Wanted: list of any sf+f stories set in Tokyo

Sat 29 May 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 12 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Mari Kotani and the rest of the women who are running this year’s Japanese science fiction convention are looking for any stories (science fiction or fantasy) set in Tokyo. Help? Ideas? Lists?

Wiscon/Laurie Marks

Sat 29 May 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Hey, I’m at WisCon—hello lovely Madison! If you’re here and want to donate to help Laurie J. Marks’s wife Deb Mensinger’s liver transplant we have a donation box at our table in the dealers’ room. As well as some books and all that stuff—and not just from us!

ETA: We raised $200 and sent it on to Laurie and Deb, thanks to everyone who donated.

A Life on Paper: Stories

Tue 25 May 2010 - Filed under: Books | 15 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

May 25, 2010 · 9781931520621
Translated by Edward Gauvin

“The celebrated Châteaureynaud, who over the course of a distinguished career has created short tales that are not exactly contes cruels but which linger on the edge of darkness and absurdity.”
New York Times

Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud is well known to readers of French literature. This comprehensive collection—the first to be translated into English—introduces a distinct and dynamic voice to the Anglophone world. In many ways, Châteaureynaud is France’s own Kurt Vonnegut, and his stories are as familiar as they are fantastic.


A Life on Paper presents characters who struggle to communicate across the boundaries of the living and the dead, the past and the present, the real and the more-than-real. A young husband struggles with self-doubt and an ungainly set of angel wings in “Icarus Saved from the Skies,” even as his wife encourages him to embrace his transformation. In the title story, a father’s obsession with his daughter leads him to keep her life captured in 93,284 unchanging photographs. While Châteaureynaud’s stories examine the diffidence and cruelty we are sometimes capable of, they also highlight the humanity in the strangest of us and our deep appreciation for the mysterious.


Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Award Winner
Best Translated Book Award Shortlist


“Châteaureynaud is a master craftsman, encapsulating weighty themes with pith and heart. In his hands, the short story is a Gothic cathedral whittled from a wine cork.”
The Believer

“Châteaureynaud celebrates the quiet, hidden beauties of the world and the objects or knowledge we hold tight like talismans to protect us from its losses and horrors.”
The Quarterly Conversation

“Châteaureynaud makes expert thematic use of both light and shadow to reveal his fantastical realms of wonder and fear. His unassuming prose startles as it entrances, holding readers on the edge of elegantly rendered, fantastical dream-worlds while all at once alluding to their more nightmarish qualities. In the style of Kafka and Poe, Châteaureynaud makes the supernatural seem not only present, but ubiquitous, inclined to encroach at any moment on the humdrum lives of unsuspecting mortals. More sinister than fairy tales, yet not quite definable as horror stories, Châteaureynaud’s whimsical writings leave one unsettled and alert, appreciating anew the possibilities of the chilly night air while simultaneously feeling the urge to draw nearer to the fire—just in case.”
Catherine Bailey, Three Percent

“The collection will perhaps appeal especially to those who enjoy their fiction short and concise, not to mention intense and decidedly peculiar. If you . . . are interested in dream-logic, fantastic situations, the unexplainable and/or macabre . . . this volume delivers again and again.”
Neon Magazine

“Châteaureynaud’s stories are disorienting, bizarre, mythical. The stories don’t end with epiphanies or a tidy wrapping-up. Some of the endings are abrupt, even unsatisfying; they feel more like a beginning. So what? A Life on Paper is fantastic in both meanings: it’s fantastic, as in strange, unreal, weird, imaginary; and it’s fantastic, as in absolutely fucking awesome. People will call A Life on Paper magical realism. A few will call it irrealism. I don’t care what you call it. I just want you to read it.”

