A Life in Pictures

Wed 27 Oct 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

A Life in PicturesIt’s been a huge week for Alasdair Gray—in more ways than one.

A new book of his art, A Life in Pictures, has come out (can’t wait to get a copy), there’s an exhibition of sketches from the book in Edinburgh, and it was announced that Gray will be creating a mural in one of Glasgow’s subway stations “based the on the panaromic view of Hillhead used in an illustration for his novel, Old Men in Love.” You can see a clip of him on the Scottish news here.

If you’re in Glasgow (hello Ross!) don’t miss Irregular, a night at Oran Mor with:

Alasdair Gray, Liz Lochhead, Louise Welsh and David Shrigley. Music from Roddy Woomble, Lord Cut-Glass and My Latest Novel.

Would that we could go!

The Graniaud has a lovely slideshow of a few pieces of Gray’s art as well as Gray writing on three different pieces of art and how they came about.

Old Men in Love is a huge patchwork novel with three narrative strands and an absolutely fascinating interstitial story. It was without a doubt one of the most complicated books we’ve ever published. It’s in two colors (colours, really), throughout, and includes three double page plates like the one of Hillhead mentioned above. You can preview the book on Scribd and get your copy here.

Holiday book list

Wed 27 Oct 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Just in case you were wanting a handy all-in-one flier to take with you to your local indie bookshop, we happen to have one right here!

Since we love all of these books, the suggestions for who should get which book are obviously tongue-in-cheek and should not be taken too seriously. However, the Small Beer-books-as-gifts suggestion should be taken as seriously as your checkbook can stand!

Best Books for the Holidays

New LCRW is coming—do we know where you live?

Mon 25 Oct 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Go on, if you’ve moved, send us a COA. A cola? Meh! A change of address, por favor. Also, resubscribe! Or, get a singleton. LCRW PDF ebook subs might be available by the end of the year. We’ll see. We did a whole lot of LCRW ebook converting to various formats and the PDF is still the most popular.

Anyway. The new issue of LCRW is about to go out. Now! No, not really. More like next week. So you still have time to run out and ask your postie where you live and then send us a postcard (or an email) if it has changed since May since last we sent excellent fiction &c your way. (Did you see Tor.com’s lovely review of that previous ish?)

What’s TK in the new issue? Fantastic cover art by Sarah Goldstein and then . . . there are huge stories and tiny stories from the usual exciting mix of writers we’ve heard of and writers new to us. Just love that we get such a mix of writers in the zine. But we’re very sorry that we’re reading so slowly. Some of these stories we’ve had for years. We thought we might get 3 issues of LCRW out this year and catch up. Ha, I say to that. Ha, and again and again but that’s enough as it’s no longer funny. We are determined to catch up, as we usually do, by new year. Not so far away!

Stories! Patty Houston, Carlea Holl-Jensen, Rahul Kanakia, Veronica Schanoes, Sean Melican, Jenny Terpsichore Abeles, J. M. McDermott.

There is another lovely nonfiction piece from Ted Chiang, “Reasoning about the Body”—we’re trying to persuade him to be our science columnist. Our actual columnist, Gwenda Bond, returns with the “Dangers of Hibernation Edition” of Dear Aunt Gwenda. You will be glad you asked.

And we have a little poetry! Five poems from Lindsay Vella and two from none other than Darrell Schweitzer.

That’s it. There are chocolate bars to buy (any suggestions?), letters to send, babies to play with, letters to kern, and chocolate to eat. But not babies to send and chocolate to kern. And next week it all goes out to you and you and you and reviewers and shops and so on and we get to sit back, put the kettle on, and see what’s come in the mail.

Things to do. Things that happened.

Tue 19 Oct 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

The Boston Book Fair was a ton of fun—thanks to everyone who stopped by. Most of whom, of course, didn’t know us. At some point we really must publish a small book on beer. The hit of the day was definitely the Working Writer’s Daily Planner which made me think maybe I should just set up at stalls at writerly conferences and fairs all over the country and forget about these book things. But happily there were enough readers that we sold some books, too. And that’s despite the high winds. At one point I was attacked by a mini-twister that blew everything on The Common‘s side of the booth all over the place. The Common is a new journal for everyone to subscribe to. Go on, might as well! They’re into the fictions, the poetries, and the images—aha, something different!—and their editorial angle is “a sense of place.” I didn’t get to Kelly’s panel (and neither did some others as it was full!) but reports are that it went well. With luck we’ll be back next year.

