Another Whole Paradigm

Tue 17 Jan 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Tender cover - click to view full sizeEvery day I wake up in this weird state of disbelief that 62 million people voted for the hatefest of humanity being put forward as the next President and government.

Then an email like this comes in and I think YES! We will make the future we want and need. Today’s thanks go out to adrienne maree brown (co-editor of Octavia’s Brood) and Sofia Samatar for her collection Tender:

“Sofia Samatar’s stories are just so good. Surprising. Suspenseful at an emotional level — I kept finding myself plummeted into an emotion face first, everything built up so steadily, with such subtle and meticulous storytelling. Samatar earns readers’ trust and uses it to take us into unexpected territory, to make us see ourselves in our power, in our messiness. Tender is the right word, so many of these stories touched into the place of gasping, or tears. Each story had me like, “Oh this is my favorite, I must mention this one.” But then I would read the next story which would be Another Whole Paradigm, similar only in that the writing was astonishing, each word so precise. This collection is an exquisite exploration of what otherness and belonging and place and language and love do to us all. It is visionary fiction. Please accept this as my enthusiastic recommendation to let this book have its way with you.”

Reviewers/Booksellers/Bloggers: please check the book out on Edelweiss.



In Which I Asks the Facebooks

Wed 11 Jan 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | 5 Comments | Posted by: Gavin



Tender — the secret knowledge post

Wed 11 Jan 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Tender cover - click to view full sizeYesterday I got a lovely email from David Connerley Nahm author of Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky who had this to say about Sofia Samatar’s forthcoming debut collection, Tender:

“The stories in Sofia Samatar’s Tender are perfect and profound works of art written with the impossible ease of someone who has unlimited access to the secret knowledge of the exact right order in which words are supposed to go. The stories ring in sympathy with the reader like the favorite stories of childhood or youth or old age: Familiar and strange in the same proportion. These stories give you several new lives to live and with each reading–because you will read all of them several times–you discover new tales and new possibilities hidden within and you are filled endlessly with the pure pleasure of great literature.”



Best Best American

Tue 10 Jan 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Best Worst American cover - click to view full sizeJuan Martinez’s collection Best Worst American winds its way toward publication — well, it’s at the printer so fingers crossed all goes well — and for that final cover that I made with help from Ursula and designed with Kelly we have a quote from Kelly herself:

“A master of the absurd who serves up contemporary American life in rare, blistering slices.”

Juan will be reading in Chicago at Women & Children First and then with Kelly at Politics and Prose in DC during ye olde AWP Conference — and signing at our table in the bookcity — next month. See you there, if DC is still standing.



“If a library came alive…

Mon 9 Jan 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Ben Loory just sent this about Sofia Samatar’s first story collection, Tender, coming in April:

“If a library came alive, and spent ten thousand years walking up and down upon the earth, exploring and dreaming and falling in and out of love, it might write stories like these.”

To which I say, wow! Also: true.

Review copies going out now. Available for download on Edelweiss soon. Watch LibraryThing for more advance copies.



Happy New Year

Sat 31 Dec 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | 1 Comment | Posted by: Gavin

On the last day of the year: a quick fly-by on Small Beer books. In 2016 we (on purpose) published the fewest number of books we’ve done for a while and an unusual ratio of hardcovers to paperbacks — it’s also hard to properly count them. We published two trade paperbacks (Jeffrey Ford’s A Natural History of Hell and John Crowley’s The Chemical Wedding) but did we put out three hardcovers (Joan Aiken’s The People in the Castle, Sofia Samatar’s The Winged Histories, and Ursula K. Le Guin’s Words Are My Matter*) . . . or four or seven — including the Kickstarter there were three hardcover editions of The Chemical Wedding. . . .
All but The Chemical Wedding received starred reviews and ended up on Best of the Year lists and I toast each and every author. (Or, I will tonight!)

* A moment to celebrate: Words Are My Matter was our third title with Ursula K. Le Guin after her translation of Angélica Gorodischer’s Kalpa Imperial and her two volume The Unreal and the Real.

