We’re Preparing Our Electronic Feast

Fri 28 Oct 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Julie

Next week Mike, Gavin and I will be hosting the very first Small Beer Press, multi-state, chili-beer tasting, and it’s all going to be captured on audio for episode 4 of the Small Beer podcast.

The fabulous Tru Beer here in Easthampton donated a few bottles of  Left Hand Brewing’s Fade to Black Pepper Porter.  It’s brewed with Serrano, Chipolte and Ancho chili peppers. I, personally, am more than a little afraid.  Let’s be honest here; I’m terrified.

To go with the beer, I’m also picking up some Day of the Dead bread from Bread Euphoria. Love your local businesses is our motto here at Small Beer Press. And, really, how could we not when they create bread people with folded arms and little raisin eyes?

All this and some fine Mexican fiction. Episode 4 is going to be fantastic. With luck, we’ll have pictures to post along with the podcast.

Small Beer Podcast 2: In Which Julie Reads a Story by J. M. McDermott

Thu 27 Oct 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Julie

Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet No. 26Who doesn’t love Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet? I shipped issue number twenty-six on my very first day here at Small Beer. In honor of that moment, and of all the damn good fiction inside, this week’s podcast is a story taken from that issue, “Death’s Shed” by J.M. McDermott.

Episode 2: Death’s Shed by J.M. McDermott as read by Julie Day of Small Beer Press.

Tune back in next week as Mike DeLuca and Julie Day discuss Weightless Books, Mexican speculative fiction and Mike’s home-brewing techniques. The week after that: beer!

Subscribe to the Small Beer podcast in iTunes or using the service of your choice:

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Maureen F. McHugh & David Moles in conversation

Wed 26 Oct 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

After the Apocalypse cover - click to view full sizeThis week we’re very proud to publish Maureen F. McHugh’s second collection of short stories, After the Apocalypse.

To celebrate, we asked another of our favorite writers, David Moles, to interview Maureen. The two of them sat down recently in LA and then sent us the results of their chat:

David Moles: So, we’re sitting here in sunny Culver City—

Maureen McHugh: Sunny Culver City. In my little apartment, which I love.

Where should we start? I think we should talk about the book.


At some point.

Let me see, I’ve got a copy—hold on.

Oh, that’s gorgeous.

Isn’t it gorgeous?

That’s really nice.

It’s a thin book, it’s thinner than Mothers and Other Monsters. I think it’s got about the same number of stories, but a couple of the stories were much longer in Mothers and Other Monsters.

So how did this come about?

Read more

If it’s Tuesday we must have that promised interview . . .

Wed 26 Oct 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Except it’s Wednesday, and the promised interview never ran. What happened?

Er, I completely forgot we had a trip to Boston planned for Tuesday. So off we went early in the AM and back we came late in the PM. And, oops, forgot to post the interview. So, it will be up RSN. Which I have learned from Sarah Smith means Real Soon Now.

Buy local

Wed 26 Oct 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

No, really. We’re hearing and reading about a number of bookshops that need people to think about where they put their buying monies if they’re going to be around for more than the next year or so.

If you want to be able to stop in and browse in your local bookshop—or go out and do some bookstore tourism—then put your money into a local bookstore. The gaping maws of the big boxes will still be there online or outside of town no matter what you do. All I’m asking is that if you order books online or in person, think local.

We sell our books through every channel: some of them I’m happier about dealing with than others. (If we took our books our of some channels there are some readers who would never hear about them at all. Darn it.) We link to Powell’s (a big indie) and the Broadside Bookshop—a local indie who approached us with the idea of showcasing our books so now you can get every single title we have in print, including all our backlist, there. You can even get your ebooks there. Yeah!

After the Apocalypse

Tue 25 Oct 2011 - Filed under: Books | 4 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

November 2011 (third printing: Sept. 2012) · 9781931520294 · $16 · 200pp · trade paper/ebook

Shirley Jackson Award winner
Publishers Weekly
Top 10 Books of 2011

NPR Best Books of 2012
io9 Best SF&F Books of 2011
Tiptree Award Honor List
Philip K. Dick Award finalist
Story Prize Notable Book
Rights sold: Italy (Il Saggiatore), Poland (REPLIKA), Slovak (Tatran).

