Karen in California

Wed 29 Sep 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

You should probably book your flight now because everyone who’s anyone is going to California next month to catch Karen Joy Fowler on her mini tour (not, sadly, by one-person submarine) celebrating her new book, her first collection of stories in ages, What I Didn’t See and Other Stories.

Karen will be reading at some of the best indie bookshops in the Great Bear state (that’s what the flag says to me, that’s what I’m going with). Why do we love these stores? Because they’re all individual, all different from one another. For instance, if you ship at Vroman’s you can sign up for their Vroman’s Gives Back program and choose which organization a % of your sale will go to. Magnifique!

If you’re not a Californian and would like a signed copy of What I Didn’t See, you can order it from any of these stores and they will hold it for you, get it signed, and ship it to you.

If you want a regular unsigned edition, order it here! Ebook fans: go here. If you’d like it from a large online booksite, we recommend Powells or Indiebound.

Get a head start on the book: “Standing Room Only” · “Always” · “The Last Worders” · or: Scribd.


Oct. 7, 7 PM, Copperfields, Santa Rosa, CA
Oct. 11, 7 PM, Moe’s Books, Berkeley, CA — check out their new site with the lovely ad for Karen’s reading on the front page!
Oct. 15, NCIBA, Oakland, CA (Friday evening Author Reception)
Oct. 16, SF in SF (with Claude Lalumière), San Francisco, CA
Oct. 19, Capitola Book Cafe, Capitola, CA
Oct. 21, read. booksellers, Danville, CA
Nov. 5, 7 PM, Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA

On the dark and lurid side

Wed 22 Sep 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Thomson-Shore emailed us to say that Kathe Koja’s novel Under the Poppy should ship out in a couple of weeks which will get it into stores just about on publication date of October 19.B&N and Borders (who will have it stacked up—not kidding here!) will have it a week or two later. In the meantime, Library Journal really gets it:

“Despite all the trappings of puppets, sex shows, stabbings, and drawing-room treachery, this is a love story about how, sometimes despite themselves, Rupert, Istvan, and their friends have created a family. . . . she creates an atmospheric tale for those who like their historical fiction on the dark and lurid side. Those readers who enjoyed Emma Donoghue’s Slammerkin or Sarah Water’s Fingersmith will find similar themes.”
Library Journal

Dark! Lurid! Sexy puppets! A love story. Yep. The call outs to Sarah Waters and Emma Donoghue seem right on the money.

Kathe has a couple of readings coming up—more maybe TBA. If you’re a booksellery person in the Great Lakes area you can meet her at the GLIBA Author Reception on Oct. 8th. Everyone else should dress up to the 9s and go to see her here:

Wed, Nov. 10, 7pm – 9pm
Common Language Bookstore 317 Braun Ct. Ann Arbor MI 48014
Launch event for Under the Poppy at the Blackbird Theatre sponsored by Common Language—the theatre is right across the courtyard. Dramatic reading with puppets and signing of Under the Poppy.

Thu, Nov. 11, 2010
Five15, 515 Washington Avenue, Royal Oak, MI
Kathe Koja reads from and signs her new novel Under the Poppy.

Wed, Nov. 17, 7pm – 9pm
KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street (just off 2nd Ave) New York, NY 10003
Kathe Koja reads from her new novel Under the Poppy as part of Ellen Datlow and Matt Kressel’s Fantastic Fiction @ KGB Series.

Kathe should also be taping an appearance with Jim Freund and the Hour of the Wolf in NYC and with luck will be on the radio in Detroit, too. It’s a heck of a book. Can’t wait to see it out there.

Award Season: British Fantasy Awards

Tue 21 Sep 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Congratulations to the winners of the of the British Fantasy Awards. Continuing our rather basic count of these things here’s the breakdown:

13 men
2 women

What I Didn’t See and Other Stories

Tue 21 Sep 2010 - Filed under: Books, Karen Joy Fowler | 6 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

September 21, 2010 · trade cloth · 9781931520683 | ebook · 9781931520935
April 2013 · trade paper · 9781931520485

World Fantasy Award winner.

