On memory

Fri 20 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

When we asked Vincent McCaffrey for a bio (since we’re publishing his book in September, it seemed the polite thing to do), this is one of the variations he sent:

“I have conveniently forgotten everything I did before I started my bookshop. This allows me to make things up as need be. A writer’s prerogative, according to Mark Twain, who should know. My first professional memory is selling a book on the morning of October 15th, 1975. It felt good so I kept doing it, just like any baby-boomer would.”



Your Mysteries Earn Free Books

Thu 19 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

The Manual of Detection CoverJedediah Berry’s awesome first novel, The Manual of Detection, is out Today! Today! Run to your local bookshop and if they don’t have it firebomb them, er, ask politely when they will have it in. If they do have it, what are you reading this for? Go read the book.

Or, maybe you will win a free copy!

We were going through Jed’s desk the other day and found a few lonely and unread copies so we decided that we should find them good homes. First, we made him sign them, and now, clearly, it’s time for a contest.

To enter, leave a comment on this post with a mystery in need of solving. Personal or historical, major or quotidian, real to everyone or just to you. We’ll choose five of the most strange and intriguing mysteries and those folks will get a copy of The Manual of Detection. They may even get their mysteries solved. (Please don’t wait around for that to happen.)

Submit conundrums and enigmas within a week or so. And in the meantime, you may want to read up on the Manual over here: www.manualofdetection.com.



The real reason car sales are falling

Wed 18 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin



NYTimes, Nerdcore, & love

Wed 18 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Lev Grossman and Sophie Gee recently posted their playlist on the NYT Paper Cuts blog. This is a guy who outnerds most of the readers of this blog, seriously—although his list may overlap with yours more so than it might with ours. It’s somewhat like reading what Junot Diaz’s playlist might have been before Oscar Wao came out would be like. Every time it looks like he’s hit nerdvana, he ratchets it up again.

There is also lite (sic) jazz and a book with a scientist falling in love with a ghost:

…the book I’m working on now, “The Magicians,” which you could glibly but not inaccurately describe as Harry Potter meets “The Corrections” for shots of synthohol in Ten Forward….

Palmcorder Yajna, the Mountain Goats…. the mental soundtrack that I wrote to. I used to picture a scene of torch-lit close-quarters sword-and-ax combat with this song in the background. Dwarves, orcs, elves, no heroics, no speeches, just sweat and dirt and blood in their beards. Like, as if Tarantino filmed the “The Lord of the Rings” instead of Peter Jackson. That’s what the past sounds like to me. You know — the past that never happened….

Unlike Dylan, as far as I know, T.D.O.T.H.T. mostly do pop-metal songs about the works of H. P. Lovecraft….



An Opportunity to Partake of Both Beer and Literature

Tue 17 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 3 Comments| Posted by: Michael

This is it, ladies and gentlemen. Until now, all my talk of beer and literature has been just that: talk. Finally, however, the opportunity has arisen to put my barley where my mouth is. Er…not that I haven’t been doing that all along. You know what I mean.

On Friday, February 27th, Jedediah Berry will be at Amherst Books to celebrate the release of The Manual of Dectection, a beautifully complicated novel about a clandestine detective agency and a meticulous clerk thrust unwillingly into a detective’s role. He does not, as would I, resort to drink under pressure… though there’s a fair amount of whiskey swallowed throughout.

I’m brewing beer for the occasion because home distilling happens to be illegal.

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The Faery Handbag on BBC7 (for 6 more days)

Mon 16 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Listen to “The Faery Handbag” (“A distraught young woman reveals how she has lost both her boyfriend and grandmother to a magical handbag.”) on BBC 7’s Fantastic Journeys. It’s live for 6 more days.



Ed Emshwiller on YouTube

Thu 12 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Sunstone:



Crack Fiction

Thu 12 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

The IAF just posted the contents of their next anthology, Interfictions 2, which we will publish for them in November. Lots of new and some old friends there—as well as an online annex of goodies, so: more good stories coming”

Interfictions 2 TOC!

Co-editors Delia Sherman & Christopher Barzak are pleased to announce:

The Table Of Contents for Interfictions 2!