After the Apocalypse is what a story collection should be: urgent, various, all of a piece. Whether she’s writing about disease or dirty bombs or refugee camps in Canada, McHugh focuses always on those people who suffer first and suffer most when things fall apart.”
—Aaron Thier, The Nation

“Each tale is a beautifully written character study. . . . McHugh’s great talent is in reminding us that the future could never be weirder — or sadder — than what lurks in the human psyche. This is definitely one of the best works of science fiction you’ll read this year, or any thereafter.”
—Annalee Newitz, NPR

The apocalypse was yesterday. These stories are today.

Following up on her first collection, Story Prize finalist Maureen F. McHugh explores the catastrophes, small and large, of twenty-first century life—and what follows after. What happens after the bird flu pandemic? Are our computers smarter than we are? What does the global economy mean for two young girls in China? Are we really who we say we are? And how will we survive the coming zombie apocalypse?

“An amazing collection.”
—Karen Russell (Vampires of the Lemon Grove)

“The stories in After the Apocalypse will catch many readers off-guard; they’re suspenseful, but they never quite go where you expect them to. The end of the world as we know it will never be the same again.”

“Superb. . . . Against backdrops of sheer terror, Ms. McHugh’s characters insist on investing themselves in flirtations, friendships and jobs. They keep their innocent curiosity for the world even as it falls to pieces.”
Wall Street Journal

Read a story: “The Naturalist” · “The Kingdom of the Blind” · “Useless Things” · “The Effect of Centrifugal Forces” · Read the title story on Storyville.

InterviewsCoode Street Podcast ·  WISB ·  Jessa Crispin, Kirkus Reviews · Apex Magazine · David Moles Maureen F. McHugh in conversation.

Find it on Scribd.

More: Maureen F. McHugh and the Earthquake Kit

“Disturbing but mesmerizing, the stories in After the Apocalypse will creep into your unconscious and haunt you for weeks.”
NPR, Best Science Fiction of 2012

“McHugh brings a subtle grittiness to the end of days. There is no post-apocalyptic glamour in these post-apocalyptic tales.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer

“These nine stories take place in a world that has been ravaged by prion diseases and economic collapse, even as it enters a new age of artificial intelligence and green biotech. You won’t be able to forget the people you meet there.”

“One of the best short story collections I’ve read in the last decade.”
—Chris Moriarty, F&SF

“McHugh’s approach to the apocalypse is oblique, a concern with the personal, the individual or family unit, rather than the devastation that surrounds them…. [T]here are perhaps half a dozen stories that are as powerful as anything you are likely to read this year.”
Strange Horizons

“The best stories in this mesmerizing collection from the L.A. writer are the ones that elude categorization—the struggles of a troubled doll maker in “Useless Things,” the fantasies of an impulsive man in “Going to France.” It’s the ordinary and everyday that we should be afraid of, not the prospect of big explosions and world-ending catastrophes. This is a pro stretching a genre to its limits—subverting, inverting, perverting, disturbing.”
Los Angeles Magazine

“Almost four years ago I read Maureen McHugh’s story “Special Economics,” about the fortunes of a spunky young Chinese girl, and immediately considered it to be the ne plus ultra of hip, wired, globally aware, twenty-first-century SF. I had a chance to peruse it again, thanks to the publication of her new collection, After the Apocalypse, and found the tale just as au courant as ever. SF would not be deemed irrelevant if it were all as good as this. McHugh proves she can deliver zombie shocks (“The Naturalist”), surreal whimsy (“Going to France”), and beautiful mimesis (“Honeymoon”) as well. She’s at the top of her game in these pages.”