“A stunning collection that mixes history, fantasy, myth, and something else altogether unknowable. Witty and powerful and totally out there.”—Flavorwire

“One of the most accomplished and most adroit fiction writers in America.”
—Brooks Landon, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Beautifully written & subtly discomforting stories.”
—Nancy Pearl in “Spooky-book suggestions from Seattle literati” in the Seattle Times

~ Short interviews at The Short Review and the Shirley Jackson Award site.
~ Read Karen’s new story: “Younger Women” on Subterranean Online.
~ Follow Karen’s occasional Small Beer blog: What I See
~ Read a short interview in the LA Times.
~ Listen to an interview with Rick Kleffel. [mp3 link]
~ Shelf Starter on Shelf Awareness

In her moving and elegant new collection, New York Times bestseller Karen Joy Fowler writes about John Wilkes Booth’s younger brother, a one-winged man, a California cult, and a pair of twins, and she digs into our past, present, and future in the quiet, witty, and incisive way only she can.

The sinister and the magical are always lurking just below the surface: for a mother who invents a fairy-tale world for her son in “Halfway People”; for Edwin Booth in “Booth’s Ghost,” haunted by his fame as “America’s Hamlet” and his brother’s terrible actions; for Norah, a rebellious teenager facing torture in the World Fantasy and Shirley Jackson Award winner “The Pelican Bar” as she confronts Mama Strong, the sadistic boss of a rehabilitation facility; for the narrator recounting her descent in “What I Didn’t See.”

With clear and insightful prose, Fowler’s stories measure the human capacities for hope and despair, brutality and kindness. This collection, which includes two Nebula Award winners and some stories which have been significantly rewritten since first publication, is sure to delight readers, even as it pulls the rug out from underneath them.


Shirley Jackson Awards shortlist
Locus Award shortlist

Story Prize Notable Books

Frank O’Connor Award longlist
“Booth’s Ghost” was also a World Fantasy Award finalist.
LA Times Holiday Gift Guide

Table of Contents

The Pelican Bar
Booth’s Ghost
The Last Worders
The Dark
Familiar Birds
Private Grave 9
The Marianas Islands
Halfway People
Standing Room Only
What I Didn’t See
King Rat


“Just gird your soul for some devastating walks on the dark side. As a bonus, the cover on this is fucking AWESOME.”
Book Punks

“One of the pleasures of reading an eclectic collection is being constantly turned around and never knowing what to expect, but trusting the author to pull off the next story. Fowler does so brilliantly, whether chronicling a girl’s life in a brutal reform home or tying together a family history through the stewardship of a homemade submarine. Again and again, Fowler combines the mundane and the extraordinary to produce fiction as imaginative as it is relatable.”
—Mike Beeman, Chamber Four

“Fowler’s stories are gripping and surprising, with multiple pleasures awaiting the reader. Unlike the heroine of “Always,” we do not have unlimited time, but what time we do have is well used by reading—and rereading—What I Didn’t See.”
—Michael Matthew, Belletrista

Locus Recommended Reading

Gripping from the start…. We are can never be sure where we are or what each page might bring. This is eclectic approach to a collection is exciting, and steers us away from the safer approach that many other collections take.
The Short Review

“[Fowler] refuses to engage fantastic elements in an expected way, often confining them to the edges of a story, leaving the choice of how real a character’s perception is to the reader. Her work reflects how strange and unpredictable life is, how difficult–perhaps impossible–to fully understand.”
—Gwenda Bond, Subterranean Online

“Because of this range and because of the plain high literary quality of so many of its stories, What I Didn’t See would provide an excellent introduction to Fowler’s work if you’ve somehow managed to remain unacquainted with it.”
Strange Horizons

“An exceptionally versatile author . . . Fowler has “the best possible combination of imagination and pragmatism,” as she applies unique narratives into carefully crafted structures.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“In all these stories, Fowler (“Sarah Canary,” “The Jane Austen Book Club”) delights in luring her readers from the walks of ordinary life into darker, more fantastical realms. There, as one of her characters remarks, “Your eyes no longer impose any limit on the things you can see.” . . . Fowler’s closing story, “King Rat,” is a masterpiece. Reading more like a personal essay than fiction, it pays eloquent tribute to “the two men I credit with making me a writer.” Here’s a volume that serves as a fine introduction to Fowler, if you haven’t come across her before—and one that will deeply satisfy fans who’ve been with her from the beginning.”
Seattle Times

“One of those writers who can write an almost thoroughly mainstream realistic story and nearly convince us we’re reading SF, or write and SF story and convince us we’re reading mainstream realism.”