And even though we only published five titles (plus that fun but total time sink Kickstarter) I manage to be behind with so many things. Even when I reduced the number of books we published, I’m still behind. But! There are so many things to fill me with despair! So many interesting people on twitter! So many leaves to pick up on the walk to school. So many books to reprint — sneaked that last one in. I don’t think I’ve ever gathered in one place which books we reprinted in one year so here goes:

Nathan Ballingrud’s first collecton, North American Lake Monsters. Third printing — this book has legs! (Horrible things happen to those legs in at least one of the stories, but, still, legs!) The good news: Nathan is working on his next collection.

Naomi Mitchison’s novel Travel Light. Second printing. I read the first part of this to our 7-year-old who is part dragon herself and she really enjoyed all the parts with Uggi and the other dragons. She has the proper disregard for heroes, at least sometimes.

Ursula K. Le Guin, Words Are My Matter. The first printing was in October and the second in December — could I have increased the first print run? Yes. But I am so good at overprinting, so ordering a print run that was 220+% of the initial orders seemed like a solid call. Ordering another 50% of that first run was fun.
— A reprint not of our own: The Unreal and the Real in one volume, not two, with one extra story by Joe Monti at Simon & Schuster/Saga as part of a raft of Le Guin titles that they will publish including at some point a Charles Vess illustrated Complete Earthsea book I am very much looking forward to.

Another reprint not our own: Ted Chiang’s collection Stories of Your Life and Others (aka Arrival) by Vintage. The movie of the title story has made $90 million in the USA alone and the paperback edition was on the New York Times bestseller lists for four weeks which translates into thousands and thousands more readers for Ted’s fabulous stories. Sometimes, no, wait, very infrequently, things go right.

Nicole Kornher-Stace’s YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2016 novel Archivist Wasp. Third printing, May 2016. A book that blew out the door and keeps on going. As with Nathan above, Nicole is working on her next book.

Greer Gilman, Cry Murder! in a Small Voice. Second printing, March 2016. The first of Greer Gilman’s Ben Jonson, Detective novellas. Dense, bloody, funny, fantastic. Wait, I see a pattern here: Greer is also working on her next book. Writers write!

I think that’s it: five new titles and five reprints plus the de rigueur two issues of LCRW — thank you writers, subscribers, and booksellers for getting behind the only zine named after a Brooklyn girl who moved to London, married a Lord who probably had the syph, and published her own fancy fancy literary journal.

Sometimes in the past I’ve posted year end Small Beer bestseller lists but I find them oddly hard to do: should I list books shipped from our lovely distributor, Consortium (now owned by Ingram)? But what about website and bookfair sales? Books shipped out from Consortium, can and will be returned, sometimes months later. Should I post Bookscan rankings? Bookscan only seems to capture about 30-50% of actual sales — which I always forget when I look at their reports, oops, but is very clear when I look at sales/return numbers from Consortium.

Either way, we sold a lot of books in 2016: thank you. In 2017 we have many books planned and — if all goes well — more reprints. No Kickstarter, at least, I don’t think so right at this moment in the middle of inventory and preparing for 1099s and so on. There is a Howard Waldrop project kicking around…. We’ll see. Two more issues of LCRW FTW. We will go to AWP in Washington, DC, in February and Kelly is teaching at Tin House in Portland in July. I just received an update (no real movement, but the possibility of movement) on a secret project we’ve been slowly trying to make work for at least five years — it may not work, c’est la vie in publishing: try and make something happen for years, sometimes it flames out, disappears, or ends up elsewhere but if it ever did come together, wow, what fun.

And at the very end of this year I signed a contract and sent of a check for a short story collection that has been a long time in the making — but more on that in the new year: more books, more cheer, and of course: more fighting for freedom, equality, and justice for all. Happy new year to you and yours.



Best Worst American cover

Tue 20 Dec 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Best Worst American cover We had a placeholder cover for so long but hey, at last, before even the end of the world, here is the actual and real* cover for Juan Martinez’s debut collection Best Worst American which we’re publishing next February.

And here is a story from the book, “Hobbledehoydom,” first published on the Morning News, about Anthony Trollope and naked people.

* For a certain internet screen version of reality. How are you seeing this cover? On a computer? A phone? A wallscreen? The Times Square ad?



Shipping Going Well

Mon 19 Dec 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

At least, it’s going well from here — thank you! It’s busy as all get out but we are up to date to Thursday’s orders and by the end of today will have caught up again — unless there are too many orders to ship, woohoo, bring it! The post office says that US Priority Mail orders will still arrive by Christmas if ordered by 12/21, go for it!

