Q. Is Nathan Ballingrud’s North American Lake Monsters at the printer?
A. Yes! Review copies are going out and we are getting ready to receive complaints and plaudits. It is scary!
Q. Gavin, are you asking yourself questions?
A. You have no idea.
Q. So where can I get Nathan’s book signed?
A. Readercon, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh and Malaprop’s, both in North Carolina.
Ok, now I’m done with the Q&A.
What else? Peter Dickinson! We have just published a new edition of Death of a Unicorn, a fascinating novel in two parts, thirty years apart, which follows a young woman as she gets her first job and has her first affair. The book picks up 30 years later as truths unknown to said young woman surface.
Book Groups take note: There’s a Reading Group Guide in Death of a Unicorn which we hope you will take advantage of.
Next: the sky in Easthampton is so low that I can reach up and touch it. Blech!
After Ysabeau Wilce tweeted about finding her Led Zep albums:
I dug out my CDs—not as cool, but I got a boxed set of all the recordings a couple of years ago from my excellent wife. How luxurious they seem compared to the tapes of tapes we had as kids! (The CDs are not as well worn as those tapes were.) I am listening to Presence. I know I-IV better, so time to explore the later years.
But I am also wishing I were going to WisCon—all those people, going to have so much fun! I love Madison, too. One of these years we’ll get back there.
What else? I’ve sent off another draft of a contract (short story collection FTW!). Also trying to see if I can bend a contract for good for all (I’m down with it, will everyone else go for it?), sent off ebooks for a secret fun thing, working on Google ebooks (why are they so opaque? our books were there for a couple of years and now I find they haven’t been there since last summer. Argh.), and waiting for another contract to appear so that I can jump up, jump around and spread the good word. Jump? Who has the energy for that? Eek!
We live in interesting times where independent voices, even whole online communities, are subsumed into corporate monoliths. We do business with these monoliths to survive but our hearts are with other independent businesses. We hope our readers will support them. If there isn’t a good indie near you, we recommend indiebound.org.
Darn it, haven’t kept up with the Consortium Bookslinger app! Every week they post a new story from one of the Consortium publishers and since we publish a fair number of short story collections, a fair number of those stories are from our books. We’ve got new stories scheduled to go out just about monthly.
Checkkkk it out:
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
Is Col. Chris Hadfield the geekist astronaut ever? Has there ever been an astronaut who sang and played guitar? Do all the astronauts enjoy themselves this much? I don’t know, but this is fantastic! I think the best part are his special effects, which are just shots of his normal everyday life. I’ve enjoyed a bunch of his videos, some with our 4-year-old daughter, but today’s (via Amal, thanks!) is a headexplody pop culture mashup. Thanks Col. Chris!
Lovely news from Locus that 2 (or 3, depending on how you count) Small Beer books are finalists for this year’s Best Collection Award. Any time something like this happens, I remember what an honor it is to be nominated. It is excellent and reassuring to know that there are readers finding these books. Congratulations to Kij Johnson, Ursula K. Le Guin, and all the nominees in all the categories. (Er, one note: come on world, there are some excellent women artists out there.)
When this month’s issue of Locus came in the mail I forgot to say that they have a fascinating indie publishing section where they asked the same couple of questions of many independent presses. I answered for Small Beer and am glad I did because it is awesome to be included with some of my favorite indies out there. And, for a Locus trifecta, Rich Horton reviews Angélica Gorodischer’s Trafalgar and picks “Trafalgar and Josefina” as his favorite. (For instant gratification, you can pick up Locus from Weightless.)
- The Best of Kage Baker, Kage Baker (Subterranean)
- Shoggoths in Bloom, Elizabeth Bear (Prime)
- At the Mouth of the River of Bees, Kij Johnson (Small Beer)
- The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories Volume One: Where on Earth and Volume Two: Outer Space, Inner Lands, Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)
- The Dragon Griaule, Lucius Shepard (Subterranean)
THE SMALL & INDEPENDENT PRESS
Susan Stinson writes about meal at Bela, one of about ”forty-odd restaurants, bakeries, ice cream parlors and bars” that are “currently displaying poems by local poets as part of the Nourish the Body/Nourish the Soul project organized by Rich Michelson, Northampton’s Poet Laureate.” Susan has a poem, “Garden,” posted on the front door or Bela. Out of towners, you can read it here.