Ok, so: if you’re in the Santa Cruz area tonight, there’s only one thing to do: go see Karen Joy Fowler. She will also be in Danville on Thursday (1o/21). Those in LA have to wait until 11/5 when she will be at Vroman’s.

You can (and should, it’s great) listen to Rick Kleffel and Karen’s lovely conversation on the Agony Column. (links to MP3). Rick also reviews the book:

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.

Yesterday Cory Doctorow BoingBoinged the heck out of Under the Poppy:

This book made me drunk. Koja’s language is at its poetic best, and the epic drama had me digging my nails into my palms. It’s like a Tom Waits hurdy-gurdy loser’s lament come to life, as sinister as a dark circus.

The multi-format ebook version is available now. The book has arrived from the printer and it is so heavy! We compared it to another recent hardcover and it was about twice as heavy. Maybe we should use lighter paper?

Talking of ebooks, Weightless continues apace: we added a single-title publisher: Sator Press! Plus, Featherproof titles are onsale. And so on.

If you’re in the Boston area, tonight Kelly will be at the Literary Death Match! (Me, I’ll be babysitting.)

The World SF Blog introduces you to Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud.

And, we have copies of Meeks in stock in the office. Everywhere else will be getting new stock in soon. Turns out if you publish a lovely book with French flaps, then it will take a little more time for the reprint to get done.

That’s most of what’s going on. Time, methinks, to go back to sleep!

Stories of Your Life and Others

Tue 19 Oct 2010 - Filed under: Books, Ted Chiang | 4 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

October 2010 · 9781931520720 · trade paperback/ebook

June 2016: Now available in a New York Times bestselling edition from Vintage.

The title story was made into the Oscar-winning Major Motion Picture Arrival starring Amy Adams, directed by Denis Villeneuve, from a script by Eric Heisserer.

A new edition of Ted Chiang’s masterful first collection, Stories of Your Life and Others, which includes his first eight published stories plus the author’s story notes and a cover the author commissioned himself. Combining the precision and scientific curiosity of Kim Stanley Robinson with Lorrie Moore’s cool, clear love of language and narrative intricacy, this award-winning collection offers readers the dual delights of the very, very strange and the heartbreakingly familiar.

Stories of Your Life and Others presents characters who must confront sudden change—the inevitable rise of automatons or the appearance of aliens—while striving to maintain some sense of normalcy.

In the amazing and much-lauded title story, “Story of Your Life,” a grieving mother copes with divorce and the death of her daughter by drawing on her knowledge of alien languages and non-linear memory recollection.

“Liking What You See: A Documentary,” which was new for this collection, is a clever pastiche of news reports and interviews which chronicles a college’s initiative to “turn off” the human ability to recognize beauty.

With sharp intelligence and humor, Chiang examines what it means to be alive in a world marked by uncertainty and constant change, and also by beauty and wonder. Stories in this collection received the following awards: the Nebula (3), Hayakawa (3), Seiun (2), Sturgeon, Hugo, Locus, and  Sidewise Award.

Read: Ted Chiang is profiled in The New Yorker.

Ted Chiang is profiled in the California Sunday Magazine:The Perfectionist

Praise for Stories of Your Life and Others:

“Shining, haunting, mind-blowing tales . . . this collection is a pure marvel. Chiang is so exhilarating so original so stylish he just leaves you speechless. I always suggest a person read at least 52 books a year for proper mental functioning but if you only have time for one, be at peace: you found it.”
—Junot Díaz (author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao)

“Meticulously pieced together, utterly thought through, Chiang’s stories emerge slowly . . . but with the perfection of slow-growing crystal.”
—Lev Grossman, Best of the Decade: Science Fiction and Fantasy, Techland.com

“Science fiction is a genre that often works well off the page. Spaceships and robots are just as thrilling on screen as in books. But Mr Chiang’s approach is irreplaceable. His stories mirror the process of scientific discovery: complex ideas emerge from the measured, methodical accumulation of information until epiphany strikes. . . . The best science fiction inspires awe for the natural properties of the universe; it renders the fundamentals of science poignant and affecting. Mr Chiang’s writing manages all of this. He deserves to be more widely read.”
The Economist, Prospero blog

