LCRW subscriptions rising, rising

Mon 28 Jul 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Some of the fancier LCRW subscription options will be going up in price next month — wait, is that really later this week? Wow. Well, it will be before mid-August.

So get your sub in before the chocolate, mug, Bentley (hey, if you want a Bentley with every issue we are happy to oblige) etc. levels catch up with the rising postage prices. As always, we recommend international readers stick with the just the zine option as mailing the chocolate bars abroad gets silly expensive really fast.

I am loathe to put the forthcoming issue #30 table of contents here as I am sure, sure, that I am going to squeeze another something in there somehow. So, yes, should be out next month!

 



A Summer of Peter Dickinson

Thu 17 Jul 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

A Summer in the Twenties coverWe’re celebrating the release of our latest Peter Dickinson reprint, A Summer in the Twenties, this week in a couple of ways:

First, we’ve just posted the first three chapters for your reading enjoyment. That should take care of what to read at lunchtime while ignoring twitter. If instant gratification is your thing, you can pick up the DRM-free ebook (epub/mobi/pdf) at Weightless right now.

While you’re on Weightless thinking about all those lovely books, how about adding another Peter Dickinson title to your library? Today only his strange and fascinating novel The Poison Oracle is the Weightless Weekly One Book sale title and is just $1.99. It’s a very different book from A Summer in the Twenties, which is one of the things Kelly and I love about Peter Dickinson.

As Nancy Pearl recently said on NPR about our first Dickinson mystery reprint, Death of a Unicorn:

Death of a Unicorn has nothing to do with unicorns or fantasies. … This is a mystery by Peter Dickinson. (Small Beer Press, a small publishing company in Massachusetts, is reprinting … Peter Dickinson’s books, which is a wonderful, wonderful gift to mystery readers who are yearning for that kind of old-fashioned British mystery where it doesn’t move quickly, you get engrossed in the time period.) …

“The thing about Peter Dickinson is that his books, one from the other, are totally different. … And this is a novel, a mystery, where the mystery doesn’t really happen. The event that is mysterious, the death — if you will — doesn’t really happen until probably two-thirds of the way through the book. And it’s written from the point of view of a young upper-class … woman in England and her relationship with the [financier] of a magazine very much like the New Yorker.

“I think that this is one of those books that I hope will … introduce people to Peter Dickinson and then they’ll go and pick up all the rest of his books. … But I have to stress these are not for people who want fast-moving thrillers. These are not mysteries in the style of American private-eye stories. These are really character studies and studies of society at a particular place in a particular time.”

That last paragraph really applies to A Summer in the Twenties. It’s definitely not a traditional murder mystery, but it has something of the thriller to it. I’ve been re-reading some Dorothy Sayers recently (in part because I know I haven’t read them all so I have to go back and re-read everything just in case, see?) and it isn’t too hard to imagine Lord Peter Wimsey passing through this novel — although I’ll leave that to better fanfic writers than me! The novel is really about choices and consequences and long after you’ve put it down you’ll be thinking about which choices led where and who might be happy. Might!



Drink Local! A Detcon1 Beer Guide

Mon 14 Jul 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 1 Comment | Posted by: Michael

Detcon1, this year’s NASFIC convention in Detroit, happens next weekend, July 17 – 20, 2014. Along with fellow Fermented Adventurer Scott H. Andrews, I’m on a panel about beer in fiction that Saturday afternoon, whereat, or perhaps immediately thereafter, I may or may not happen to have a very few bottles of homebrew available for sampling. I’ve also been scheduled to take part in a group reading of Michigan writers–the implication being, I suppose, that I speak for the region. Which–though Detroit does feature briefly in my story in this month’s Ideomancer–I am really not trying to do in my fiction; I’ve only lived here four years, after all.

I am, however, rather more prepared to take up that banner for Michigan beer. I have traveled, I have tasted, I have brewed. So, for those of you making the trip maybe for the first time, I thought I might be of help and interest with a brief beer guide to Detroit.

Michigan, Southeast Michigan and Detroit, you’ve heard, have suffered; jobs evaporate, populations dwindle, infrastructure crumbles. But beer is one of the bright spots. Ever hear what recession does to alcohol sales? Here, too. Our state now has more breweries than any other east of the Rockies, more every year, including some of the best: Founders, Bell’s, Short’s, New Holland, Greenbush, Griffin Claw, Right Brain, Kuenhenn, Jolly Pumpkin. And a surprising amount of what’s brewed here stays within state lines. If you’ve never been to Michigan, you’ve likely never heard of half those I just named. So while you’re here, why not drink local? It contributes to the local economy (which sure could use the help), it cuts down on the carbon footprint of your visit, and it ensures you’re drinking fresh, and drinking different! No downsides, as far as I can see.

