Limited Editions

Fri 31 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

Small Beer Press limited editions
Available from this website and a few select bookshops.

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July 2005
Kelly Link
Magic for Beginners
illustrated by Shelley Jackson
edition of 150

Magic for Beginners is the highly anticipated second collection by Kelly Link, the author of the cult favorite collection Stranger Things Happen. As the title suggests, this is an engaging, funny, and magical selection of stories about haunted convenience stores, husbands and wives, rabbits, zombies, weekly apocalyptic poker parties, witches, superheroes, marriages, and cannons, and includes several stories original to the collection. Stories from Magic for Beginners have previously been published in McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales, Conjunctions, and The Dark.

Hand-numbered and signed by the author and illustrator and includes two tipped-in plates: an enlargement of the title story illustration and a color reproduction of the trade dustjacket painting by Shelley Jackson which is based on “Lady with an Ermine” by Leonardo da Vinci held in The Czartoryskich Museum in Krakow. Printed by Thomson-Shore of Dexter, MI, on 70# Finch Opaque Cream White Smooth paper, with 80# Oatmeal Rainbow Endpapers, Smyth Sewn in Cobalt Blue Pearl Linen Cloth, with a ribbon to keep your place.

Accompanied by a deck of poker cards backed with the cover illustration and illustrated with Shelley Jackson’s interior illustrations.

$100

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July 2005

Maureen F. McHugh
Mothers & Other Monsters
edition of 150

Maureen F. McHugh is the author of four acclaimed novels. Her genre-expanding short fiction has won the Hugo and Locus Awards and has frequently been included in Best of the Year anthologies. Since 1988 she has attracted a broad readership in publications such as Asimov’s, Scifiction, Starlight, The Year’s Best Science Fiction, and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Now, in her long-awaited first collection, McHugh’s subtle talents illuminate the relationship between parents and children from angles that everyone — mother or father, daughter or son — can relate to. These are beautiful stories about the ways in which social and technological shifts impact family dynamics.

Signed and hand-numbered by the author includes five poems not in the trade edition. This edition also includes a tipped-in print of Judith Anderson photographed in the role of Medea by Erwin Blumenfeld. Printed by Thomson-Shore of Dexter, Michigan, on 70# Finch Opaque Cream White Smooth paper, with 80# Red Rainbow Endpapers, Smyth Sewn in Pearl Linen Cloth. We have included a ribbon to keep your place.

$100

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Order Both

$175

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Prices include shipping.




Stranger Things Happen – Reviews

Fri 31 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors, Kelly Link | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

stranger things happen by Kelly Link

2001 Year’s Best Lists:
Salon
The Village Voice San Francisco Chronicle
Fantastic Metropolis: Cory Doctorow, Jeffrey Ford, L.Timmel Duchamp, Luis Rodrigues
Locus Best Book of 2001 |
Locus Recommended Reading List: John Clute, Gardner Dozois, Charles N. Brown, Faren Miller
Also, noted in: Publishers Weekly

Awards:
Salon Book of the Year | “Louise’s Ghost” — Nebula Award
| “The Specialist’s Hat” — World Fantasy Award | “Travels with the Snow Queen” — Tiptree Award | World Fantasy Award Nominee | Firecracker Alternative Book Award Nominee

reviews

“my favorite fantasy writer, Miss Kelly Link”
— Alan Cheuse, NPR, All Things Considered, June 2003

China Mieville’s list of books to read

Philadelphia City Paper, Sept. 26, 2002
New York Magazine, February 11, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday November 18, 2001
New York Times Book Review, Sunday November 11, 2001
Washington Post
Science Fiction Weekly
Ink19
A review in Hebrew — any translations?

Strange Horizons
Tangentonline

Gadfly Online
Locus
Science Fiction Chronicle
F&SF
Montreal Mirror
one in Finnish!

Eclectica Review, 7/05
[Link’s] stories go in places you never thought of, never imagined. Her talent is clear and obvious but her stories are often mysterious and even frightening…. [Stranger Things Happen] is a collection that defies genre assignment and stereotyping, that insists instead that it simply be read and enjoyed.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Stranger Things Happen (Small Beer Press, $16) by Kelly Link is a delightful collection of short stories set in a familiar-seeming world.These stories have a dreamy quality, and like traditional fairy tales, Link’s often end with a Grimm little twist.
“Shoe and Marriage” borrows more than a bit from the story of Cinderella, and “Travels With the Snow Queen” and “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose” play on fairy-tale titles and content. There is also a recurring character, the Girl Detective, who is a lot like a twentysomething Nancy Drew.
Link’s stories include lots of fairy-tale staples like ghosts, stepmothers and talking ravens. Still, her characters’ fears more often involve parents, careers, relationships and being left than things that make noises in the night.
We are still afraid of poisoned needles, strangers who offer candy to children, and what a mirror might say when we look into it.
But the things that haunt Link’s characters are more subtle; they are the kinds of things that really do keep people awake at night and leave them hungry for a comforting word.
And no matter how odd the events in her stories may seem, as this book’s title says, stranger things happen.

The Miami Herald, May 25, 2002
Sinister. Dreamy. Supernatural. Link’s stories dazzle even as they unsettle. It’s hard to imagine anything stranger than a multi-legged beauty contestant, a noseless, nimble-fingered father with a collection of metal and wood prosthetics or a deceased man mailing letters to his widow from a netherworld bordered by a nappy ocean with teeth. And that’s for starters. The bizarre atmospherics within these stories are driven as much by what is left unexplained, as in The Specialist’s Hat, where two identical 10-year-olds move to a dark mausoleum of a house with their father after their mother’s death. The first sentence spotlights the Samantha twin while she speculates that ”when you’re Dead, you don’t have to brush your teeth.” The Claire twin chimes in with ”when you’re Dead, you live in a box, and it’s always dark, but you’re not ever afraid.” In this fashion, the twins’ fates are foreshadowed but never quite delineated, as their transformation, of sorts, takes place off the page. Link blends myths, ghosts and alien landscapes with a healthy ladle of modern life for stories that at first confound but eventually order themselves into a titillating weirdness.

Rain Taxi
Link’s stories defy explanation, or at least, brief summary, instead working on the plane between dream and cognitive dissonance. They are true to themselves: witty, beautiful, funny, and startling.

Asimov’s
[H]er writing belongs in the same camp as Jonathan Carroll’s: spooky, indeterminate, a kind of exemplar of literary Heisenbergism. The more you push on any one dimension of her eerie, funny tales, seeking to know the unknowables she deftly sketches, the less you know about other slippery aspects of the text. Link is a fantasist in the grand tradition of Carol Emshwiller, John Crowley, and Robert Coover, blurring the lines between dreams, myths, and reality in exciting new ways. All this talent is on display in Stranger Things Happen, an astonishingly good collection — which gathers her World Fantasy Award winner “The Specialist’s Hat,” plus two stories new to the world, as well as eight others — into an assemblage of awesome proportions. From its campy retro Nancy Drew-style cover to its closing credits, this is a postmodern fairy-tale landmark.

Booklist
Link offers strange and tantalizing stories — contemporary fiction with a fairy-tale ambience — that explore the relationship between loss and death and the many ways we try to cope with both. She boldly weaves myth and fairy tale into contemporary life, drawing inspiration from the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, from the fairy tale of Cinderella, from the writings of C. S. Lewis, and from the true story of the Donner party’s descent into cannibalism. Meet Humphrey, one of Zeus’ many illegitimate sons, and June, his girlfriend, who decides to travel to Hades to bring Humphrey back. Learn the rules of being dead, and find out what really happened between Kay and the Snow Queen. Ask yourself what would have happened to the prince if he had never found the girl whose foot fit the glass slipper. Link uses the nonsensical to illuminate truth, blurring the distinctions between the mundane and the fantastic to tease out the underlying meanings of modern life.

Publishers Weekly
The 11 fantasies in this first collection from rising star Link are so quirky and exuberantly imagined that one is easily distracted from their surprisingly serious underpinnings of private pain and emotional estrangement. In “Water Off a Black Dog’s Back,” a naïve young man who has never known personal loss finds that the only way he can curry favor with his lover’s physically afflicted family is to suffer a bizarre amputation. The protagonist in “Travels with the Snow Queen” reconsiders her fairy-tale romance when she deconstructs the clichés of traditional fairy tales and realizes that their heroines inevitably sacrifice and suffer much more than their heroes do. Link favors impersonal and potentially off-putting postmodern narrative approaches, but draws the readers to the emotional core of her stories through vulnerable but brave characters who cope gamely with all the strangeness the world can throw their way, In the books’s most effective tale, “Vanishing Act,” a young girl’s efforts to magically reunite herself with her distant family by withdrawing from the world around her poignantly calls attention to the spiritual vacancies and absence of affection in the family she stays with. “The Specialist’s Hat” features twin sisters whose morbid obsessions seems due as much to their father’s parental neglect as their mother’s death. Although a few of the selections seem little more than awkward exercises on the absurd, the best shed a warm, weird light on their worlds, illuminating fresh perspectives and fantastic possibilities.

Kirkus Reviews
Eleven stories showcase a dexterous use of language and a startling, if frequently elusive, imagination as ghosts, aliens, and the living dead invade the most mundane aspects of everyday life. Newcomer Link references fairy tales, mythology, and bits of our common contemporary cultural experience, not to offer commentary but to take off on her own original riffs. So in “Shoe and Marriage” we meet a dictator’s widow, unavoidably reminiscent of Imelda Marcos, living in a museum that displays the shoes she took from her husband’s murder victims. The story, which also describes a bizarre beauty pageant, plays verbally with shoe metaphors from Cinderella’s slippers to Dorothy’s ruby reds, but what touches you is not the author’s verbal acrobatics but the widow’s deep sense of sorrow and horror. Like many of the pieces here, “Shoe and Marriage” joins disparate parts that don’t always fit together, but linear connections are not the aim. When she depends too much on pure cleverness, Link ends up sounding derivative and brittle. “Survivor’s Ball, or The Donner Party,” in which two travelers come to an inn where a creepy if lavish shindig is in full swing, reminds you too insistently of Poe. “Flying Lessons,” about a girl’s love for a boy whose desire to fly ends tragically (hint, hint), and “Travels With the Snow Queen,” in which the fairy tale is revamped to read cute, come across as writing-school literary. But at her best, Link produces oddly moving imagery. In “Louise’s Ghost,” two friends named Louise have overlapping affairs. The shared name at first seems like another joke, but the tale gradually digs deep into the emotionally charged waters of loss and redemption. Stylistic pyrotechnics light up a bizarre but emotionally truthful landscape. Link’s a writer to watch.

Staff recommendation by someone nice at Cody’s.


Kelly Link’s collection of stories, Stranger Things Happen, really scores.

— Daniel Mendelsohn, New York Magazine

Stranger Things Happen is a tremendously appealing book, and lovers of short fiction should fall over themselves getting out the door to find a copy.”