“Throughout all his work, though no more so than in “Story of Your Life,” you can feel his months of removing sentences from his stories. Perhaps that he writes so little does something good for him, or maybe it’s just that he doesn’t write enough.”
—Choire Sicha, The Millions

“In Chiang’s hands, SF really is the ‘literature of ideas’ it is often held to be, and the genre’s traditional “sense of wonder” is paramount. But though one reads Stories of Your Life with a kind of thematic nostalgia for classic philosophical SF such as that of Asimov and Theodore Sturgeon, the collection never feels dated. Partly this is because the “wonder” of these stories is a modern, melancholy transcendence, not the naive ‘50s dreams of the genre’s golden age. More important, the collection is united by a humane intelligence that speaks very directly to the reader, and makes us experience each story with immediacy and Chiang’s calm passion.”
—China Mieville, The Guardian

“Ted is a national treasure . . . each of those stories is a goddamned jewel.”
—Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing

“Newly reissued by Small Beer Press, the stories range widely in time, subject and style but are united by a patient but ruthless fascination with the limits of knowledge.”
—Ed Park, Los Angeles Times

“Chiang is the real deal. His debut collection, Stories of Your Life and Others is one of the finest collections of short fiction I have read in the last decade. These tales possess the imaginative frisson that is a trademark of the best conceptual fiction, but, also bespeak a confident prose style and a willingness to take chances in tone and narrative structure.”
—Ted Gioia, Conceptual Fiction

“This collection of short stories deserves constant re-introduction. Ted Chiang narrows the broad line between fiction and science fiction by taking a scalpel to “normal,” transforming it in ways that will blow your mind and challenge your beliefs. It’s a breathless ride.”
—Capitola Book Cafe

Dreams & Speculations · Fantasy Literature.

“Chiang’s work confirms that blending science and fine art at this length can produce touching works, tales as intimate as our own blood cells, with the structural strength of just-discovered industrial alloys.”
The Seattle Times

“Summarizing these stories does not do justice to Chiang’s talent. Seemingly ordinary ideas are pursued ruthlessly, their tendons flayed, their bones exposed. Chiang derides lazy thinking, weasels it out of its hiding place, and leaves it cowering.”
The Washington Post

“Essential. You won’t know SF if you don’t read Ted Chiang.”
—Greg Bear

“Chiang writes seldom, but his almost unfathomably wonderful stories tick away with the precision of a Swiss watch—and explode in your awareness with shocking, devastating force.”
Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“The first must-read SF book of the year.”
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“He puts the science back in science fiction—brilliantly.”
Booklist (Starred Review)

These stories were originally published as follows:
“Tower of Babylon,” Omni, 1990
“Understand,” Asimov’s, 1991
“Division by Zero,” Full Spectrum 3, 1991
“Story of Your Life,” Starlight 2, 1998
“Seventy-Two Letters,” Vanishing Acts, 2000
“The Evolution of Human Science,” Nature, 2000
“Hell is the Absence of God,” Starlight 3, 2001
“Liking What You See: A Documentary,” Stories of Your Life and Others, 2002

Cover art © Shelley Eshkar.

Stories of Your Life was originally published in 2002 by Tor.

This edition:
1st printing, October 2010
2nd printing, February 2011
3rd printing, July 2012
4th printing, November 2013
5th printing, January 2015

About the Author

Ted Chiang was born in Port Jefferson, New York and holds a degree in computer science from Brown University. In 1989 he attended the Clarion Writers Workshop. His fiction has won three Hugos, four Nebulas, three Locus awards, the John W. Campbell, and Sturgeon awards. He lives near Seattle, Washington.

Ted Chiang does not have a website. Contact queries can be sent to his agent:

Kirby Kim
Janklow & Nesbit
445 Park Avenue, 13th Floor
New York, NY 10022
[email protected]

Boston Book Fest is this Saturday

Thu 14 Oct 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

and we’d love to see you there! We have new books and will be there 10 – 6.

And: Kelly is on Kate Bernheimer’s fairy tale panel at 3 PM with Maria Tatar and Kathryn Davis in celebration of the huge new anthology, My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me. Kelly just got her copy yesterday and it’s a fabulous looking book. There are 40 stories, including many originals, from peeps such as Shelley Jackson, Kevin Brockmeier, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, Joy Williams, Aimee Bender, and, you know, 35 others! The cover art and design is by house fave Julie Morstad.