First, a couple of local beer bars to which I’m partial (and I see whoever wrote the Detcon Restaurant Guide doesn’t disagree), in order of proximity to the con hotel:

  1. grand-trunkForan’s Grand Trunk Pub – The former offices of the Grand Trunk Railroad, which was not, as you may have thought, fictional, Grand Trunk Pub has beautiful old wood, vaulted ceilings, a really well-curated tap list with something for everyone, and pastrami sandwiches to die for (and potentially of, everything in moderation), an easy 10 minute walk from the con hotel: go west on Jefferson, then north on Woodward.
  2. Cliff Bell’s/Park Bar – Get on the People Mover, Detroit’s tiny, laughably underused public transit loop, take it to Grand Circus Park, then follow Park Ave northwest for a block and a half. First, check out Cliff Bell’s for the ambiance–it’s an old 30s jazz club, beautifully restored, with a few very solid local drafts. Then go next door to the Park Bar, a dive with 20+ taps, local color to spare, and really good, astoundingly cheap Mediterranean food served out of a hole in the wall in the back.
  3. Slow’s – If you’ve got a car, get on Michigan Ave and go west about a mile and a quarter to Slow’s, a fine barbecue joint located across from the beautiful, long-derelict Detroit Central Station building where may be found the only hand-pulled cask ale in the city, plus dozens of other drafts from all over Michigan. The place will likely be packed; either elbow up to the bar or get a beeper, then wander over and gawk at the ruins while you wait. You won’t be disappointed, even if eating slow-roasted dead beasts isn’t your thing.

Methinks that’s good enough to get you started–after all, you’ve only got a weekend. Next, a couple of delicious, localest-of-the-local beers to try while you’re in town. I’m limiting myself to stuff you might actually have a chance of getting in Detroit in July, but aside from that, no particular order.

  • ghettoblaster-300x366Motor City Brewing Works Ghettoblaster – Billed as a “mild ale”, though not a whole lot like the English style that goes by that name. A cloudy, biscuity, low alcohol amber ale beloved of Detroit hipsters, brewed within city limits.
  • Motor City Brewing Works Cider – A cloudy, funky, not-too-sweet cider. I’m a big fan. Get it at their taproom in Midtown for peak freshness, you won’t regret it.
  • B. Nektar Necromangocon – A mango-infused mead from the largest mead producer in the US, brewed in nearby Ferndale. A gateway mead if I’ve ever tasted one, quaffable and refreshing despite high alcohol content.
  • Right Brain Northern Hawk Owl – A fine, balanced, easy drinking, almost-authentic ESB from far-northern Traverse City. Sometimes they have it on cask at Slow’s
  • Right Brain CEO Stout – Perhaps the Platonic ideal coffee stout.
  • Founders Backwoods Bastard – A rich, malty, high-alcohol Scotch Ale aged in bourbon barrels–legend has it in secret caves under Grand Rapids. Consider yourself lucky if you see it on tap–made only in very limited quantity, generally unavailable except at special events and in highbrow beer bars like the above.
  • backwoodAnything from Greenbush Brewing – Based in southwestern MI near the Indiana border, Greenbush is IMO the best brewery in Michigan. Be prepared for heady hops. “Closure”, a malty, hop-resiny pale ale, has quickly risen to among my current favorite beers in the world.
  • Anything from Griffin Claw Brewing – Based in nearby, swanky Birmingham, Griffin Claw’s head brewer purportedly taught a lot of other MI head brewers everything they know. If you’re of the über-IPA-loving bent, Norm’s Raggedy Ass IPA will not disappoint.
  • Anything from Brewery Vivant – A French/Belgian-influenced brewery in Grand Rapids. Try “Big Red Coq”, a double red ale, if you can get over the stupid name. If not, go for their Farmhouse Ale.

Why don’t I stop myself there before I bore you. Just how much drinking were you planning to do in a weekend, anyhow? I tell you what: if you want to hear the other 500 beers on this list (or the other 25 bars), come find me at Detcon, and I’ll rattle them off to you over several pints.

Cheers!



Bookslinger: The Ugly Chickens

Fri 11 Jul 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

New this week on Consortium’s Bookslinger app is Howard Waldrop’s Nebula and World Fantasy Award winning story “The Ugly Chickens” from our ebook edition of Old Earth Books’s Waldrop anthology Things Will Never Be the Same: A Howard Waldrop Reader: Selected Short Fiction 1980-2005.

Previous Small Beer stories on Bookslinger:

Howard Waldrop’s “A Dozen Tough Jobs.”

Bernardo Fernandez’s “Lions” (translated by co-editor Chris N. Brown) from Three Messages and a Warning.

