LeVar Burton Reads Joan Aiken

Tue 20 Feb 2018 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

This is amazing: LeVar Burton gives a fantastic introduction and then reads Joan Aiken’s story, “Furry Night,” from The People in the Castle.



Donations in Memory of Ursula K. Le Guin

Fri 26 Jan 2018 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 1 Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Ursula K. Le Guin loved this world — among others! — and rather than flowers, we are making a donation in her name to the non-profit closest to her heart, the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.

We also decided that for each print copy of her books sold through our website in the first three months of this year we will donate:

—  $10 from each print copy of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Words Are My Matter

—  $5 from each print copy of her translation of Angélica Gorodischer’s Kalpa Imperial

We will send the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge a check in April and will include any reader’s name who bought books and would like to be listed.

Direct donations in Ursula’s name can also be made here: Malheur Field Station or here: Audubon Society of Portland (specify that the donation is for Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and Harney County).

Further reading: I took heart from this Metafilter thread and some of the tributes gathered here.



Sarah Rees Brennan: Audio + Events in Montreal & Boston

Thu 25 Jan 2018 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

I am posting this which I had foolishly left in “drafts” instead of publishing. Argh.

We are delighted to announce that Tantor has picked up audio rights to Sarah Rees Brennan’s In Other Lands and will release their audio edition on April 3.

The second lovely announcement is that Sarah will be over here in North America and will be doing two readings: the first at Argo Bookshop in Montreal & the second at the Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, Boston:

Events

Feb. 1, 4:00 p.m. book club
7:00 p.m. Argo Bookshop, 1915 Rue Sainte-Catherine O, Montréal, QC H3H 1M3, Canada

Feb. 5, 7:00 p.m. 279 Harvard Street Brookline MA 02446-2908 Tel: 617-566-6660 Fax: 617-734-9125
(with Kelly Link, Cassandra Clare, and Holly Black)

 



Her Words: the Best Words

Tue 23 Jan 2018 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

“This is the truth. They stood on the stones in the lightly falling snow and listened to the silvery, trembling sound of thousands of keys being shaken, unlocking the air, once upon a time.”

Later on maybe I will have more to say and be able to post more of Ursula K. Le Guin’s words. Right now I am too sad and so I am only posting these last few lines from the late, damn it all, Ursula K. Le Guin’s story “Unlocking the Air,” one of many stories and novels of hers that I love.

Ursula K. Le Guin, 21 October 1929–22 January 2018. Much admired, much missed.



Austin Woerner’s translator origin story

Mon 22 Jan 2018 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

How did a kid from Wellesley, Massachusetts become a Chinese-to-English translator lecturing at Duke Kunshan University in Shanghai?

Find out in this short video of Austin Woerner telling the story of his life in translation and his relationship with Su Wei, author of The Invisble Valley.



Sooner or Later Some Good News

Thu 18 Jan 2018 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin



Ghost Brides and Very Big Snakes

Thu 4 Jan 2018 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

John Crowley did us the kindness of reading our forthcoming translation of Su Wei’s The Invisible Valley and says:

“Su Wei’s The Invisible Valley is a remarkable work, pungent, funny, and mind-widening. Austin Woerner’s translation is nearly invisible: it erases all barriers of strangeness and places the reader deep within a Chinese experience that comes to seem as familiar to us as our own daily round — if ours too had ghost brides and very big snakes.”

(In case you missed it, John has a new website, here, which isn’t quite a deep dive but will be a very enjoyable browse for any Crowley reader.)



Happy Holidays

Sat 23 Dec 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Happy All-the-Holidays!



Worst Business Holiday Present Ever

Mon 18 Dec 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments | Posted by: Gavin

Our distributor Consortium/Ingram just finished negotiations with Am*zon for the next year and forwarded the results. Ouch. After the distro’s fee, we will now receive less than 1/3 of the retail price on each book sold on Am*zon. (The details are confidential and not be shared — which is fine, it’s all fine.)

It is hard to pay printing, royalties, artists, advertising and marketing, rent, etc. with less than 1/3 of retail.

I know not everyone has a good local bookstore, a local branch of a chain, or a decent library, but if you have, *please* consider buying/borrowing books there. Am*zon still want to crush all competition (Bezos’s first name for the business was Relentless dot com) in all markets that they enter. They are fantastic at customer service, especially compared to some local businesses, but they are terrible for everyone else, suppliers, intermediaries, etc. If a company needs help with marketing, they should definitely hire SMR Digital.

The discount creeps up a little more every year — something has to give. I suppose it won’t be Am*zon. Guess it will be us Small Gazelle Presses who want to publish interesting books, work with a wide range of people and artists, and see if we can send these weird things out into the world and find readers.