Washington Post Book World

“quirky and exuberantly imagined….the best shed a warm, weird light on their worlds,
illuminating fresh perspectives and fantastic possibilities.”

Publisher’s Weekly

“Stylistic pyrotechnics light up a bizarre but emotionally truthful landscape. Link’s a writer to watch.”

Kirkus Reviews

“It is the tradition of the dust-jacket “blurb” to exaggerate the excellences of a book in hopes of enticing readers between its covers. But I do not follow that custom when I say that Stranger Things Happen is one of the very best books I have ever read. These stories will amaze, provoke, and intrigue. Best of all, they will delight. Kelly Link is terrific!“This is not blurbese. It is the living truth.”

— Fred Chappell, author of Family Gathering

“Finally, Kelly Link’s wonderful stories have been collected. My only complaint is the brevity of her oeuvre to date; as an avid reader of her work , I want her to continue to create more gems for me to read. I predict that “The Specialist’s Hat,” winner of the World Fantasy Award, will become part of the canon of classic supernatural tales.”

— Ellen Datlow, fiction editor, Scifiction.com

“I’ve been impatiently awaiting a collection of Kelly Link’s stories. Now that it’s here, it will sit in my library on that very short shelf of books I read again and again. For those who think Fantasy tired, Stranger Things Happen is a wake-up call.”

— Jeffrey Ford, author of The Beyond

“A set of stories that are by turns dazzling, funny, scary, and sexy, but only when they’re not all of these at once. Kelly Link has strangeness, charm and spin to spare. Writers better than this don’t happen.”

— Karen Joy Fowler, author of Sister Noon

“Kelly Link is probably the best short story writer currently out there, in any genre or none. She puts one word after another and makes real magic with them-funny, moving, tender, brave and dangerous. She is unique, and should be declared a national treasure, and possibly surrounded at all times by a cordon of armed marines.”

— Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods

“Link’s writing is gorgeous, mischievous, sexy and unsettling. Unexpected images burst on your brain like soap bubbles on a dog’s tongue. I’ve been trying to imitate her since I first read one of her stories. It’s impossible. Instead I find myself curling up with a satisfied sigh and enjoying once more.”

— Nalo Hopkinson, author of Midnight Robber

“Kelly Link is the exact best and strangest and funniest short story writer on earth that you have never heard of at the exact moment you are reading these words and making them slightly inexact. Now pay for the book.”

— Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn

“Kelly Link is a brilliant writer. Her stories seem to come right out of your own dreams, the nice ones and the nightmares both. These stories will burrow right into your subconscious and stay with you forever.”

— Tim Powers, author of Declare

“Of all the books you’ll read this year, this is the one you’ll remember. Kelly Link’s stories are like gorgeous tattoos; they get under your skin and stay forever and change your life. Buy this book, read it, read it again, congratulate yourself, and then start buying Stranger Things Happen for your friends.”

— Sarah Smith, author of A Citizen of the Country

“Kelly Link makes spells, not stories. She is the carrier of an eerie, tender sorcery; each enchantment takes you like a curse, leaving you dizzy, wounded, and elated at once. Her vision is always compassionate, and frequently very funny–but don’t let that fool you. This book, like all real magic, is terribly dangerous. You open it at your peril.”

— Sean Stewart, author of Galveston

“If Kelly Link is not the “future of horror,” a ridiculous phrase, she ought to be. To have a future at all, horror in general, by which I might as well mean fiction in general, requires precisely her freshness, courage, intelligence, and resistance to received forms and values. Kelly Link seems always to speak from a deep, deeply personal, and unexpected standpoint. Story by story, she is creating new worlds, new frameworks for perception, right in front of our eyes. I think she is the most impressive writer of her generation.”

— Peter Straub, author of Magic Terror



The Baum Plan – Reviews

Fri 31 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

Crowley, Endless ThingsThe Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories
John Kessel

Reviews

“In his first collection in a decade, Kessel jumps from place to place like a jolty time machine. In “Pride and Prometheus,” Frankenstein and Jane Austen intersect in an uncanny Victorian tale of unrequited love, while “A Lunar Quartet” introduces a matriarchal, hypersexual moon colony in the future. But as a group, these stories offer a sustained exploration of the ways gender dynamics can both empower and enslave us. Kessel’s wit sparkles throughout, peaking with the most uproariously weird phone-sex conversation you’ll ever read (“The Red Phone”).” A-
Entertainment Weekly

“Dark, wacky, wide-ranging short stories.”
Charlotte Observer

“Anyone who thinks genre writing can’t be literary deserves to have Kessel’s hefty new collection of stories dropped on his or her head.”
Time Out Chicago

“Kessel proves himself again a master not just of science fiction, but also of the modern short story, crafting compelling characters and following them through plots that never fail to please — or to defy prediction.”
— Metro Magazine

“Kessel’s blend of dark humor and reality-stretching scenarios is consistently mesmerizing.”
— Booklist

“One of the best collections of the year.”
— Locus

“These well-crafted stories, full of elegantly drawn characters, deliver a powerful emotional punch.”
— Publishers Weekly

“Kessel is a deft stylist and a master of all his tools, whose range is nearly limitless.”
— SciFi.com

“Invest. Invest now…. Your returns will be multitudinous.”
The Fix

“A pleasant callback to the days when science-fiction authors read more than just science fiction.”
The Stranger

Library Thing



Mothers & Other Monsters – Talking Points

Fri 31 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

Talking Points for Maureen F. McHugh’s Mothers & Other Monsters

from the Reading Group Guide (PDF Download)

Maureen McHugh, Mothers and Other Monsters

Some things to talk about. There are no right answers.

1. What is your take on the title of this collection — Mothers & Other Monsters? Is it that mothers are monstrous? How about the mothers in this collection? Who are the Other Monsters?

2. Science-fiction stories may be set in places real or imaginary, in real or imaginary times. Even so, they are usually about the here and now. Do you feel McHugh is able to address contemporary issues in a more — or a less — effective way through the use of her imaginary settings? What contemporary issues seem to interest her most?

3. Advances in technology allow parents to monitor their children in ways that were impossible a generation ago. What along these lines has already changed since you were a teenager? Would you prefer to be a teenager now? Would you prefer to have been a parent then?

4. How much oversight is too much?

5. Does McHugh’s treatment of stepmothers seem accurate? What are some of the difficulties stepmothers face here? Why are stepmothers traditionally seen as wicked? With more families being headed by single parents, will the stereotype of the wicked stepmother lose popularity?

6. McHugh works within a number of literary traditions including realism (“Eight-Legged Story“), ghost stories (“In the Air”), science fiction (“The Cost to Be Wise”), fantasy (“Ancestor Money“), fairy tales (“The Beast”), and narrative nonfiction (“Interview: On Any Given Day”). Science fiction has been characterized as a literature of exploration and therefore seen as especially appropriate for teenagers. Are these stories you would give to a teenager to read? What aspects of these stories would you have enjoyed as a teenager?

7. One of the effects of Alzheimer’s Disease is that life decisions for an individual have to be made by someone else. Do the reactions of the Alzheimer’s sufferer’s families in these stories seem realistic to you? How about the treatment of and the treatments for the disease?

8. What would you do if your partner were cured of Alzheimer’s but was not quite the person they had once been? (As in “Presence”)

9. In “Laika Comes Back Safe,” is Tye a werewolf or a kid who thinks he’s a werewolf? Which is scarier?

10. In “Ancestor Money,” a woman burns an offering for her grandmother. In China, these offerings include paper money called ‘Hell Money’ and elaborate paper models of houses, cars and even things like paper model fax machines and paper model cell phones. The idea is that when they are burned, the ancestors receive them as goods and money. What would you send your ancestors?

11. McHugh’s protagonists are frequently trapped in some way — by love, by law, by history, by illness. How do you feel about reading stories in which the narrator has little power and few choices? How well do you think McHugh’s narrators do in the circumstances in which they find themselves?

12. When it’s possible to rejuvenate your body, will you?

13. Would you describe these as love stories?

14. Did this collection remind you of any other books? What did these stories gain by being collected together? What differences do you experience between reading stories separately in magazines as compared to reading them in a collection or anthology?

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Maureen McHugh Interview

Fri 31 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

An Interview with Maureen F. McHugh
from the Reading Group Guide (PDF Download) for Mothers & Other Monsters

Maureen McHugh, Mothers and Other MonstersQ. The title of the collection identifies the recurring motif of mothers, and their interactions with other family members, a motif central to many of these stories. Was this a conscious choice or a pattern that you recognized after writing and publishing the stories?

A. I started writing stories about mothers because of something the writer Karen Joy Fowler said at a workshop. In a story by another writer, the main character’s mom called, and Karen made the offhand comment that she was glad to see a mother in a story. At the time I was struggling mightily with the whole exercise of being a stepmother and one of the things I had trouble sorting out was the difference between issues that were ‘step’ issues and just the same stuff that comes up for every parent. In my eyes, everything was because I wasn’t my kid’s ‘real mom’. (We had full custody of my stepson.) Some of those things were just parent things. When something is important to me and I don’t understand it, I often write about it.

Mothers were just expected to be so perfect, you know?

Some of the pieces in the collection had already been written by this point, but I found that mothers had already started coming up in my fiction, and came up more and more. I had been thinking about a collection on and off for years and kicking around names, most of which were pretty stupid. Then Small Beer Press asked me to do a collection and I realized the name of the collection was Mothers & Other Monsters, and everything just sort of jelled around that.

Q. What is it that makes mothers such rich territory in fiction?

A. Nobody much writes about them. There are some great stories about mothers, but for the most part, motherhood is a very rigid role. A Hollywood actor observed recently that she had reached the point where she had two choices in roles, Good Mommy and Psycho Mommy. (Shirley MacLaine specializes in the grandmother version of these roles — but Psycho Grandmothers also Dispense Wisdom and Allow Children To Be Themselves.) I’m a different mother than any of my kid’s friend’s mothers. And they’re all different from each other in ways a good deal more complicated than Good Mother and Bad Mother.

There are some really good things written about motherhood. Tillie Olsen’s story, “I Stand Here Ironing” is one. Lorrie Moore’s harrowing “People Like That Are the Only People Here” is another wonderful short story. But for the most part, we can explore the relationships between lovers and between fathers and sons, but we’re nervous about talking about mothers and children.

Q. You are also able to focus closely on the experiences of children and teenagers in such stories as “Interview: On Any Given Day” and “Laika Comes Back Safe.” What are the difficulties involved in capturing the voices of these younger characters?

A. Language. My language for teenagers is inevitably a bit lame. My son helped me a bit. I told myself that even if their language was dead on, in five years it would sound preposterous, and just wrote it anyway. I’m also oddly protective of my teenagers. I work really hard not to embarrass them. My memories of being an adolescent usually involve one humiliating moral or social failure after another. I tend to shy away from doing that to them.