“Both classic and modern, strange and simple, Châteaureynaud’s stories remind not only of Vonnegut but of Gogol and Kafka. What’s endearing about the stories is the amount of tenderness running through them. Even in stories about bizarre cruelty (the title story tells of a father who had his daughter photographed a dozen times a day for her entire life), affection provides the glue.”
Time Out Chicago

A Life on Paper is a brief selection from more than thirty years of fiction. Châteaureynaud has a backlist for American readers that this book makes enticingly tangible, almost real. His own work is such that it might be subject of one of his stories. This might be all there is, the rest pure fabrication. The unreal, awaiting translation.”
—Rick Kleffel, The Agony Column

“These 22 curious tales verging on the perverse will strike new English readers of Châteaureynaud’s work as a wonderful find. Beautiful prose featuring ingenuous protagonists and clever, unexpected forays into horror are the hallmarks of these mischievous stories.”
Publishers Weekly

“Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud is 63 and has never published a book in English until now. A Life on Paper: Selected Stories, brilliantly translated by Edward Gauvin, opens the door at last. . . . Nothing matters in this book unless it has been told, everything is told. Open this book.”
—John Clute, Strange Horizons

“Châteaureynaud’s dance steps are so nimble that he seems, without effort, to show us what is best in others.”
Brooklyn Rail

“Châteaureynaud has sometimes been called the Kurt Vonnegut of France. However, this collection of 22 of Châteaureynaud’s stories—which are often other-worldly and not infrequently unsettling—may speak to some readers more directly of Kafka.”
Christian Science Monitor

“As weird as they are elegant, as delicious as they are unsettling, these fables place Châteaureynaud in the secret brotherhood that has only exemplars, no definition: Kafka, Bruno Schulz, Nathanael West, Aimee Bender. We are lucky indeed to have them, in a very skilled translation.”
—John Crowley (Little, Big)

Table of Contents

Foreword by Brian Evenson
A Citizen Speaks
A Life on Paper
Come Out, Come Out
Icarus Saved from the Skies
The Only Mortal
The Peacocks
A Room on the Abyss
The Gulf of the Years
The Dolceola Player
The Pest
Delaunay the Broker
The Excursion
La Tête
The Styx
The Beautiful Coalwoman — podcast
A City of Museums — author reading (in French)
The Guardicci Masterpiece
Sweet Street
The Bronze Schoolboy
The Pavilion and the Linden
Another Story

Paper edition printed on recycled paper by Thomson-Shore of Dexter, Michigan.
Text set in Centaur 12 pt.

Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud is the author of nine novels, two young adult novels, and over one hundred short stories. Despite a lifelong fear of flying, he has been to Peru—his only time on a plane—and lived to pen a travel memoir about the experience. He is the recipient of the prestigious Prix Renaudot, Prix Goncourt de la nouvelle (for short stories), Prix Giono, Prix Valéry Larbaud, and the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire. His work has been translated into fourteen languages.

Born in Paris in 1947, Châteaureynaud was a solitary child who became a voracious and unprejudiced reader, ingesting Treasure Island as avidly as Lady Chatterley’s Lover. He studied English at the Sorbonne, discovering Stevenson, Shelley, Stoker, and Wells, and later took a degree in library science from the École Nationale Supérieure des Bibliothèques. In 1968, he embarked on a series of odd jobs—including antiques dealer, auto assembly line laborer—that comprised, in his words, an “apprenticeship in human nature,” cementing his sympathy for the marginal, outcast figures who would become his luckless, well-meaning, Everyman heroes and narrators. Grasset published his first collection in 1973, Le fou dans la chaloupe.

With novelist Hubert Haddad, and fellow Goncourt winners Frédéric Tristan and sinologist Jean Lévi, Châteaureynaud is a founding member of the contemporary movement La Nouvelle Fiction: “New” because it rose up against the prevailingly minimalist and confessional tendencies (autofiction) of recent French writing, seeking to rouse it from what critic Jean-Luc Moreau called “the slumber of psychological realism,” and to restore myth, fable, and fairy tale to a place of primacy in fiction.

In 1983 and 1990, Châteaureynaud was a representative of the Foreign Services Ministry to Quebec and then to Greece. He has been consistently involved with the Centre National du Livre and the SGDL (Société des Gens de Lettres de France). He plays an active part in fostering new talent, serving on the juries of such diverse prizes as the Fondation BNP-Paribas Young Writers Award, the international Prix Prométhée de la nouvelle, the Prix Renaudot, and the Prix Renaissance. Châteaureynaud sees his enthusiastic participation in these institutions as a way of repaying the literary community that has allowed him the luxury of dedication to his craft. An Officier des Arts et Lettres of France, he is currently the editorial director of foreign literature at Editions Dumerchez. In 2006, he was made a Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.

