SBP @ WFC 2014

Wed 29 Oct 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

What’s going on? Too much to say! We have tables (and, hopefully, you know, books for sale on those tables) in the dealer room, and many, many Small Beer authors will be there including (although to paraphrase what The New Yorker always says at the start of their gig listing: authors live complicated lives and sometimes plans don’t work out):

Nathan Ballingrud, Ted Chiang, Andy Duncan, Jeffrey Ford, Eileen Gunn, Kathleen Jennings (all the way from Australia, wooee!), Kij Johnson, Nancy Kress, Ellen Kushner, Kelly Link, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Delia Sherman, Sofia Samatar, Ysabeau S. Wilce.

Here’s some of what I saw on the program list the other week. If you’re going, drop by and say hi!


E. Nesbit and Her Influence
Time:  4 p.m.-5 p.m., Thursday,  Regency F
Panelists:  Benjamin Rosenbaum (M), Ginjer Buchanan, Robert Knowlton, S. T. Joshi
Description:  E. Nesbit published over forty children’s books, from the beloved The Railway Children to The Stories of the Treasure Seekers and Five Children and It. She also had a darker side, as seen in Something Wrong and Tales told in Twilight, collections of horror stories for adults. A writer of many sides, Nesbit had an influence on many writers, including C.S. Lewis, Michael Moorcock, and J.K. Rowling. The panel will discuss her work and why it continues to have an impact today.


Derived Myths: Making it Original
Time:  10 a.m.-11 a.m., Friday,  Regency F
Panelists:  Sandra Kasturi, Nick DiCharo (M), S. P. Hendricks, Ellen Kushner, Melissa Marr
Description:  There is no denying that the influence of various mythologies on fantasy, which have been inspiration for Lord Dunsay, Elizabeth Hand, Barry Hughart and many more. With a wealth of examples, the panel will discuss when the myth inspiration is the center of the work to when it has lead to a whole new mythos.

Language and Linguistics in Fantasy
Time:  10 a.m.-11 a.m., Friday,  Regency E
Panelists:  Lawrence M. Schoen (M), C.D. Covington, Matthew Johnson, Sofia Samatar
Description:  Foreign languages are often used in fantasy literature to add atmosphere, to show cultural backgrounds, and to bring a richness to the world, as can be seen in Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange and Richard Adams Watership Down. Some works rely on real languages. Others, such as Tolkien, have invented entire tongues of their own. Which stories incorporate other languages successfully, and where have authors stumbled, making too much of the work incomprehensible to the reader?

Reading: Nathan Ballingrud
Time: 10am-10:30am, Nov. 7, Fairfax

Adoption and Fostering in Fantasy
Time:  12 p.m.-1 p.m., Friday,  Regency F
Panelists:  Susan Dexter (M), Tina Connolly, Delia Sherman, Edward Willett
Description:  Adoption or fostering is often used in fantasy and horror literature, from Oedipus to Jon Snow, from young Wart helping in the kitchens before that fateful day when he pulled a sword out of a stone in Londontown, to the most famous orphan of them all, Harry Potter. Dozens of fantasies feature young orphans who do not know their parentage, from Richard in Wizard’s First Rule, to Will from the Ranger’s Apprentice series, who is a ward of the state, to even Frodo, who was an orphan, albeit an older one, at the beginning of his adventures. There is even one beloved character, Taren from the Prydain Chronicles, who never learns his parentage, and this mystery itself proves to be his key to assuming the kingship. How does adoption, bastardy, mixed parentage, long-lost relatives all contribute to epic quests for self-knowledge in literature?

Beyond Rebellion in Young Adult Fantasy
Time:  2 p.m.-3 p.m., Friday,  Regency F
Panelists:  Ysabeau Wilce (M), Gail Carriger, Sarah Beth Durst,
Description:  We all know the story of teen disaffection and rebellion, but there are plenty of Young Adult fantasies that maintain strong family ties, with rational adult role models, such as L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Stephen Gould’s Impulse, or even Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games. A look at books that don’t always have the hero with an unhappy home, discussion why this can also make an intriguing story.

Reading: Jeffrey Ford
Time: 5pm-5:30pm, Nov. 7, Arlington


Fantasy Artists That Take Up the Pen
Time:  11 a.m.-12 p.m., Saturday,  Tidewater 2
Panelists:  Charles Vess (M), Kathleen Jennings, Greg Manchess, Ruth Sanderson
Description:  There are authors who are know for doing artwork, such as Beatrix Potter, Rudyard Kipling and Neil Gaiman, so it should be no surprise that artists can also be drawn to writing. The panel will discuss the impact of being both artist and writer and how these two creative forms interact.