But I’m really comfortable with coming-of-age stories. I think my generation has never believed we were adults.

The Story PrizeQ. It seems as if literary fiction is finally returning to a broader, more inclusive spectrum than the realism that has been predominant for so long. Your stories often work with speculative elements. How do you view the role of realism in fiction?

A. You know, I always get this question asked from the other direction — how do I view speculative elements. This is a great question. I was drawn to science fiction for the ways in which it allowed me to skip parts of real life I hated. I liked SF that made life more romantic. I liked Andre Norton’s protagonists finding out they weren’t ordinary. I wanted to be a mutant, an escapee from a different reality where I was special.

I studied writing for years. Some of that was formal — I have a masters degree from New York University that would be an MFA in creative writing if I got it today. Some of it was the more traditional way to become of writer. Write a lot, most of it bad, find people who can tell you it’s bad. Learn to get better. I found power in realism. I liked psychological realism when I read it. Those details — the moments we have all experienced but maybe never seen written down — work like a kind of electric jolt in a good story. In the Lorrie Moore story I mentioned, her two-year-old son has cancer. She describes being in the office of the pediatric oncologist and her son is doing that thing toddlers do so joyously, flicking on and off the light switch, while the pediatric oncologist explains what the cancer means and what they’ll do. How many times have I seen a toddler entranced with a switch — a flashlight, a vacuum cleaner, anything. And juxtaposed against the patient doctor explaining the moment is almost unbearable.

Q. How do you think working with fantastic or science fictional elements enriches your work?

A. It’s like a lens. It takes the story and throws the elements of relationship in high relief. In “Frankenstein’s Daughter,” the situation is not so uncommon. The daughter has chronic health problems that will potentially be fatal. The mother pays very little attention to her son because her daughter is so often in a life-or-death situation. The fact that the daughter is a clone of her dead daughter just heightens the situation. It justifies the very common feeling ‘this is my fault’ because she chose her daughter’s existence. And it startles the story in some way. I like that the daughter’s physiological problems come right out of the scientific literature on cloning. But I also like that, as I wrote the story, I found that the family was very much like a lot of other families.

Q. Your stories have been recognized both inside and outside the SF genre. Do you feel more at home as a writer in either field?

A. Both and neither, I guess. Science fiction has been really good to me, but I am conscious of having disappointed a lot of readers. People complain that I write boring stories. Depressing stories. That my stories could be about today if you took the speculative element out. Some of my stories, like “Laika Comes Back Safe,” may not even have a speculative element. (Although just because I think that doesn’t mean it’s true.)

But outside the field, I think I’m seen as a little precious. I write science fictional stories about moms. Kind of a niche. The way feminist writing is seen as a niche. I feel that for years my stories weren’t read outside the field. So inside the field I was seen as not science fictional enough and outside the field I was too science fictional.

This is a little like stepparenting/parenting issues. The non-genre writers I know also have difficulties with the ways in which their work is visibly shaped for the market. Any time a book or story is in the world, it’s in some place in a book store, in some specific magazine that means some people see it and others don’t. Often there are people who don’t see it who might very much like it, and people who do see it who feel misled by the packaging.

Q. Your stories often deal with the domestic, although usually in bold, original settings. Do you feel fiction that focuses on older women or domestic life is treated differently?

A. Sometimes. For one thing, I get asked about the fathers a lot. Where are the fathers? But mostly no. I’ve been really well received, and I’ve gotten extraordinary attention from my peers. I’d say that my fiction has been treated very well by people from workshops like Sycamore Hill and Rio Hondo, and by the East Side Writers and the local SF writer’s group. They grappled directly with it, called me to account on it, and in large part let me become the writer I am today. Editors have always published my work, they haven’t marginalized it.

Q. Several of the stories in the collection — most notably “Oversite” and “Presence” — feature characters dealing with the fallout of Alzheimer’s or dementia in their lives. What are you exploring in these stories?

A. Alzheimer’s, like other brain disorders, calls into question the very nature of self. What is self? Who are we? I think we are our physical selves, particularly our brains. I have a particular fear of dementia and of loss of self. More so, I would say, than a fear of death. The irony of that is that now my mother has dementia, so for the past few years I have been privy to a close-up look of the way in which her ‘self’ is dissolving. The ‘self,’ I must say, is very persistent. Even as my mother loses aspects of language and some of her personality changes, there is a stubborn core of something that, at this point at least, is still recognizably connected to the historic ‘her.’

Q. Consciousness and identity emerge as two strong themes within the collection. What did you want to say in dealing with these?

A. I don’t know that I wanted to say anything. I think I don’t understand consciousness or identity. There’s a saying in fiction, ‘Write what you know.’ I think better fiction comes out of writing about the things that are important to me, but that I’m fundamentally uncertain about. That doesn’t mean I sit down and say, ‘I’m going to write a story about identity.’ I always think I’m writing a story about a girl who thinks her best friend is a werewolf. It just happens that I circle back to those issues of identity.

As a writer, I have a couple of itches that I scratch, things I return to again and again. I tend to be drawn to motherhood because I’m trying to find a way to convince myself that I wasn’t a monster. I’ll get an idea for a story and think, I know, I’ll make the mother have Alzheimer’s. Not thinking about the connection between a teenager finding her way and an old woman losing her way and a mother helpless in the middle to ease either passage. I find out about all those things years later. I put them there, because those things are by default interesting to me. But it’s not conscious.

Q. Did you learn anything new about these stories in the process of choosing and ordering them for the book?

A. I find it difficult to reread my own fiction. It was nice to see that a lot of it had held up. And I was surprised at how much the same things kept coming up, again and again. The mother in “The Lincoln Train,” for example, has some form of dementia.

Q. How are these stories different from your novels, if at all? How does your writing process differ between the two?

A. I often write short stories to a deadline. Often, anymore, a workshop. They are more likely to be ideas that I’m not at all sure will work out. I can take more risks because most of the time I know that in a couple of months I’ll at least have a draft.

Two of my novels have come out of short stories, so at some level, there is some overlap. But when I intentionally start a novel, I’m thinking it will have more ingredients than a short story. More loose ends. More questions and more stuff.

Q. You’ve talked in the past about workshopping with other writers being an important part of your writing life. What do you take from those experiences?

A. As I get older, I think I get better at reading and understanding stories, and some of that is from workshopping.

Mostly it’s been very rare for someone not to tell me something that didn’t show me a way to read the story I’d written. A lot of times it wasn’t the way I wanted the story read. And a lot of times it said stuff about the story and about my writing that I wasn’t very good at hearing.

But it’s the only way I know to get better.

Q. Who are some writers you admire or who have influenced your work?

A. At any given time, anyone I’m reading who strikes me is going to have a pretty strong affect on me.

When I was in my twenties I was really taken by the work of Samuel R. Delany and the novels of Joan Didion. I think I was drawn to the romanticism of Delany. I was also really taken with the way so much of Didion’s stories happened off the page. I was also strongly drawn to a little book by Marguerite Yourcenar called Coup de Grâce. I reread it a couple of years ago and saw all sorts of aspects of it that distress me now that I’m in my forties but it affected me powerfully when I was younger.

A few years ago I found myself utterly charmed by the sheer artificialness of Raymond Carver’s stories. I had always thought of them as very psychologically realistic. Minimal. All that. But what I like about them now is how artificial they are. Perfect little setups that spring shut at conclusion. Lately I’ve been reading the short fiction of Joy Williams. It’s really astonishing.

I like the work of Kelly Link a lot.

I like the Harry Potter novels. Great escapism.

When I was younger, I expected what I thought of as a rigorous kind of lack of sentimentality in novels. Anything else struck me as cheating. Lately I have been drawn more and more to certain kinds of sentiment. Books like I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.

Q. What can we expect to see from you next?

A. I’m working on a novel. I’ve been working on it for six or seven years. But this time, I swear I’m going to finish it.

Interview by Gwenda Bond.

More:



Mothers & Other Monsters – Limited Edition

Fri 31 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

Mothers & Other Monsters

Maureen F. McHugh
July 1, 2005

Mothers & Other Monsters
Maureen F. McHugh is the author of four acclaimed novels. Her genre-expanding short fiction has won the Hugo and Locus Awards and has frequently been included in Best of the Year anthologies. Since 1988 she has attracted a broad readership in publications such as Asimov’s, Scifiction, Starlight, The Year’s Best Science Fiction, and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Now, in her long-awaited debut short fiction collection, McHugh’s subtle talents illuminate the relationship between parents and children from angles that everyone — mother or father, daughter or son — can relate to. These are beautiful stories about the ways in which social and technological shifts impact family dynamics.Printed in an edition of one hundred and fifty copies signed and hand-numbered by the author. This edition includes five poems not in the trade edition. (These poems can be read here.) This edition also includes a tipped-in print of Judith Anderson photographed in the role of Medea by Erwin Blumenfeld. Printed by Thomson-Shore of Dexter, Michigan, on 70# Finch Opaque Cream White Smooth paper, with 80# Red Rainbow Endpapers, Smyth Sewn in Pearl Linen Cloth. $100. We have included a ribbon to keep your place.

Poems | Reviews

Mothers & Other Monsters


Mothers & Other Monsters – Reviews

Fri 31 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

Mothers & Other Monsters
Maureen McHugh

Story Prize Finalist
Book Sense Notable Book

“All the gorgeously crafted stories in Maureen McHugh’s Mothers & Other Monsters have in common a profound understanding of the intricacies of human relationships, to which McHugh adds a touch of the fantastical. But here the fantastical seems so normal, so part of our everyday experience, that we simply accept McHugh’s premises, odd as they might be when you consider them independently of the tales themselves. The adjective that best represents this collection is ‘unsettling’. How else to describe stories in which a young woman meets a man she’s attracted to at a dog obedience class and discovers that she dreads introducing him to her dead brother (“In the Air”); “Ancestor Money,” in which a bequest entices a woman to leave her comfortable home in the afterlife for a visit to China; or “Laika Comes Back Safe,” the story of two teenagers who are drawn together by the fact that both have unhappy home lives, but whose friendship is doomed because one is a werewolf. Whether it’s alternative history that seems so real you start to question your own knowledge of the past (“The Lincoln Train”) or a tale of the horrifying end of a utopian colony (“The Cost To Be Wise”), McHugh shows that what many people might dismiss initially as genre fiction can become transcendent in the right hands. I was so impressed by these stories that I immediately went back and read McHugh’s first novel, China Mountain Zhang, which I had somehow missed, and enjoyed it thoroughly.”
— Nancy Pearl (Book Lust) on Morning Edition, “Books for a Rainy Day

“Unpredictable and poetic work.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer (Recommended Summer Reading)

“[McHugh] cherry-picks subtle magical or futuristic elements from the expansive genre library.”
Angle

“McHugh’s prose style is unique.”
LEO (Louisville Eccentric Observer)

