The Fires Beneath the Sea

Mon 30 Apr 2012 - Filed under: Big Mouth House, Books, Lydia Millet| Posted by: Gavin

July 2011 · 256 pp · hardcover · 9781931520713 | ebook · 9781931520416
April 2012 · 280 pp · trade paperback · 9781931520478
— Includes a sneak preview of the second book in the Dissenters series, The Shimmers in the Night

December 2016: Special offer prices as we prepare for the final book in the series The Bodies of the Ancients.

The Fires Beneath the Sea
Hardcover: $16.95 $9.95
Paperback: $12 $5.99 $5.99

The Shimmers in the Night
Hardcover: $16.95  $9.95

The Fires Beneath the Sea
The Shimmers in the Night
2 Hardcovers @ 50% off: $33.90 Buy now: $16.95

The Fires Beneath the Sea
The Shimmers in the Night
The Bodies of the Ancients
Hardcovers: $50.85 Buy now: $24.95

Start reading now on Wattpad.

A Junior Library Guild Pick
Kirkus Reviews
Best of 2011
Selected for the ABC Best Books for Children Catalog
Locus Notable Books
Turkish rights sold to Ithaki.

Cara’s mother has disappeared. Her father isn’t talking about it. Her big brother Max is hiding behind his iPod, and her genius little brother Jackson is busy studying the creatures he collects from the beach. But when a watery specter begins to haunt the family’s Cape Cod home, Cara and her brothers realize that their scientist mother may not be who they thought she was—and that the world has much stranger, much older inhabitants than they had imagined.

With help from Cara’s best friend Hayley, the three embark on a quest that will lead them from the Cape’s hidden, ancient places to a shipwreck at the bottom of the sea. They’re soon on the front lines of an ancient battle between good and evil, with the terrifying “pouring man” close on their heels.

Packed with memorable characters and thrilling imagery, Lydia Millet weaves a page-turning adventure even as she brings the seaside world of Cape Cod to magical life. The first in a series of books about the Sykes children, The Fires Beneath the Sea is a rip-cracking middle-grade novel that will make perfect beach reading—for readers of any age!

* “Millet’s prose is lyrically evocative (“the rhythmic scoop and splash of their paddles”). A lush and intelligent opener for a topical eco-fantasy series.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review) Read more

Publication day for Fountain of Age

Tue 24 Apr 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Fountain of Age cover - click to view full sizeYay!

If anyone can tell you what the near future holds, it’s Nancy Kress. She’s been on a tear in recent years writing up a storm about what it’s like to live now and what it will be like when the aliens come—how does she know? (Well, it ain’t called science fiction for nothing.)

You can get the book from us (both version, print and ebook, are as always DRM-free, ha!) and it will be stacked up at such excellent bookstores as Elliott Bay, A Room of One’s Own, Powell’s, Barnes & Noble, and University Bookstore.

Two of the stories, “End Game” & “The Kindness of Strangers,” are available on Escape Pod and with luck we’ll have another one up on the Small Beer Podcast within the next couple of weeks. It will either be “Safeguard” or “Laws of Survival”—I love the first one slightly more than the second, even though the second one outweighs the first by a factor of 1.2 billion on the weirdness scale, but we will see. (I also love the caper-ish title  story (which you can read on Asimov’s) but I think it’s too long for the podcast.)

So: Fountain of Age goes out into the world today. Steven Finch of, who did the cover for After the Apocalypse did us proud again, thanks Steven!

If you read the book and love it we’d love to hear about it—and please do help us spread the word.

Last minute contest: we will send a free copy of the book out to the first three readers (US & Canada only, sorry) who can tell us the name of the story we published recently that features the fountain of youth.

Fountain of Age

Tue 24 Apr 2012 - Filed under: Books | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

April 2012 · trade paper / ebook · 978-1-931520-45-4 · 303 pp.

Philip K. Dick Award finalist

Nine new stories from a long-time star of the science fiction field including the Hugo Award winner “The Erdmann Nexus” and the caper-inspired Nebula Award winning title story “Fountain of Age.”