Curious about the first one? Check it out:



More Kindle yech

Tue 10 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

So it looks like we may have to withdraw at least some of our titles from the Kindle as the Wall Street Journal reports:

Some publishers and agents expressed concern over a new, experimental feature that reads text aloud with a computer-generated voice.

“They don’t have the right to read a book out loud,” said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. “That’s an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law.”

An Amazon spokesman noted the text-reading feature depends on text-to-speech technology, and that listeners won’t confuse it with the audiobook experience. Amazon owns Audible, a leading audiobook provider.

We queried our contact at Amazon and he said:

The ability to read text aloud is very different from producing an audio version of a written work, so audio distribution rights are not required for any titles currently available as eBooks in the Kindle store.

But the difference is that the Kindle is specifically a reading device, so customers can buy the ebook—and get it read to them, which is a different product and right, an audiobook—whereas a computer is a multifunction device. We’re happy that computers have text-to-speech capabilities for visually impaired readers but this seems to be directly impinging on an author’s rights. Hmm.



Kindle King

Tue 10 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

The news that Stephen King has an exclusive story for the Kindle is 1) not surprising: the man cannot resist a new channel and 2) depressing as all get out. His poor core fans. If they don’t have a $359 object they can’t read it. Wonder exactly how fast it will be 1) torrented and 2) in print.

When did Amazon acquire the One Ring? Amazon take such a huge cut that having books there is almost a loss leader ad for our books in stores. (People still like to pick up and see what they’re buying—and our books are all printed on pretty pretty recycled paper.)

When talking heads say not to worry about bookstores/chain stores/distributors dying because Amazon will save us all, I think: ok, I can find a job that will actually pay me because if it’s all Amazon all the time, this job won’t.



Camille on the Couch

Mon 9 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

A bookseller asked, since we now have an interest in all things couchy, if we’d heard Camille Bloom‘s CD Ten Thousand Miles. Seems Ms. Bloom has many shoes and a couch (more of a Big Chair, there) and is taking at least some of those things on tour this month. Even to . . . Easthampton! Maybe we can get a day-release from the head bampot and go see the show:



Semiprozinez (and other diseases)

Mon 9 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Eric Marin of Lone Star Stories is miffed that the Hugo Award for Semiprozine (fondly known as the Locus Award that none of us shall ever receive) may disappear at this year’s Worldcon in Montreal (in August, oh sunny lovely August).

Seems that Locus won too many times in a row so (maybe, haven’t been following this) some people want to change the rules so that there’s no award to dominate anymore. Which takes away the honor of nomination* for four other mags. Which isn’t very nice. We don’t care if we are nominated or not (we received the honor a couple of years ago and like that it gets spread around: there are a lot of people doing good work out there), but, come on, how about all the new zines, paper or online, why take it away from them?

So, if you’re going to be at the Worldcon (not sure if we will), go to the business meeting and tell them that the Semiprozine category, silly as it is, is worth keeping—at least until they go completely daft and make a Hugo Award for Semiprozine Editors, since there’s one for all kinds of other editors.

* That may seem like a joke, but if you’re smart you’ll realize it’s not. Or, you can wait until an award list comes out with your name on it—or you’re on a jury and have to decide the nominations—and then finally you might realize what an honor it actually is.



The Faery Handbag on BBC Radio 7

Mon 9 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Next Sunday at 6.30 PM GST, BBC Radio 7 will air their adaptation of Kelly’s story “The Faery Handbag.” (It also re-airs at 00:30 that night.) We’re very excited and curious to see what it will sound like!

“The Faery Handbag” is the third (of four) episodes in a show called Fantastic Journeys—you can go and listen (for another 6 days) to the current show, “Fifty Cents,” by Tim Powers and James Blaylock.



Small Beer at AWP

Mon 9 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: jedediah

We just secured a table at the AWP Chicago bookfair. If you’re planning to be there this week, please come say hello! You’ll find us next to the folks from Kundiman.

Also, because this came together in last-minute fashion, we need help! Anyone willing to work the table for an hour here or there will be paid in free books and glittering good karma. And stickers. And buttons. And secret coupons which you may redeem for secrets.

Finally: Chicagoans! The bookfair will be open to the public on Saturday. It’s at the Hilton Chicago, 720 South Michigan. We’ll be expecting you. All of you.