“McHugh is enormously talented…. [She] has a light touch, a gentle sense of a humor, and a keen wit.”
Strange Horizons

“Passion and precision.”
Locus

“There’s not a single story that isn’t strong, and most are brilliant.”
Ideomancer

“Clear, bright, and honest.”
New York Review of Science Fiction

“Each story in this collection meditates in its own, odd way on the dynamics of families and the vagaries of being human. “Ancestor Money”” considers the demands of the afterlife and the expectations of the living; “The Lincoln Train” describes an alternate ending to the U.S. Civil War, in which former slave owners are shipped westward on crowded trains. “Nekropolis,” the germ of McHugh’s novel of the same title, gives a slightly different flavor to the origins of the story common to both versions. Other stories occur in settings closer to the known world and the tensions of families in it. In “Eight-Legged Story,” a stepmother comes to terms with being a replacement parent, and in “Frankenstein’s Daughter,” a woman deals with the health problems of her daughter’s clone, while her teenage son tries to show off to his friends by shoplifting. McHugh’s stories are hauntingly beautiful, driven by the difficult circumstances of their characters’ lives — slices of life well worth reading and rereading.”
Booklist

“The 13 stories in McHugh’s debut collection offer poignant and sometimes heartwrenching explorations of personal relationships and their transformative power. In “Presence,” a woman helps her husband through an experimental therapy for his Alzheimer’s disease and, by the story’s end, is less his spouse than a nurturing mother to his developing personality. “In the Air” bridges three generations with its account of the different emotions a woman wrestles with as she anxiously tracks her wandering senile mother and her rebellious teenage daughter by means of biologically implanted homing devices. “Laika Comes Back Safe” represents so believably the feelings two school friends share about their lives in dysfunctional families that the revelation that one occasionally transforms into a werewolf seems entirely within the realm of possibility. Whether writing an alternate Civil War history in “The Lincoln Train” or a tale of extraterrestrial anthropology in “The Cost to Be Wise,” McHugh (Nekropolis) relates her stories as slices of ordinary life whose simplicity masks an emotional intensity more often found in poetry. The universality of these tales should break them out to the wider audience they deserve.”
Publishers Weekly

“In this collection of stories, Maureen F. McHugh explores the subject of technology and identity, demonstrating that technology can only be a lens for what defines us as human, that is, our intimate relationship with the world around us and all the beings with whom we share that world. It is not technology which transforms us into monsters, but the danger of losing our sense of compassion toward ourselves and others in the face of monstrous choices.”
Greenman Review

“Stories that abjure future or alternate-history settings for a here-and-now (sometimes problematically so) in which women, most of them mothers (though again often problematically) seek to negotiate landscapes for which their lives thus far have left them unprepared.”
Tangent Online

“Moving.”
Shortform


Praise for McHugh’s previous books:

On Nekropolis:

  • “Exquisite.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • “This luminous tale of forbidden love in a near-future Morocco explores the evolution of human nature in a world where technology has redefined the meaning of the word human. . . . Speculative fiction at its best.” — Library Journal
  • A New York Times Notable Book
  • A Book Sense 76 Pick
  • Amazon Best of the Year

On China Mountain Zhang:

  • “McHugh’s achievement recalls the best work of Delany and Robinson without being in the least derivative.” — New York Times Notable Book
  • Winner of the Tiptree, Lambda, and Locus Awards.

On Mission Child:

  • “McHugh delivers another astonishing, compulsively readable novel.”–Booklist (starred review)
  • “Fans of Ursula Le Guin will find much to admire in McHugh’s intelligent, carefully wrought novel of a world that is familiar yet very alien.” — Publishers Weekly
  • “Beautiful . . . outstanding . . . McHugh is one of the finest U.S. fiction writers working today.” — Minneapolis Star-Tribune
  • “Emotionally compelling . . . immensely satisfying . . . wonderfully structured and beautifully achieved . . . a splendid science fiction novel . . . McHugh makes an alien world and an imagined society feel compellingly real, and uses this setting to say something significant about being human.” — Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • “Mission Child is an epic map of voice meeting voice, world meeting world–tragic, heartfelt, and vibrant with life.” — Jonathan Lethem, author of Fortress of Solitude


Magic for Beginners – Reviews

Fri 31 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors, Kelly Link | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

magic for beginnersmagic for beginners: stories
kelly link

Best of the Year Lists:

  • Link’s stories … play in a place few writers go, a netherworld between literature and fantasy, Alice Munro and J.K. Rowling, and Link finds truths there that most authors wouldn’t dare touch.”
    — Time Magazine
  • “Link’s writing shimmers with imagination.”
    Salon
  • “A mind-bending blast, as funny, disturbing and poignant as anything I’ve read this year.”
    — Capitol Times
  • “The storyteller’s mantra — “It gets better” — come to life and multiplied.”
    — Village Voice
  • “Link’s powerful prose places this collection into a class of its own.”
    — Boldtype (2005 Notable Books)
  • San Francisco Chronicle.

Story Prize recommended reading list.

Reviews | UK reviews

“One of current fiction’s little-known treasures.”
— Time Magazine

“Dazzling…. One to savor.”
— Entertainment Weekly (A, Editor’s Choice)

— Washington Post Book World

“For Kelly Link, life is suddenly magic.”
— Detroit Free Press (Hillil Italie, AP)

Magic for Beginners (Harvest, $14), is worth picking up. Doing so will put you in the hands of a true conjurer.”
— Vikas Turakhia, Cleveland Plain Dealer

“Kelly Link is the future of American short fiction.”
— Alexis Smith, Powells.com Staff Pick

“Fierce and witty.”
— Cleveland Plain Dealer

“These stories shimmer like impressionist paintings.”
— Montreal Gazette

“Kelly Link is the best short-fiction writer working in science fiction and fantasy today, and her new collection, Magic for Beginners, proves it.”
— Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing.net

“Link’s stories are delightfully playful, almost precocious, as she creates palimpsests of secret passages, hidden doors, quiet pulses of deeper meaning…. Link is fast becoming a major talent.”
— Boston Globe

“Fresh and unaffected, yet honed to the essential.”
— Salon

“Advanced alchemy.”
The Believer

“Sinister and sublime.”
— Boston Phoenix

“Exuberantly eccentric.”
— Time Out New York

“Link’s powerful prose places this collection into a class of its own.”
— Boldtype

“Spellbinding.”
— Time Out Chicago

“Kelly Link writes from way out in left field.”
— Charlotte Observer

“A complete delight.”
— Rich Horton, Locus

“These tales are every bit as remarkable as those in her first collection.”
— Gary K. Wolfe, Locus

* “Not only does Link find fresh perspectives from which to explore familiar premises, she also forges ingenious connections between disparate images and narrative approaches to suggest a convincing alternate logic that shapes the worlds of her highly original fantasies.”
— Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Cult-favorite fabulist and Shirley Jackson-esque master of the short story, returns with an eagerly-awaited new collection of thoughtfully strange tales that sprinkle the mundane with pixie dust, a dash of old-fashioned tragedy and a bit of gallows humor.”
— The Ruminator Review

“Truly magical, with masterfully crafted stories that are as dark as they are delightful….Sometimes hilarious, sometimes disconcerting, Link’s stories demonstrate her wicked sense of humor and genius wit.”
— Bookpage

“KELLY LINK has an uncanny knack for casting spells over her readers, for luring them into the dark places — the attic, the underworld, a realm beneath a hill. Her first collection of short stories, Stranger Things Happen, was published by Small Beer Press, a tiny independent publisher in Northampton founded by Link and Gavin J. Grant that, according to its Web site, is “committed to publishing short story collections and novels by authors we feel are slipping through the cracks.” These stories bend and transcend genre as Link stirs together myth, mystery, horror, and fantasy. Her second collection, Magic for Beginners (Small Beer Press, 272 pages, $24), is due out in July and promises the same mix of the sinister and the surreal. But the stories — more suggestive than they are descriptive — shouldn’t be pigeonholed as only for sci-fi and fantasy fans. Because for all Link’s use of fairy tale and phantasm, she roots her stories in the life that we know. The narrator in “The Faery Handbag,” for example, tells the story of her grandmother’s magic bag — a bag so black it feels like “when you stretch out your hand at night, to turn on a light, but all you feel is darkness” — which if opened correctly leads to a secret realm, and if opened incorrectly leads to a howling, hairless Cerberus-like dog. The story begins in the Garment District, in Kendall Square; there’s a sly reference to the Star Wars prequels; and, beyond the handbag, it’s a story of young lost love. Fairy tales and myths may be timeless, but these stories are of this moment.”
–Nina MacLaughlin, Boston Phoenix

“Link is the purest, most distinctive surrealist in America.”
— Booklist

“These nine stories are the kinds of stories for which literary phrases like “surrealism” and “magical realism” were invented, and I guess they’ll do, although they seem pretty stale and pale in the face of Link’s boundlessly creative prose. Let’s just say that nobody mixes the fantastical and the ordinary together quite like Link does, spinning tales that are both funny and disturbing, straightforward and elliptical, unreal and real.”
— The Capital Times

“One of the most fascinating writers practicing the craft today.”
— The Simon

“Wishful thinking on the brink of disaster.”
— Village Voice

“Magical realism meets horror meets postmodern absurdism. Very fresh and funny.”
— Michael Knight, Knoxville Metro Pulse Summer Reading Guide

“A bizarre and enchanting read, worth reading and re-reading.”
— Daily Nebraskan

“A wonderful rattlebag of fantastic tales from far beyond the concrete sidewalks and convenience stores we know. Like her first collection, Magic for Beginners uses humor as the main prism through which the author views her mostly hapless or at least happy-go-lucky characters. The strange attraction of Link’s fiction is that even when you’re not really sure what’s going on you’re having way too much fun reading to stop and rereading these tall tales is a positive pleasure.”
— Rich Rennicks Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC

The stories in Magic for Beginners make their own strange, perfectly formed sense. Link creates these familiar, spooky, sometimes funny worlds with cats parented by witches, or a cheerleader hanging out with the devil, or creepifying rabbits. I’m always a little tense reading these stories. In the very best way, I never know what is coming next. If she only parcelled out one elegant sentence at a time I would beg for each one.”
— Pam Harcourt, Women & Children First, Chicago, IL

“I am in love with Kelly Link’s new collection of stories, Magic For Beginners, just out in hardcover. This book is a fairly complete list of my favorite things. She sort of summarized it best when she signed it for me: “Love, Magic, Zombies!” It’s fantastical, whimsical, and dead serious and it makes me interested in short stories again.”
— Alexander Chee, author Edinburgh, in Books To Watch Out For

Tiger Heron

UK reviews

“This is one of the most extraordinary and wonderful books of the year.”
Time Out London, Mar. 27, 07