Want some last minute present ideas? (OK, these are all going to be Small Beer books, I think.) Nothing here will stop the howling void of despair and depression taking over all from the electoral shenanigans but they will distract for various amounts of time:

Margaret Atwood selected Ursula K. Le Guin’s Words Are My Matter as one of her favorite books of the year in the Walrus:

It was a pleasure to encounter renowned SF and fantasy writer Ursula K. Le Guin’s book of essays, Words Are My Matter, and to hear her wise, informed, elegant, and occasionally testy voice discussing such joys as the early H.G. Wells classics such as The Time Machine and China Miéville’s Embassytown—which surely owes a debt to Le Guin’s own The Left Hand of Darkness, now out in a sumptuous new Penguin Galaxy edition.

And Nora Jemisin recommended the book in the New York Times Book Review. Also: there was an Ursula K. Le Guin symposium at the University of Oregon.

Sit back (or go jog, or shovel some snow) and listen to David Naimon and Sofia Samatar chat about The Winged Histories on the Between the Covers podcast. The Winged Histories was chosen as one of the best books of the year by NPR — yay!

The Valley Advocate ran a 3-page spread on John Crowley’s The Chemical Wedding which included interviews with Crowley, illustrator Theo Fadel, and designer Jacob McMurrary. The paper edition had many illustrations. Meanwhile the book was reviewed on Tor.com.

See the Elephant ran a review of Joan Aiken’s The People in the Castle, which was also selected as one of the year’s best books by the Washington Post. Double yay!

See the Elephant had previously run a review of Jeffrey Ford’s A Natural History of Hell which much to my enjoyment began “Hellishly Good Stories.” Jim Sallis revelled in Ford’s collection in F&SF (“Formally Ford’s stories are object lessons in how to stage a narrative.”) Alvaro Zinos-Amaro reviewed it on IGMS and DF Lewis wrote reaction posts while reading the stories. Hazel and Wren also liked the book. What can I say? It struck a chord.

There is a new issue of LCRW and meanwhile the previous issue received a strong review in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination and another in New Pages.

And Mary Rickert’s collection, You Have Never Been Here, came out so late in 2015 that a lot of people read it this year, i.e. Sallis (“Reading a Mary Rickert story quite often is like sinking through layers of such worlds. We begin in one place, blink, and open our eyes to somewhere—something—else.”) in F&SF and William Grabowski in See the Elephant: “Rickert’s work, its superbly subtle handling of deepest human yearning for something to heal the howling void behind our increasingly demythologized world, shows the ineffable power—and value—of fantastical storytelling.”

Quickshots:
— Afrofuturism? The Liminal War
— Density? Prodigies
— The underworld? Archivist Wasp
— Digging a hole? Secession? Sherwood Nation
— Middle grade ecothrillers? The Fires Beneath the Sea

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Toodles!



Besties

Tue 13 Dec 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 1 Comment | Posted by: Gavin

First trade review for Best Worst American comes form Kirkus Reviews who say: “Twenty-four semiexistential short stories that have appeared in the likes of McSweeney’s and Selected Shorts from Colombia-born writer Martinez. The author has an interesting way of injecting absurdity into everyday life and humor into the phantasmagorical in this wide-ranging, mostly engaging collection of tall tales. . . . there are also occasional moments of grace. . . . Some are just flat-out funny. . . . Martinez even makes the frightening funny. . . . promising debut collection of short stories, some unique in their execution.”

Comes out in February 2017 and will make you laugh all the way through 2018.

Read stories: “After The End Of The World: A Capsule Review” and Forsaken, the Crew Awaited News from the People Below



Boom! New Books for 2017

Wed 7 Dec 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Should democracy survive in this sometimes lovely country in 2017 we will publish these books:

1. Sofia Samatar, Tender: Stories
This is a ridiculously good book. Twenty stories including two new stories which — POP! there goes my mind.

2. Laurie J. Marks, Fire Logic and Earth Logic in paperback. The ebooks are out but these trade paperbacks coming out is us building toward publishing the fourth and final Elemental Logic novel, Air Logic.