Kress unpacks the future the way DNA investigators unravelled the double helix: one gene at a time. In many of these stories gene sculpting is illegal yet commonplace and the effects range between slow catastrophe (“End Game”), cosmic (“First Rites”), and tragic (“Safeguard”). Then there’s the morning when Rochester disappears and Jenny has to rely on “The Kindness of Strangers.” There’s Jill, who is kidnapped by aliens and trying to learn the “Laws of Survival.” And there’s Hope,  whose Grandma is regretting the world built “By Fools Like Me.”

* Read an interview with Nancy in The Stranger.

“What stands out is that Ms. Kress’s characters have developed interior lives. . . . she is a wise woman.”
—Tom Shippey, Wall Street Journal

“Well-written hard sf, peopled with strong and vivid characters, and articulating a subtle and highly nuanced vision of the moral quandaries inherent in genetic engineering, global warming, and other intentional and accidental manipulations of our biosphere. The nine stories in this collection include the Hugo Award Winning novella, ‘The Erdmann Nexus’ and the Nebula Award-winning short story, ‘Fountain of Age.’ Other highlights are ‘Images of Anna,’ in which a routine photo shoot morphs into an alchemical romance about the relationship between selflessness (or perhaps more accurately “self-loss”) and self-discovery; and the post-apocalypse, harsh to the point of brutality, global warming parable, ‘By Fools Like Me.'”
Chris Moriarty, F&SF

“What makes her fiction distinctive, apart from the elegance of her craft and the clarity of her prose, is the manner in which she recombines [conventional SF] elements into complex structures that reveal their hidden dimensions, and invariably concern their impact on fully realized characters. She’s as good as anyone at imaginary gardens with real toads, only we’re the toads.”
Locus Magazine

“This is an extraordinary collection of stories by one of our best writers. Kress has won several Hugo and Nebula awards for her work and justifiably so. Her focus tends to be on biology and genetics (though not always), but her real heart lies in how humans behave…. There are nine stories in this collection and all of them are keepers. I did find “The Erdmann Nexus,” the longest story here, to be the better story, if only because of its length. Kress really does excel in the short form. . . . This is a collection that absolutely belongs on your shelves.”
—Paul Cook, Galaxy’s Edge

“The nine stories in this collection are all excellent examples of Kress’s writing for the past decade. Fountain Of Age should be a ‘must buy’ both for fans of Kress’s work and for those readers who are just discovering her writing. Highly recommended.”
SF Revu

“Quality oozes from every page. A master class in the art of short-story writing.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Passions are magnified by age and the world only becomes more unpredictable in Kress’s new collection, anchored by the Nebula-winning title novella. The nine stories, published over the course of just two years, wrestle with themes of love, death, and transformation. . . . Kress’s depiction of science is much like her characters’ experiences with love: by turns glorious and terrible, and always a little disturbing, even in triumph.”
Publishers Weekly

End Game” & “The Kindness of Strangers” are available as podcasts and many of these stories have been reprinted in The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, and Best of the Web.

Table of Contents

The Erdmann Nexus
The Kindness of Strangers
By Fools Like Me
First Rites
End Game
Images of Anna
Laws of Survival
Fountain of Age

Cover by

Praise for Nancy Kress’s previous books:

“Nancy Kress Has the true storyteller’s Gift–the ability to make her characters and what happens to them so vital that the reader’s heart aches.” —Stephen R. Donaldson

“Nancy Kress comprehends the grimy relationships among bioscience, technology, and politics; and soon we will too, if only enough of us read her. Too soon it cannot be.” —Gene Wolfe

“Nancy Kress has written a novel that graphically disects the roots of human violence while affirming the invincibility of the human spirit. An Alien Light is both provocative and insightful.” —Julian May

“Kress’s villains are not diabolical conspirators but willfully ignorant hypocrites, shortsighted and greedy dunderheads, the well-intentioned half-baked—in short, us. But we are also the heroes whose generosity, honesty and energy could turn our lemming tribe away from the polluted waters ahead.” —Washington Post

“The plotting is fast-paced, the characterization is good, and science explained in easily digestible portions.” —New Scientist

“The kind of thriller that continually makes you want to turn the pages faster than you can read them.” —SF Site

“That Kress remains a master is everywhere evident.” —Booklist

“The keeness of vision to. . . see the possibilities for the future very clearly, and they are both fascinating and frightening.” —San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle

Nancy Kress is the author of thirty books, including four collections of short stories, and three books on writing. For sixteen years she was the fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine. She is perhaps best known for the “Sleepless” trilogy that began with Beggars in Spain. Her work has won six Nebulas, two Hugos, a Sturgeon, and the John W. Campbell Award. Most recent books are a collection an SF novel, Steal Across the Sky; a YA fantasy written under the name Anna Kendall, Crossing Over; and a short novel of eco-terror, Before the Fall, During the Fall, After the Fall. Kress lives in Seattle with her husband, SF writer Jack Skillingstead, and Cosette, the world’s most spoiled toy poodle.