John Kessel, ”Pride and Prometheus

Kij Johnson’s “At the Mouth of the River of Bees

Georges-Olivier Chateaureynaud’s “Delauney the Broker“ (translated by Edward Gauvin)

Ray Vukcevich, “Whisper

Maureen F. McHugh, “The Naturalist

Karen Joy Fowler, “The Pelican Bar

Kelly Link, “The Faery Handbag

Benjamin Rosenbaum, “Start the Clock

Maureen F. McHugh, “Ancestor Money

Download the app in the iTunes store.

And watch a video on it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySL1bvyuNUE



World Fantasy Award nominations!

Thu 10 Jul 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | 1 Comment | Posted by: Gavin

What great news! Congratulations to both Sofia Samatar and Nathan Ballingrud who last night received the lovely news that their books were both finalists for the World Fantasy Award. Yay! Sofia is also a finalist in the short story category for her Strange Horizons story, “Selkie Stories Are for Losers.”

It is an honor to have books nominated and we will be celebrating this weekend at Readercon, and, hey, why not, all the way to November when the awards will be given out at the World Fantasy Convention in Washington, D.C. And, as always, congratulations to all the finalists!

A Stranger in Olondria cover - click to view full size North American Lake Monsters cover - click to view full size



In which we go to Readercon!

Tue 8 Jul 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Hey, are you going to Readercon this weekend? We are! Well . . . Kelly will be there Friday and then she is flying off at oh-dark-thirty on Saturday for beautiful Portland, Oregon, where she’ll be one of the fab faculty at the Tin House Writers Workshop. OK, Tin House first: it’s held at Reed College, Oregon, and Kelly is doing a seminar:

Wednesday July 16th, 3pm, Vollum Lecture Hall
Nighttime Logic: Ghost Stories, Fairy Tales, Dreams, and the Uncanny, with Kelly Link

The writer Howard Waldrop distinguishes between the kinds of stories that rely upon daytime logic and stories that use nighttime logic. What does he mean by this? We’ll examine writers, stories, and techniques that dislocate the reader and make the world strange. 

and a reading:

Thursday, July 17th, 8pm
Reading and signing with Kelly Link, Mary Ruefle, Antonya Nelson

Kelly is not on programming at Readercon. But, many, many Small Beer authors are! Some of them may be familiar, some will have travelled many miles to be there. Check out the program here to see where these fine folks will be:

All the way from Seattle: Eileen Gunn!
All the way from Austin! Chris Brown
Shirley Jackson Award nominee Greer Gilman [fingers crossed for both that and for an appearance by Exit, Pursued by a Bear]
Up from NYC: Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman
Down the coast from Maine: Elizabeth Hand
Al the way from California, Crawford Award winner Sofia Samatar

— which all means we will have signed copies to go out from next Monday onward. (Want a personalized book? Leave a note with your order!)

I (Gavin) have two things scheduled:

Friday
4:00 PM    CL    Kaffeeklatsch. Gavin Grant, Yoon Ha Lee.

Saturday
10:00 AM    G    Books That Deserve to Remain Unspoiled. Jonathan Crowe, Gavin Grant, Kate Nepveu, Graham Sleight, Gayle Surrette (moderator). In a 2013 review of Joyce Carol Oates’s The Accursed, Stephen King stated, “While I consider the Internet-fueled concern with ‘spoilers’ rather infantile, the true secrets of well-made fiction deserve to be kept.” How does spoiler-acquired knowledge change our reading of fiction? Are some books more “deserving” of going unspoiled than others? If so, what criteria do we apply to determine those works?

If you have big opinions about spoilers, tell me! Wait, don’t spoil the panel! Wait! Do!

We will have two tables in the book room, where, besides our own best-in-the-world-books we will also help DESTROY SCIENCE FICTION, yay! We will have copies of the limited print edition of one of the most interesting (and huge, it is $30, has color illustrations, plus an additional story) anthologies of recent days: Women Destroy Science Fiction edited by Christie Yant and with a pretty incredible Table of Contents.

Come by and say hi!



Bookslinger: A Dozen Tough Jobs

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

New this week on Consortium’s Bookslinger app is Howard Waldrop’s “A Dozen Tough Jobs” from our ebook edition of Old Earth Books’s Waldrop anthology Other Worlds, Better Lives: Selected Long Fiction, 1989-2003.

If you look at the previous Small Beer stories on Bookslinger, it’s sort of like we are slowly building a virtual anthology:

Bernardo Fernandez’s “Lions” (translated by co-editor Chris N. Brown) from Three Messages and a Warning.

John Kessel, ”Pride and Prometheus

Kij Johnson’s “At the Mouth of the River of Bees

Georges-Olivier Chateaureynaud’s “Delauney the Broker“ (translated by Edward Gauvin)

Ray Vukcevich, “Whisper

Maureen F. McHugh, “The Naturalist

Karen Joy Fowler, “The Pelican Bar

Kelly Link, “The Faery Handbag

Benjamin Rosenbaum, “Start the Clock

Maureen F. McHugh, “Ancestor Money

Download the app in the iTunes store.

