Best Worst NYTBR

Mon 22 May 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Best Worst American cover Although I did not actually get to sit down with a pot of tea and read the New York Times yesterday (kids, what can you do?), I did exult all weekend over this lovely review of Juan Martinez’s collection Best Worst American.

The review, by Lincoln Michel, covers four recent short story collections — I love these catch-up columns where they review 4 collections or translations or books that might vaguely fit a theme as they are often books I’ve missed otherwise.

Anyway, here’s a single measly line from the start of the review (“Martinez’s debut showcases a try-anything approach to narrative”) and here’s one other from the end. For all the interesting bits in between (botched what?), click ye link:

In his longest and best stories, Martinez mines both the small details and the large absurdities of life to show us our own strange world in a new way.



Elizabeth Bear says . . .

Mon 22 May 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Christopher Rowe is

“A visionary writer known for writing haunting prose about people and societies with haunting problems.”

[Context!]



Printing and Reprinting

Fri 19 May 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

When I posted about the Super Nebula Humble Bundle the other day I threw in a line about stopping the presses “except for the ones printing and reprinting our books!” which made me wonder what was at the printer right now. (Ok, so I didn’t really wonder as I know but I thought it would be interesting to see where everything is.)

At the printer now:

Jeffrey Ford, A Natural History of Hell: Stories (2nd printing)
Christopher Rowe, Telling the Map: Stories (July 2017)
Sofia Samatar, A Stranger in Olondria (3rd printing, should ship soon)

Galleys being printed Paradise Copies:

Vandana Singh, Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories (February 2018)

About to go to the printer

Sarah Rees Brennan, In Other Lands: a novel (August 2017)

Why do I feel that the moment I publish this I’ll remember there’s something else (besides the kettle) on the boil? But busy days are good days so out it goes.

Although, “busy days are good days” is a funny thing to write when what’s keeping me busy is making books and from a certain angle buying or borrowing a book is a promise by the reader to themselves that they’ll set aside time in the future to relax and read that book. So what I’m hustling and bustling to make are books, in other words (hours to read the book) x (future readers) and if those “hours to read the book” are enjoyable, what I’m doing, by transforming an author’s manuscript into a book is helping the author create enjoyment. Ok, enough with this twaddle and back to making books!



A New Collection from Vandana Singh

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

Ambiguity Machines coverI am delighted to announce that we will publish Vandana Singh‘s first US collection Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories in February of 2018. The title story, Ambiguity Machines: An Examination, can be found on Tor.com.

Long ago when the world was young and we had published just four books in two years (woah, slow down there young fellow!), we published an anthology edited by Kelly, Trampoline, which included an early story of Vandana’s, “The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet.” That story went on to be the title story of Vandana’s first collection which was published by Zubaan/Penguin India. Vandana is also the author of two novellas published by Aqueduct Press, two books for children, and she co-edited with Anil Menon the anthology Breaking the Bow: Speculative Fiction Inspired by the Ramayana. Outside of writing fiction, Vandana, as she so neatly says, professes physics and follows her interests in climate science.

Ambiguity Machines is a book full of big ideas (big isn’t a big enough word for them . . . maybe: ginormous ideas of unusual size) and people. One of the best parts of getting this book ready for the light of day was when Vandana emailed in a story that will appear in the book for the first time, “Requiem.” It’s a story of a woman who goes searching for her aunt who has gone missing in Alaska. It’s a page turner, deep and rich, with a streak of very cheering and surprising scientific optimism.

The cover isn’t final, c’est la vie, but it will be beautiful! You can pre-order the book here.



Humble Bundle: Super Nebula Author Showcase

Sat 13 May 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , | 1 Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Hey, stop the presses (except for the ones printing and reprinting our books!), spread the word, the Humble Bundle is back! This time it’s the Super Nebula Author Showcase presented by SFWA. What do these books have in common? They all include at least one Nebula Award winning story:

  • For one single US dollar, you can get 8 DRM-free ebooks including Howard Waldrop’s Howard Who? (“The Ugly Chickens”) and Kelly Link’s Stranger Things Happen (“Louise’s Ghost”).
  • For $8 or more and add another dozen books (8+12=20 ebooks for $8+!) including John Kessel’s The Baum Plan for Financial Independence (“Pride and Prometheus”).
  • For $15 or more and add another ten books (20+10=30 ebooks for $15+!) including Nancy Kress’s Fountain of Age (“Fountain of Age”).
  • For $20 or more and add another ten books (30+10=40 ebooks for $20+!) including Kij Johnson’s At the Mouth of the River of Bees (“The Man Who Bridged the Mist,” “Ponies,” & “Spar”), Carol Emshwiller’s Report to the Men’s Club (“Creature”), and Karen Joy Fowler’s What I Didn’t See (“Always” & “What I Didn’t See”).