Susan is a force of nature (keep up with her here) and fittingly will be reading at Shape&Nature Press’s Summertime Reading and Music Party! along with many other readers on June 2nd 5-9pm, at Bishop’s Lounge in Northampton, 4th floor. They promise 8 amazing readers, 4 rockin’ musicians, and a raffle—which will include some books of ours.
Hey, go read the poem.
I was one of 100+ people at the first Northampton Solarize Massachusetts meeting last night. Woohoo!
Solarize Massachusetts is a state program that uses group buying to bring down the installment cost of solar power. I’ve long wanted to add solar power at home—at work at the Paragon Arts building I don’t choose the electricity provider. But the cost, the cost. We are signed up for Greenstart so we are paying slightly more than the average but are buying into solar, wind, etc.—although it is mostly hydroelectric. (Not as good as the rest, but better than fossil fuels.)
Anyway. The first round of towns in the 2013 Solarize Massachusetts program are Bourne,Brookline, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Lee, Medford, Medway, Newton, Northampton, and Williamstown. The program selects one solar power installer who does site checks and so on to see if the interested people (me!) can actually have panels installed. The installer offers the town a deal: the more people who buy in by the end of the program (September 30, 2013), the lower the price. The average savings in previous rounds of the program have been 20%. Not bad!
There are also Federal tax credits worth about 25% of the cost, a $1,000 Massachusetts income tax credit, “solar renewable energy credit” (SRECs), net metering (you get a credit if your solar panels generate more power than you need), and the possibility of a few other credits. Overall, if the town gets enough people into the program—and there were 100+ people there last night—the panels usually pay for themselves within 5-7 years.
Any Northamptonites interested in the program should email Susan Lantz at email@example.com. Send that email!
Yay! Which makes it extra nice that the cover artist, Kathleen Jennings, posted her cover process sketches for A Stranger in Olondria. And did you see the cake one of Sofia’s friends made for her for the launch reading party at A Room of One’s Own? Nice! There will also be a party of some sort at WisCon next month. Wish we were going!
You can of course read an excerpt on Tor.com or download a pdf of the first 70 pages; read Sofia’s The Big Idea, and an Interview on the Qwillery. More reviews—yours?— will be coming soon. It’s a big beautiful book and we’re very happy to see it out there in the world being read. Raul M. Chapa of BookPeople in Austin, TX, gave us a great early boost when he sent us this note from reading a galley, thanks Raul!
If you’re curious for some of the inspirations for this huge book and the deep love of reading that thrums all through it, check out Sofia’s What Were They Reading post.
I do miss Goodreads.
Darn! I meant to post this to in celebrate Carol’s 92nd birthday earlier on April 12th. Ach! Well hell, here’s for celebrating Carol any time or any where.
Written for the 2007 World Fantasy Convention:
Working with Carol Emshwiller is one of the most unexpected and wonderful benefits of the foolishness that is our dance through the world of independent publishing.
Carol is everything that I could hope author to be: brilliant, hard working, gracious, polite, deeply knowledgeable and informed within and without her field, determined, willing to compromise, absolutely single-minded, intelligent, a teacher, and always open to learning. She is an inspiration—not only for her writing, in which she takes on the most trenchant problems of the day in politics, gender (and genre) relationships, and the ambiguities of everyday life—but also in her uncompromising dedication to others. For many years she has taught and taken part in workshops where she has shown her generosity and ability to see other writers’ visions of their stories. All the while, her own enthusiasm and commitment to writing burn ever brighter. Her latest novel, The Secret City, is a beautiful play on many of her favorite themes: innocence, how to live—alone or with others, and the simple and complex difficulties of communication.