“Possibly grimmer than Grimm.”
The Herald, Feb 2, 07

“Beautifully written short stories; eccentric and dark, the collection is an Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups.”
Dazed and Confused

“Link’s writing is bold, tender, mischievous and unsettling.”
Cork Evening Echo, Feb 17, 07

“These are weird and wacky tales, each with their own barmy internal logic which draws you in, flips you on your head and leaves you dizzy with disbelief…. Link’s extraordinary use of language is as haunting as the tales themselves. She blends fantasy and reality into an irresistible melange that, at its best, becomes a powerful metaphor for the unreliability of perception.”
—Jane Wessel, Venue (****)

“Link’s magic is to show the extraordinary in the ordinary and vice versa: no mean feat.”
RTE Guide (*****)

“Just when you think you’ve read all the best magic and fantasy stories, along comes Link and the dull world is enchanted all over again. Her imagination floats free into her very own twilight zone.”
Saga, Mar 07

“Whether she’s writing about a suburban family haunted by rabbits or a grandmother who keeps a world hidden in her handbag, Link’s stories are witty, moving and sometimes scary.”
The Gloss Magazine, Feb 07

“A collection of nine stories from a talent to watch, this is a lyrical fantasy where the ordinary is made extraordinary.”
The Bookseller, Oct 06

Advance Praise

“Kelly Link owns the most darkly playful voice in American fiction since Donald Barthelme. She is pushing the American short story into places that it hasn’t yet been pushed, while somehow managing to maintain a powerful connection to traditional forms and storytelling values.”
— Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

“The dream-logic of Magic for Beginners is intoxicating. These stories will come alive, put on zoot suits, and wrestle you to the ground. They want you and you will be theirs.”
— Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones

“A wonderful rattlebag of fantastic tales from far beyond the concrete sidewalks and convenience stores we know. Like her first collection, Magic for Beginners uses humor as the main prism through which the author views her mostly hapless or at least happy-go-lucky characters. The strange attraction of Link’s fiction is that even when you’re not really sure what’s going on you’re having way too much fun reading to stop and rereading these tall tales is a positive pleasure.”
— Rich Rennicks Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC

“The stories in Magic for Beginners make their own strange, perfectly formed sense. Link creates these familiar, spooky, sometimes funny worlds with cats parented by witches, or a cheerleader hanging out with the devil, or creepifying rabbits. I’m always a little tense reading these stories. In the very best way, I never know what is coming next. If she only parcelled out one elegant sentence at a time I would beg for each one.”
— Pam Harcourt, Women & Children First, Chicago, IL



Alan DeNiro

Fri 31 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Alan DeNiro, Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

Alan DeNiroAlan DeNiro was born in Erie, PA. He received a BA in English (College of Wooster) and an MFA in poetry (University of Virginia). His fiction has appeared in Crowd, One Story, Minnesota Monthly, Fence, 3rd Bed, Polyphony, and has been shortlisted for the O. Henry award.Alan has: taught writing at the University of Richmond and the Loft in Minneapolis; reviewed regularly for Rain Taxi; written two text-based computer games, The Isolato Incident and Ogres (how to); founded Taverner’s Koans, a poetry journal and resources website; published poetry inWillow Springs, Cimarron Review, Can We Have Our Ball Back, as well as two poetry chapbooks, The Black Hare, (A Small Garlic Press, 1998) and The Atari Ecologues; and co-founded the Rabid Transit series of fiction anthologies. He is currently working on a novel, tentatively entitled Total Oblivion, More or Less . He is a proofreader at Fallon Minneapolis, an advertising agency, and lives outside St. Paul, Minnesota with his wife, Kristin, and three cats. Read reviews of Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead


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



Naomi Mitchison

Fri 31 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

Travel LightAugust 2005: We are reprinting Travel Light as the second title in our Peapod Classics series. Small, cute, collectible!

NYTimes obit — including hilarious spelling: “An obituary on Saturday about Naomi Mitchison, the British writer and early feminist, misspelled the surname of the Labor Party leader at whom she once threw a half-plucked partridge. He was Hugh Gaitskell, not Gaitskill.”

Books in print as of October 2002:

Interview with Naomi Mitchison, April 1989

Here’s a short essay on one of Mitchison’s young adult novels, Travel Light, that ran in F&SF in June 2001

My staff pick for BookSense.com in March 2001

Naomi Mitchison Bibliography

Find books by Naomi Mitchison on BookFinder.com


This page is a placeholder. (Submissions welcome.)


Naomi Mitchison was born in Scotland in 1897 and died at the age of 101 in 1999. In the USA she isn’t too well known, but I recommend her, even if you have to search for some of her books. Judging by the number of times it’s been brought back into print, the most popular of her historical novels is The Corn King and the Spring Queen. Soho Press have put it out under their Hera Series which includes novels by Cecilia Holland and Gillian Bradshaw.

The Corn King and the Spring QueenIf historical fiction isn’t your thing, don’t turn up your nose quite yet, she also wrote science fiction (Solution 3, [Feminist Press], Memoirs of a Spacewoman), some of the most enjoyable autobiographies I’ve ever read (You May Well Ask, Small Talk), children’s books (including the wonderful Travel Light), plays (with Lewis Geilgud), poetry, essays, short stories, and biographies; over 70 books in all.

Mitchison was born in Scotland because her mother wanted a woman to attend her at the birth which was difficult to find outside Edinburgh. Despite her proto-feminist leanings her mother never managed to get beyond her Tory beliefs and it wasn’t until Mitchison was older that she realized that she shared her deep Socialist views with her father. Socialism has a long and respectable history in Scotland and does not carry the same negative connotations that the media and populace seem to fear in the USA.

From an early age Mitchison seems to have been very self aware. Excerpts from her early diaries in The Nine Lives of Naomi Mitchison (Virago, 1997) by Jenni Calder and in her own autobiography show her as a learned companion to her older brothers as they study science and try to keep up with their father’s work. Her family lived well. Her father, J.S. Haldane, was a respected scientist and her uncle, Richard Haldane, a cabinet minister during World War I. She lived variously in Scotland and England until moving back to Scotland in 1937 with her husband, the politician Dick Mitchison. She was politically active all her adult life and came to the USA in the 1930’s to see how the working class, poor and minorities were faring. She also was well-connected in the arts and political world and put her time into campaigning in support of her beliefs. She believed in sexual freedom, women’s rights and social justice. She was successful enough in her own lifetime to be consistently published but despite that and her family money problems plagues her well past the usual retirement age.

This first ran in Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop’s Annotated Browser.



Partial Bibliography – Howard Waldrop

Fri 31 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

From Howard Waldrop’s own bibliography.

The Ugly Chickens,” Universe 10, edited by Terry Carr, Doubleday, 1980
Dream’s Edge, edited by Terry Carr, Sierra Club, 1980
1981 Annual Year’s Best SF, edited by Donald Wollheim, DAW, 1981
Best SF of the Year #10, edited by Terry Carr, Pocket, 1981
Best SF of the Year: 10th Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois, Dutton, 1981
Nebula Award Stories 16, edited by Jerry Pournelle, Holt, 1981
Best of Universe, edited by Terry Carr, Doubleday, 1982
The Legend Book of Science Fiction, edited by Gardner Dozois, Legend (UK), 1992
My Favorite Science Fiction Story (chosen by Harry Turtledove), edited by Martin H. Greenberg, DAW, 1999

“Der Untergang des Abendlandeschmenschen,” Chacal # 1, 1976
Mammoth Book of Vampires, edited by Stephen Jones, Carrol & Graf, 1992
Book of Vampires, edited by Stephen Jones, Barnes and Noble, 1997
System Shock, comic book adaptation, forthcoming

“Ike at the Mike,” Omni, June 1982
Best of Omni SF #1, edited by Ellen Datlow, Zebra, 1984
One-act play adaptation, Minicon 1991
Elvis Rising, edited by Kay Sloan and Constance Pierece, Avon, 1993
Mondo Elvis, edited by Richard Peabody and Lucinda Ebersole, St. Martin’s Press, 1994
We Could Do Worse (4 cassette audio collection), edited by Martin H. Greenberg (read by Yancy Butler), New Star Media, 1999

“Dr. Hudson’s Secret Gorilla,” Shayol #1, November 1977
Rivals of King Kong, edited by Michel Parry, Corgi (UK), 1977

“… The World, As We Know’t,” Shayol #6, December 1982
The Norton Book of Science Fiction, edited by Ursula K. Le Guin and Brian Attebery, Norton, 1993

“Green Brother,” Shayol #5, April 1982
Dinosaurs!, edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois, Ace, 1990
Also published as Weird Business, graphic story hardback edited by Joe Lansdale, Rick Klaw, and Ben Ostrander, Mojo Press, 1995; adaptation by Steven Utley, art by John Lucas.

Mary Margaret Road-Grader,” Orbit 18, edited by Damon Knight, Harper & Row, 1976
Best SF of the Year: 6th Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois, Dutton, 1977

“Save A Place in the Lifeboat for Me,” Nickelodeon #2, September 1976

“Horror, We Got,” Shayol #3, Summer 1979

“Man-Mountain Gentian,” Omni, September 1983
The Year’s Best SF: First Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois, Bluejay, 1984
Omni Book of Science Fiction #5, edited by Ellen Datlow, Zebra, 1987

God’s Hooks,” Universe 12, edited by Terry Carr, Doubleday, 1982
Bestiary!, edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois, Ace, 1986
The One That Got Away, edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Charles G. Waugh, Bonanza Books, 1989
Modern Classics of Fantasy, edited by Gardner Dozois, St. Martin’s Press, 1996

“Heirs of the Perisphere,” Playboy, July 1985
Nebula Awards 21, edited by George Zebrowski, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987
Playboy Book of Science Fiction, edited by Alice K. Turner, HarperPrism, 1998



Michael wants to provoke you

Thu 30 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Go read this great angry rant by Michael about the choices we all make every day, their ramifications, and the importance of reconsidering them every so often. What’s your footprint? The starving musk oxen of today are the abandoned water-starved cities of tomorrow:

You’ve probably heard by now about the Bush Administration covering up evidence of melting icecaps.

20,000 musk oxen starved to death in the arctic because of a phenomenon called a “rain on snow event”. Rain falls on snow, turns to ice. Oxen come by and try to dig with their hooves for the grass under the snow. But they can’t break the ice. So they die.

Learn the rules of recycling in your town, and follow them, for real, all the time. If you work in a different town than you live in, learn those rules too. Hassle your co-workers about it. If they see you picking their plastic and aluminum out of the trash enough times, they’ll quit throwing it away out of guilt. I’ve seen it happen. No, you should not feel guilty for making other people feel guilty. Guilt is the only thing that’s going to get anybody to change.

Then check out one of Michael’s takes on the future post-collapse: take a trip down the river in  “Starlings” on Abyss and Apex.



The Hortlak, part 2

Thu 30 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Frank Marcopolis completes his podcast of Kelly Link’s story “The Hortlak.”