Signed copies of The Freedom Maze

Tue 17 Apr 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Thanks to a recent visit to Western Mass by Delia Sherman, we have signed first edition hardcover copies of Delia’s The Freedom Maze in stock now.

NB: we automatically ship signed copies of any books we have in stock.

The Serial Garden

Mon 16 Apr 2012 - Filed under: Big Mouth House, Books, | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

October 2008 · 332 pp · hardcover · 9781931520577 | ebook · 9781931520980
April 2012 · 332 pp · trade paperback · 9781931520829
September 2015: second printing.
A Junior Library Guild Selection.

“Joan Aiken’s invention seemed inexhaustible, her high spirits a blessing, her sheer storytelling zest a phenomenon. She was a literary treasure, and her books will continue to delight for many years to come.”
—Philip Pullman

The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories is the first complete collection of Joan Aiken’s beloved Armitage stories — and it includes four new, unpublished stories.

After Mrs. Armitage makes a wish, the Armitage family has interesting and unusual experiences every Monday (and the occasional Tuesday). The Board of Incantation tries to take over their house to use as a school for young wizards; the Furies come to stay; and a cutout from a cereal box leads into a beautiful and tragic palace garden. Charming and magical, the uncommon lives of the Armitage family will thrill and delight readers young and old.

The Serial Garden includes Joan Aiken’s Prelude to the series from Armitage, Armitage, Fly Away Home, as well as introductions from Joan Aiken’s daughter, Lizza Aiken, and best-selling author Garth Nix, and is gloriously illustrated throughout by Andi Watson.

More about Joan Aiken, Liza Aiken, and Andi Watson.

Free Download: download a DRM-free PDF of an unpublished Armitage family story, “Don’t Go Fishing on Witches’ Day,” along with the introduction by Lizza Aiken or read it online.
The Serial Garden is the first title in our imprint for readers of all ages: Big Mouth House.

Readers say:

“What a thrill to discover this gem from the witty and endlessly inventive Joan Aiken.”
— Chris Riddell

“Inexhaustibly imaginative, Aiken was one of the 20th century’s greatest children’s authors. Witty, zany and entirely sane, this is a necklace of diamonds.”
The New Statesman

“It’s a delightful summary of one side of Aiken’s talent: whimsical, funny, a series of brilliantly imaginative ideas stitched together with dream logic. But along with the happiness, there is often a tug of melancholy, of love unrequited and yearnings unsatisfied – as in the title story, in which a cut-out cardboard garden on the packet of an obscure German brand of cereal is the gateway to a vanished past. It is the mixture of irrepressible gaiety and invention with the tragic that makes Aiken one of the great children’s authors.”
The Telegraph

“A delightful whimsical set of stories about young Mark and Harriet Armitage and the fantastical things that just happen to them, where if the lawn is full of unicorns you can count on their father to rush out and try to stop them eating the roses. These stories are funny and often unexpectedly poignant. They also don’t have a wasted word or scrap of information. They’re both charming and genuine in a way that few things manage.”
—Jo Walton

“In a singularly important publishing even, the first complete collection of Aiken’s 24 beloved Armitage cycle of stories appears here for the first time. The family who dwells in and out of magical worlds transcends fantasy and enters the world of classic, entrancing literature. Belongs on every child’s bookshelf. For all ages.”
Smithsonian Magazine’s 2008 Notable Books for Children

“Buy it to read to your kids, and you’ll find yourself sneaking tastes on the sly; a little Aiken is a fine thing to have in your system at any age.”