At the book fest, we will be sharing a booth with the completely new journal (which will be launched next year), The Common, from Amherst College. They’re open for submissions and seeking “stories, poems, essays, and dispatches that embody a strong sense of place.” You can download Issue Zero here.

You can find us and The Common at booth 26. Other exhibitors include the fine folk at One Story, Godine, and Zephyr Press, a couple of our favorite bookshops, Brookline Booksmith and the Raven, as well as Oxfam, WBUR and WGBH, Redivider, 826 Boston, and some food trucks—yum! Wish Yoma were providing the food. Maybe next year! Maybe we will bring banh mi (shades of the Brooklyn Book Fest).

If all goes well, Kelly and I will be bringing Ursula along. We can’t get a nurse for the day (eek!) so Kelly and I will be juggling looking after her (she is 18 months old and wants to do stuff!). I’m not quite sure how that will work with Kelly’s panel. Anyone want to step in from 3-4PM and help shill will be appreciated.

Lastly: two new titles, Under the Poppy and A Working Writer’s Daily Planner 2011, just arrived at the office so they will be debuting at the book fest.

Apparently it will be sunny and breezy. If that’s true, that will be a mild improvement on the rain rain rain at last month’s Brooklyn Book Fest. See you in Copley Square!

ETA: We have a nurse for Ursula for Saturday so she will only be making an appearance early in the morning during set up!

Kelly + the Literary Death Match

Fri 8 Oct 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

(Ganked wholesale from the Literary Death Match site.)

LDM100: October 19, 2010

Save a few bucks – buy tickets now!

One of the all-time great lineups in Literary Death Match history takes center stage at Enormous Room in Cambridge, as our epic LDM100 celebration touches down for its fifth stop on the eastern seaboard.

The megastar judging trio boasts PEN/Hemingway award-winning author Jennifer Haigh (Mrs. Kimble, The Condition), author/mastermind of fun Steve Almond (Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life) and comedian-for-the-people Steve Macone.

They’ll pass judgment on a truly brilliant quartet of scribes, including poet brillianteur Charles Coe (author of Picnic on the Moon), Hugo award-winner Kelly Link (Stranger Things Happen), Iowa Short Fiction Prize champ Elizabeth Searle (Celebrities in Disgrace) and star novellaist Tim Horvath (Circulation).

Hosted by LDM creator Todd Zuniga & designer/funambulist Kirsten Sims.

Where: Enormous Room, 569 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge (map)
When: Doors open at 7:00 pm, show starts at 8:15 (sharp)
Cost: $7 pre-order, $5 for students with a valid student ID, $10 at the door

NOTE: No one under 21 years old will be admitted.

Let Dear Aunt Gwenda settle your mind

Fri 8 Oct 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 5 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Don’t agonize over whether to do this or that, over whether non-US corporations should be able to donate to the US Chamber of Commerce to fund their political ads, or whether you should walk up the stairs or take the elevator, ask Dear Aunt Gwenda!

Now is the time and here (or by email) is the place to send us your questions, your wonders, your inquiries for inquiring minds, your inexplicabilities, for Dear Aunt Gwenda to explicate in the next LCRW.

Coming soon!

So why do we care so much where people buy books?

Thu 7 Oct 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Well, here’s one reason we mull over now and then:

After various discounts and our excellent distro‘s cut, Small Beer Press usually receives 33.375% of the cover price when you buy a book from RudeGorilla.com.

So: should we cut the author’s royalty in half the way our contract says we can? (The way other publishers do for books we’ve sold them.)

On a paperback the author royalty would be 4-5%. ($0.64 – $0.80 on a $16 paperback.)

On a hardcover the author’s royalty would be 5-7.5%. ($1.20 – $1.80 on a $24 book.)

Sucks, doesn’t it?I don’t think we should do it but 33.375% doesn’t give us a hell of a lot of money to pay everyone else with. Ho hum, on with the show.

And, in the meantime: not so random Powell’s link!