“Maureen F. McHugh’s collection of stories is an outstanding solo in the zeitgeist fiction chorus including Gods Without Men (Hari Kunzru) and The Truth and All Its Ugly (Kyle Minor) that at long last begins building the bridge between The Two Cultures invoked by C.P. Snow decades ago. In these stories, despite the title, destruction and despair are not the key motif: survival, even transcendence, is.”
SF Signal

“If you haven’t discovered McHugh yet, After the Apocalypse is a must-have.”
Charles Tan, Bibliophile Stalker

“You aren’t ready for tomorrow until you’ve seen it through McHugh’s observant gaze.”
io9 Best SF&F Books of 2011

“McHugh’s stories function as short films in the way things could go wrong soon, focusing in on a character long enough to make us care, then moving on to the next. By the end, the stories build on each other, creating one of those collections whose theme and execution, make it greater than the sum of its parts. The near future, After the Apocalypse tells us, may be calamitous in many ways, but in the end there will still be people who fear, laugh, cry, work, play, and live.”
SF Site

“Strong characterization, vivid description, emphasis on the mundane courage of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances: these things make all the stories in the volume ring true.”
New York Review of Science Fiction

“Intriguing. . . . If the stories here are anything to go by, author Maureen McHugh thinks we should be very afraid of the future. What awaits us is desolation, meaninglessness, and an abnegation of all progressive values…. These stories are about the life that continues when everything is over.”
The Future Fire

“Hugo-winner McHugh (Mothers & Other Monsters) puts a human face on global disaster in nine fierce, wry, stark, beautiful stories. . . . As McHugh’s entirely ordinary characters begin to understand how their lives have been transformed by events far beyond their control, some shrink in horror while others are “matter of fact as a heart attack,” but there is no suicidal drama, and the overall effect is optimistic: we may wreck our planet, our economies, and our bodies, but every apocalypse will have an “after” in which people find their own peculiar ways of getting by.”
Publishers Weekly (*starred review*)

“Like George Saunders (CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, 1996), McHugh displays an uncanny ability to hook into our prevailing end-of-the-world paranoia and feed it back to us in refreshingly original and frequently funny stories. In these nine apocalyptic tales, people facing catastrophes, from a zombie plague to a fatal illness contracted from eating chicken nuggets, do their best to cope. In “Useless Things,” perhaps the most affecting story in the collection, a resourceful sculptor, worried about drought and money in a time of high unemployment and increasing lawlessness, turns her exquisite crafstmanship to fashioning sex toys and selling them on the Internet with the hope of making enough money to pay her property taxes. In “Honeymoon,” a participant in a medical trial that goes horribly wrong watches in horror as six men are hospitalzed in critical condition; she uses her payment to take a vacation because, when all was said and done, she “wanted to dance. It didn’t seem like a bad choice.” That survival instinct is what makes McHugh’s collection a surprisingly sunny read in spite of the global disasters that threaten at every turn. An imaginative homage to the human ability to endure.”
Booklist (*starred review*)

“All our worst dystopian fears are realized.”
Kirkus Reviews

Interview: Publishers Weekly

Audio rights sold to Recorded Books.

Table of Contents

The Naturalist
Special Economics
Useless Things
The Lost Boy: A Reporter at Large
The Kingdom of the Blind
Going to France
The Effect of Centrifugal Forces
After the Apocalypse

Praise for Maureen F. McHugh:

“Gorgeously crafted stories.”—Nancy Pearl, NPR

“Hauntingly beautiful.”—Booklist

“Unpredictable and poetic work.”—The Plain Dealer

“Poignant and sometimes heartwrenching.”—Publishers Weekly

Maureen F. McHugh has lived in New York; Shijiazhuang, China; Ohio; Austin, Texas; and now lives in Los Angeles, California. She is the author of a Story Prize finalist collection, Mothers & Other Monsters, and four novels, including Tiptree Award-winner China Mountain Zhang and New York Times editor’s choice Nekropolis. McHugh has also worked on alternate reality games for Halo 2, The Watchmen, and Nine Inch Nails, among others.

Monday: chilly fingers

Mon 24 Oct 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Hmm. The heat is out at our office. Our shabby chic building—the Paragon Arts in Easthampton—has 2 furnaces. One for the 1st and 2nd floor. That one is working. The one for the 3rd floor, where, we, so sensibly are, is not. Boo hoo!