3. Kij Johnson, The River Bank: A sequel to Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. Illustrated throughout by Kathleen Jennings.
A book that came to us out of the blue and a reminder that there can be joy in the world.

4. Christopher Rowe, Telling the Map: Stories
Sometimes you wait a long time and then a good thing happens. This book ranges out from now in Kentucky to who knows where or when. And: wow.

5. Sarah Rees Brennan, In Other Lands: a novel
This is the funniest epic-not-epic fantasy you’ll read next year.

None of the covers are 100% final.

And, fingers crossed, there will be more books later in the year.

I owe an apology and a great debt of thanks to the authors for their immense patience as work slowed and stalled during and after this most recent election. Sorry. Putting out a new issue of LCRW helped with getting me back into doing things and not just calling senators and despairing.

I feel silly and melodramatic to be worried about democracy — not perhaps the best form of government, but the best I’ve seen yet — and to think that I and others can work to keep this country from becoming a militarized plutocracy/kleptocracy. This election that among others things was influenced by the Russian government…

…(oh that that were a conspiracy theory), this convulsion away from liberalism and toward a much darker, narrower future is horrifying and must be fought.

For now, we will fight one book at a time.



Northampton Book Fair

Tue 6 Dec 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

This world continues to be crap — i.e. “Half of Detroit votes may be ineligible for recount” (great pop up on that page, btw — everyone needs an instant audio ad for viagra to start when they click on a link!).

So for a brief moment instead of that here are some photos from a couple of panels at the Northampton Book Fair this weekend. The fair was in the Smith College Campus Center which is a beautiful building just outside the center of Northampton. The events were in two lovely, airy rooms on the ground floor and there was an antiquarian book fair full of the most tempting things upstairs. Wow, so many pretty things.

I saw some of the 10 a.m. Children’s picture book panel readers: Rich Michelson gave a, wait, no, really, fascinating presentation on Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy, Leslea Newman read her new book Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed (you can listen to Ketzel’s 21-second composition here), and Mordicai Gerstein (The Sleeping Gypsy, I Am Pan) strode up and just started drawing away on the white board. That was fabulous. Here he is drawing Hera (he noted she didn’t trust Zeus) and his drawing of the god Pan:

hera pan

I missed Heidi Stemple and Jane Yolen (what a line up that panel had!) as I had to split to prepare for John Crowley’s reading of The Chemical Wedding in the next room over at 11 a.m. John is erudite and smart and very funny — and, hey, we sold books, which is always nice. He read and then answered quite a few questions, as the reading was well attended, and afterward I met some more local book and nonbook people.

Here’s one photo and perhaps a one-minute video I just tried uploading to Flickr:

john_crowley

John Crowley reading

I came back in the afternoon and — with mostly patient kid — sat in on the Ninepin Press celebration/reading where Jedediah Berry and Emily Houk read from, played with, and showed their current projects:

 

 

 

 



Indies First and Last and Always

Wed 23 Nov 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Spider in a Tree Cover

This Saturday when you drop by your local bookstore you may run into your favorite (or new favorite or not!) author when millions of happy authors get to be booksellers for a bit. Here in Northampton Susan Stinson will be guest bookselling at Broadside Books — who have sold a couple of hundred copies of her historical Northampton novel Spider in a Tree.

Who’s coming to your store?

Indiebound has the whole list:
Nov. 26, 2016 activities by state
Nov. 26, 2016 activities by store

 



WaPo Notable Book

Tue 22 Nov 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

The People in the Castle coverDelighted to see the Washington Post selected The People in the Castle as a Notable Book of 2016:

“A best-of collection — with an introduction by Kelly Link — by the late British master of supernatural fiction and children’s literature.”

I think my favorite line from a review is still  “Sprightly but brooding” from Kirkus Reviews’s starred review which captures something of the range of darkness and light within the book.

Read “Cold Flame” on Tor and the introduction and title story on Tin House.

“The particular joys of a Joan Aiken story have always been her capacity for this kind of brisk invention; her ear for dialect; her characters and their idiosyncrasies. Among the stories collected in this omnibus, are some of the very first Joan Aiken stories that I ever fell in love with, starting with the title story “The People in the Castle,” which is a variation on the classic tales of fairy wives.”
— Kelly Link, from her Introduction

 



“How different might my attitude toward dragons have been if I’d met Uggi before Smaug?”