And watch a video on it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySL1bvyuNUE



Summer in the Twenties Giveaway!

Tue 24 Jun 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 3 Comments | Posted by: Gavin

Hey, did you see the lovely Nancy Pearl note on NPR  that we are “reprinting … Peter Dickinson’s books, which is a wonderful, wonderful gift to mystery readers”! If you’d like to check out our latest reprint — coming next month — our distro, Consortium, has arranged for another giveaway on Goodreads. This time we have 10 copies of Peter’s A Summer in the Twenties. The glorious thing about Peter’s books is that they’re all different from one another:

Book Giveaway For A Summer in the Twenties

A Summer in the Twenties by Peter DickinsonA Summer in the Twenties
by Peter Dickinson
Release date: July 15, 2014

Wildcat or bright young thing?
A young man has to choose who to love, who to leave in the 1926 General Strike in Britain.

A Summer in the Twenties shows the body politic balanced at a precarious moment of tension.”
New York Times Book Review

Enter to win

Giveaway dates: Jun 23 – Jul 07, 2014
10 copies available, 150+ people requesting
Countries available: US and CA



Announcing an Exit . . . Pursued by a Bear!

Thu 12 Jun 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Exit, Pursued By a Bear coverWe have very good news for Ben Jonson fans, and even better for Greer Gilman’s! Greer is back with a new novella, Exit, Pursued by a Bearfeaturing none other than Jonson and Henry Stuart, heir to the throne and, sadly, tone dead in his dealings with the Unseen World.

Once again Kathleen Jennings — who won a Ditmar Award for her art this past weekend! — has provided the art, but this time for the front and the back cover. Exit will be available in print and ebook editions this September, but don’t be too surprised if we have earrrrly copies at Readercon in July since Greer will be there and can do a reading.

 



And now, congrats to the British Fantasy Award nominees!

Mon 9 Jun 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | 1 Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Congratulations to all the nominees for the British Fantasy Awards, especially to our two debut authors: Nathan Ballingrud, whose collection North American Lake Monsters is a nominee in the collection category and Sofia Samatar whose A Stranger in Olondria is a nominee in the novel/Robert Holdstock Award category.

The awards will be “announced at an awards ceremony at FantasyCon 2014 in York on 6 or 7 September 2014, depending on the convention’s scheduling.”

North American Lake Monsters cover A Stranger in Olondria cover



Congrats to the Shirley Jackson Award nominees!

Sun 11 May 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Congratulations to all the finalists for the Shirley Jackson Awards, especially to Nathan Ballingrud whose debut collection, North American Lake Monsters, is a nominee in the single author collection category, and to Greer Gilman whose Cry Murder! in a Small Voice, is a nominee in the novelette category.

The awards will be presented on Sunday, July 13, 2014, at Readercon 25, in Burlington (outside Boston), Massachusetts. Kelly was one of the jurors this year, so, as the site says: “Where a conflict of interest arises for a juror, the juror recuses himself/herself from voting for the particular work.”

Come say hello if you’re at Readercon! We will have stacks of these books — and more goodies, of course. And by the end of the week we should have another piece of very exciting news for fans of Greer Gilman!

ETA: Susan Stinson and Bob Flaherty (“My god, Susan! What you have you done to me!”) talk about North American Lake Monsters during their monthly bookswap on WHMP.

North American Lake Monsters cover - click to view full size Cry Murder! in a Small Voice cover - click to view full size



Reading like its 1971

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

Emma Tupper’s Diary cover - click to view full sizeI turned one in 1971 and while I like to think I was enjoying some pretty great books (who can tell, they’ve all been eaten by me, my siblings, and time) I know of one good book that came out that year that I didn’t read: Peter Dickinson’s Emma Tupper’s Diary.

I don’t think I even read this book growing up*, which is a shame, as from the age of 9 or 10 on up it would have been a scarily good fit: I lived in the West Coast of Scotland among beautiful hills and lochs and would have eaten up a novel about an odd family (cough) whose cousin comes to visit from Botswana (we had cousins come from South Africa . . .). The only parts that are missing are

  1. the family business — teaching vs. their McAndrew’s Infallible Liniment
  2. the family minisubmarine — my family’s lack, that is, as far as I know . . .
  3. my father (sadly) did not go off abroad leaving us nominally looked after by a beautiful kleptomaniacal governess while we gallivanted about, pulled the wool over the eyes of the BBC, etc. (Also, my mother, unlike in many books for kids, is still alive. And still a great reader!)
  4. and, lastly, despite our searching, no proof of any monsters in any of the local lochs.