“The eccentricities of magic are never more comically evident than in the late Joan Aiken’s work. Her The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories (Big Mouth House, 328 pages, $20, ages 5 to 11) is a spectacularly good treasury in the British tradition of practical magic…. You can’t do better than to get your fantasy-reading child hooked on Aiken’s playful, witty magic.”
Parent, The Toronto Star

“The wit is irrepressible, the invention wild…. Such delicious lightness, paradoxically, is the fiction’s raison d’être.”
—Ed Park, Los Angeles Times

“[Aiken’s] most charming stories are the ones recently collected in The Serial Garden…. It’s best to savor them.”
—Adrienne Martini, Locus

“The Armitages’ wacky magic (usually a Monday occurrence) and that of their fantastical town, a place filled with witches and magical beings, rises from the pages when matters go slightly awry, in the manner of Edward Eager and E. Nesbit.”
Kirkus Reviews

“One of the ingredients which add such a sense of playful wit to Aiken’s stories — and which make them so worth rereading — is her genius for wordplay, and this is perhaps most obvious in the fabulous names she gives characters, such as Miss Hooting, Mrs. Mildew, Admiral Lycanthrope, and Lady Nightwood. The title of “The Serial Garden” itself is a play on words, and it is the intelligence and the cleverness of Aiken’s prose which make these stories so suitable for readers of any age. “With the publication of The Serial Collection readers of all ages have the opportunity to enjoy some of the best writing by one of the most superb and timeless fantasy writers.”
—Green Man Review

The Serial Garden is my happiest discovery this year.”
Los Angeles Times

“Joan Aiken wrote Armitage Family stories her whole life, and they are a treat.”
The Cultural Gutter

“The stories seem to spring from what was surely (given the sheer output and popularity of her books) an extremely active and creative mind, in all ways dedicated to the enjoyment of the reader.”
The Short Review

“The Armitage’s world grows richer as it is extended. This is a collection of stories which allow — in fact demand — the reader joins in with their own imagination and remakes the story inside their own head.”
January Magazine

Praise for Joan Aiken:

“These are admirable stories for any age because they are dug from a delightful mind. Many will drop into their readers lives like those enriching stones which break the surfaces of still pools and leave rings long after their splash.”
Times Literary Supplement

“Whether scary, satiric, or poetic, Aiken’s tales have strong settings, memorable characters, insight, and humor.”
School Library Journal

“A consummate story-teller.”
The Times

“A writer of wild humor and unrestrained imagination.”
Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature

“With its fine-tuned combination of folklore and fun. . . . a good source of imaginative tales to read alone or aloud.” —Booklist

“The best kind of writer, strange and spooky and surprising, never sentimental or whimsical.” —Kelly Link (Pretty Monsters)

“Joan Aiken’s magic stories have the right mixture . . . distinguished and sometimes beautiful writing and always in a frame-work of logic.”
—Naomi Mitchison, New Statesman

“This year can boast one genuine small masterpiece. . . . The Wolves of Willoughby Chase . . . almost a copybook lesson in those virtues that a classic children’s book must possess.”
Time Magazine

Table of Contents

Introduction by Lizza Aiken
Introduction by Garth Nix
Prelude by Joan Aiken
Yes, but Today Is Tuesday
Broomsticks and Sardines
The Frozen Cuckoo
Sweet Singeing in The Choir
The Ghostly Governess
Harriet’s Birthday Present
Dragon Monday
Armitage, Armitage, Fly Away Home (also known as “A Batch of Magic Wands”)
Rocket Full of Pie
Doll’s House to Let, Mod. Con.
Tea at Ravensburgh
The Land of Trees and Heroes
Harriet’s Hairloom
The Stolen Quince Tree
The Apple of Trouble [read an excerpt]
The Serial Garden
Mrs. Nutti’s Fireplace
The Looking-Glass Tree
Miss Hooting’s Legacy
Kitty Snickersnee
Goblin Mujsic
The Chinese Dragon
Don’t Go Fishing on Witches’ Day
Milo’s New Word

On the web:

Publication history

“Yes, but Today Is Tuesday,” “The Frozen Cuckoo,” “Sweet Singeing in The Choir,” “The Ghostly Governess,” “Harriet’s Birthday Present,” “Dragon Monday”
All You’ve Ever Wanted (1953)