Fri 18 Nov 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 1 Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Travel LightGetting Travel Light ready for a quick pre-holiday (I hope!) reprint and thinking about this line from Amal El-Mohtar’s “You Must Read This” on NPR —which, when it was published was such a moment of joy that this tiny beautiful book would find such a reader for it — and realized there is a 50/50 chance that our kid will encounter Uggi before Smaug. She is her own reader, so who knows which book she will pick up first.

More from Amal:

Who might I have been if I had met Halla Bearsbairn before Bilbo Baggins? How different might my attitude toward dragons have been if I’d met Uggi before Smaug? How different would the spiritual landscapes of fantasy and science fiction be if they had accepted as antecedents works that showed a corrupt Byzantine Christianity and sympathy toward Islam?

But, most crucially for me, I wonder: Where might I have gone if, instead of a middle-aged Hobbit enamored of his pantry, I had embraced a girl who lost three homes before choosing the open road?

I don’t regret, at all, having The Hobbit at the core of me, and will defend its songs and riddles and elves and spiders to the end of my days. But reading Travel Light unseamed something in me, made me feel that my certainties needed revisiting, and assured me that somewhere within me was, still, a 7-year-old girl waiting to be beckoned onto a path of luggage-less travel, of dragons and Valkyries, languages and air — and that with Travel Light, she’d taken the first step in their direction.

The book will be off to the printer and then, la! will be available again soon.



2016 Holiday Shipping

Wed 16 Nov 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Updated from last year, here it is again:

This is our annual post about holiday mail dates: like the zombies, they’ll be here slightly faster than expected. As usual, our office will be closed over the holidays, this year that’s from December 24 – January 3, 2016. It is unlikely we will ship over that period. (Weightless is always open.)

Order now, order often!

Here are the last order dates for Small Beer Press — which, in case you’re thinking about waiting until the last minute to order some chocolate Christmas trees are about the same as every other biz in the USA. Dates for international shipping are here.

All orders include free first class (LCRW) or media mail (books) shipping in the USA.

But: Media Mail parcels are the last to go on trucks. If the truck is full, Media Mail does not go out until the next truck. And if that one’s full, too, . . . you get the idea. So, if you’d like to guarantee pre-holiday arrival, please add Priority Mail:

Domestic Mail Class/Product Cut Off Date
First Class Mail Dec-20
Priority Mail Dec-21
Priority Mail Express Dec-23

Order now, order often!

Just like to read a book, don’t care about a ding or two?



This Thursday: John Crowley Event

Tue 15 Nov 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 2 Comments | Posted by: Gavin

John CrowleyThis Thursday night, November 17, come one, come all to the Abandoned Building Brewery in Easthampton, Mass., and join John Crowley and Theo Fadel for a reading, Q&A, signing of The Chemical Wedding wherein alchemical and zymurgical secrets will be spilled (although hopefully no beer) and the Brewery will open a cask of specially brewed beer.

Where: Abandoned Building Brewery, 142 Pleasant Street Unit, 103A, Easthampton, Massachusetts 01027 (back entrance of the mill — a little bit down from the fab Mill 180)
When: Thursday, November 17, 7 p.m.

What’s it all about? The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz! A 400-year-old book (novel? hoax? definitely a bestseller of its time) that John Crowley came across while writing Aegypt and decided it would be fun to make a contemporary edition of. And it is! It is a wacky delight and with Theo Fadel illustrating and Jacob MacMurray designing, it is a beautiful object.

Sure. But What Do Reviewers Say?

“Readers wiThe Chemical Wedding by Christian Rosencreutz cover - click to view full sizelling to surrender to its trippy rhythms and odd narrative choices will find many pleasures therein, from Fadel’s lively and grotesque drawings to Crowley’s erudite-yet-accessible footnotes. Especially interesting are the ways in which Andreae presents such a distinctive, funny, frightening and touching view of how the universe operates. Small Beer, Crowley and his collaborators have successfully mixed together disparate elements to create a strange literary concoction that fizzes with creative energy.”
— Michael Berry, Portland Press Herald

The Chemical Wedding is full of outlandish set pieces—candles that walk on their own; a queen’s gown so beautiful it can’t be gazed upon—that might suggest an allegorical reading. But their imagery, as Crowley points out in his footnotes, is inconsistent: any allegory is defeated by the book’s sheer incongruity.”
— Peter Bebergal, The New Yorker

“John Crowley has consulted several older English versions, as well as living German advisors (Rosicrucian adepts?), and has come up with an utterly unpretentious working of this weird old parable which reads like a late-night barroom colloquy.” — Counterpunch

Not a print person? Get the audiobook here.