These are salad days for fans of Carol’s work. In the last five years she has published three novels, The Mount (2002), Mister Boots (2005), and The Secret City (2007), as well as two collections, Report to the Men’s Club and Other Stories (2002) and I Live with You (2005). And in that time she has been awarded the Philip K. Dick Award for The Mount, two Nebula Awards for short stories, “Creature” and “I Live with You” (both F&SF, 2002 and 2006), and a World Fantasy Life Achievement Award.
In other words: if you like science fiction and fantasy and you haven’t read her, perhaps now is the time?
Carol hasn’t been resting on her laurels. Her most recent publication (that I know of, she’s hard to keep track of) is “At Sixes and Sevens” in the October/November Asimov’s. She says she is too impatient to send stories out to magazine with long reading times, so I feel we are very lucky to have one of her stories, “Sanctuary,” for LCRW.
This covers only Carol’s recent years. I first remember reading her work when I read a Women’s Press edition of Carmen Dog in the UK and by the time I met her in the 1990s in New York, she was already in her seventies. (And she is still more energetic than most people I know.)
Other writers and friends will need to fill in her earlier years. I am very happy to have spent some time with Carol (although as yet I have not gone hill climbing with her!) and I hope that everyone who attends this convention will be able to spend at least a couple of minutes with her.
And, arriving now at all good indie bookstores near you . . . what is that I see? The paperback edition of Karen Joy Fowler’s fabulous third collection of stories, What I Didn’t See and Other Stories.
The cover art is by one of our fave artists, Kathleen Jennings, and it looks crazy great on paper. Here online, it’s, yes, blacker than black, Spinal Tap “none more black”-level black. It’s all in the lamination, embossing, and something else along those lines, peeps. I’ll post some more photos that show the cover off properly soon.
And, next month Karen’s new novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves comes out. Remember: read the book, not the jacket or reviews. Not because the book depends on a twist, but it is a different read if you don’t know something that you’re told on the jacket.
ETA: Ta da: a photo of the new book showing the shiny shininess of it all.
Very excited by this. Just got my copy (pdf, for those who like to know: it’s also available as an epub or mobi, but I like seeing what the pages look like) of the debut issue of Jessa Crispin’s new magazine, Spoila. Alan’s story, “A Rendition” will be part of his new collection, Tyrannia and Other Renditions, coming out in October.
The Natalya Goncharova Portfolio is fabulous and I’m also looking forward to checking out the rest, including, bonus points!, two translations. Subscription is coming, here’s the manifesto, and please go get your copy here.
Table of Contents
Peter Vermeersch, “Gone” (translated by Florian Duijsens)
Phil Sorenson, “December, December, Night, Night”
Jessa Crispin, Jane Pritchard interview
Leah Triplett, “Filling In the Archive: The Afterlife of Natalia Goncharova”
Natalya Goncharova Portfolio
Greer Mansfield, “A Natalia Goncharova Catalog”
Lightsey Darst, “Living with Art”
Olivia Cronk, “Four untitled poems”
Alan DeNiro, “A Rendition”
Mikhail Shishkin, “Of Saucepans and Star-Showers” (translated from the Russian by Leo Shtutin)
Hoa Nguyen, “Mekong I, Cause the Shine, For Love Red, Hid”
This week the hardcover and paperback editions of Sofia Samatar‘s debut novel A Stranger in Olondria started going out into the world. Thank you, everyone who pre-ordered, always appreciated! The hardcover is going to be out of stock pretty soon although we may have copies here when the distro runs out. The ebook is out, too. Publication date is Tuesday, April 30.
I’ve been looking forward to this day for a while. I can’t wait to hear from readers. You can get a taste of the book on Tor.com or download the first 70 pages. It’s a huge, immersive, rich fantasy that circles around and away from and back to the transportation of reading.
People who’ve met Sofia or who have read advance copies of Olondria keep telling me that she’s a star in the making. I know! Since she sold this book, Sofia has had stories in Strange Horizons, Apex, and Clarkesworld, as well as poetry and reviews in Strange Horizons and is now the nonfiction and poetry editor for the new online journal Interfictions: A Journal of Interstitial Arts. How does she do it? I don’t know, but I am very happy that she’s also working on another novel.