“Armitage, Armitage Fly Away Home,” “Rocket Full of Pie,” “Doll’s House to Let, Mod. Con.,” “Tea at Ravensburgh”
More Than You Bargained For (1957)

“The Land of Trees and Heroes,” “Harriet’s Hairloom,” “The Stolen Quince Tree,” “The Apple of Trouble,” “The Serial Garden”
Armitage, Armitage Fly Away Home (1968)

“Broomsticks and Sardines”
A Small Pinch of Weather (1969)

“Mrs. Nutti’s Fireplace”
A Harp of Fishbones (1972)

“The Looking-Glass Tree”
The Faithless Lollybird (1977)

“Miss Hooting’s Legacy”
Up the Chimney Down (1984)

“Milo’s New Word”
Moon Cake and Other Stories (1998)
Reproduced by kind permission of Hodder and Stoughton Limited.

“Kitty Snickersnee,” “Goblin Music,” “The Chinese Dragon,” “Don’t Go Fishing on Witches’ Day”
The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories (2008)


  • Cover art © Beth Adams.
  • Interior illustrations © by Andi Watson.
  • Photo credit: Photo by Rod Delroy.

Previously: A Celebration of the Armitage Family, Books of Wonder, Nov. 16th, with Michael Dirda, Charles Schlessiger, and Lizza Aiken.

Small Beer Podcast 9: John Kessel’s “The Last American”

Thu 12 Apr 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Julie

The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories cover - click to view full sizeI don’t know how many different people mentioned John Kessel to me before I ever read his work. Well, actually, that’s a lie. I know exactly how many people mentioned John Kessel: four. One of them was Gavin Grant and another was James Patrick Kelly. Mariel Morales and Taylor Preston, school friends of mine from the Stonecoast M.F.A. program, round out the list. In a weirder than fiction moment, while I’m currently typing up this blog post in Massachusetts, tomorrow John, Taylor, Mariel and I are having lunch in North Carolina. It feels like Jim and Kelly should be there as well.

Both this podcast and the next one are all about John Kessel’s fiction. Once you’ve read or listened to one of John’s stories, you’ll find yourself needing more, at least I did. One of my personal Kessel favorites is “Every Angel is Terrifying” along with his series of science fiction stories “A Lunar Quartet.”

It’s nice when it’s easy to share what you love. John’s collection The Baum Plan for Financial Independence is available as a free ebook on Weightless Books. So listen, enjoy and then download the rest of John’s stories and read them for yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Episode 9: In which Michael J. DeLuca reads John Kessel’s “The Last American.”

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

rss feed

An A-Z of the Fantastic City is here . . .

Thu 12 Apr 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

at laaaaaaaaast!

We received the signed and numbered (1-89!) limited hardcover edition of Hal Duncan’s An A-Z of the Fantastic City today and only burned down half the office in the process. Success! (They are only 2+ months late from the printer—still no explanation given . . .)

So, anyway, apologies everyone who is waiting for this. We are shipping it out to Hal, the fantastic illustrator Eric Schaller, and all those lovely people (and a couple of bookstores) who pre-ordered it.

Once they’re shipped we should have a few copies left over for sale then it will be gone, baby, gone. We’ll post some pictures of it when we get time, too.

It’s a book!

An A–Z of the Fantastic City

Thu 12 Apr 2012 - Filed under: Books, Chapbooks | 4 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

February 2012 · [sold out] signed, numbered limited hardcover · trade paper · 9781618730206 | ebook · 9781618730213
November 2012: trade paper, second printing.
April 2014: We have a few unsigned, non-numbered hardcovers and have added them for sale (please choose the “Remainder” option).
June 2016: epub/mobi formats added to ebook.

“A cheeky look at 26 cities from fantastic literature (“fantastic” and “literature,” defined loosely), supposedly an academic work (complete with introduction by Professor Henry V. Duncan). Loving, clever, entertaining, and of course as we expect from Hal Duncan, quite excellently written.”
—Rich Horton, Locus

No. 10 in the Small Beer Press chapbook series is An A-Z of the Fantastic City. Compiled and Arranged by Hal Duncan and illustrated by Eric Schaller, it also features an introduction by noted academic Henry V. Duncan.