Got a moment? Here’s an interview in the Believer (is John a Belieber? You’d have to ask him) from a couple of years ago.

Can’t make it on Thurs

day? There’s one more chance to catch up with John: December 3 at 11 a.m. John will be at the Northampton Book Fair in the Smith College Campus Center, Northampton, Mass.

Hope to see you there!



Next week

Tue 15 Nov 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

We’re going to add new titles for Spring 2017. This week: a reading plus dejection and anger. Woo hoo.



The Climate Change Battle

Mon 14 Nov 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

The Bodies of the Ancients cover - click to view full sizeKirkus Reviews just reviewed Lydia Millet‘s third and final book in her Dissenters series for kids, The Bodies of the Ancients:

“Children, adults, and myriad creatures fight the final battle in a war over climate change…. genrewise, the book completely fuses science fiction with fantasy…. relationships are tender. Memorably unusual.”

You can start reading The Fires Beneath the Sea right now on Wattpad for free and while we get the final book ready, we’re going to offer the whole series at special prices for a limited time:

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

 

 



2016

Thu 10 Nov 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | 6 Comments | Posted by: Gavin

Twenty Sixteen Shirt

Our friends at Topatoco are selling a succinct t-shirt which captures some of the despair I feel over the US election result. A man who cares not a whit about anyone except himself and his businesses was elected despite lies, deceit, rudeness, misogyny, racism, bankruptcies, and more. Although he lost the minority vote and although he has various legal charges against him and although he can’t even be trusted with his own Twitter account he received at least 59,704,818 votes — plus some others who voted for Trump to win by voting for third party candidates.

I voted against him along with 59,942,916 voters who voted for Hillary Clinton. I don’t really care about third party candidates (I am a single issue voter against anyone who is anti-vaccine) or their voters because while the two-party system isn’t great, it is better than a one-party system (no: the 2 parties are not the same) and the country has not managed to put forward viable third parties in recent years. I am registered as Undeclared in that neither party is humanist or progressive enough for me.

There are bright signs that this country is not a heaving mess of white racists but there are also millions of people who sat out the election. I have no great takeaway. I can barely not just lie down on the ground and wish to stop breathing. But this body keeps going and I suppose the body politic might, too. I grew up in Scotland where Thatcher was the prime minister — although, like Trump, she never won (was never closeto winning) the popular vote in Scotland. She was awful for the country. Here I am again, back in opposition.



Ayize in NYC

Thu 10 Nov 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Ayize Jama-EverettDon’t miss West Coast author Ayize Jama-Everett making 2 exclusive appearances in New York as part of Book Riot Live:

11/11, 7 pm, 826 Broadway, 3rd floor
Books & Booze with Diane McMartin and Book Riot Live
Join host and sommelier Diane McMartin (This Calls For a Drink!) and Alyssa Cole, Ayize Jama-Everett, and Tara Clancy. McMartin will be pairing speakers’ books and hand-selected wine, followed by readings from the authors. Your ticket includes refreshments and a $15 gift card to The Strand. Sponsored by Unbound Worlds.

Please note: this event is 21+, as alcohol will be served.
Tickets: $40 (available here) includes refreshments and a $15 gift card to The Strand.

11/12, 1:15 pm, MetWest Stage 2
Farm to Table: How a Book Gets Made
How does a book get from submitted manuscript to your bookshelf? Not always the way you think! Find out more from publishing experts who work behind the scenes.
Self-publishing and small presses: author Ayize Jama-Everett
Book packaging: Sona Charaipotra
Editor: Michael Reynolds
Marketing: Kathryn Ratcliffe-Lee
Sponsored by Speaking American: How Y’all, Youse, and Your Guys Talk from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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Please Vote!