Mon 9 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Charles Platt shows he doesn’t know shit about how Wal-Mart works. Maybe this will clarify it, Charles: Demanding lower prices = moving jobs abroad. What a great company that it! And, those workers who used to work in textile mills or in manufacturing jobs that paid enough to support a family, can now get jobs at . . . Wal-Mart. And maybe a second job at Wal-Mart, too, as the first one sure as hell isn’t going to pay the mortgage.

While Wal-Mart may have made some positive contributions to society, they have also helped push thousands of people in this country out of their jobs. How? To quote Fast Company:

The retailer has a clear policy for suppliers: On basic products that don’t change, the price Wal-Mart will pay, and will charge shoppers, must drop year after year. But what almost no one outside the world of Wal-Mart and its 21,000 suppliers knows is the high cost of those low prices. Wal-Mart has the power to squeeze profit-killing concessions from vendors. To survive in the face of its pricing demands, makers of everything from bras to bicycles to blue jeans have had to lay off employees and close U.S. plants in favor of outsourcing products from overseas.



Mon 9 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Charles Platt shows he doesn’t know shit about how Wal-Mart works. Maybe this will clarify it, Charles: Demanding lower prices = moving jobs abroad. What a great company that it! And, those workers who used to work in textile mills or in manufacturing jobs that paid enough to support a family, can now get jobs at . . . Wal-Mart. And maybe a second job at Wal-Mart, too, as the first one sure as hell isn’t going to pay the mortgage.

While Wal-Mart may have made some positive contributions to society, they have also helped push thousands of people in this country out of their jobs. How? To quote Fast Company:

The retailer has a clear policy for suppliers: On basic products that don’t change, the price Wal-Mart will pay, and will charge shoppers, must drop year after year. But what almost no one outside the world of Wal-Mart and its 21,000 suppliers knows is the high cost of those low prices. Wal-Mart has the power to squeeze profit-killing concessions from vendors. To survive in the face of its pricing demands, makers of everything from bras to bicycles to blue jeans have had to lay off employees and close U.S. plants in favor of outsourcing products from overseas.



Open search for Interfictions cover art

Tue 3 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

*The Interstitial Arts Foundation is searching for cover art for our second literary anthology, Interfictions II. All visual artists are invited to submit images for possible use as the cover art of the anthology.

From February 2 – 16, artists are invited to post images on our Flickr group at http://www.flickr.com/groups/interstitialarts for all to enjoy.  At the end of that time, the editors of Interfictions II, Delia Sherman and Christopher Barzak, along with Small Beer Press publisher Gavin Grant and Interfictions I cover artist Connie Toebe, will choose an image for the cover of this exciting original anthology, to be published in November, 2009.

What are we looking for? Any visual image that might look good on the cover of a book.  It could be a painting, a computer image, collage, sculpture or maybe even a piece of clothing.  The first volume’s cover was actually a photo of a 3-dimensional diorama box, so a photo of a sculpture or craft piece is not out of the question.  Contributing artists should be sure to consider their art in the context of a book cover. A book cover isn’t simply a pretty picture but part of a complete design. If you’re photographing a 3-dimensional piece (especially something that isn’t rectangular) please remember that the quality of the photo counts as well. A nicely composed photo is as important as the quality of the artwork in the image. The book cover will be 5.5″ wide and 8.5″ tall so a horizontal or square image might not work as well as a vertically oriented one. That being said, we’d love to be surprised. Show us something we’ve never seen before!

The details:

Questions?  Post them here, and we’ll answer them as soon as possible.

Good luck!  We look forward to seeing your artwork!



Locus, Hugos

Tue 3 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Looks like the 2008 Locus Recommended Reading List is out and it includes some of our books. If you’re so inclined, you can vote for these in the Locus Poll (soon) and the Hugos (now). (Don’t forget Couch!)

Also on the list were The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror 2008 as well as Kelly‘s collection Pretty Monsters, and the title stories, “Pretty Monsters” and “The Surfer.”

There are a ton of great books on the list, some of which are pasted below. Since we stopped reading for The Year’s Best in late November, and we usually read most of the material for the book from November to January, this list is certainly not exclusive. The Amazon links below are cut (libraries and indie bookshops are it) and the cut’n’paste was done on the fly, so it’s a sample of stuff we liked, but very messy!

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