I am still sometimes confused by the way that time only seems to move in one way. I certainly feel different ages a lot of the time (although happily not 1-year-old) but I don’t seem to be able to go back in time and hand me this book. Shame! But at least since we reprinted it, it has been finding new readers:

Gayle Surette at SFRevu writes: “a great adventure story with characters that seem very real and as relatable today as there were then. It’s got a great location, adventure, great by-play and witty conversations, as well as an ecological and humanitarian conundrum with real implications for the future of the area and its denizens.”

and the Midwest Book Review notes that it is “Updated with a new cover and illustrations, this remains a great, now classic, summer read.”

Kathleen Jennings provided us with that new great cover of Emma writing her diary with a certain something in the background and we also got to use her sketches throughout the book.

Emma Tupper’s Diary is full of prickly people who rub each other the wrong way. Oh how I do wish I’d read it when I was a kid! But at least Kelly had it when I met her and eventually I got to read it and at some point we realized it would be a whole lot of fun to re-release this book back into the world. It’s a book that’s paced differently from many books for kids (aka readers of all ages!) and as noted by the Midwest Book Review, it also hearkens back to summer holidays when kids (of a certain class and in certain places) got bored and sometimes ran around and did stuff. In that way it is mildly, mildly reminiscent of another classic children’s book that will whisk you away on a summer’s day: Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons, which, happily, the fine folk at Godine always have in print.

More suggestions of mucking around in summer books welcome. Especially as we woke up to snow and a reminder from Mother Nature that she’s the one who decides when spring comes, ok? Ok!

Get Emma Tupper’s Diary here and the ebook here.

* I’m not one of those people who can remember every book they’re read. I know (barely**) what I’m reading now and the last two books I read. But, before that? Erm. And what was I reading in 1980? Um. All I can say is lots and lots. Anything, everything. I was often the kid who got to pick the books from the mobile library for the school library refresh. You know, one of those. Inject your own tales of biblioscarcity and scavenging here!

** I was asked this morning and could not remember the title. Um.



LCRW low stock updates

Fri 28 Mar 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

While doing some counting and sorting (and preparing for the next issue, #30!), we found we’re running short of a couple of back issues of LCRW. So! We just switched numbers 15 & 16 to out of stock and this is the official notice that issues nineteen* and twenty-two will be next.

The good news: the ebooks are still available on Weightless (etc.) and selections from all these issues (er, up to #19) are also available in Del Rey’s lovely anthology The Best of LCRW: Some of the Best Parts from the First Ten Years of This Here Zine.

* Isn’t that easier to click than that fiddly 15?

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 19 cover - click to view full sizeLady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 22 cover - click to view full size



The Unreal and the Real wins the Oregon Book Award!

Tue 18 Mar 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Lovely news from Ben Parzybok on twitter from Oregon last night. Among the winners (congrats to all!) of the Oregon Book Award, was Ursula K. Le Guin, whose two-volume Selected Stories received the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction.

Even better, Luis Alberto Urrea (who posted the accompanying photo yesterday) was the the master of ceremonies and, well, Jeff Baker gave it a lovely write up for the Oregonian:

“. . . Le Guin won the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction for “The Unreal and The Real: Collected Stories Vol. 1 and 2.” At 84 Le Guin is perhaps the most decorated author in the state; her many honors include a National Book Award, every major science fiction award and an Oregon Book Award in 1992 for “Searoad.”

Luis Alberto Urrea, the master of ceremonies, began the evening with a humorous, heartfelt tribute to Le Guin. Urrea said he was “a poor boy from Tijuana” who wrote a story based on a family experience that somehow made its way to Le Guin, who asked him to join a workshop she was teaching and befriended him. She chose the story for an anthology she was editing, Urrea’s first sale, and his friends all bought the book and asked him to sign it. Urrea said Le Guin “smoked a pipe back then” and he accompanied her to her first viewing of “Star Wars,” during which she explained all the science errors to him.

“Everything good in my life comes from writing,” Urrea said. “Everything good in my life comes from Ursula. I’m here tonight for Ursula, the queen of America.”

Le Guin accepted her award graciously and first cautioned the audience that they should pay attention to Urrea when he’s writing, maybe not so much when he’s speaking. She remembered that in 1987, the year the Oregon Book Awards began, the award she received was named for H.L. Davis and she presented it to the winner. She touted Davis’ novel “Honey in the Horn” as the best written about Oregon and rued that it is out of print. She remembered the founders of Literary Arts, the organization that sponsors the Oregon Book Awards, particularly Brian Booth, and talked about her feeling for the state.

“I came to Oregon by luck,” Le Guin said, “and lasted 55 years. No plan can beat good luck.”



Celebrate the Questionable Practices!

Tue 11 Mar 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Questionable Practices coverToday we’re breaking out the champagne for breakfast to celebrate Questionable Practices. Not our own no doubt numerous questionable practices, but rather the fabulous Eileen Gunn’s second short story collection, Questionable Practices, which has been making its way out into the world for the last week or two.