Here’s Part 1.

If you like the free audio stories, check out Frank’s site. He’s podcasting some of his own stuff as well as Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and others.



Following Ray

Wed 29 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 3 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Ray Vukcevich, Meet Me in the Moon RoomI emailed Ray Vukcevich recently about another of his stories from Meet Me in the Moon Room selling to a Japanese magazine (“No Comet” will be either the third or fourth, can’t remember) and he mentioned that he’d just had a story published on Smokelong Quarterly (don’t like the name). His story, “A Funny Smell,” is a short blast of displacement, philosophy, faith, and laughs—a typical Vukcevichian moment—and there’s an interview to go with it.

The ToC at the bottom of the page (smart design!) listed a Dan Chaon story, “The Hobblers,” and Dan’s always worth reading so I read that—the time dilation and emotional weight was a little similar in effect to some of Ray’s stories—and then the interview with Dan.

Await Your Reply CoverSince I’d read a couple of stories by two guys I knew I thought I should try some people I didn’t, so I skimmed through a few and liked “Me and Theodore Are Trapped in the Trunk of the Car with Rags in Our Mouths and Tape Around Our Wrists and Ankles, Please Let Us Out” by Mary Hamilton which has a brilliant opening, “I built a bridge and named it Samuel.”, and continues in a mad rush that works and “Rats” by Z. Z. Boone (spoiler: the rats don’t make it).

Then I went back to Dan’s interview which mentions he has a new novel out this September (Await Your Reply) and I would be remiss not to point out here that there is a sort of tuckerization in there that will jump out to people that us and make them laugh.

Lies Will Take You Somewhere CoverIn his interview, though, there’s a link to an essay published on The Rumpus, “What Happened to Sheila.” Which is heartbreaking and should be read. And there there’s a link to Sheila Schwartz’s novel Lies Will Take You Somewhere which came out in April from Etruscan Press and which PW called “a strong debut novel.”

For a taste of Sheila’s work I followed the link (still on Rumpus) to a story by her, “Three Cancer Patients Walk Into a Bar” which is tough and wickedly smart. Sheila’s writing is an acquired taste but it’s good, strong stuff and I recommend you give it a shot.



something from next winter

Tue 28 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Here’s something fun: an early shot of the front cover of Holly Black‘s creepy and wonderful first short story collection The Poison Eaters and Other Stories which Big Mouth House will publish in February 2010:

And here’s the table of contents with the place of first publication in (parenthesis):

“The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” (Eternal Kiss)
“A Reversal of Fortune” (The Coyote Road)
“The Boy Who Cried Wolf” (Troll’s Eye View)
“The Night Market” (The Faery Reel)
“The Dog King”
“Virgin” (Magic in the Mirrorstone)
“In Vodka Veritas” (21 Proms)
“Coat of Stars” (So Fey)
“Paper Cuts Scissors” (Realms of Fantasy)
“Going Ironside” (Endicott Journal)
“The Poison Eaters” (The Restless Dead)
+ one more story.



Sara @ Bookcourt

Tue 28 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

The Times just did a piece on the history of Bookcourt in Brooklyn, a great place where we had Carol Emshwiller and others read, including a slideshow of the family’s apartments above the bookshop — not enough books! But then, they have a store full of them.

One of our long-time volunteers, Sara Majka, recently read there on at the launch party for the latest issue of A Public Space and you can see her, Samantha Hunt, and editor Brigid Hughes in this taping of the evening:



How did 100,000,000 women disappear?

Mon 27 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

From The Star:

How did 100,000,000 women disappear?Two researchers crunching population statistics have confirmed an unsettling reality. Siwan Anderson and Debraj Ray noticed the ratio of women to men in developing regions and in some cultures is suspiciously below the norm

In India, China and sub-Saharan Africa, millions upon millions of women are missing. They are not lost, but dead: victims of violence, discrimination and neglect.

Even if you think you know this story it’s worth reading.



Trampoline – Images

Fri 24 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

Trampoline: an anthology
Edited by Kelly Link
First a picture from the Quail Ridge reading (Dave ShawRichard Butner):

Dave Shaw & Richard Butner,

then the Joseph-Beth reading (Christopher RoweKelly Link, & Christopher Barzak):

Christopher Rowe, Kelly Link, Christopher Barzak

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A window display created by Greer Gilman for a bank in Harvard Sq., Cambridge, MA, July 2003.

Trampolinists in a window

All over the country home insurance companies inquire, “Do you have a Trampoline?”Do you own a trampoline?

O

Trampoline, An Anthology

Original Trampoline webart:

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Trampoline: an anthology, edited by Kelly Link. Click for a larger image.

Click the book cover for a larger image. Painting by Shelley Jackson.



Trampoline – Reviews

Fri 24 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

Trampoline: an anthology
Edited by Kelly Link

“Exceptional visions in which the authors aren’t afraid to take chances with how they deliver the stories to us.”
— F&SF

“No unblinkered, gloveless reader can resist the stream of associations unleashed by Ford’s story and the rest of Trampoline: influences as disparate as science fiction, magic realism, pulp, and Twilight Zone morality plays.”
— Village Voice

“In short, Trampoline is yet another unique source of powerful, exciting, new approaches to fantasy and interstitial fiction. It is flexible enough and fresh enough that I hope it proves to be the beginning of a series. It occupies its own rather beautifully fragile place in the fantastical fiction milieu.”
— Jeff VanderMeer, Locus Online

“The editor should be commended, not only for an intriguing compilation…but that she manages to stay out of the way of it. The only thing that intrudes here is her taste in the story selection and ordering. There’s no tiresome manifesto here, no chest-beating about movements or genres or rants against publishing mediocrity and how some merry band of rogues is going to revolutionize anything. She understands that the role of editor is to let the work speak for itself.”
— SF Site

Trampoline does what most other anthologies only dream of–it manages to be both significant and eminently readable. Link brings together some of the top names working in fantasy, science fiction, and horror today, as well as some up-and-coming talents who deserve wider recognition. All of the stories push the genre boundaries, creating a collection on the cutting edge of modern genre fiction.”
— Peggy Hailey, Book People, Austin, TX

“A major anthology…. Most impressive is Greer Gilman’s “A Crowd of Bone”, a huge novella, all but unclassifiable…told in Gilman’s difficult but rewarding allusive, poetic style, sheer joy to read…. The images are striking, the prose rhythms are perfect, and the slowly emerging story is moving and starkly bittersweet.”
— Rich Horton, Locus, 8/03

“What constitutes ‘unusual’? Some recent anthologists have tried to tackle the question…but Link is content to show, not tell.”
— Faren Miller, Locus, 8/03

“Fabulous Tales”
Washington Post, July 27, 2003

— Pathetic Caverns

Books Under Review — oddly organized due to Google Ads

Trampoline: an anthology, edited by Kelly Link. Click for a larger image.Trampoline: an elastic mattress-like contrivance on which acrobats, gymnasts, &c. leap.

Trampoline: an original anthology edited by Kelly Link, the award-winning author of Stranger Things Happen, and co-editor of the zine, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Trampoline: twenty astounding stories by Christopher Barzak, Richard Butner, Alan DeNiro, Carol Emshwiller, Jeffrey Ford, Karen Joy Fowler, Greer Gilman, John Gonzalez, Glen Hirshberg, Samantha Hunt, Alex Irvine, Shelley Jackson, Beth Adele Long, Maureen McHugh, Susan Mosser, Ed Park, Christopher Rowe, Dave Shaw, Vandana Singh, and Rosalind Palermo Stevenson.



Storyteller – Writers on Clarion

Fri 24 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

Storyteller

Memories and lessons learned at the Clarion Writers’ Workshop:

Gordon Van GelderJeff FordKit ReedJim SallisCory Doctorow |Gregory FrostNancy Kress

ClarionGordon Van Gelder:

Nowadays when I teach Clarion (I’ve had the pleasure a few times), I always wind up describing various anecdotes and lessons that Kate imparts in this book: You are not your story, the criticism is tough-minded because people care about your story, first-person viewpoint is the hardest p.o.v. for a new writer to handle. (Maybe that one’s not in this book, in which case, go read Those Who Can, ed. Robin Wilson.)

Last summer I found myself repeatedly describing one other anecdote. It was told to me by Nicola Griffith.

Nicola went to Clarion as a student, learned some good lessons in the first four weeks, and generally got nice feedback from the instructors.

Then in week five, in her individual conference, she heard Kate say, “Nicola, you’re a good writer, you seem to be learning some lessons here, I’m sure you’ve gotten nice feedback, but I’ve read your stories and I don’t see anything of you here. I feel like I know nothing more about you from reading your stories. What are you hiding from?”

Nicola gave a hollow answer, probably said she wasn’t hiding from anything. After the conference, she went back to her dorm room and trashed it. Overturned the mattress, threw things at the wall — did a real Johnny Depp on the room. (Or was that Alec Baldwin?)

Because, of course, Nicola had been hiding, hadn’t wanted any of herself to come out on the page, and she’d thought that if her craft were good enough, no one would notice. A dozen years after the event, when Nicola described it to me, she said, “That was the turning point for me. That was what I got out of Clarion: an idea of what I was about as a writer.”

You can read this anecdote — quite rightly — as an example of Kate Wilhelm’s prowess as an instructor. You can take it as an example of how a book like the one you’re holding in your hands can never fully replace the process of experiencing Clarion for six weeks. But I offer it primarily as advice to a new writer: don’t hold back. Put yourself into your work. Lay it out there. You’ll get feedback that hurts, but you’ll find the feedback will help you grow.

ClarionJeff Ford:

In 2004 I taught in the last two weeks of Clarion East along with Kelly Link. We were in a sorority house without air conditioning somewhere in East Lansing, Michigan in July and it was hot as hell. By the time we arrived, the students had been there for four weeks already. They’d been working really hard and that along with the stress of being away from home and loved ones was starting to show. The group dynamic was a little frayed. We did a couple of days of what they’d been used to, and then Kelly and I had a meeting. Kelly was a veteran of past Clarions, but it was my first time and I was a little nervous as to whether I’d be helpful to the students. I had some writing exercises in mind I was going to roll out for her to see what she thought, but the first thing she said was, “We need to have a party with alcohol and music.” Well, this was something I’d had some practice at, so I readily agreed. Going along with this drift, I suggested we also give them two days off from the group workshop that was held everyday and have them write something very short for the next meeting we had. We decided on a 900 word story. In those first couple of days we’d been looking at some voluminous works whose quality dissipated in direct proportion to length. I thought this was as a result of the pressure of producing steadily at a breakneck pace for four weeks, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. When we announced these changes, a couple of the students seemed a little put out that we were screwing with the format and interrupting the pieces they’d been working on. But some of them got with it, and the party metamorphosed, at the suggestion of a couple of the students, into a cross-dressing party, so the men were to come dressed as women and vice versa. I showed up wearing a tiara, earrings and mascara. I was going for the Audrey Hepburn look. The women, god bless them, had really gotten with the party idea and transformed their rooms — one into a bar, one into a dance floor, and one into a lounge. Beds were dismantled, dressers were moved, lighting was adjusted. The party was a blast. Two days later, we saw the results of the 900 word stories, and many of them were very successful. The students were rejuvenated to the point where we could get some good work done in the remaining week and a half, and they’d had a chance to put what they’d learned into action on a piece that was short enough for them to really scrutinize. I realized that what we were seeing in the successful results of these short short stories was all of the wonderful work that their previous teachers — Andy Duncan, Suzy Charnas, Nina Hoffman, Nancy Kress, Gordon Van Gelder — had done with them.