Edward Gauvin has published Châteaureynaud’s work in AGNI Online, The Southern Review, Conjunctions, Harvard Review, Words Without Borders, LCRW, Postscripts, Epiphany, The Café Irreal, Eleven Eleven, Sentence, and The Brooklyn Rail. A graduate of the Iowa Workshop, he has received a Fulbright grant as well as fellowships from the Centre National du Livre, the American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) and the Clarion Foundation and residencies from the Maison des Écritures Midi-Pyrénées, Ledig House, and the Banff International Literary Translation Centre. Other translations of his have been featured or are forthcoming in PEN America, Tin House, Interfictions 2, Subtropics, Silk Road, Two Lines, and Absinthe. A consulting editor for graphic literature at Words Without Borders, he translates comics for Archaia, First Second, and Tokyopop. He has lived in Austin, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, New York, Taipei, and Amiens, France.

A Life on Paper: Stories was published with the support of the French Voices program:

Cet ouvrage, publié dans le cadre d’un programme d’aide à la publication, bénéficie du soutien du Ministère des Affaires éstrangères et du Service Culturel de l’Ambassade de France aux Etats-Unis. This work, published as part of a program of aid for publication, received support from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States.

This work, published as part of a program providing publication assistance, received financial support from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States and FACE (French American Cultural Exchange).

Tonight: Wrrock! Tomorrow: Bea (not Arthur)

Tue 25 May 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Tonight we are in Brooklyn at the Wrrrrrrrrrrrock ON Rock n Roll Show which our pals at Two Dollar Radio put together. It’s a party, a show, a fundraiser, a raising of hell. We hope to exchange deafened nods with you there!

Then: tomorrow we are at BookExpo New York. The new, slim-lined edition (i.e. Honey, they shrank the show!). We shrank it, too, and have a shelf of books (and some giveaways, natch) in the Consortium area, Booth 4511. Drop by and say Hi! Julia Holmes, debut author of Meeks will be there and on Thursday (as subscribers to our nifty Events Calendar will already know) Delia Sherman, co-editor of Interfictions 2 will be signing that there book: Table 1, 10:30 AM.

Later on the week: Jed Berry goes to Bloody Words (no, really!) and Gavin goes to WisCon. Irregular mailing of books may result (although there are peeps in the office: Michael! Cristi! Maybe More!) and email will be a Shambles. (Yes, email will resemble an area of York.)

This update brought to you by Peter Pan Free Wifi!

Donate to Narrative? Uh, no.

Thu 20 May 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , | 3 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

God knows why I get Narrative magazine’s spam. I don’t remember signing up for it but that’s a common story online. And I haven’t unsubscribed as they are the original car-crash-good-lord-do-they-really-charge-writers magazine. Their model seems to be a weird hybrid of popular vs. unpopular kids with the first part being those who drank the koolaid, paid $20 to submit their story (No, really, $20.) and maybe have been published, but published or not have bought into the publishers’ idea. The unpopular are the great unwashed (me!) who think they’d be better to buy a six pack of beer and a couple of magazines with that $20. Yup.

So now they are spamming everyone on their list with a request for $10. Wow: spam that reads like spam! It’s . . . spam!

Why $10? Well,

$10 is not so much when you consider that Narrative publishes more fiction writers, poets, and artists than any other literary magazine—more than 300 authors and artists last year alone—and that we give our content away, free.

Ok. So:

  1. You want money because you published more authors (including all those dead authors who I am sure are right grateful to be published and their zombie selves will be at your door ready to receive their checks any day now) than anyone else. Um, congratulations.
    But, didn’t all those authors—and anyone else daft enough to pay—already give you $20? Do they get 2 chances in some crappy drawing you’re offering people who reply to your spamscam? Once they’ve paid $10, will you reel them in to higher levels? Ah, apropos of nothing at all I’d just like to reminisce about that great book The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man.
    So, did Narrative count how many authors other magazines published? Did they query emails lists? (They didn’t query the CLMP email lists.) Did they, in fact, have a really really hard time coming up with reasons why anyone would send in their hard-earned cash?
  2. You want money because you “give our content away, free.” Um, no. That is wrong. If you give it away free you do not get to demand money. Nope.

