

The Ant King: A California Fairy Tale
The Valley of Giants
The Orange
Biographical Notes to ‘A Discourse on the Nature of Causality, with Air-Planes’, by Benjamin Rosenbaum
Start the Clock
The Blow
On the Cliff by the River
The Book of Jashar
The House Beyond Your Sky
Red Leather Tassels
Other Cities
Sense and Sensibility
A Siege of Cranes


“But among our most interesting writers today one finds a growing number—Kelly Link, Elizabeth Hand, Aimee Bender, Jonathan Lethem, Benjamin Rosenbaum—working the boundary: “sometimes drawing the line,” as Hyde writes of Trickster, “sometimes crossing it, sometimes erasing or moving it, but always there,” in the borderlands among regions on the map of fiction.”
—Michael Chabon, Maps and Legends

“A terrific range of tales, showcasing an active, playful mind and a gleeful genre-blender.”
—Aimee Bender

“Imagine Borges and Dali hanging out at Pee Wee Herman’s playhouse, and you have a brief inkling of what Rosenbaum’s fiction is like. The Ant King and Other Stories is Rosenbaum’s debut collection of short fiction, which features pieces have been that have nominated for genre awards, and have appeared in a slew of venues, from Interzone, Realms of Fantasy, and McSweeney’s. The content ranges from postmodern fables, flash fiction, pulp fiction, all told in precise and distinctive, if not exactly poetic, prose. The imagery—which is what propels the stories as much as plot—is always startling and surrealistic. Rosenbaum mixes literary forms and narrative styles like a DJ.”
Fantasy Book Spot

“Ben Rosenbaum is one of the freshest and finest voices to appear in science fiction in many years. The stories collected in The Ant King demonstrate his astonishing versatility, his marvelous imagination, and his ready wit.”
—Jack Womack

Benjamin Rosenbaum grew up in Arlington, Virginia, and received degrees in computer science and religious studies from Brown University. His work has been published in Harper’s, Nature, McSweeney’s, F&SF, Asimov’s, Interzone, All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories, and Strange Horizons. Small Beer Press published his chapbook Other Cities and The Present Group published his collaboration,Anthroptic, with artist Ethan Ham. His stories have been translated into fourteen languages, listed in Best American Short Stories: 2006, and shortlisted for the Hugo and Nebula awards. Rosenbaum lives near Basel, Switzerland, with his wife and two small, rambunctious children. There are cows, steeples, double-decker trains, and traffic lights for bicycles in his neighborhood.

On Other Cities

“Rosenbaum’s fertile sense of invention and his sly humor (“Ponge, as its inhabitants will tell you, is a thoroughly unattractive city. ‘Well,’ they always say at the mention of any horrible news, ‘we do live in Ponge.'”) make these parables a real treat.”

“Throughout Other Cities, compressed insight and wonder are compressed into but a handful of words. This small book’s crisp design and illustrations mirror the elegance of the writing: recommended.”
Xerography Debt

“And though the stories are tiny, they do not disappoint as a result of their brevity. When you leave one fantastic destination behind, there is another city right around the corner.”

“A collection of fourteen gems, expertly cut and highly polished. Each contains, within its myriad facets, a metropolis, brimming with mystery, insight and wonder.”
— Jeffrey Ford (The Girl in the Glass)

On the web:

Publication history


Cover art © Brad Holland.
Photo credit: Photo by Jessica Wallach/PortraitPlaytime.com

The Ant King in VA

Fri 1 Aug 2008 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

It’s almost publication day for Ben Rosenbaum’s debut collection, The Ant King, and tonight he’s doing a reading at Stacy’s Coffee in Falls Church, VA. More on the book next Tuesday when it comes out.

One note: if you want a hardcover, best go to a reading (Stacy’s or in Denver at the World Sci Fi Convention) or order it from this site. Looks like they will sell out faster than the paperback!

Stacy’s Coffee, 709 West Broad St., Falls Church, Virginia 22046, (703) 538-6266