In the two weeks I was at Clarion, I made friends, helped people with their writing, reinspected my own beliefs about writing and found quite a few wanting, missed my wife and kids, laughed a lot, saw some fine writing, shared in the amazing energy of new writers, and learned that when things get tight it’s a good idea to have a party.

ClarionKit Reed:

Somebody called me up and asked me if I wanted to spend a week in Michigan, teaching at Clarion. I said yes because I thought it was Ann Arbor. Imagine my surprise! We landed in East Lansing: black squirrels, dozens of picture perfect Barbies and Kens pedaling down sidewalks at tremendous speeds, welcome to downtown Oz. Gigantic campus. Statues of Spartans, to say nothing of the canal. I never worked harder. Great group. Mikey, Lucius, Bob Frazier, Paul Witcover, to name a few, almost all then present are still being heard from in the SF world and that is cool. Extremely cool.

ClarionJim Sallis:

As with so many other good things in my life, I blundered onto, or into, Clarion. As editor of New Worlds I’d had very little idea what I was doing; as a writer, I had even less; and as a teacher, I had no idea at all. A partial list of my students — George Effinger, Vonda McIntyre, Octavia Butler, Lisa Tuttle — attests not just to the quality of the workshop, but to the simple truth that sometimes fools like myself are allowed to stagger offstage without having done permanent damage.

ClarionCory Doctorow:

Damon Knight has lost his hearing in the higher registers, so he couldn’t hear the alarm on his wristwatch that went off every day at 11AM sharp. He would sit there beaming at us all Zen, while we stared at each other and wondered if this was a Yoda-lesson: critique through the shrill pips! Someone worked up the courage to ask him about this teaching method and he laughed and said that he’d been pissed because the damn watch alarm hadn’t ever worked (i.e., he could never hear it). Rosie Savage’s high voice was out of his hearing range, but he adored her, and when she spoke, he would cross the room and stand before her, knees bent, hands cupped to his ears, beaming mischievously.

ClarionGregory Frost:

What I learned both as a Clarion student and as a Clarion instructor is that you cannot necessarily point to the members of the class and say “This one will make it and that one won’t.”

Some people arrive with their talents fully formed — Athena has sprung from their foreheads and, really, you’re just there to point her in the right direction now that she’s loose. These people, however, are in the minority, never (in my experience) more than one or two per group.

The majority are still trying to figure out where they’re going with this, if anywhere at all. Most of the guidance, advice, and flat-out manipulation you bring to bear is for them. The greatest pleasure for me as instructor has been getting to watch someone’s craft catch fire right before my eyes; but even so, that person might go home and stop writing, and someone else who was groping in the dark throughout the six weeks will have an epiphany six months later and start producing the best work of all. You never give anybody short shrift, if only because later you’ll have the vicarious if self-deluded pleasure of thinking that you made a critical difference in their climb.

ClarionNancy Kress:

I have taught Clarion four times, and each class has had its own distinctive character. But the class you remember best is the most recent one; like layers of rich soil, the class closest in time yields the freshest memories.

In 2004 the Clarion class held seventeen writers. Even talented beginners make basic mistakes, and by the end of the week I had said some of the same things so often that the class was starting to chant them with me:

“Don’t start your story with a large lump of exposition.”

“Story events should cost your characters something.” Or, more simply, “Things cost.”

“Show us, don’t tell us.”

“You have White Room Syndrome.”

“No sighing — there’s way too much sighing in science fiction.”

At week’s end the class gave me a wonderful gift: a basket of rubber balls, each one inscribed with one of those writing dicta. The idea was that in future classes, I could save everyone a lot of time by just throwing the right ball at the student whose story was being critiqued. I treasure this gift, both as memory of Clarion 2004 and as a profound underlying truth about our genre:

It takes (at least metaphoric) balls to imagine the future.



Christopher Rowe – Trampoline Interview

Fri 24 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

Trampoline: an interview


Christopher Rowe
(The Force Acting on the Displaced Body)

Christopher RoweIs your Trampoline story generally representative of the sort of story you usually write? To elaborate: is this story a departure in style or subject matter (or any other sort of departure, for that matter) for you? If so, what was different or new for you in the writing of this story? Do you think it is a new direction for your writing, or simply an experiment?

“The Force Acting on the Displaced Body” isn’t representative what my work has been, but I can’t way whether it represents a new direction or not. Yes, it’s a departure in style and subject matter — this was a much more personal story for me, and one of the first times I’ve used “real places” in a story set in Kentucky. I also radically altered my working method for this story. Most of my stories have extensive notes and research and I do a lot of “pre-writing.” I try to write very, very clean first drafts and tend to do most of my revision before the act of composition. This usually means that the notes for a given story usually total four or five times the word count of the final story. In this case, I did almost no planning and pretty much sat down and wrote it. I’m not very comfortable with that, but some of my peers have told me that I’d do well to loosen up my grasp a little.

What’s your favorite cocktail?

I drink beer or wine, mostly. When I drink liquor, it’s usually bourbon or single malt scotch, neat. So if a cocktail has to be a “mixed drink” then I guess my default favorite is gin and tonic, because that’s pretty much the only one I ever drink (and that rarely).

So, come out with it, already — you really believe in alien abductions. Don’t you? All sci-fi writers do…right?

I do not believe in alien abductions. All sci-fi writers, however, do.

Who’s been eating my porridge?

Cock Robin.

Where have all the flowers gone?

Ocala, Florida, USA.

Who cleft the Devil’s foot?

Which foot?

Does she or doesn’t she?

I don’t know about her, but her little sister sure does.

What’s the most favorable sort of weather for your creative process?

I usually write indoors.

When’s the last time you changed your mind about something? I think I mean a radical shift of personal values — regarding art (“Suddenly, I’m not crazy about Billie Holiday, in fact, I’m not even sure I’m spelling her name right”), regarding anything (“Actually, you can go home again”).

Right, I was actually talking about this with you (Gavin) on the phone the other day, when I was explaining why I haven’t seen Daredevil. I’m surprised and oddly disappointed that I have no desire to see that movie — I kind of feel like I’m betraying my teenaged self. I had every intention of playing Dungeons & Dragons and staying up late to watch Space:1999 marathons for my entire life (as a lot of the people I keep in touch with from high school still do, actually). And then there’s a couple of guys I knew in college who would talk about “pulling a Christopher,” by which they meant my (to them) annoying habit of talking up some book or movie or band and then after they got into it I’d lose interest. I did that with that card game, Magic. And earlier I did it to my high school friends with Dragonlance novels. I still think my life would be easier to manage if I played a lot of D&D and read Dragonlance novels. Not better, but easier to manage. Oh well, I still mix in a lot of goofy superhero comics in with the cool stuff Gwenda buys. And I follow professional bicycle racing, which requires a certain level of obsessive geekiness.

Maybe none of that answers your question, does it? Okay, how about this? I remember being at MOMA in the summer of 1998 and staring at Jackson Pollack painting for about thirty minutes and finally getting it. Reproductions don’t do him justice and I’m embarrassed to say that I’d previously been in the “I could do that” camp regarding his and some other non-representational painters’ work. That reaction drives me crazy now, especially in terms of the visual arts. “I could do that.”

Trampoline: an anthology, edited by Kelly Link.First of all, you didn’t. Second of all, no you couldn’t, and it’s only because you’re a willfully ignorant, visually illiterate barbarian that you don’t see why some curator hung it in the first place. You want to bitch about paintings? Go to Paris (or St. Petersburg or London or New York or Washington, DC or Vienna — anyplace that has a lot of museums and galleries) and spend a year or two looking at a couple of thousand pictures. Then come talk to me.

Um. Okay, use the third and fourth sentences from the second paragraph in this section for my answer. I’m going to go get some more coffee.

O

Next — Dave Shaw

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Read another Rowe story: “Sally Harpe




Trampoline – Index

Fri 24 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors, Kelly Link | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

Trampoline: an anthology
Edited by Kelly Link

A partial index for this volume

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Orange
“Sunrise colors faces of buildings”
“Far ahead, desert sunset spreads”
“sectional couch in Pearl Street”
“Her breakfast’s in a napkin”
rolls unheeded from her lap”
“Will there be”
“See, that by thy pillow.”
“lying by a tarry hand”
“she held a scrawny”
“but dwindled out an”
“oil of”
“Coors Lite cans and”
“keep him in warm beer and fresh”
“frozen exhaust on”
“circle further up”
“County 14”
“Grove Mall”
“and the last of”
“in the fading light”
“and licking the”
“with long, tongues”
“lit with citronella”
“Your hair’s”
“and silver like the seething”
“a glass of”
“sliver in the sky”
“Nut meats and”
“in a bowl”
“sweet”
“glowing bright”

O

Tomato
and tiny fried eggplants stuffed with”
“cans of…and kidney beans”

O



Greer Gilman – Trampoline Interview

Fri 24 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

Trampoline: an interview

Two more interviews: -1--2-

Greer Gilman (A Crowd of Bone)

Were there any particular writers or stories that influenced the writing of the story that will be appearing in Trampoline? If so, how exactly did they influence the writing of your story?

Folk songs and ballads, mostly, ravelled out and rebraided. Lots of Anon. Some formal poetry: Hopkins and the Gawain poet, for the hedge-entangled language; Andrew Marvell, for the mowers. And for the soliloquies, a slew of playwrights. It’s a winter’s tale, a late romance. I wrote it for the ear, as much as for the imagination. There are two sorts of voices here, in counterpoint: Cloudish vernacular and a high Jacobean iambic, endlessly enjambed.

I owe the vision of the Scarecrow/Hanged Man/Child Sacrifice to the late miraculous Lal Waterson. Her song, “The Scarecrow,” haunts me, and it has for years.

Oh, and Thea’s magic is inspired by the art of Andy Goldsworthy.

Is your Trampoline story generally representative of the sort of story you usually write? To elaborate: is this story a departure in style or subject matter (or any other sort of departure, for that matter) for you? If so, what was different or new for you in the writing of this story? Do you think it is a new direction for your writing, or simply an experiment?

I keep moving inward. It gets bigger.

What’s your favorite cocktail?