“That rare writer who can match the power of her novels with the power of her short stories. She works in the world of myth with great ease. We feel, reading her stories, that we are in our world, but some portion of it that connects vitally with everything else. What happens here is gripping, important, compelling, and often terrifying. Her new collection of stories, ‘What I Didn’t See’ offers readers perfect renderings of a New American Mythos”
Rick Kleffel, The Agony Column

“Karen Joy Fowler takes the short story in directions readers could never anticipate, and her latest collection from the wonderful Small Beer Press, What I Didn’t See: Stories, offers up numerous delights for the smart and creative reader. From the wham-bang start of “The Pelican Bar” to the Hemingway-esque title story, Fowler takes you from the past to the future in stories that feature speculative fiction elements, or are starkly true to life. Cast your preconceived notions aside and settle in to explore the human mysteries Fowler mines with abandon. This is literature at its most intriguing, and a reminder of how bold and daring a gifted writer can be.”
—Colleen Mondor, Bookslut

“The practicality of her views is what makes them upsetting, a reminder how tragedies great and small affect people everyday even if we aren’t privy to them. And that is where Fowler succeeds — even if her brutal boarding houses or Congolese misadventures aren’t real to us, post-traumatic stress disorder is. All of her narrators are survivors, and they tell their stories in blunt, practical ways we imagine they need to protect themselves.”
For Books’ Sakes

“Fowler cements her place in fiction history–genre or otherwise–not because of her fancy tricks but through sheer technique and her excellence in characterization.”
—Charles Tan, Bibliophile Stalker

“Witty and humane.”
Cascadia Subduction Zone

“The bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club goes genre-busting in this engrossing and thought-provoking set of short stories that mix history, sci-fi, and fantasy elements with a strong literary voice. Whether examining the machinations of a Northern California cult, in “Always,” or a vague but obviously horrific violent act in the eerie title story, the PEN/Faulkner finalist displays a gift for thrusting familiar characters into bizarre, off-kilter scenarios. Fowler never strays from the anchor of human emotion that makes her characters so believable, even when chronicling the history of epidemics, ancient archeological digs, single family submersibles, or fallen angels. She even displays a keen understanding of the historical world around Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, in two wonderfully realized historical pieces. Her writing is sharp, playful, and filled with insights into the human condition. The genre shifts might surprise fans of her mainstream hit, but within these pages they’ll find familiar dramas and crises that entertain, illuminate, and question the reality that surrounds us.”
Publishers Weekly

“These stories, characterized by obsession, disappearance, and revelation, often feature first-person narrators—e.g., the smart, sarcastic resident of a cult whose leader promises immortality but forbids sex with anyone but himself; John Wilkes Booth; a druggy teenage girl whose parents have foisted her off in the name of tough love; a woman who accompanies her husband on a jungle mission (what she did or didn’t see feels like a riff on Joseph Conrad); and an expert on historical and contemporary instances of the bubonic plague. Fowler’s previous short story collection, “Black Glass”, won the World Fantasy Award. Several stories here also fall within the realm of fantasy and sf, having appeared for the first time in publications like “Asimov’s Science Fiction”. However, Fowler is surely best known today as the author of “The Jane Austen Book Club”, a novel in which we learn, among other things, that sf readers and Austenites have more in common than we might think. VERDICT In these captivating stories, Fowler’s discerning eye makes the incredible feel entirely credible.”
Library Journal

Praise for Karen Joy Fowler:

“No contemporary writer creates characters more appealing, or examines them with greater acuity and forgiveness.”
—Michael Chabon

“Fowler’s witty writing is a joy to read.”
USA Today

“Stories that engage and enchant.”
San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle

“She has a voice like no other, lyrical, shrewd and addictive, with a quiet deadpan humor that underlies almost every sentence.”
—Beth Gutcheon, Newsday

“What strikes one first is the voice: robust, sly, witty, elegant, unexpected and never boring.”
—Margot Livesey, The New York Times Book Review

“Arresting . . . each piece puts us on notice in its own way that an intriguing intelligence is at work.”
The Boston Globe

“Unforgettable . . . incandescent . . . bewitching.”
Los Angeles Times Book Review

Karen Joy Fowler is the author of six novels, including We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Wit’s End, and The Jane Austen Book Club, which spent thirteen weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, was a New York Times Notable Book, and was adapted as a major motion picture from Sony Pictures. Her novel Sister Noon was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and her short-story collection Black Glass won the World Fantasy Award. She has co-edited three volumes of The James Tiptree Award Anthology. Fowler and her husband, who have two grown children, live in Santa Cruz, California.

These stories were originally published as follows:

The Pelican Bar, Eclipse 3, 2009
Booth’s Ghost appears here for the first time.
The Last Worders, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet 20, 2007
The Dark, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 1991
Always, Asimov’s Science Fiction, April-May 2007
Familiar Birds, Journal of Mythic Arts, Spring 2006
Private Grave 9, McSweeney’s Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales, 2003
The Marianas Islands, Intersections: The Sycamore Hill Anthology, 1996
Halfway People, My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, 2010
Standing Room Only, Asimov’s Science Fiction, August 1997
What I Didn’t See, SciFiction, 2002
King Rat, Trampoline, 2003

Author photo by Beth Gwinn.
Hardcover collage by Erica Harris.
Paperback cover art by Kathleen Jennings.