We are all together building the world we want. I want small and big bookstores all over the place. Loads of publishers following their own visions. This Christmas/holiday of your choice, please consider Powell’s, Indiebound, Kobo, B&N, anyone, anyone but Am*zon.

Thank you.



Buy Any 2 New Books, Pick a Freebie!

Wed 13 Dec 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

ETA: Thanks to all who took advantage of this. Must try a sale some time in 2018. But not anytime soon, too busy!

I put this in the newsletter yesterday and now we’re caught up with shipping from that, I’m posting it here.

Buy any 2 of our books and pick one of the books below FREE!
Include the title as a note or email us, we can deal with it! (Buy 4, pick 2 freebies, buy 12, pick, I don’t know, 7,8?)

Fine print:
Print titles only.
North America only: sorry. International mailing is abominable. (But: DRM-free ebooks are here.)
All US orders taking advantage of this will be upgraded to Priority Mail.
(Sorry: remainders not included.)
Offer ended 5 pm EST December 20, 2017.

Order Here!

  1. Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud, A Life on Paper
  2. Alan DeNiro, Tyrannia
  3. Peter Dickinson, Emma Tupper’s Diary
  4. Peter Dickinson, The Poison Oracle
  5. Angélica Gorodischer, Prodigies
  6. Alasdair Gray, Old Men in Love (hc)
  7. Eileen Gunn, Questionable Practices
  8. Vincent McCaffrey, Hound (pb)
  9. Maureen F. McHugh, After the Apocalypse
  10. Lydia Millet, The Fires Beneath the Sea (pb)
  11. Lydia Millet, The Shimmers in the Night (hc)
  12. Benjamin Parzybok, Sherwood Nation
  13. Susan Stinson, Spider in a Tree
  14. Howard Waldrop, Horse of a Different Color
  15. Ysabeau S. Wilce, Prophecies Libels & Dreams

Holiday Shipping Deadlines.



Ambiguity Machines Giveaway

Tue 12 Dec 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Now that Am*zonGoodreads has gotten a good amount of data on readers and giveaways, in January they’re going to start charging between $100 and $600 to run these so this will be among the last we do. But, hey, put your name in the hat to get an advance print galley of Ambiguity Machines now!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Ambiguity Machines by Vandana Singh

Ambiguity Machines

by Vandana Singh

Giveaway ends December 19, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway



Singh the Rising Star

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

Who doesn’t like the letter “S”? Where would English plural words be without it*? What lovely sounds this post title makes — and can’t you just hear the implied semi-colon, a la “Singh: the Rising Star”? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe a comma? A semi-colon? Nothing at all?!

Anyway, the latest anyway in a line of 10,000, besides Publishers Weekly including it in their Top 10 SF, Fantasy & Horror Spring 2018 Announcements(!), Library Journal gave Vandana Singh’s forthcoming collection a very strong review in their December 1 issue**:

“In “Wake Rider,” a young woman faces death in different forms as she also contemplates the possibilities of her life. In “Oblivion: A Journey,” a long-held need for revenge keeps the protagonist striving for life beyond death until the realization sets in that mortality may be the only relief. The heroine of “Requiem” travels to Alaska a year after her aunt’s disappearance, seeking answers. All of the stories here feature characters who are trying to discover the nature of their existence and how their lives connect others. VERDICT Rising star Singh draws on her Indian roots and physics background to bring her first North American collection to readers. Admirers of literary sf will want to read this.”

* Answers on a postcard to the usual address, thank ee kindly!
** Also in that issue: their review of The Invisible Valley.



Who Among Us?

Fri 8 Dec 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Who among us hasn’t been tricked into entering a “ghost marriage”? Library Journal is first past the post with the first trade review of Austin Woerner’s translation of Su Wei’s novel The Invisible Valley:

“In 1960s China, life takes a dramatic turn for 21-year-old Le Beiping immediately after he is tricked into entering a “ghost marriage” with Han, the dead daughter of the foreman from his reeducation group. Sent off to work as a cattle herder in a remote area called Mudkettle Mountain, Lu meets Jade, a woman in a free, loving community of “driftfolk,” who has three children by three different men in the community. Lu is soon adopted into the group and enjoys the contentedly nudist lifestyle of several individuals there. Based on the author’s own experiences, the story may surprise readers expecting a ghost story, but what comes to light at the end is more shocking and gritty than anticipated. The vernacular of the driftfolk, well translated by Woerner, recalls Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn; obviously these characters are not in the mainstream.”

* Request a free copy from LibraryThing.