This guidebook leads readers and explorers through twenty-six cities of yore (Yore, while included, is one of the shorter entries), including such familiar and unfamiliar haunts as


A city of saints and madmen, Ambergris sits on the banks of the River Moth, over the ruins of dead Cinsorium. The genocide of Cinsorium’s inhabitants, the Grey Caps, who even now skulk and screech in the sewers and side-streets of Ambergris and in its present inhabitants’ minds, is a crime that pervades the atmosphere of the city, along with the spores and mycelia of fungi—green, and gold, and blue, and red like blood—which infest the city as they infest the body and mind of its foremost chronicler, Jeff VanderMeer, a brilliant scholar but unreliable, believing as he does that Ambergris is a figment of his imagination, and that any evidence to the contrary is part of an elaborate delusion on his part….


Visitors to Dublin have at their hand quite possibly the most invaluable tour guide ever written for any city, in the shape of Joyce’s four-volume work: Things To Do in Dublin as a Young Man; The People of Dublin; Dublin, A Day In The Life; and Dublin At Night. Nowhere is the full scope of a city’s cultural character explored in as great a depth as in Joyce’s seminal travelogues of Dublin’s boarding houses, bars and brothels….


The firm of Ackroyd, Moorcock and Sinclair, Solicitors, is the oldest existing company on record, dating back to the dawn of Albion in the foundation of Trynovantium, or New Troy, the settlement which was to go through a few more names—Caerlundein, Londinium—before settling on its present day nomenclature of London….


Not all cities are for humans….

Sexy, secretive, yet clear-eyed, Duncan brings pop, high, and low cultures together in one handy A-Z which every bibliophile and armchair adventurer will find to be a necessary guidebook through the temerarious pages of international literature.

Published in a limited signed and numbered hardcover edition of about 80 copies available through this website and by mail order and later through a select number of independent booksellers as well as a perfectbound trade paperback edition.

Interior: 5.5″ x 8.5″ · 74 pages · 60# Nature’s Natural 30% PCR paper · frontispiece · illustrations


  • Signed and hand-numbered limited edition with heavy rag cotton signing sheet tipped-in. Smythe sewn deluxe case bound in deep burgundy with gold stamped illustrated covers.
  • Paperback edition: saddle stitched, one-color (changes every hundred copies) chapbook edition.
  • Ebook: electrons on the screen of your choice.

Table of Contents

Toward a Geological Methodology in the Cartography of Fantasia: An Address to the 31st International Symposium on Literary Cartography, Kentigern, 5th February, 2011) by Henry V. Duncan


About the Author

Hal Duncan was born in 1971, brought up in a small town in Ayrshire, and now lives in the West End of Glasgow. A member of the Glasgow SF Writers Circle, his first novel, Vellum, won the Spectrum Award and was nominated for the Crawford, Locus, BFS and World Fantasy Awards. As well as the sequel, Ink, he has published a poetry collection, Sonnets for Orpheus, a stand-alone novella, Escape from Hell!, and short stories in magazines such as Fantasy, Strange Horizons, and Interzone, and anthologies such as Nova Scotia, Logorrhea, and Paper Cities. He also collaborated with Scottish band Aereogramme on the song “If You Love Me, You’d Destroy Me” for the Ballads of the Book album from Chemikal Underground.

About the Artist

Eric Schaller contributed the cover to Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, #19, printed in Northampton, “The Paradise of America,” Massachusetts. He illustrated Jeff VanderMeer’s collection The City of Saints and Madmen, set in squid-entangled Ambergris. He was part of the All Elvis exhibit at the World Tattoo Gallery in Chicago, “The City of Broad Shoulders,” Illinois and he recently helped construct two camera obscuras at Sculpturefest in Woodstock, “One of America’s 100 Top Towns,” Vermont. He lives in Lebanon, “The City of Fountains,” New Hampshire.

An A–Z of the Fantastic City. Compiled and Arranged by Hal Duncan. A Guidebook for Readers and Explorers with frontispiece and many illustrations by Eric Schaller.

Monday Monday

Mon 9 Apr 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Phew, what a day.

Best phone call of the morning: someone asked us to reinforce two car seats. I put the call on hold and we discussed it: Perhaps this is the best use of our returns? There’s also that old lunch in the fridge that’s turned to stone . . .