It’s been 10 years(!) since Eileen’s first collection, Stable Strategies, which is highly recommended, of course! If you’ve never heard of Eileen (or, even if you have!) and you want to find out more about Eileen and her stories, writing, possible novel and so on, you can listen to her chat with Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe on this week’s Coode Street Podcast. And Gary has a lovely, long review of the book in this month’s Locus magazine which ends with “It’s always good news to get a new Gunn collection, and it’s always bad news that they come so infrequently.” Hey, this one’s out, maybe it won’t be another decade until the next.

Eileen will be out and about over the next couple of months at bookshops and conventions and so on and you can say hi and get a signed copy—or you can order it here.

March 19 – 23, ICFA, Orlando, FL
March 26, 7 pm, Launch Party, University Bookstore, Seattle, WA
April 12, 3 pm, Borderlands Books, San Francisco, CA
April 16, 7 pm, Writers with Drinks, San Francisco, CA
May 22 – 25, WisCon, Madison, WI
June 18, 7 pm, KGB Bar, New York, NY
July 10 – 13, Readercon, Burlington, MA



Ready?

Thu 20 Feb 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Emma Tupper’s Diary cover - click to view full sizeWe’re going to add some books to the world — and this website — soon.

And I’m not just talking our new edition of Emma Tupper’s Diary by Peter Dickinson which will be going out into the world next Tuesday. Emma forever!

Is that enough to answer the question, Ready?

No.

We’re going to announce something else fun, too.

A movie? Nope.

All my open tabs which got lost when Chrome crashed? No. (Saad.)

A tumblr. Well . . .

An indie ebooksite? Come on, stop pandering!

Something fun? I hope so!



JE in the news

Mon 10 Feb 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Susan Stinson’s Spider in a Tree is still catching readers — it’s not quite a Great Awakening, but the novel delves so deeply into life in the 1740s that once immersed, it’s hard to leave.

Apropos of some upcoming reviews and so on, Susan just posted her latest Library as Incubator post just went up, a lot of which is about researching Spider in a Tree at the Forbes Library here in Northampton. It’s 5 of the 6 part series she been doing for them and here is a link for the whole series to date. Click through for som great pictures of the library and the librarians!

Susan’s book got a mention in this interview David Moore carried out with Richard Bailey, associate history professor at Canisius College where they touched on one of the lesser known facets of Jonathan Edwards’s life, his ownership of slaves:

Moore: It is not well known that Jonathan Edwards owned slaves.  How should we think of Edwards in light of this reality?

Bailey: I am not 100% certain how to answer this question, David. I am glad that this fact about Edwards is becoming more commonly known and I am glad that my book can have something to do with that fact.

But how to think of Edwards? Well, Jonathan Edwards is certainly more than simply a slave owner. He is an important figure in the development of American evangelicalism and the modern missions movement. He is one of America’s most prominent philosophers and theologians. He certainly ought to be remembered for those sorts of legacies. But he also was a purchaser of human flesh. He actively defended and participated in the slave trade. And I’d argue he must be remembered for that, as well. I think that is what it means to take on the virtual amnesias of our pasts.

The one way I would encourage people NOT to think of Jonathan Edwards is as “a man of his time.” That sort of phrase doesn’t really mean anything; rather, it is a way of not thinking about Edwards. And I hope people will continue to think about him, relying of the historical work of George Marsden in Jonathan Edwards: A Life (Yale University Press, 2003) or the recent novel by Susan Stinson, Spider in a Tree (Small Beer Press, 2013) to get a more complete picture not only of the man, but also of the society and culture of which he was a part. [continues]

I’m very happy to note that Wikipedia has been updated to change the embarrassingly written section covering his slave ownership and presently just states “In 1747 Edwards took in a slave, “a Negro girl named Venus”. He purchased the girl for 80 pounds from a man named Richard Perkins of Newport.” Although this does still seem connected to the next sentence “The Edwards opened their home to those in need on a regular basis.”

Taking in slaves  does not equal looking after those in need! I don’t really know how to read the change history on Wikipedia—I looked at, but I can’t make sense of it—but there have been a lot of changes in the last few months and I’m glad that this part of Edwards’s and his family’s and the town’s life will be further examined.

Local readers can join Odyssey Books Open Fiction Book Group next Tuesday, Feb. 17th at 7 pm to meet Susan and discuss the book.



Bestsellers & Locus Rec Reading 2013

Mon 3 Feb 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments | Posted by: Gavin

Here are two different views of 2013 in SBP books. What will 2014 bring? Droughts! Witches! Yetis! More and more weird fun!

Congratulations to all the authors on the 2013 Locus recommended reading list. It’s always fun to peruse the list and see, for whatever reasons, what rose up and what didn’t. It’s especially nice to have links to all the online short stories and novellas and so on, thanks Mark et al!