Chicago Love

Thu 7 Dec 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Hometown prophet gets some love! Juan Martinez’s Best Worst American is one the Chicago Review of Books’s Best Fiction Books of 2017 — not coincidentally, it’s one of ours, too. Yay for another list of good books!


9781618731241_094d0Best Worst American
By Juan Martinez
Small Beer Press

“In his debut short story collection, Juan Martinez takes us across the country (and possible countries) in brisk tales that range from sci-fi and horror to realism and metafiction.” —Adam Morgan



Someday My Printz Will Come

Wed 6 Dec 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

In Other Lands coverThere’s a lovely post by Karyn Silverman on School Library Journal‘s Someday My Printz Will Come blog about two books, Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moïra Fowley-Doyle and Sarah Rees Brennan’s In Other Lands. The post starts with this intro:

Let’s talk about heart books. Because today I want to call your attention to two books that are long shots at best, but which I loved them dearly as a reader. More than that, despite the flaws that I predict will ultimately sink them, these are strong books that deserve close attention.

Oh well, thinks I — as I, of course, think all our books should win all the awardz, all! Well, maybe not. How about just most of them?

And the review begins:

Oh my heart. This book made me happy. It’s laugh out loud funny and also fantasy, which is not exactly a common pairing, and in a dark, miserable year when it seems like the sky really IS falling, this was exactly the breath of fresh air I needed.

Yes!

If you have not read the book and don’t like spoiler: Don’t Read This Post! But if you have read the book, this is such an enjoyable read. It is real fun thinking of this book being a contender for awards and Karyn lays out the reasons why so well. Either way, winner or not, the book is fab and making more readers happier every day which is a pretty fantastic result.



NPR’s 2017 Great Reads: Tender & The River Bank

Tue 5 Dec 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

I’m delighted to see 2 of our 2017 titles on NPR’s endlessly entertaining Book Concierge Guide To 2017’s Great Reads:

Tender: Stories
by Sofia Samatar
Most of the 20 sumptuous tales in Sofia Samatar’s collection Tender take place on Earth – although not always the Earth we might recognize. Sprawling in subject from the supernatural power of names to the loneliness of a half-robot woman, Tender redefines the emotional power and literary heft that speculative fiction can convey. Where Samatar’s acclaimed fantasy novels exist in a strange, dreamlike world, her short stories daringly explore the overlap of familiarity and otherness.
— recommended by Jason Heller, book critic

The River Bank: A Sequel to Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows
by Kij Johnson

A beautiful, pitch-perfect sequel to Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, with characters original to Kij Johnson and spot illustrations by Kathleen Jennings, The River Bank is that species of fan fiction that unfolds new material from a beloved property with hardly a hint of a seam. Meandering with a river’s pace through musings on art, home and the end of summer, The River Bank is a more than worthy successor.
— recommended by Amal El-Mohtar, book critic



Clarion 2018

Mon 4 Dec 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

I’m delighted that Kelly and I are the final 2-week instructors at the Clarion Writers’ Workshop next summer in San Diego. This year’s full line up is Christopher Barzak, Holly Black, Mat Johnson, and Kij Johnson. It will be awesome. Applications are now open!



Thread of the Year (ha)

Fri 1 Dec 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin



Read by Millions

Wed 29 Nov 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

The Invisible Valley coverMillions of Chinese readers have read this novel but over here in the USA, there are not that many who have. Even the translator, Austin Woerner, isn’t here at the moment. He’s over in Shanghai (hello!) teaching at the Duke University campus. However, the author lives here, so that’s one more person who’s read it (probably uncountable times). And, lucky us, we’ve read it.

What am I talking about? The Invisible Valley, Su Wei’s first published novel and first to be translated into English. It’s huge, babby, monstrous, hot, humid, fascinating, immersive, and we’re going to publish it in April 2018. Are you curious? Reviewers can get advance uncorrected copies on Edelweiss and we’ve just added an excerpt here.



Love the book on Publishers Weekly‏’s invite!

Tue 28 Nov 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Which book? This one!



Holiday Deadlines 2017

Wed 15 Nov 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Here is Our Beloved Annual Holiday Shipping Deadline post. Our office will be closed over the holidays from December 22 – January 2, 2017. It is unlikely we will ship over that period. (Weightless is always open.)

Might as well 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. 19
Priority Mail Dec. 20
Priority Mail Express Dec. 22
First Class International (generally) Dec. 7

Order a book today!

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



Double Jeffrey World Fantasy Awards

Wed 8 Nov 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

A Natural History of Hell cover - click to view full sizetl;dr 2 Jeffs won awards, so did other people. We love books and good drinks.