Tue 8 Nov 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

If you are in the the USA and can vote, please vote today. Thank you!

Me: I am off to vote at our kid’s school where there is always a bake sale to raise funds for the kids to go on field trips and so on. I support that bake sale with as much fortitude as I can. Vote, vote, vote! The more the merrier. The neighbors are voting. Let’s do it!



A Natural History of Autumn

Mon 31 Oct 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

A Natural History of Hell cover - click to view full sizeJeffrey Ford’s story “A Natural History of Autumn” was originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. It was nominated for both World Fantasy and Shirley Jackson awards and went on to win the Shirley Jackson Award — which gives some idea of the shape of the story. Yes, it is spooky. “Mythic and creepy” even, as Josh Johnson at Hazel and Wren calls it. If, even though it is obviously fiction, it has some nugget of truth about the season of autumn in it, it does makes me wonder if even in the height of summer I should ever be looking forward to the (Northern hemisphere) cooler days of autumn. Of course if I turn my mind to the election instead of the natural world, it is a terrifying time.

Jeff was interviewed about inspirations for the story and the research he did before writing it on the F&SF blog and for fun included “a list of my top ten favorite works of fiction (at this moment) from Japan.”

The story was reprinted in Ellen Datlow’s anthology The Monstrous, is collected in Jeff’s new collection, A Natural History of Hell, and appears today on Lithub for your enjoyment.

Update: today Late Night Library posted a new interview with Jeff:

AUSTIN WILSON: Animals feature in several of the collection’s stories, sometimes as no more than pets or wild creatures, but also anthropomorphic monstrosities. What do you think we fear more: the familiar turning on us, or the attack of the unknown?

JEFFREY FORD: I think “the familiar turning on us” is actually an aspect of “the attack of the unknown.” For most scary stories the mood and scene are more important than the menace. As for animals in the stories, it makes sense. I live in a house with 3 dogs and 6 cats. There are cows and goats and horses just across the road. Out back, there are deer eating from our garden and apple trees, and in the winter, I suppose, coyotes eating deer in the snow covered, stubble fields. At night, in spring, the fox comes, stands behind the garage and cries out with a sound like Satan choking on a wishbone. The animals are everywhere.

Read on



Words Are My Matter Publication Day & Interview

Tue 18 Oct 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Words Are My Matter cover - click to view full sizeThere is an interview with the excellent Ursula K. Le Guin by Bryan Hood in the Guardian today (I love all the recent photos of her here [and in The Nation], what joy there is there, what sharpness) in which, among all the other survey works recently published, Words Are My Matter gets a mention:

Rounding out the quartet is Words Are My Matter, a collection of the writer’s recent nonfiction. Le Guin may not have written a novel since 2008’s Lavinia, but the always sharp, frequently funny, and unfailingly confident compilation of essays, lectures and book reviews show she hasn’t stopped working.

No she hasn’t stopped! What a joy it is to publish this book — ok, yes, it’s a joy to publish aalll of our books, otherwise, what’s the point?! — and to see it read out in the world. There is something about having all the words between two covers that gives them a weight and a consequence. We can see all (some!) of the authors through their work and arguments. And here Le Guin is arguing for a broad inclusive world where walls are not what we’re erecting, rather, we see the differences and live with each other. It’s a hard task, but we might even be up to it. We have these handy units of communication that we can use with each other to try and understand, these words, so many words. And Le Guin, she uses them to well. Words are indeed her matter and she shows as well as tells us that Words Matter.



This Is the Week That Is!

Wed 12 Oct 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

It’s a great week for Ursula K. Le Guin and her readers. I’ve lifted this wholesale from Ursula’s website — which I recommend, of course, for poking around in and finding interesting things. Words Are My Matter is shipping out and catching fire: four books in one season is definitely the way to go:

THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS!

    • The Fantastic Ursula K. Le Guin, by Julie Phillips. The New Yorker. “The literary mainstream once relegated her work to the margins. Then she transformed the mainstream.”

10 October 2016

8 October 2016

6 October 2016

5 October 2016

    • From Library of America: “Ursula Le Guin, on the occasion of the release of The Complete Orsinia, the inaugural volume in the Library of America edition of her works, will be the subject of a feature by Julie Phillips in next week’s issue of The New Yorker.

3 October 2016



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