At least the electricity—and therefore the kettle—is working.

Anyway, tomorrow, when the furnace guy comes back and fixes things we’ll be celebrating publication of Maureen McHugh’s new book After the Apocalypse by posting an interview Maureen did with one of our fave writers, David Moles.

Did you see the New York Times this weekend? No? Well the best bit was this. A review by Dana Jennings of three short story collections:

By Geoff Ryman
313 pages. Small Beer Press. $16.

The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan (Volume 1)

576 pages. Subterranean Press. $38.

By Tim Powers
170 pages. Tachyon Publications. $14.95.

Almost lovely enough to warm these little fingers!

Small Beer Podcast 1: Delia Sherman and The Freedom Maze

Thu 20 Oct 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | 2 Comments| Posted by: Julie

Delia Sherman is a woman very close to our hearts here at Small Beer Press. To launch our latest podcasting venture, we decided to chat with Delia about her latest book, The Freedom Maze, her Southern roots and the stubborn nature of dreams.

Episode 1: Delia Sherman Discusses Her Latest Book, The Freedom Maze with Julie Day of Small Beer Press.

Oh, and if  the excerpt Delia reads catches your fancy, and we think it will, you can preorder The Freedom Maze right here on the Small Beer site.

This is the first in a two or three month podcasting series.  Tune back in as we discuss everything from yarrow-flavored beer to Mexican speculative fiction.

Subscribe to the Small Beer podcast in iTunes or using the service of your choice:

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We go to Boston!

Fri 14 Oct 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Tomorrow—god willing and the creek don’t rise—Kelly and I will be at the Boston Book Fair. We have a booth (#12) and will have copies of our new yet-to-be released collection: Maureen F. McHugh’s After the Apocalypse. The  fair runs 10-6 and at 11 a.m., we’ll be off for this:

11:00am Boston Public Library Rabb Auditorium 700 Boylston Street

Is it a literary genre, an aesthetic style, or a way of life? It may be all of the above! Join Kelly Link and Gavin Grant, co-editors of the new Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories, as well as Spiderwick Chronicles co-author Holly Black and steampunk creator Allison DeBlasio (aka Mrs. Grymm) for a discussion of all things steampunk, from goggles to gyrocopters. Wear a costume and you may win a prize or get to see the session while seated on stage. Moderated by Maya Escobar, Teen Librarian at the Cambridge Public Library.

Also attending the book fair: Karen Russell, Kate Beaton (read Kelly’s interview with her here), Francis Moore Lappe, Chris “Charlie Parker Played Be-Bop” Raschka, and, lo, the many more.

Also attending: Drawn & Quarterly, NYRB, Melville House, Godine, NESFA, Zephyr, Barefoot—or, 75 publishers and other groups of interest!

And: you can see Kelly’s panel from last year’s Book Fest (with Maria Tatar, Kate Bernheimer, and Kathryn Davis) here.

Temporary podcast starting soon

Thu 13 Oct 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Ooh! Julie Day, who came to us through the excellent offices of Jim Kelly and the Stonecoast MFA program, will be doing a podcast here for the next few weeks. Topics will be widespread!

Julie has lined up interviews with Elizabeth Hand, Michael J. DeLuca, Delia Sherman, and maybe a few others and there will be readings by them and a few others, too.

If you have questions, post them here. The podcast will be subscribable from here and (after the first one is up) on iTunes.

Delia’s doing readings

Thu 13 Oct 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

ETA: ARC giveaway!

Tonight(!) she’s on a panel as part of that fascinating Big Read series of events in New York City. Then, when The Freedom Maze comes out she has two readings arranged (and more TK we hope in Massachusetts):

Sunday, Nov. 13, 1 p.m — Multi-author reading
Books of Wonder, 18 W. 18th St., New York, NY
Delia Sherman, Tamora Pierce, John Connolly, and Rae Carson, read at the storied Books of Wonder.