We went to cloudy and muggy, phew, San Antonio*, Texas, last week for the World Fantasy Convention and on Sunday — while we were at the airport waiting for our flight and chatting over a very much enjoyed beer with Scott Andrews of Beneath Ceaseless Skies — the awards were handed out.

I am delighted to report that Jeffrey Ford won for his collection A Natural History of Hell and doubly delighted to say that Jeffrey Alan Love, whose art graces the cover of that book among others, received the award for Best Artist. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!

Jeffrey Alan Love made a huge impact at the con by pulling out his paper, pens, ink and pads and making (and giving away!) pieces of art at the bar and at the (massive! overwhelming!) group signing event on Saturday night. I took one home with me and am still amazed by his process. Can’t wait to pick up Kevin Crossley-Holland’s Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki which Jeffrey illustrated.

I spent most of my time in the dealers room chatting with people, checking out all the books, the lovely books, that everyone had brought, buying books, and sometimes selling books. We sold most of the books we brought, a lovely thing! I wonder sometimes if book rooms like this will still exist in five or ten years. They’re just like indie bookstores: if people want them to exist, they shop there. If they don’t care, they don’t buy books there, and the book room (or bookstore) disappears. I’m for them going on and on. I do love poking around and finding books I knew and did not know I wanted.

Meghan McCarron had recommended to all that the Esquire bar should be checked out and wow, that was a great hot tip. I loved the cocktails upstairs but the downstairs Cocteles de Maíz were the cocktails of my heart: that the menu was designed and printed (on paper made of corn!) by a local press, Snake Hawk Press [really, click that link], helped but wow. Also yum. What creations.

Of the Guests of Honor, I met David Mitchell and he was lovely, yay! Here’s Kelly’s picture of him chatting with Ted Chiang. I caught up briefly with Tananarive Due (one of my Clarion instructors!); I saw Gregory Manchess signing lots of books and enjoyed his art in the art show; I picked up a book by toastmaster Martha Wells; and I was sorry to miss Gordon Van Gelder being roasted, see my note above about the Esquire bar and not having a reservation there that night, darn it. Next time.

The final Guest of Honor Karen Joy Fowler did a couple of readings (thanks, schedulers!) so I got to the second one. She read chapters two and three of her next novel and all I can say is I hope it comes out sooner rather than later. She is a hell of a writer. Karen signed copies of her collection What I Didn’t See for us but then we sold them all, sorry. In fact, Kij Johnson and Kathleen Johnson signed copies of The River Bank and we sold out. Howard Waldrop then signed copies of Howard Who? and Horse of a Different Color and we sold out but we still have a few signed available from a previous visit, phew once more.

Then we came home, somewhat exhausted and ground into the floor by the act of talking to people for many days in a row — yup, that’s too much. Luckily now I get some quiet time to try and catch up on shipping and reading and erk, better go do that. (Smooth outro? Achieved!)

* — on the day we left, the day of the awards, the town was busy, people were going on about their lives, except for the 26 people murdered in a church 30 miles away. The gun laws and the amount of guns in this country are insane. Why are people allowed to have machine guns?



Luminous and Compassionate

Wed 18 Oct 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Ambiguity Machines cover - click to view full sizeYoon Ha Lee, author of Ninefox Gambit, just finished reading Vandana Singh’s forthcoming collection Ambiguity Machines and says of it:

“Ranging in scale from the smallest life to far-ranging interplanetary adventures, and drawing upon both science and mythology, Vandana Singh’s stories are luminous and compassionate.”

You can read the title story on Tor.com. I just went over the proofread copy of the book with Vandana and it is such a fun book — if your idea of fun is Vandana’s unique thread of science fiction, which, of course it is! Or will be. Just wait and see, what a book. The book ends with a huge new story, “Requiem” set in Alaska with whales and drilling and global warming and a missing scientist.

Between “Requiem”, Christopher Rowe’s “The Border State” and Sofia Samatar’s “Fallow,” we have had a run of amazing original novellas.



New Books? New Books!

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

It is boom time here at Small Beer! Books are rolling off the printing presses, more are being sent for quick reprints (whoopee!), I’m working on a couple of contracts, lining up some books for next autumn, and here here here are a few fun, mindblowing, immersive, weird and fantastic (so: just the usual then?) books that we will publish next spring and summer.

In reverse order they are:

Alien Virus Love Disaster, a debut collection of door-stomping-down stories from Abbey Mei Otis

Half-Witch, a debut YA novel of by John Schoffstall

and The Invisible Valley, a debut novel by Su Wei translated by Austin Woerner

Don’t like vertical images? Like ebooks? Check them out on Weightless!



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