As with all Humble Bundles, readers choose where the money goes – between the publishers; SFWA (or a charity of your choice), and the Humble Bundle. I’m scheduling this to post on the weekend and by Friday afternoon over 5,000 people have already picked up the bundle. Thanks for reading and spreading the word if you can. Cheers!



The Contrary Gardener

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

With the weekend coming up, here’s a story recommendation: tTelling the Map cover - click to view full sizehe first story in Christopher Rowe’s upcoming collection Telling the Map was first published on Jonathan Strahan’s Eclipse Online in October 2012. It was then reprinted in both Rich Horton’s The Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2013 and Strahan’s Best SF & F of the Year Volume Seven.

In their review of Telling . . ., Kirkus Reviews called it “the sharpest story in the collection” and can read it right here right now.



WisCon, Readercon

Wed 10 May 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

This week I’m shipping out books to lovely Madison, Wisconsin, for WisCon — and some freebies, check those tables! — where the most excellent Dave Schwartz will once again be tabling for Small Beer — yay! I wish we were going as it’s one of my favorite places/theoretical spaces (plus Vientiane restaurant, sniff) but with a kid in school — even though the kidtrack/child care is fab — we’re not going to make it. I know it will be a many splendored thing.

I’m also looking to see if I can find someone to table for us at Readercon as we are going to be out of town (dammit!). Anyone who likes moving 20 kg/30 lb boxes of books, sitting at a table for many hours (well, if you put it that way!) and chatting to people and selling books, send me an email!

We are going to World Fantasy in Texas where Kelly is interviewing Karen Joy Fowler — I recommend her blog. Then there’s Worldcon: a couple of years back I optimistically bought memberships. Will we get there? I’d love to, but I’m not sure. Anyone need memberships for two adults and one kid?



Kickstarter + 1 Year

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

I came in from taking my kid to school and remembered that about this time last year I was immersed in the Kickstarter for hardcover editions of John Crowley’s new edition of The Chemical Wedding, illustrated by Theo Fadel and designed by Jacob McMurray. When I looked it up, I was a little amazed to find it was a year ago today. Coincidence? Those don’t exist, right? The Kickstarter was a lot of fun. Not that I’ve been too tempted to do it again — shh! Who said LCRW Kickstarter? Not me!

I see that on the morning after the first day I was baking muffins. Coincidentally — if you believe in coincidences — I made banana chocolate chip muffins again on Sunday. But this year they had almonds and rhubarb in them instead of walnuts. Reviews were mostly strong but maybe they should have stayed in for another two minutes or so. Such is the way of baking on the fly. I would be out in the first round of the GBBO with nary a sad look from Mary Berry.

As everyone promised, running a Kickstarter was a wild ride. There’s no way we’d have had a chance to make such beautiful editions without it, though. 1,310 people backed the book and there are only a dozen or so who have yet to receive their books/rewards — mostly we still need addresses but there are a few special things that will be delivered later.

Would it be wrong to give a nod of thanks to the Secret List of Secret Backers of Secret Books of the Masters of the Universe? Of course it’s not wrong, thank you! How many people on that list are members of secret societies? Who knows!

The print run was quite close to the bone although there are some of the signed, numbered edition left which at some point I should do something about.

I will have another tiny fun piece of news about this book tomorrow. Until then!

kickstarter-logo-light

 



Goodreads Giveaway: Telling the Map

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

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Telling the Map by Christopher Rowe

Telling the Map

by Christopher Rowe

Giveaway ends May 13, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway



Effective. Relaxed. Complex. Persuasive.

Wed 3 May 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Telling the Map coverKirkus Reviews is the first out the gate with a review of Christopher Rowe’s July collection, Telling the Map.

Do they like it?

Yes!

It is, among other things, “A clutch of complex, persuasive visions of an alternative South.”