Previous Readings:

Oct. 7, 7 PM, Copperfields, Santa Rosa, CA
Oct. 11, 7 PM, Moe’s Books, Berkeley, CA — check out their new site with the lovely ad for Karen’s reading on the front page!
Oct. 15, NCIBA, Oakland, CA (Friday evening Author Reception)
Oct. 16, SF in SF (with Claude Lalumière), San Francisco, CA
Oct. 19, Capitola Book Cafe, Capitola, CA
Oct. 21, read. booksellers, Danville, CA
Nov. 5, 7 PM, Vroman’s Bookstore, Pasadena, CA

Editing for clarity

Thu 16 Sep 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

David Moles and 100s of others point out that there are crazy people on the internets trying to tell everyone else that this country is only for people like them. Er. Wrong. David and a few others also mention that pointing this stuff out is important. I generally am not very good at speaking out when the batshitedness raises its head, but thought perhaps I should start. I was especially sad to see that the 521 comments (thus far) were deleted. Pronouncements: apparently ok! Conversations: Not so much!

So here is part of Ms. Moon’s post, edited for clarity:

I do not dispute that there are moderate, even liberal, [PEOPLE UNLIKE ME], that many [PEOPLE UNLIKE ME] have all the virtues of civilized persons and are admirable in all those ways.  I am totally, 100%, appalled at those who want to burn the [HOLY BOOK UNLIKE MY HOLY BOOK] (which, by the way, I have read in [MY LANGUAGE, NOT YOURS, OK] translation, with the same attention I’ve given to other holy books) or throw paint on [HOLY BUILDINGS THAT I DON’T WANT IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD] or beat up [PEOPLE UNLIKE ME].  But [PEOPLE UNLIKE ME] fail to recognize how much [SHIT I’VE HAD TO PUT UP WITH FROM PEOPLE UNLIKE ME] forbearance they’ve had.

New Geoff Ryman + new editions

Wed 15 Sep 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 10 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

We are very proud and happy to announce that in November we will publish Geoff Ryman’s new collection of stories, Paradise Tales. It is a huge, excellent book of short (and long!) stories collected from 20+ years of Geoff’s career. You can readShould be one of the best, most thought provoking collections of the year. The cover that you might have seen on Powell’s or Indiebound isn’t final: we’ll have that to unveil in the coming weeks.

We’ll also announce a blog giveaway for advance copies to those who might be inspired to write about the book (we’ll make sure to send a copy to the Rev. Jones in Gainesville!) and there should be a few stories appearing on the web to whet your appetite. Geoff’s stories are fantastic explorations of what it means to be human and we can’t wait to get them out there.

You can see the Table of Contents here. We’ve just added Paradise Tales to the preorder page—at some point soon we’re going to shift all our ebook links to Weightless which will mean we can use the shipping widget in Paypal. In the meantime, continued apologies to international readers: please remember to add shipping.

This is the second Geoff Ryman book we’re going to publish—but it won’t be the last! We just signed contracts to bring three of Geoff’s books back into print: The Child Garden, a biopunk future London novel with a love story between a woman and a piano playing polar bear(!), Was, which explores the book and the writing of The Wizard of Oz from many angles, and lastly Geoff’s previous novella collection, The Unconquered Country. Look for one of these every six months or so—which means The Child Garden will be out in May!

Interfictions 2—where are the paranormal cowboy romances?

Wed 15 Sep 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Two reviewers look at Interfictions 2 and wonder whether interstitial is a reading protocol, a limitation, or . . . what? Is every story interstitial as Paul Di Filippo suggests in Asimov’s?

Imagine that you reprinted the entire contents selected by editors Delia Sherman and Christopher Barzak, but without any identifying matter as to its origins, and then wrapped it inside covers labeled Eclipse 3, or The Solaris Book of New Fantasy, or the January/February issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, or even The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories for 2010. Then you gave this camouflaged book to any literate yet unsuspecting reader. Would the nominated reader, after carefully perusing X number of stories, look up and say, “Wait one darn minute! These hybrid stories are too odd for their genre label! I’m really reading interstitial fiction! Not pure fantasy or pure SF or pure mimetic fiction, as advertised!