Reading: Andy Duncan
Time: 11am-11:30am, Nov. 8, Fairfax

Reading: Kelly Link
Time: 11:30am-12pm, Nov. 8, Fairfax

Historical People in Fantasy
Time:  1 p.m.-2 p.m., Saturday,  Tidewater 2
Panelists:  Eileen Gunn (M), David B. Coe, Jack Dann, Jean Marie Ward, Rick Wilber
Description:  When using Samuel Adams, Joseph Warren, or perhaps on of the most used names, Nikola Tesla and other real people as characters in fiction, what liberties can an author take and what holes do they have to fill? How close to the real Jack Kerouac does Nick Mamatas get in Move Under Ground? What do creators owe to history, especially if the players are in a new world as in Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld series. The panel will discuss where historical truth meets literary license.

Lafferty as an American Fantasist
Time:  2 p.m.-3 p.m., Saturday,  Tidewater 2
Panelists:  Andy Duncan (M), Carrie Cuinn, Andrew Ferguson, Gordon Van Gelder, Don Pizarro, Cat Rambo
Description:  R. A. Lafferty was known for his original use of language and metaphor. Drawing on storytelling traditions of the Irish and Native Americans, but with his own twists, as in The Devil is Dead and The Flame is Green. The panel will explore how Lafferty used American history, American landscapes, and American folklore/mythology in his work.

Reading: Nicole Kornher-Stace
Time: 2:30pm-3pm, Nov. 8, Fairfax


Young, Middle-Aged, and Older Writers
Time:  11 a.m.-12 p.m., Sunday,  Washington
Panelists:  Catherine Montrose (M), Nancy Kress, Kevin Maroney, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Description:  Some writers’ best work is the first thing they ever published. Others, like George R. R. Martin, get better with age. Others, such as Terry Pratchett, have maintained their quality over a span of decades. How does the age and/or generation of the writer affect the story? Also, does the age at which authors began to write matter? The bestselling Eragon was published by a young man of not yet twenty, while Tolkien did not get his first work published until he was forty-five. How does getting older affect an author’s work? How do they feel about their earlier works when they look back? Have our opinions, as readers, changed on this subject over time?


Prophecies, Libels, and Dreams: Stories

Tue 28 Oct 2014 - Filed under: Books | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

paper · $16 · 9781618730893 | ebook · 9781618730909 · Edelweiss · Audiobook: Audible.

“Once upon a time, my little waffles . . .”

Fantastical stories of rockstar magicians, murderous gloves, bouncing boy terrors, vengeful plush pigs, blue tinted butlers, and a Little Tiny Doom set in an opulent quasi-historical world of magick and high manners that bears a striking resemblance to Gold Rush California.

These inter-connected stories are set in an opulent quasi-historical world of magick and high manners called the Republic of Califa. The Republic is a strangely familiar place—a baroque approximation of Gold Rush era-California with an overlay of Aztec ceremony—yet the characters who populate it are true originals: rockstar magicians, murderous gloves, bouncing boy terrors, blue tinted butlers, sentient squids, and a three year old Little Tiny Doom and her vengeful pink plush pig.

By turn whimsical and horrific (sometime in the same paragraph), Wilce’s stories have been characterized as “screwball comedies for goths” but they could also be described as “historical fantasies” or “fanciful histories” for there are nuggets of historical fact hidden in them there lies.


“Ysabeau S. Wilce . . . writes like no one else. Her approach is playful and allusive, packed to the gills with clever wordplay, bizarre characters and outlandish events. Each tall tale is set in or around the Republic of Califa, an alternate, Aztec-influenced version of the Golden State from the 19th century, where magick is part of everyday life and wonders never cease.”
— Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle

“Sometimes the fantastic insists on imbuing the world with blunt meaning — the simplistic drama of good versus evil — but other times it unearths the sense that what individuals experience is far less than what is, a reminder that the world is bigger than us. For example, the fantastic is one of the best places in fiction to find the back-to-front story, in which the apparent events of a story turn out to be less important than what is hinted at behind them, happening just off the page. Wilce’s afterwords are of this variety, hinting at a history and social structure that the (fictional) author and (fictional) audience know well, while the reader gathers scraps about the Waking World, Elsewhere, praeterhumans, and the world that has grown up in their place since the Waking World and Elsewhere split and magick faded.”