In 2013, we published 2 Peter Dickinson reprints, one chapbook, and six new titles, and of those six, four titles are on the list:

  1. Sofia Samatar, A Stranger in Olondria
  2. Nathan Ballingrud, North American Lake Monsters: Stories
  3. Angelica Gorodischer (trans. Amalia Gladhart), Trafalgar
  4. Howard Waldrop, Horse of a Different Color: Stories

And you can go and vote in the Locus awards poll here. I have some reading to do before I vote. Votes for Small Beer authors and titles are always appreciated, thank you!

In sales, once again our celebration of Ursula K. Le Guin’s fantastic short stories were our best sellers for the year. However, if we split the two volumes into separate sales, Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life and Others would climb a notch to #2. But! Counting them as one means we get another title into the top 5: Elizabeth Hand’s late 2012 collection Errantry: Strange Stories. We really should release more books at the start of the year, as those released at the end have much less chance of getting into the top 5.

According to Neilsen BookScan (i.e. not including bookfairs, our website, etc.), our top five bestsellers (excluding ebooks) for 2013 were:

  1. Ursula K. Le Guin, The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin
    Ursula K. Le Guin, The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin
  2. Ted Chiang, Stories of Your Life and Others
  3. Kij Johnson, At the Mouth of the River of Bees
  4. Susan Stinson, Spider in a Tree
  5. Elizabeth Hand, Errantry: Strange Stories

Last year it was all short stories all the time, this year Susan Stinson’s historical novel Spider in a Tree jumped in (I’d have said sneaked in if it was #5, but since it’s at #4, that’s a jump!). Susan’s book is still getting great reviews, as with this from the Historical Novel Review which just came out this week:

“The book is billed as “a novel of the First Great Awakening,” and Stinson tries to do just that, presenting us with a host of viewpoints from colonists to slaves and even insects. She gives an honest imagining of everyday people caught up in extraordinary times, where ecstatic faith, town politics and human nature make contentious bedfellows. Although the novel was slow to pull me in, by the end I felt I had an intimate glance into the disparate lives of these 18th-century residents of Northampton, Massachusetts.”

As ever, thanks are due to the writers for writing their books, all the people who worked on the books with us, the great support we received from the independent bookstores all across the USA and Canada, and of course, the readers. We love these books and are so happy to find so many readers do, too: thank you!

    



Champagne!

Tue 28 Jan 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Lovely news came in late last week for Sofia Samatar and her debut novel, A Stranger in Olondriawhich has been honored with the Crawford Award. We are immensely happy for Sofia! Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors: Yoon Ha Lee for Conservation of Shadows (Prime Books), Helene Wecker for The Golem and the Jinni (Harper), and N.A. Sulway for Rupetta (Tartarus Press).

Sofia will be at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando, Florida, where the award will be presented on March 22.

And in an amazingly graceful segue, I can reveal that Eileen Gunn will also be at that conference and will be celebrating the publication of her second collection of stories, Questionable Practiceswhich just received its first review, and it’s a star from Publishers Weekly!

“Nebula-winner Gunn combines humor and compassion in 17 short, intricate gems that showcase her many talents. Of particular note among these outstanding works are the poem “To the Moon Alice,” in which a bombastic threat provides escape from comedic domestic violence, and “Michael Swanwick and Samuel R. Delany at the Joyce Kilmer Service Area, March 2005,” an affectionate fable-like tribute to two legendary authors. “Up the Fire Road” provides dueling accounts of triadic romance and problematic parentage. “Phantom Pain” is a kaleidoscopic examination of a wounded soldier’s life. Though Gunn first saw print in the 1970s, this short collection contains a surprisingly large portion of her stories; her rate of publication has recently been increasing, giving fans reason to hope for many more delights to come.”

Nice!

And since all posts should have 3 items, we’re raising up a glass of champagne to toast Holly Black whose novel Doll Bones is one of this year’s Newbery Honor books!

“In this distinctive coming-of-age tale, best friends Zach, Poppy and Alice set out on a life-altering quest driven by the presence of a sinister bone china doll who haunts their dreams and waking hours. Black explores complex questions of storytelling, imagination and changing friendships in this superbly haunting narrative.”

It’s a great book for kids or adults and we are just beside ourselves with joy that Holly’s book was recognized by the ALA. Props to the ALA for running a fabulous awards organization: it’s not even the end of January and they fired off a couple of dozen fab awards in under an hour. Wow!



Bookslinger: Understand

Fri 17 Jan 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

New this week on Consortium’s Bookslinger app is Ted Chiang’s Asimov and Hayakawa award winning story ”Understand.”