Worst call of the morning: that bird, the one that sounds like a cell phone, very early this morning.

Lovely news of the day: Karen Lord is a Campbell Award nominee: yay! Congrats and best of luck to all the Hugo and Campbell nominees.

Best SBP news of the day: Nancy Kress’s Fountain of Age is on its way from C-M Books in Ann Arbor, MI, to Consortium’s warehouse in Jackson, TN, from where it will spring forth into the world.

Worst SBP news of the day: no info yet from the (different) printer on Hal Duncan’s limited edition. Bah humbug.

Best Weightless news of the day: royalties go out this week. They are so much easier to do than Small Beer’s headache inducing royalties which should go out next week. Also: tomorrow we are adding 100+ PM Press ebooks. Ha.

And PW profiles Newbury Comics, an old fave of ours. They’re a regional New England chain of record stores who started with comics and moved to music. They have a few magazines, a few books, and loads and loads of t-shirts, buttons, and various impulse-y things. Long may their pile it high and keep it cheery reign continue.

Contracts, contracts

Mon 9 Apr 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Interesting Salon article on Am*zon’s sponsorship of many literary non-profits. Are they buying love? They’re definitely trying. $25,000 is a helluva donation to anyone never mind a small organization trying to get by on sales or membership fees. (The Brooklyn Book Fest recently asked if we’d like Small Beer to be profiled on their new sponsored-by-Amazon OnePage and we said no. I love the Brooklyn Book Fest, but that’s not a great fit for us.)

Keep in mind that books are a halo product for Amazon. They would much rather be thought of as a bookstore than a Walmart wannabe.

This part of the Salon article was great to hear:

For the first time, the “Big Six” publishers — HarperCollins, Random House, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Macmillan — have refused to sign Amazon’s latest annual contract. The main sticking point is exorbitant increases in “co-op promotional fees” for e-books that the publishers see as an illegal gouge by another name. One person familiar with the details of the proposed 2012 contracts that Amazon has submitted to major New York publishers described them as “stupifyingly draconian.” In some cases, he said, Amazon has raised promotional fees by 30 times their 2011 cost. In saying no, the big publishers are following in the footsteps of the Independent Publishing Group, a major indie distributor representing dozens of small presses that refused Amazon’s increases earlier this winter and soon saw the “Buy” buttons on more than 4,000 of their titles promptly delinked.

I am still hopeful that Amazon will overreach and disappear. Not going to happen, but it makes the horrible headlines about what they are doing to who easier to deal with.

What really makes me unhappy is that high street shops may be pushed out of business and all of our shopping choices will become the same: big box chain stores or Amazon. Which is a crap choice given that most of Amazon’s workers work in warehouses—with goals I could not meet if I were working there—and Fedex and UPS (and warehouse robot suppliers) will be the only winners.

And here’s the Boston Globe being much cheerier, so yay for them.

Google glasses

Mon 9 Apr 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Google have suggested that at some point they may launch a product. This product may or may not look like the one in the photo.The product may or may not do certain things and have certain features. These features include being from the future! As ever with Google there is no actual human being who can give you information about this proposed project.

Given Google’s great success with Wave, Reader, Buzz, (and I am forgetting some here) and their recent announced closing of their ebook program with indie bookshops (thanks for messing that up), I am just jittering with excitement about this vaporware exciting new project.

Wow. The future will be great. (Wonder if they are working on jetpacks?)

This post is not at all informed by the fact that I’m using Bing (or even Yahoo(!)) half the time now because I can’t stand the “social search” crapola on the Google results page. Neither am I joining Google+ (i.e. “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale”) because if I wanted some company to know absolutely everything about me . . . oh, wait, they already do. Crap. Sure, sign me up.

And I look forward to this post coming back to bite me in the bum when I am happily soldering my Google glasses permanently to my newly installed Google Headjak.

Hal Duncan, A-Z update

Wed 4 Apr 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We’ve just heard from the printer that the long-awaited limited edition hardcover edition of An A-Z of the Fantastic City has been printed and is now in the bindery area to be sewn. So we are looking to receive it in about two weeks. At last! Apologies for the huuuuge delay. I’m not quite sure why this one took the printer so long, but it did. Phew. In the meantime, the paperback is available. More TK when the book comes in.