“The Republic of Califa — remarkably like the U.S. Old West, were it saturated with chaotic and cunning magic — is long past its glory days, but the wild stories remain. Wilce (the Flora Segunda series) leaps into this rollicking past with the “true” story of Springheel Jack in “The Biography of a Bouncing Boy Terror!” and only gets more fantastical from there. “Quartermaster Returns” demonstrates that great lengths are sometimes required to get someone to square their debts. In “Scaring the Shavetail,” Arizona soldiers invoke dangerous magic to rid themselves of a naive and inexperienced commander. Each rowdy and bloody story is followed by an afterword judging its historical and mythical merits, in one case determining that the work was “utter balderdash.” Magic and mundane mix and crash like a party falling in with a bar fight; sigils might be dug out of a mine alongside gold nuggets, and settlers die by daemon attack as often as by high-noon showdown or an Apache knife. Historical fantasy fans will want to saddle up with Wilce’s boisterous and skewed chronicle.”
Publishers Weekly

“Califa: riotous carnival world of soldiers, drunks and magick (very) loosely based on California in the 1800s. Califa: marvel of ingenuity and purple prose. . . . Ribald, raucous, distressingly appealing, so steeped in its own world that readers may well be driven to find everything else Wilce has written—this won’t be for everyone, but oh, my precious pillows, what a joy for those who can handle it.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Part of Califa’s charm is that its roots are so familiar to us, so when we come across the inevitable sideways leap off the well-trodden path, we leap down the rabbit hole after Alice, as it were. The historical notes which follow are amusing – and as always contain that little pinch of historical fact to leaven the load of hooey.” — Finding Wonderland

Early reader reaction:

“Elegant, amusing, and enormously entertaining, Ysabeau Wilce’s newest sojourn to Califa is a journey to be savored by any reader who has visited Gormenghast, Earthsea, or Olondria.  Pure delight for any lover of contemporary fantastika.”
—Elizabeth Hand

“Reading Ysabeau Wilce is like discovering a new language, dark and magical and far more fun than the one you grew up speaking. Califa and her denizens sizzle to life on the page in all of their blood-soaked, candy-colored glory; Prophecies, Libels and Dreams is a wonder.”
— Kelly Braffet, author of Save Yourself

“I would trade a year of my life, and things more precious still, to be transported for one hour to the sumptuous streets of Ysabeau Wilce’s Califa.”— Paul Witcover

“Those who have been yearning for another voyage through Califa — and who hasn’t? — will be delighted to plunge into the lives of General Hardhands and Tiny Doom, discover the mystery behind the Hand of Gory, and learn the truth of the Bouncing Boy Terror, Springheel Jack. Rich and intricate, clever and sexy, these tales never fail to deliver glorious adventure and transcendent worldbuilding. Wilce is truly a Queen among fantasists.” — Tiffany Trent, author of The Unnaturalists

“The Republic of Califa differs from the American West Coast in a number of small details, of course: the egregores and praterhumans, the Magick and Gramatica, the peculiar dynastic struggles of the Pontifexa Georgiana and her decadent postbears. But all these are the subtle and minuscule discrepancies of a parallel yet proximate reality, easily overlooked by the casual reader. Where Ms. Wilce shines is in her use of the larger effects—those of tone, style, and voice—which make her world so much richer than our own.” — Paul Park

“Ysabeau Wilce is an original American fantasist. Unique in vision, rare in quality, Califa is one of the few truly American fantasy worlds, owing as much to the Wild West, San Francisco Bay and Mexican folklore as to Shakespeare, Dickens and Tolkien.  Read and enjoy!” — Ellen Kushner

Kelly Link interviews Ysabeau S. Wilce for BookPage.

A second Flora Segunda-era interview on the Harcourt site.

Praise for Ysabeau S. Wilce’s previous books:

“This fresh and funky setting is rich with glorious costumes, innovative language and tantalizing glimpses of history.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Wilce has matters well in hand in this, her first novel. Thirteen-year-old Flora Segunda is a charming narrator, and her domain — the city of Califa — is an intriguing mix of the preindustrial and the post-multicultural, with a bracing dose of magic, martial life, time travel and family drama mixed in. The book is rich and odd, and only occasionally overprecious — like that run-on subtitle, which advertises dangers and delights just a bit too strenuously. The heroine is this novel’s strongest suit. Like Pullman’s Lyra Silvertongue or Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching, Flora Fyrdraaca is a descendant of Jo March rather than a fainting beauty who needs rescuing. These wayward, determined girls do the rescuing themselves, although not wisely or always too well.”
New York Times Book Review