Paul goes on to ask:

One final thought experiment. The interstices explored in this volume are exclusively those between literary fiction and SF/Fantasy. Where are the stories that lie in the uncanny valleys between, say, the espionage and nurse genres, the western and the paranormal romance?

and over at The Short Review Steven Wingate likes the book . . .

Many of the stories have a devil-may-care brio to them—the verve of knowing that their experiments might not hold completely together—and that gives the book a freshness and insouciance that many “best of”-type anthologies don’t have.

and asks the same question:

There are many interstices in the world of fiction; claiming just one as “interstitial fiction” may help gain territory for one group of writers on the cusp between the mainstream and the speculative, but what does it do for those writers who labor at one of many, many other fault lines?

Since the IAF emerged from the sf&f field, it may be natural for it to have some bent toward that genre but the stories in Interfictions 2 came from an open submission period so the answer to the above question is either in the editors’ preferences or in the population that submitted work. One of the simplest yet hardest part of editing is that you can only publish what you’re sent. Gordon Van Gelder has a great take on this. He advises writers not to edit his magazine: in other words, don’t think you know what he wants, send your story along and let him decide.

And now the book is out, it’s up to the readers to decide!

Last Week; This.

Mon 6 Sep 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Last week: found a postcard on the street for a band called A Sunny Day in Glasgow. Well that can be some rare thing so had to check them out. They have a fun—weather inappropriate—video filmed in New Orleans.

This week: prep for Sunday which is the Brooklyn Book Festival—come on by and say hi!

We could take a week in reviews like last week any time. Just in case you were worried and thought you should call your friends at Good Morning America and maybe Terri Gross or Jon Stewart and say, “Hey, you know, I think Small Beer needs a bit of down time. Why don’t you cover the Boring Blockbuster of the Week this week instead?” because, really, we don’t need you to do that. We love it! Bring it on!

Julia Holmes’s Meeks got a total dream review in the New York Times Book Review and then was an Editor’s Choice this week. Swoony! Also, Julia was interviewed on Portland’s Reading Local and picked 5 Recent Reads for Impose Magazine.

Then this week A Life on Paper and Redemption in Indigo were in Jeff VanderMeer’s Science Fiction Chronicle (hope this becomes a regular feature)—see more below.

With that review and us bringing some stock back to the office for the Book Festival both of our debut novels, Meeks and Redemption in Indigo, have shipped out their first printing—Whoop de do! (Ok, so go on: order the Alasdair Gray!)

A Life on Paper got a handful of great reviews this week—we’re hoping to publish more of Edward Gauvin’s excellent translations of Châteaureynaud. All these people agree:

“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

“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

You can get a great taste of Karen Lord’s Redemption in Indigo from her set of readings taped on launch night. From the pictures and so on it looks like a fun night and the readers were great. I had them on in the background and enjoyed their take on the book.

“A clever, exuberant mix of Caribbean and Senegalese influences that balances riotously funny set pieces (many involving talking insects) with serious drama initiated by meddlesome supernatural beings.”
New York Times

That’s it for now. Back at some point with more on the Brooklyn Book Fest, a Steampunk! update, some reprint news from Kelly, and so on und so weiter.

Award Season: Hugos

Mon 6 Sep 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Congratulations to all the nominees and the winners!

However, once more the mens are the big winners. As with the World Fantasy Awards they need help with finding women artists to even be nominated.

Quick count has the winners as:

  • 20 men
  • 5 women

Scribd crazy

Mon 6 Sep 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | 3 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Ok, so, went a bit Scribd crazy the other night. Had to do something while watching the bairn sleep.

First I put up an excerpt from A Working Writer’s Daily Planner 2011. Last year I put up March, this year I decided to make it simple and put up January. Last year’s sample was very popular, hope this one is too. Then I added the ebook to Weightless—only $4.99!

Then I put up excerpts for two of our upcoming books:

Karen Joy Fowler, What I Didn’t See and Other Stories
—which is shipping, baby, shipping! And we’re still adding (mostly California) events to Karen’s schedule.

Kathe Koja, Under The Poppy
—and this one is at the printer and ships out in October. Events—KGB Bar, Ann Arbor, Detroit, WFC—being added here, too.

And! I added a handful of LCRWs to their ebook store—we sell much more at Weightless or RudeGorilla.com or Fictionwise than we have at Scribd, but still, it’s a good and easy place for people—there are tons of international readers who use it—to check things out. Besides, adding stuff was easy!

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 21 ebook

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 20 ebook

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 19 ebook

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 18 ebook

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 16 ebook