Thursday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m. Young Adult Author Event
Big Blue Marble Bookstore, 551 Carpenter Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19119
Readings and Discussion with Catherine Gilbert Murdock (Wisdom’s Kiss) and Delia Sherman (The Freedom Maze).

Set in the same world as her fantasy Princess Ben, Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s Wisdom’s Kiss offers a tale of adventure, plotting, angst, and romance, presented through documentary evidence — the journals of Princess Wisdom and her betrothed’s mother, Duchess Wilhelmina; the letters of the Queen Mother and the swordsman’s apprentice (but not to each other); memoirs of the swordsman and the orphaned seer Trudy; encyclopedia entries; even scenes from a play!

Delia Sherman’s The Freedom Maze takes a more serious tone. Slated to spend the summer on her family’s sugar plantation in Louisiana, 13-year-old Sophie wishes for a storybook adventure and is sent back in time by 100 years. In Sophie’s own 1960, there is no question of who is black and who is white. It has never occurred to her that in 1860, tanned and barefoot, she might be taken for a slave . . .


Tue 11 Oct 2011 - Filed under: Books | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Signed copies available.

Candlewick Press (MA), 9780763648435, 432pp. Publication Date: October 11, 2011

An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories

Imagine an alternate universe where tinkerers and dreamers craft and re-craft a world of automatons, clockworks, calculating machines, and other marvels that never were. Visionaries Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant have taken a genre already rich, strange, and inventive and challenged fourteen masters of speculative fiction, including two graphic storytellers, to embrace its established themes and refashion them in surprising ways and settings. The result is an anthology that defies its genre even as it defines it.

Praise For Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories

“Steampunk is hot at the moment in literature, art and fashion: This collection taps into the ethos without ever seeming topical or transient, thanks to contributions rich with much more than just steam and brass fittings. . . . An excellent collection, full of unexpected delights.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Veteran editors Link and Grant serve up a delicious mix of original stories from 14 skilled writers and artists…Chockful of gear-driven automatons, looming dirigibles, and wildly implausible time machines, these often baroque, intensely anachronistic tales should please steampunks of all ages.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Within these pages, there’s a little something for everyone…This exceptional anthology does great service to the steampunk subgenre and will do much to further its audience.”
School Library Journal (starred review)

“Editors Link and Gavin treat fans, old and new, to an array of fantastically rich stories in this polished, outstanding collection…the result is an anthology that is almost impossible to put down… From rebellious motorists to girl bandits, the characters in this imaginative collection shine, and there isn’t a weak story in the mix; each one offers depth and delight.”
Booklist (starred review)

“It is about time that steampunk short stories really got a focused and creative exploration in YA lit, and this anthology of fourteen pieces is an excellent start.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)

About the Authors

Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant are firm believers in the do-it-yourself ethos that powers the steampunk movement. They started a zine, founded an independent publishing house, own two letterpresses, and edited the fantasy half of THE YEAR’S BEST FANTASY & HORROR for five years. They live in western Massachusetts.

Thanks Steve

Thu 6 Oct 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Without him, this world would be less shiny, harder work. I’m writing this on an Apple computer—everything we’ve done at Small Beer (except some author tax forms from Staples which only worked on a pc!) has been done on a variety of Apple computers. I’ve only ever bought Apple computers because they were made with people like me in mind. I’m not the most technologically gifted person and I don’t have stacks of high powered computers available. I have tools that will do the job—and sometimes distract from the job, too. For a while the press was run off my and Kelly’s laptops. That we could do that is down to one guy.

Steve Jobs and his drive to bring the future into the present (I still like CDs!) sometimes drove me crazy but over the years the compatibility problems decreased and suddenly Apple users were everywhere. I liked that he was building a small house instead of a mansion—although maybe that was more to do with being seriously ill, than being a fan of small houses. I don’t have many of his recent machines (no iPhone, no iPad) but I love my 10-year-old iPod.

I never met him, I just miss him. He pushed and pushed and everything he did suggested that the world could be a better place. Awesome.