A Working Writer’s Daily Planner 2011

Tue 5 Oct 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | 4 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

October 2010 · 9781931520676 · Spiral bound/ebook · 6 x 9 · 160 pp · Excerpt on Scribd

The perfect supplement to any writer’s life, this new edition of A Working Writer’s Daily Planner is even better than before, packed with more of the information writers need to organize their work schedules, track upcoming deadlines, and learn about grant opportunities, contests, and workshop programs. For 2011 we turned to those who know best what writers want—writers themselves—and asked them what resources they’d find most useful. The result is a unique and indispensable tool that makes it easy for writers to keep track of the practical, business end of writing, leaving more time for them to actually spend writing.

If you’re a writer, you’ll immediately see the advantage of gathering so much information into one spiral-bound compendium: application deadlines are built right into the calendar, along with spotlights on writing markets and helpful online resources. You’ll also find information on How to Find a Writing Group – Or Start Your Own, writing conferences, advice on formatting manuscripts, suggested readings, and the dos and don’ts of submitting your work to journals, magazines, and literary agents. If there’s a writer in your life, this calendar will make the perfect gift.

And because every professional writer needs distractions, we’ll sneak in peculiar tales of the writing life, plenty of inspiring art and photos, writing prompts, and, as always, a few surprises too.

Table of Contents

How to Format a Manuscript
Book Festivals
The Editorial Assistant — Rebecca Isherwood
How to Find a Writing Group — Ben Francisco
Debut Author Interview: N.K. Jemisin — Kelly Link
Younger Writers
State Arts Grants
Story Idea Generation — Kelly Link
What I Know About Writing — Geoffrey Goodwin
Future Planning
Science Fiction & Fantasy Corner
A Few Random Magazines
Further Resources
CLMP Contest Code of Ethics
Contest and Award Fees
How to End a Story — Nick Mamatas
Submission Tracker

Reading Lists
11 Poets You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Read — Kristin Evans
A Summer Reading List — Samantha Guilbert
Tales of Love and Darkness — Kristin Evans
Reading as a Writer — Kelly Link

Writing Prompts and Exercises
A Place to be Inspired
A Play on Words
Five Memoir Writing Prompts — Geoffrey Goodwin
Genre Musical Chairs
Fifty First Sentences

Photo and Illustration Credits

Lawrence Schimel, H.N. JamesAmal El-Mohtar, Mari Cheng, Rebecca Isherwood, Greg McElhatton, Kelly Link, Graeme Williams, E. Catherine Tobler, Fred Coppersmith, National Library of Scotland, Richard Butner, Alex Dally McFarlane, Claire Massey, Davida Gypsy Breier, Austin Cheng, Kristine Paulus, Samantha Guilbert, Lorna E. Carlson.


Thanks to everyone who worked, helped, or contributed, including: Kelly Link, Jedediah Berry, Michael J. DeLuca, Kristen Evans, Christi Jacques, Su-Yee Lin, Diana Cao, Samantha Guilbert, Rebecca Isherwood, Ben Francisco, Abram Thau, Geoffrey Goodwin, Nick Mamatas, and some few others.

Reader reaction to A Working Writer’s Daily Planner 2010:

“I know some writers who have spent many, many hours trying to figure out the ins and outs of residency programs, grant applications and even MFA programs in creative writing. A lot of that work is done for you here, with those deadlines detailed and looming some time before their due dates.
“With the extra time, there are writing prompts, if you should feel so inclined. And as the weeks tick by—it’s done in a weekly format, with space every day to write in appointments, or word counts or whatnot—you’ll see more and more writers’ birthdays, prompting you to, you know, get back to writing.”
Los Angeles Times

“Each week is given a full page with enough space to jot down interview times, for example, or to make note of those awful looming deadlines…. But there’s much more in here than the birth dates of writers who are far more famous than most of us will ever be. The facing pages are packed with information about writers’ residencies, writing prizes and awards in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, writing fellowships, writing prompts and exercises, practical tips on formatting manuscripts and links to writing blogs and other online resources—and words of inspiration.”
The Daily Hampshire Gazette

“Oh, how I wish I’d had this from the beginning of the year.”
—C.R., May 2010
A Working Writer’s Daily Planner 2011 Excerpt

Typos discovered so far: Hallowe’en is listed as Sunday Oct. 30, when it should by Monday, Oct 31.
Typo spotting help (with any of our books) is always appreciated.