If you live in or near Madison, WI, hie ye to the launch party on April 26th at 6 PM at A Room Of One’s Own Bookstore (315 W. Gorham St. Madison WI 53703). In May Sofia will be at WisCon, too—we will have a table there courtesy of our good friend David Schwartz.
You can read more about the book here and here’s one reviewer who really got it:
“Samatar’s richly woven debut fantasy takes us far from home. Growing up in the primitive isolation of the Tea Islands, Jevick has longed to travel to the spice markets in Bain, where the family’s pepper harvest is sold. He impatiently devours descriptions and stories when his imperious father returns every season, and the arrival of an Olondrian tutor only adds to the allure of the unknown land. When Jevick finally begins his own voyage, he discovers he is traveling down a perilous path of mystery, passion, and danger that no counsel could have foreseen. A chance meeting of a young woman traveling on a pilgrimage will change the course of Jevick’s life forever. VERDICT Jevick’s journey is an enchanting tale of wonder and superstition, revealing the power of books and the secret traditions of ancient voices. Samatar’s sensual descriptions create a rich, strange landscape, allowing a lavish adventure to unfold that is haunting and unforgettable.”
—Library Journal (*starred review*)
“You don’t pack books like other people, do you?
“Weeeeeellllll. It depends. We’ve been re-using old packaging this way, since, uh, a long time?”
We has a new book arrived at the office: yay! Photos TK! Preorders will ship today, review copies, too. Which book is it? Wait, wait!
Kelly will be in NYC reading with Leigh Newman and Sarah Gerkensmeyer next Tuesday night as part of the Pen Parentis reading series. Here’s all the info:
DATE: Tuesday, April 9, 2012
TIME: 7-9, with 3 readers (5-8 minute readings) and a Q & A session focused on writing and parenting to follow. Please plan on arriving at least 10 minutes before the event.
PLACE: The Andaz, Wall Street 75 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005 212-590-1234
DIRECTIONS: 2,3,4,5,J,Z to 75 Wall Street. Corner of Wall & Water
Kelly Link is the author of three collections, Pretty Monsters, Magic for Beginners and Stranger Things Happen. She was born in Miami, Florida, and once won a free trip around the world by answering the question “Why do you want to go around the world?” (“Because you can’t go through it.”) Link lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she and her husband, Gavin J. Grant, run Small Beer Press. They have a three-year-old daughter, Ursula.
Leigh Newman returns to the Pen Parentis Salon as deputy editor ofOprah.com, where she writes about books and life and editor-at-large for the indie press Black Balloon Publishing. Premiered while still in manuscript format at one of the earliest Pen Parentis events, her hilarious memoir about her Alaskan childhood, Still Points North, is forthcoming from Dial in 2013. Her essays and short stories have appeared a variety of magazines and newspapers, including One Story, Tin House, Fiction, the New York Times, Modern Love. She believes in making her own popcorn, embarrassing her kids by writing I LOVE YOU in red frosting on their lunch sandwiches, and owning dogs that are just way too big to fit in the bed. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, two boys and many, many light sabers. Her work can be found at leigh-newman.com Read more of her work.
Sarah Gerkensmeyer‘s short story collection, What You Are Now Enjoying, was selected by Stewart O’Nan as winner of the 2012 Autumn House Press Fiction Prize. A Pushcart Prize nominee and a finalist for the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction and the Italo Calvino Prize for Fabulist Fiction, Sarah has received scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Ragdale, Grub Street, and the Vermont Studio Center. Her stories have appeared in Guernica, The New Guard Literary Review, The Massachusetts Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Cream City Review, among others. Sarah, a mother of two little ones, is the 2012-13 Pen Parentis Fellow. She received her MFA in fiction from Cornell University and now teaches creative writing at State University of New York at Fredonia.