Table of Contents

The Biography of a Bouncing Boy Terror! [Lightspeed]
Quartermaster Returns [read an excerpt | listen to the Podcastle podcast]
Metal More Attractive
The Lineaments of Gratified Desire
Hand in Glove
Scaring the Shavetail

The Author on the Book

I see myself as the historian of the Republic of Califa, with each story being a fragment of a larger whole. Although the stories do not always appear to be immediately interconnected  they often have characters or situations in common, and they all take place in the same world, although sometimes at different points in time. I love to mix the fantastical with the historical: many of my characters are based on historical people, many of my settings are from history, but I don’t consider Califa to be an alternate history, per say, only a mash-up of the things I love best from the past (redingcotes, sabers, mules, lavish hair-styles, vengeful murders) combined with the elements of fantasy I adore (monsters, magick, vampires, stew). In this, I follow both T.H. White and Gene Wolfe—and William Shakespeare, for that matter, although I do not claim to be in any of these gentlemen’s league.

About the Author

Ysabeau S. Wilce was born in California and has followed the drum throughout Alaska, Spain, Mexico, Arizona, and Elsewhere. A lapsed historian, she turned to fiction when facts no longer compared favorably with the shining lies of her imagination. Prior to this capitulation, she researched various arcane military subjects and presented educational programs on how to boil laundry at several nineteenth century army forts. She is a graduate of Clarion West and has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, the James T. Tiptree Award, and won the Andre Norton Award. Wilce is the author of Flora Segunda, Flora’s Dare, and Flora’s Fury, and she has published work in Asimov’s, Steampunk!, and Fantasy & Science Fiction. She lives in San Francisco.

Delia’s here — or at least her book is!

Fri 24 Oct 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Young Woman in a GardenLovely, lovely it is, too. I still find myself wanting to check Delia’s bibliography to see if she published had a collection of stories at some point that I missed. But, no, Young Woman in a Garden does seem to be the first one. Which is fabulous news for us as Delia has many, many great and fun and odd and fantastic stories and to bring fourteen of them together in one book is an incredible assortment of riches.

Publication date is November 11 and as you can see the finished books are here in the office nicely on time — so, yes, we will have them at the World Fantasy Con in DC — and they will start showing up in your fave indie bookstores (etc.) soon.

In the meantime you can read two of the stories online: “Miss Carstairs and the Merman” (and an author spotlight interview) is on Fantasy Magazine — which was brought back to life for this special “Women Destroy Fantasy” issue, and “The Ghost of Cwmlech Manor” is on

So much news: 2015 edition!

Thu 23 Oct 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Here’s a large part of it: 4 new books for early 2015! Two of them are from Ayize Jama-Everett, The Liminal War (June) and The Entropy of Bones (August). You can read about how the covers came about today on The covers are both by John Jennings, check out his tumblr which is full of excellent art. You can read the first three chapters of Ayize’s first novel The Liminal People here. The books are all connected, but can also stand alone. More on these two pageturners soon-ish.

Two more books! First, another translation of an Angélica Gorodischer novel! Prodigies (translated by Sue Burke) is considered by the author and many others to be her best novel. After Sofia Samatar reviewed Kalpa Imperial so thoughtfully we asked her to have an early look at Prodigies and this is what she said:

“Gorodischer’s rhythmic and transparent prose reveals the violence underlying bourgeois respectability. Prodigies is both incisive and incantatory.”—Sofia Samatar, author of A Stranger in Olondria

The fourth book is the first Big Mouth House title of 2015, Nicole Kornher-Stace’s debut YA novel Archivist Wasp. It’s a dark, thrilling ride (wait, did I really write that? Yup. Sorry! But, you know: true!) set in a deeply imagined future. Just wait. Here’s a better description:

“Goes off like a firecracker in the brain: the haunted landscape, the sure-footed, blistering prose — and, of course, the heroine herself, the most excellent Archivist Wasp.” — Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble

Brattleboro, here we come!

Thu 16 Oct 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

San Francisco, so lucky to have not one but at least FIVE Burmese restaurants. That shows there are a lot of smart people in that city because the food is fab. If, like me, there are no Burmese restaurants near you, please hie yourself to Yoma Boston’s site and order some tea salad. Yumtastic.

Why am I chuntering on about San Francisco? Because Ayize Jama-Everett (great news about him coming before the end of the month!) is taking part in the ongoing LitQuake celebration of books, readers, and writers and it looks Don’t-Miss-Fascinating.