Previous Small Beer stories on Bookslinger:

Kelly Link, “The Specialist’s Hat”

Bernardo Fernandez, “Lions” (translated by Chris N. Brown)

John Kessel, ”Pride and Prometheus”

Kij Johnson’s “At the Mouth of the River of Bees”

Georges-Olivier Chateaureynaud’s “Delauney the Broker” (translated by Edward Gauvin)

Ray Vukcevich, “Whisper

Maureen F. McHugh, “The Naturalist

Karen Joy Fowler, “The Pelican Bar

Kelly Link, “The Faery Handbag

Benjamin Rosenbaum, “Start the Clock

Maureen F. McHugh, “Ancestor Money

Download the app in the iTunes store.

And watch a video on it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySL1bvyuNUE



Small Beer Podcast 19: Nathan Ballingrud’s “You Go Where It Takes You”

Tue 14 Jan 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Julie

North American Lake Monsters cover - click to view full sizeNathan Ballingrud is one of those authors who should be far better known. Hopefully, this collection will do something to bridge that particular gap.

I don’t write fan letters and I don’t read stories that sometimes fall across the border into grotesque, but then Nathan Ballingrud’s North American Lake Monsters came along. Immediately after I finished the collection, before I even knew I was going to record this podcast, I had messaged Nathan directly to tell how how I felt. The thing is—I don’t do things like that.

Even as I type this blog entry, I am holding back my over-eager fangirl. Ballingrud’s stories are that good. They are dark and unique and beautifully written. The prose is Ballingrud’s alone, but it reminds me of Raymond Carver after Gordon Lish had cleaned up his work. (Here’s a link for those of you who don’t know that particular story. It is a psychological horror story all its own.)

Ballingrud’s stories blur that artificial line between psychological, supernatural, and physical horror. But they do more than that. These are stories about people who make hard and, often morally uncomfortable choices, and yet remain emphatically human. We may not approve of what they do, but we damn well understand it. In the end, after traveling through Ballingrud’s world, I didn’t feel anxious or scared, I felt lighter, as though his stories had carried off some darkness within myself. Best of all, I felt entertained.

Episode 19: In which Julie C. Day reads Nathan Ballingrud’s “You Go Where It Takes You” from North American Lake Monsters.

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

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Jeff Ford says

Mon 13 Jan 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

“Eileen Gunn’s terrific new story collection, Questionable Practices, is a unique amalgam of big ideas and versatile styles packed into short pieces devoid of loose threads and excess baggage. Gunn manages to perfectly balance themes of thought paradox, gender politics, corporate culture, time travel, steampunk, with a storyteller’s ability to immediately draw the reader in through character and drama. Real science fiction, great humor, and some cool collaboration with Michael Swanwick make this a good choice for SF short fiction fans.”

Sounds about right to us!



Unreal and the Real: Oregon Book Award finalist

Fri 10 Jan 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

The Unreal and the Real: Where on Earth cover - click to view full sizeLovely news this week, Ursula K. Le Guin’s selected stories, The Unreal and the Real, is one of 2014 Oregon Book Award Finalists for the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction. All of the finalists for the various categories are here and the award ceremony (hosted by the excellent Luis Alberto Urrea!) is on March 17 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10 – $50.

And here is the list of fiction finalists: congrats one and all!

Ursula K. Le Guin of Portland, The Unreal and The Real: Collected Stories: Volume 1 and 2 (Small Beer Press)
Whitney Otto of Portland, Eight Girls Taking Pictures (Scribner)
Amanda Coplin of Portland, The Orchardist (Harper Perennial)
Roger Hobbs of Portland, Ghostman (Knopf)

27th Annual Oregon Book Awards Ceremony
Gerding Theater at The Armory (View)
128 NW Eleventh Avenue
Portland, OR 97209


The Freedom Maze publication day, again!

Tue 7 Jan 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

The Freedom MazeHey, we are very proud and happy to note that Delia Sherman’s The Freedom Maze comes out in paperback today from Candlewick Press and before you click off somewhere else I want to note it is only $6.99! How can you resist! Buy it for all the kids you know, and two for yourself (one to giveaway!).

Remember this book? It is the one that took 18 years to write and is a curl-up-and-read-right-through.

How did it do?
Well!

Lookit!

Norton Award winner
Prometheus Award winner
Mythopoeic Award winner
ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults
Kirkus Reviews Best of 2011
Tiptree Award Honor List
Audiobook available from Listening Library.
French rights sold.

And!

Delia did a Big Idea: “Eighteen years ago, I was stuck.”
and wrote a guest post on Diversity in YA: “When I began writing The Freedom Maze, back in 1987, I didn’t intend to write a book about race.”
You can listen to an interview with Delia Sherman and a reading from The Freedom Maze or download the first chapter. [PDF link]

I love this book. So happy it is off into paperbackland with such wonderful folks. May every school and library in the land order it. May cities choose it for One City One Book. May colleges make their incoming classes read it. May it outlive us all!



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