Goodreads tells me I joined the site in December 2008 and that, weirdly, in 2009, 2011, and 2012, I added 70 books to the read shelf. (If I didn’t know myself better I’d think I was messing with the numbers!) I added older titles and then settled in to mostly keeping it up to date. I friended people I knew, some people I knew and didn’t friended me back, and I was fascinated to see what people were actually reading. I really enjoyed it and I’d been so proud to keep some of the Goodreads books in their database when they stopped using Amazon’s data!
And then last week Goodreads announced that Amazon had bought them. I was completely scunnered by the sale. Like Rob Spillman of Tin House I figure it’s kind of too late, Amazon have just bought the last 5 years of my reading history, but I’m deleting my account this week. (Already added my books to my LibraryThing account as a stopgap) I didn’t do it straight away as I wanted to think through my gut reaction of: “Oh No!” But a couple of days later, it’s still the same. So this week all the Goodreads widgets will be cut from the site. Through our distributor, we sell books through Amazon and in turn they’d like to run us and all other publishers into and under the ground for daring to publish books instead of all authors signing their horrible print contract. So for many years it has been our policy not to link to Amazon or (when I can keep all of them in mind, any of their many subsites, see next para) and the only time I pay for anything through Amazon is for Kickstarter.
Amazon own (bold = book related): Amazon Publishing, Amazon Web Services, Abebooks, Audible, Book Depository, BookSurge, BoxOfficeMojo, Brilliance Audio, CreateSpace, Diapers.com, Goodreads, IMDB, Lexcycle, 40% of Library Thing (through Abebooks—although this is apparently complicated), Mobipocket, Shelfari, Woot, Zappos. Etc.
Amazon positives: their data mining is intellectually fascinating. They give out tiny halo-effect grants to literary organizations (so that everyone has to pay lip service to them). Their BreakThrough Novel Award (which is now their in house publishing competition). They pay sales tax in a few states now. Jeff Bezos, as millionaires have always done, follows his own weird (Blue Origin) with his investments.
But. Amazon wants to be everything to everyone. Some people have suggested they want to kill off public libraries (because kids need tablets instead of storytime and parents don’t need any free places to take their kids . . .) They want to make the product (cup, book, sheets, cable, movie, whatever) and sell it to you. Instead of inefficient towns and shopping centers, they’d rather everyone ordered online and got stuff delivered to them and in the end it will be Amazon and the delivery company left standing.
Sounds utterly vapid and uninspiring to me.
We spend our time publishing books we love and trying to get them into the indie bookstores we love so that readers can find them there. It mostly works. We expect we’ll be doing it for a while.
And then there is temptation. On Metafilter Open Library was mooted as an alternative user George_Spiggott posted “I would seriously pitch in time and technical effort to building a new site that everyone could simply pick up and move to. Because that would be a frickin’ brilliant outcome. Especially if the ToS at signup committed the site to remain nonprofit and to have no exclusive marketing agreements.”
” … building a new community reading site with books, reviews, comments, forums, all the things we liked about Goodreads, but without the all-encompassing Univac behind it. To keep it independent I figure we should make it a $4.99 annual subscription built along the lines Flickr uses: you could add up to 500 books for free then the oldest ones would disappear (from public view, not to you) unless you subscribed. Maybe there could be other subscriber only features, not sure, the site would do best if people use it for a while for free. If you’re seriously interested in kicking this idea around, email me!”
Kickstarter might be the way to fund it: obviously we’d need to pay for data feeds, storage and usage, and coding, coding, coding. Again, Wikipedia: “In December 2007, the site had over 650,000 members and over 10,000,000 books had been added. As of July 2012, the site reported 10 million members, 20 million monthly visits, and 30 employees.“ That’s a lot of data going back and forward.
Goodreads was seven years old, ancient!, and had a lot of bells and whistles and if we do take this on, the new site should get out the gate as an attractive site that’s worth joining early and taking part in.
What I’d love to do is kick the idea around some more, hear what readers want, and see if this seems possible for a small group of underfunded readers. Internets?
I was the lucky winner in the recent Con or Bust fundraiser auction and I have to post this photo because the Care Package from New Orleans is one of the best packages I’ve ever gotten. It was stuffed full of goodies: some of the pralines are already gone gone gone (so rich, so tooth unfriendly, so gone!), and one set of beads has already been overplayed with by Ursula (so the rest might disappear for a bit until she’s more careful).