We also just added a new Monstrous Affections reading with me, Kelly, and M. T. Anderson — and possibly more special guests To Be Announced. So here’s an update on what’s happening in the next couple of weeks:

NEW: Ayize Jama-Everett (The Liminal People)
We Are Mystic Detectives About to Make an Arrest: A Night of Afrosurreal Expression, 10/18, 7:15 pm
LitQuake, Aldea Home, 890 Valencia St. San Francisco, CA

M. T. Anderson, Sarah Rees Brennan, Joshua Lewis, Kelly Link, Gavin J Grant (Monstrous Affections), 10/22, 7 pm
Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

NEW LOCATION: Ysabeau S. Wilce (Prophecies, Libels, and Dreams) & Garth Nix (Clariel), 10/25
SF in SF, The Women’s Building, Audre Lourde Room, 2nd Floor, 3543 18th Street, one block up from Valencia, San Francisco, CA 94110

Sarah Rees Brennan, Alice Sola Kim, Joshua Lewis, G. Carl Purcell, Kathleen Jennings, Kelly Link, Gavin J. Grant (Monstrous Affections), 10/28, 7 pm
McNally Jackson, NYC

NEW: M. T. Anderson, Kelly Link, Gavin J. Grant (Monstrous Affections), 11/1, 4 pm
Mystery on Main Street, Brattleboro, VT

NEW: And! Many authors we have published will be at the rapidly approaching World Fantasy Convention. We’ll have tables in the dealer room and will have excellent books by: Nathan Ballingrud, Ted Chiang, Andy Duncan*, Jeffrey Ford*, Eileen Gunn, Kathleen Jennings, Kij Johnson, Nancy Kress, Ellen Kushner, Kelly Link, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Delia Sherman, Sofia Samatar, Ysabeau S. Wilce, and maybe even more, who knows!
World Fantasy Convention, Washington DC/Arlington, VA
* Forthcoming

North American Lake Monsters: 2nd printing

Fri 3 Oct 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

North American Lake Monsters coverGood news: the printer is about to ship us the second printing of the paperback Nathan Ballingrud’s Shirley Jackson award winning debut collection North American Lake Monsters.

And: the hardcover is about to be declared out of print, so get it while you can. We will have some here for a little while longer and are hoping to bring some to the World Fantasy Convention in DC where Nathan can sign them.

Also, should you already have devoured the book and now be demanding more Ballingrudian fiction, why, I am very happy to be able to help you with that. Check out Monstrous Affections (for which sometimes I affeckt an extra k), dig around, and you’ll find Nathan’s um, diabolical?, “The Diabolist.”

Get it from Powell’s here or your local bookshop here. More stories by Nathan is always a good thing.

Wednesday is the new Monday?

Wed 1 Oct 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Holy bananas, Batman. Days go by, books explode out into the world (hello Gwenda!), leaves FALL FROM TREES, eek!

Did you hear Molly Gloss has a book out at the end of this month? I read it this week on my sickbed and it is so FABULOUS. It’s called Falling From Horses and you can pre-order signed copies from Powell’s! Which by all that is good in the world you SHOULD. Or, at least, strongly consider.

Susan Stinson says Spider in a Tree:

But, but, that book just came out! Argh, time, is, passing! (Apologies for that comma.)

Over at Weightless you can get the new issue of Lightspeed which has a heck of an energetic story from Ysabeau S. Wilce (“The Biography of a Bouncing Boy Terror”) which not coincidentally can also be found in her debut collection — which comes out in 2 weeks! — Prophecies, Libels, and Dreams. In the same issues: stories by Kelly Link (“Water Off a Black Dog’s Back”), Daniel José Older, Megan Kurashige, along with excerpts from Paolo Bacigalupi’s new novel, THE DOUBT FACTORY and Ann Leckie’s ANCILLARY SWORD. That John Joseph Adams sure puts together quite the package!

Ever wondered* what distractions emperors and other mayors faced? How did they cope? Were they gamers? (Tricky Dicky, looking at you.) Click through for some great face to face comparisons for Winston “Angry Birds” Churchill and more as Benjamin Parzybok delves into “A Brief History of Video Games Played by Mayors, Presidents, and Emperors.

Ben P. is reading (with Ryan Boudinot) at Oct. 15, 7 PM Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle. And: the audiobook just came out.

Ysabeau’s book is now available to reviewers, bloggers, librarians, and booksellers on Edelweiss. The requests are coming in thick and fast.

And! Delia Sherman’s debut collection, Young Woman in a Garden, is up on Edelweiss, now, too.

More info on these two books — and 2015’s book, wow, so oncoming, such nearness — soon.

* Ben, not asking you.

PS Win a copy of Prophecies, Libels, and Dreams here.

PS x 2 Name your city and get a free audiobook of Sherwood Nation!