Hmm, ok. Enough time wasted on this. They, apparently, “need you.” Right. All arts organizations always need supporters and they’re always hoping for more money. Hell, so are all companies, such as us at Small Beer Press. But if you have $10 to spare today, send it to Laurie J. Marks and her wife who’s getting a liver transplant, send it to Haiti, buy a subscription to One Story, go get a great lunch. Don’t give it to someone who’s asking you for money for something that’s “free.”

Tom Canty art, signed books by Kelly, more more more

Thu 20 May 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Here is a tiny note to ignore. In fact, skip this para and go right to the next one. If you do read this, please don’t go bid against us for the Thomas Canty-illustrated copy of Water Logic—which is part of the auction to raise money for Laurie J. Marks’s wife, Deb Mensinger’s liver transplant.

Ok, so you skipped that paragraph. Thank you! But before you read on to find out what exciting things are happening here (alchemy! we turn art into commerce!) how about bidding on this copy of Water Logic customized with an original drawing by Thomas Canty ? Yay!


And, they just posted this offer: all of Kelly’s collections either signed or personalized to you. You know we’re not going anywhere for a while so if you’d like a signed copy, this is your best chance for, what, a year at least?

Today’s featured (starred!) review on Booklist is Karen Lord’s Redemption in Indigo! That cover is not the actual cover, everyone will be relieved to know. The final cover is almost done, the interior is done (sorry, not being printed in indigo ink), so off to the printer it will go. This is the first novel you’re going to love and you will be so happy to be one of the readers who can say I was there when . . .

New Zealanders—this one is for you! “Next week (May 24 – 28) ‘Good Morning‘ book reviewer Laura Kroetsch is looking at Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link (Text, 9781921656361)” + 2 other books! (Thanks Renee!)

Edward Gauvin is fighting a valiant battle against those who think Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud is a Kurt Vonnegut literary game.

The strenuousness of these assertions–mine and publisher Small Beer’s–should not, I repeat, decidedly not be construed as protest, or evidence of insincerity. That is all.

In the meantime, A Life on Paper has shipped from the printer and will be hitting stores in a week or two—reviews should then pile in. Who isn’t going to review a major French author’s first work in English? Here’s a story from the book, “The Excursion,” in (the fantastically named) Joyland.

Over there in October (since all time exists at all times if you look sideways from here you can see October) we’re in the middle of publishing Kathe Koja’s Under the Poppy—and part of the fun is the stage show which will debut next February (look a bit more to the side, there it is! Phew, sexy!). Kathe’s joined Kickstarter to raise some knicker money (so that the knickers can later be dropped? There’s a vaudeville joke in there somewhere) for the girls Under the Poppy, which is, natch, a Victorian brothel.

Inside baseball time: we just presented our autumn and winter titles to our sales reps and it was fun to see the reactions from the sales reps so yay for that. We’re lucky in that we have a team of sales reps (Consortium’s) who read a ton (some of them had already read some of these books from early ebook versions we’d sent ahead) and like the slightly weird stuff we give them.

Also: how many times a book is sold:

  1. By the author to the agent
  2. agent to editor
  3. editor to publisher and sales team and whoever else
  4. sales team to sales reps
    1. publicist to reviewers/editors
    2. reviewer to editor (or vice versa)
  5. sales reps to the booksellers (or to the bookstore chain buyers)
  6. bookseller to you

There are probably a few more steps in there!

Châteaureynaud: winners & a London event

Thu 13 May 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

That was surprisingly agonius or whatever the right word would be (maybe there’s a better on in French!). We made someone else choose which commenters would receive an ARC of Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud’s A Life on Paper and that person chose the following 5 readers whose books will be flung off into from our office to their mailboxes out as soon as we confirm addresses for Kristin, Gay Terry, James, Lucius, and Susan. Yay for yous!

And, we’d like to right now scotch the rumor that this is an elaborate hoax: Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud is indeed a living, breathing, famous French author (and you can see him in London soon, see below) and not in any way related to or in actual fact the late Kurt Vonnegut writing under a pseudonym!

Go see him here:

Tuesday, 15 June 7.30pm

Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud and Helen Simpson on short stories

To celebrate the publication of his first book in English, Prix Goncourt-winner Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud will discuss the similarities and differences of short stories in France and in the UK. with Helen Simpson.

Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud was born in Paris in 1947. He has written numerous short stories and novels (La Faculté des songes, Le Démon à la crécelle, Singe tabassé par deux clowns, L’Autre rive). Helen Simpson lives in London. She has won numerous prizes for her various short stories collections. Her latest collections of short stories are Constitutional (2005), and In the Driver’s Seat (2007).

Tuesday, 15 June 7.30pm | £5, conc. £3 | in English | Institut français, 17 Queensberry Place SW7 2DT, 020 7073 1350, www.institut-francais.org.uk

Holly Black on tour

Fri 7 May 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Don’t miss Holly Black who is on tour all over the country this month for White Cat—and, of course, The Poison Eaters and Other Stories! We’ve had a bunch of reviews come in all of which are a reminder of that a strong book this is:

“Black’s writing is vivid and beautiful, although it is a given that most of the stories will have a twist at the end, or everything will not be as it first appeared. Nearly all of the stories are dark, in the sense that there is looming danger and creepy things waiting for the protagonists. Some are tragic and some are not, but a thread of hope runs through most of them. Like much current young adult fantasy, particularly urban fantasy, there is here sex, drugs, rock’n’roll, and grit as well as lurking elves, curses, and malevolent teachers.”

“With its wide range of subject and style, this collection of supernatural stories shows off Black’s fertile imagination.”
Horn Book

Read more

Matthew Schulz

Wed 5 May 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

once of Staunton, Ohio, are you there? Email us!

Cacao Piquin Stout, or, Beer of the Gods

Mon 3 May 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 4 Comments| Posted by: Michael

I made a chocolate beer. It wasn’t so many years ago I swore I’d never do any such thing—too gimmicky, I said, too much of a deviation from the tradition that has made beer great. But things change.

With me and brewing, the circumstance most likely to cause such a turnaround is the ready, cheap availability of superior ingredients. In January, I went to Guatemala—the cradle of Mayan civilization, and arguably the cradle of chocolate as a human institution. I brought back a half-kilo of cacao “beans”—a form of chocolate two steps removed from the least-processed chocolate you’re ever likely to encounter in this country. “What the hell is a cacao bean?” asked the customs official rummaging through my bags in Houston. I started in on the two-minute explanation; disappointingly, he waved me on before I’d got half started.

Read on for the two-minute explanation—but first, know that when I sat down to brew this beer, it was with the purest of aesthetical intentions in the Small Beer spirit: I strove for a beer that would as closely as possible resemble a bar of 70% raw cacao dark chocolate in liquid form.

Read more

Zhao Haihong Interview

Mon 3 May 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | 7 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Zhao HaihongIn the new issue of LCRW we’re very happy to present the first English publication of multiple award-winning Chinese writer Zhao Haihong. Her story “Exuviation” was first published in 2000 in Science Fiction World Magazine and received the Galaxy Award. Zhao Haihong has an M.A. in English literature from Zhejiang University and teaches English literature in Zhejiang Gongshang University in Hangzhou, China. She started writing science fiction in 1996, and has received the Galaxy Award from Science Fiction World Magazine, the Soong Ching Ling Children’s Literature Award, and the sixth National Writers Association Award for outstanding children’s literature in China. Her first story collection, Eyes of the Birches, was published in 1999.

Fabulous intern Diana Cao (who, coincidentally, will be studying in Beijing for a month later this summer) interviewed Zhao Haihong last week:

Diana Cao: Could you first give some background about how you arrived where you are in your writing today?

Book One. Eyes of the Birches (the second editon)I’ve loved reading and writing since childhood. To me, writing was the only way to prove who I was in my middle school. I tried various kinds of writing in the six years, and some of them were science fiction stories—among them was a story I sent to Science Fiction World magazine and had published. The story “The Rising of the Great Rift Valley” won me the first prize of the Guangya Science Fiction Story Contest for Students (1996) held by the magazine. I was thrilled by the result and that’s the real start of my science fiction career. Since then, I have published 21 science fiction stories, mostly in SFW and later collected in two books: Eyes of the Birches and The Other Side of Time. My third collection The World and my first novel Crystal Sky will be published this year. These stories have brought me six Galaxy Awards (1997-2002) by SFW, the Sixth Soong Ching Ling Children’s Literature Award (2003) and the sixth National Writers Association Award for outstanding children’s literature in China (2004)—the last two are governmental awards, and science fiction is included under children’s fiction for governmental awards. Read more