Everything’s vegetarian, yay!, although not everything scores high on the healthy index: beignets are healthy, right? Time to pull out the old deepfryer! And there’s lots of cajun spice mixes so everything’s going to be spicy for a while. Thank you, Con or Bust, and especially to superdonor Maria!
We are in the process of moving webhosts so I expect there will be some email disruptions—sorry! If you need a quick response, you can always leave a comment here and if you don’t hear back by the end of the week, do drop us a line again. Thanks for understanding.
I’m delighted to say that on Friday April 26th I’m on a panel at the Massachusetts Library Association conference—although I’m gutted I’ll miss the library cart drill teams on Wednesday. The conference runs from 4/24 – 26 at the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge and our (Western Mass. transplants!) panel is:
9:15 – 10:30am
The State of the Book in the Digital Age
What’s up with books these days? Books are ordered online, created on demand, and distributed in digital form to individuals and libraries. Many bookstores have closed in recent years, and publishers have had to drastically downsize, retool or go out of business. How have individuals and businesses responded to this new environment? Are books giving a last gasp or being reinvented? An author, a book artist, a publisher and a bookstore owner will give their thoughts on the changing environment for books. Co-presented by the Western Massachusetts Library Advocates
Speakers: Susan Stinson, Author, Writer in Residence at Forbes Library, Northampton; Daniel E. Kelm, Book Artist; Gavin J. Grant, Publisher, Small Beer Press; Nancy Felton, Co-owner, Broadside Bookshop.
Tue 19 Mar 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., Amalia Gladhart, Angelica Gorodischer, Julie Day, Podcastery, small beer podcast, The González Family’s Fight for a Better World, Trafalgar | 1 Comment | Posted by: Julie
I don’t always take authors very seriously, but when Angélica Gorodischer indicated in Trafalgar’s foreword that the stories should be read in order, something in her tone made me pay attention. And something in her writing. She amused me right from the beginning, and so I decided to take her at her word and allow the journey to unfold over the course of the novel. Honestly, it was no hardship. Once I started the first story, I realized nothing less than mainlining the entire book would satisfy.
Angélica Gorodischer is the recipient of the 2011 World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award. She has published over nineteen award-winning books in her native Spanish. Still, for me, an English-only reader, Gorodischer feels like a “new author” discovery. Trafalgar may have been written in 1979, but it’s already one of my top five books for 2013.
A fix-up novel, a mosaic novel, or as the book copy suggests “a novel-in-stories:” whatever the term you choose to describe Angélica Gorodischer’s Trafalgar, it is funny, dry, and always engaging. Trafalgar feels like some sort of Douglas Adams, Gabriel Garcia Marquez hybrid. The narrator of Trafalgar is Trafalgar Medrano’s coffee-shop companion. It is she who transcribes the various intergalactic adventures Trafalgar describes over cups of strong, black coffee. And it is she who understands Trafalgar and his foibles enough to fill in the blanks he might have left in these stories. Unlike Dr. Watson, this biographer has no misapprehensions about human nature.
And now we have one of these stories available on the podcast. When Amalia Gladhart offered to read for the podcast, I was thrilled. Amalia translated Trafalgar; she read the original novel and she shepherded that novel from Spanish to English. What better person to read the English translation?
Episode 17: In which Amalia Gladhart reads Angélica Gorodischer’s “The González Family’s Fight for a Better World” from Trafalgar.
Subscribe to the Small Beer podcast using iTunes or the service of your choice:
One of the real pleasures of the last year has been spreading the word on Sofia Samatar’s debut novel A Stranger in Olondria. It is an incredibly rich novel, dense, and welcoming and from the very first time I read it, I loved it and it reminded me to slow down and enjoy all parts of the novel: the story, writing, the characters, the world, the poetry, the language, and always the story. Sometimes it’s hard to step back and take that time: there are so many things that need or must be done and then there are all the shiny things out there.