Chocolate.

Which of the seven deadly sins is your favorite these days?

Don’t know whose friends they are, but Sloth and Gluttony keep hanging around my kitchen playing cards.

What’s your favorite rule of thumb?

When you come back for it, it won’t be there.

Do you have any pets? How many? And if so, how do they affect your writing (if at all)?

No. None. Not at all.

What is the writer’s role in inhabiting the commercial spaces of publishing?

Waiting anxiously in hallways.

Best trampoline story you know (or, in lieu of story, rules for best trampoline game you’ve played).

The one with the castellated blancmange and the roller skates has seldom been attempted.

Where do you hope to haunt when you’re gone (or, I guess, when you come back)?

A kitchen table with old friends. A library. Woods in autumn. An English wood in spring. A winter hillside on a starry night. My desk when I’m writing well. The seacoast of Bohemia.

What are your favorite kids’ books? What was your favorite when you were a kid (say, 10)?

Say five, six, seven.

I always loved Mary Poppins and Irene’s Great-Great-Grandmother (in The Princess and the Goblin). They were my first intimations of godhead. Mary Poppins is Artemis. (“Is this a Nursery or a Bear Garden?”) Prickly, aloof, but a great protectress if she’s yours. And the sun, moon, and stars dance for her: she’s a strange attractor for the numinous.

But Irene’s Grandmother — ah, she indwells. I’ve been writing about the moon ever since. And threads and labyrinths and rings, and children lost in houses which are dreams.

Alice got into my warp as well. Everyone she meets is so rude. And that row of asterisks as she’s shrinking — chin to foot — gave me a sense of the magic in typography, of spell.

What else? I loved The Golden Almanac, which gave me my fascination with the turning year. October had “The Wraggle Taggle Gypsies, O!” in a whirl and tatter of leaves — so ballads keep for me that vivid restless melancholy.

Oh, and fairy tales. “The Snow Queen” for the shards of mirror and the puzzles of ice; for the winter hag who is fell and beautiful, the crones in their reeky hovels, and the robber girl. And “The Twelve Swans” and “The Dancing Princesses.” I loved the nettleshirts that bound winged creatures to the earth, the wood of silver underground.

The Oz books, alas, have faded for me, though I read them all with passion. I still have my Scarecrow and my Witch, but she’s indelibly Margaret Hamilton.

There are other children’s fantasies I love — The Wind In the Willows, Earthsea,and Green Knowe, stories by Joan Aiken and Diana Wynne Jones — but I found them long afterward.

And a little later on–at eight, nine, ten — I read and loved The Secret Gardenand A Little Princess; Hitty: Her First Hundred Years; all the Alcott books; Elizabeth Enright…All the girl books, and whatever I could lay my hands on. But the fantasies came first.

Tell me a little about when you left home to live on your own.

Oh, I just snailed away, carrying myself with me.

If you could have a writer of your choice come live with you, who would it be and what writerly stuff would you want to talk to them about?

Dear me. I wouldn’t dream of imposing my company on strangers. They have their own friends, or ghosts of friends; their own rooms on earth or elsewhere. Unless by chance we meet in that publisher’s hallway…? And then drift away for tea. I’d love to talk with Sylvia Townsend Warner. And Angela Carter. Hope Mirrlees? I’d be shy of Shakespeare, though I’d love to watch him in rehearsal. And I’ve always wanted to take Jo March to the movies.

When’s the last time you changed your mind about something? I think I mean a radical shift of personal values — regarding art (“Suddenly, I’m not crazy about Billie Holiday, in fact, I’m not even sure I’m spelling her name right”), regarding anything (“Actually, you can go home again”).

I do change my mind, but glacially. Hard to remember what I thought in the Mesozoic.

What book or books do you press upon friends?

Whatever book is Three-Bearically right for that friend. I get a huge kick out of perfect matches. I don’t press.

What can we, as a group, do to increase the popularity of multi-stage bicycle racing as a spectator sport in America?

Free lemonade?

I once had a creative writing teacher tell me that he didn’t understand why authors used science fiction or magical realism to tell a story or impart a theme. Why do you think we do, when good old realism might do the trick?

For the tang of it, the taste of Otherwise; for all the flavors of quark: not just Truth and Beauty, but up, down, charm, and strangeness.

My story has a semi-wild chimpanzee in it; does yours?

Alas, no.

Have you found that during the Reagan-Bush-Bush-Quayle-Bush-Cheney era the quality of your writing has gotten a little dodgier?

No. My life, maybe. Not my writing.

What, in your opinion, is the relationship, if any, between the so-called real world and your particular imaginary one?

Aslant. Their landscape is like the north of England; but their laws are otherwise. It’s as if the White Goddess and the Golden Bough were true, as if metaphor and myth were physics. Metaphysics. Cloud has the same stars as this world — our sky is their Wood Above — but their constellations are strange. Somehow this world is bound to theirs: the back side of their brighter tapestry.

Can I quote myself?

“Not that there aren’t quilt knots here and there, stitching heaven and earth. Houses, in the astrological sense; or sacred places, which are realer than the world, and have a way of disappearing like the egg in Alice. Woods, stone circles, sheepfolds. And the one long seam, the Milky Way.”

If you could live in a book, which one would it be?

Oh, I’d like to travel in many books. Sadly, I can’t envision stories while I’m reading them, so I’d dearly love to see a score of other worlds. And talk with their denizens. But here’s where I live.

Can you say something, particularly in light of these grave times, about the writer’s role or responsibility in the creation of work that is purely literary, that is the work of the imagination, as opposed to work that serves more overtly and directly as a voice of conscience?

With all respect for the voices of conscience, it would be a sad grey world without works of pure imagination. Wodehouse. Austen. A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

“Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.”

Trampoline: an anthology, edited by Kelly Link.Gertrude Stein said: “I have destroyed sentences and rhythms and literary overtones and all the rest of that nonsense, to get to the very core of this problem of communication of intuition.” The relationship of form to content. Form as it facilitates communication, particularly communication of the remote, of the mysterious. Form as it permits the dramatization of states of mind. As it serves to make comprehensible the incomprehensible. What are your views on this subject?

Fugue, rhyme, rainbow — I love all sorts of patterns and forms. Conjugations and crystals. Self-assembly. Mathematics. I think people are made to make patterns, to see them with delight. Defy entropy!

O

Next — John Gonzalez



Alex Irvine – Trampoline Interview

Fri 24 Jul 2009 - Filed under: Authors | Leave a Comment| Posted by: intern

Trampoline: an interview

Alex IrvineAlex Irvine (Gus Dreams of Biting the Mail Man)

Were there any particular writers or stories that influenced the writing of the story that will be appearing in Trampoline? If so, how exactly did they influence the writing of your story?

This story has a little bit of each of the Beats in it, a touch of Phil Dick, and a bit of Kenneth Fearing. The alchemy of the interaction I don’t understand — mostly I wanted to write a story about people who like working a lousy job, and about the strangeness of strangers. And of course the whole thing started when I re-read The Time Machine and wondered what the hell really happened to the prototype.

What’s your favorite cocktail?

Tom Collins, for some reason

Which of the seven deadly sins is your favorite these days?

Sloth. Sloth seems elysian to me these days.

What’s your favorite rule of thumb?

Don’t take any wooden nickels. Mostly because I’m always waiting for an exception to come along and prove this rule.

Do you have any pets? How many? And if so, how do they affect your writing (if at all)?

Well, this story wouldn’t have been written if I hadn’t actually had a dog named Gus who eternally wanted to bite the mailman. He recently went to the big hot dog farm in the sky, and we are currently petless. Not for long, though.

So, come out with it, already — you really believe in alien abductions. Don’t you? All sci-fi writers do…right?

Who told you to ask me this?

What has it got in its pocketses?

It’s holding, for sure.

Biographical sketch of someone you know:

Wes Graves grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota, and moved to Ypsilanti, Michigan with the encouragement of his high-school girlfriend, who dumped him the day he got there. At the time he owned an orange Volvo, which as far as anyone knows is still in the garage of a house near the Eastern Michigan University campus. He has been a baker, pinball-machine technician, and all around good joe. He nurses an inordinate fondness for guitar accessories, and now lives in Denver, Colorado.

Where do you hope to haunt when you’re gone (or, I guess, when you come back)?

I want to haunt a place that doesn’t exist any more, a sandwich shop in Ann Arbor called Drake’s that operated from the twenties until the early nineties under the ownership of a guy named Truman Tibbels. It was painted olive green, had wooden booths, two counters with candy in jars, autographed pictures of Blackstone the Magician. You could get ice cream or a sandwich named for a Big Ten university or just drink coffee all day for a quarter. Upstairs was the Martian Room, with trombones on the wallpaper and a constant atmosphere of furtive lust. In the back, an actual phone booth with a door that closed. A place from another time. Now it’s been turned into a Bruegger’s Bagels, which is an incalculable loss.

What are your favorite kids’ books? What was your favorite when you were a kid (say, 10)?

10, hmm. The Swiss Family Robinson, Space Angel, second time through The Lord of the Rings, the Earthsea books, baseball biographies, and a submarine book whose title I can’t remember by a guy named Robb White.

When’s the last time you changed your mind about something? I think I mean a radical shift of personal values — regarding art (“Suddenly, I’m not crazy about Billie Holiday, in fact, I’m not even sure I’m spelling her name right”), regarding anything (“Actually, you can go home again”).

I used to believe that football was manly. Then I started watching rugby.

What book or books do you press upon friends?

Jim Dodge’s Stone Junction, almost anything by Philip K. Dick, Charles Portis’The Dog of the South, good books by people I know.

What can we, as a group, do to increase the popularity of multi-stage bicycle racing as a spectator sport in America?

An anthology called Peleton, perhaps.

I once had a creative writing teacher tell me that he didn’t understand why authors used science fiction or magical realism to tell a story or impart a theme. Why do you think we do, when good old realism might do the trick?

Story, man. The first stories you hear as a kid aren’t about suburban adultery, they’re about mystical artifacts and dangerous monsters and all kinds of stuff that doesn’t exist but should. Those are the stories that you cut your teeth on, and those are the stories you (by which I mean me) want to read and write.

My story has a semi-wild chimpanzee in it; does yours?

You didn’t see it?

Have you found that during the Reagan-Bush-Bush-Quayle-Bush-Cheney era the quality of your writing has gotten a little dodgier?

Trampoline: an anthology, edited by Kelly Link.I’ve only been writing during the last half of this unfortunate sequence, so I’m still new enough at it to hope I’m getting better.

If you couldn’t write what would you do?

Get better at chess, play the guitar more often, act in plays.

What, in your opinion, is the relationship, if any, between the so-called real world and your particular imaginary one?

In this story? None whatsoever, except the bit about frosting Danish.

If you could live in a book, which one would it be?

Huckleberry Finn.

O

Next — Beth Adele Long



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