Why the draft cover is still showing up is beyond me. Time to ask the distributor! In the meantime, here’s the final cover, illustration courtesy of the incredibly talented Kathleen Jennings.



Leigh Bardugo says . . . (!)

Mon 1 May 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Leigh Bardugo, bestselling author of Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, read an advance copy of Sarah Rees Brennan’s forthcoming In Other Lands and just sent us this:

“Brennan’s delivers witty, nervy, romantic adventure that fizzes with feeling and giddy imagination.”

Yay!



Frankly Tender

Thu 27 Apr 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Tender cover - click to view full sizeI really enjoyed Brit Mandelo’s use of the word “frank” in their Tor.com review of Sofia Samatar’s Tender: Stories. The word captures something about Sofia’s writing that I haven’t been able to describe. This book is something else:

“I was also impressed with both of the pieces original to this collection. . . . ‘Fallow’ is the second original piece, a novella, and is by far the longest in the collection. It’s also the best novella I’ve read in quite some time. . . . a heady mix of science and grim hard-scrabble religious life in a dystopic and closeknit society. . . . I’d strongly recommend giving the literary, clever, and productive art that Samatar has collected here a read. It’s as good as I’d hoped, and just as smart too.”

This week also saw the book appear on NPR woohoo!, where  Jason Heller reviewed it:

Tender‘s longest story is also a science fiction tale set in the future — and like ‘The Red Thread,’ it toys with the ambiguity between dystopia and utopia. Told from the perspective of a child named Agar Black Hat, who lives in an extraterrestrial colony after cataclysmic climate change and a universal draft have forced a sect of religious pacifists from Earth, the story is a feast of ideas. It’s reminiscent of vintage Ursula K. Le Guin in its combination of social science and hard sci-fi, even as it probes the nature of belonging and belief.
“The book’s beating heart, though, is its title story. ‘Tender’ starts out with a clever play on words — ‘tender’ is used as a noun, as in, one who tends — and employs some tricky unreliable narration and splintered points-of-view. But Samatar’s virtuoso flourishes of form serve a higher purpose: They couch a quietly devastating account of a woman who gave up her life as a career woman and mother to become a cyborg, one who, alone, tends to a radioactive waste facility which she may never leave. While Samatar slowly unspools her character’s reasons for leaving her former life — delivering a primer on the haunting philosophies and damaged psyches of the scientists who gave us nuclear power along the way — ‘Tender’ redefines the emotional power and literary heft that speculative fiction can convey. As does Tender as a whole.”



Con or Bust

Mon 24 Apr 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

If you’d like to get early copies of some of our books, bid now in the Con or Bust auction!

Sarah Rees Brennan, In Other Lands (hardcover/ebook, August)

Lydia Millet, The Dissenters middle grade trilogy (hardcovers, out now)

Kij Johnson, The River Bank (hardcover/ebook, September)

You can see everything that’s been donated to the auction in the 2017 Auction Index (Google spreadsheet, opens in new window). I am off to check it out now myself!



The Bodies of the Ancients Giveaway

Mon 17 Apr 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Bodies of the Ancients by Lydia Millet

The Bodies of the Ancients

by Lydia Millet

Giveaway ends April 25, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway



Manana

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

We publish Sofia Samatar’s collection Tender: Stories tomorrow. Many, many people are going to be very happy about this.

Also: next week there will be a giveaway for Lydia Millet’s final Dissenters novel, The Bodies of the Ancients, on Goodreads.

The above giveaway is for readers in the USA only due to mailing costs, but: right now readers worldwide can sign up to receive a free advance copy of Christopher Rowe’s forthcoming collection Telling the Map on LibraryThing.

Edelweiss users: this morning we posted Kij Johnson’s The River Bank.

Juan Martinez will be at 2 upcoming literary festivals: in Arkansas on April 29 and much closer to home at the Evanston Literary Festival on May 8,In Celebration of the Short Story with Christine Sneed at Bookends & Beginnings.

Did you hear that Ursula K. Le Guin’s Words Are My Matter is a finalist for the Hugo Award? How wonderful! I also really like Ursula’s new publicity photo by Rod Searcey.



Ayize Jama-Everett on the Black Porch Show with Brotha Subjek

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

Kick back and enjoy a wide-ranging conversation between two friends covering growing up, travel, writing, music, and more:



A New Story by Sofia Samatar

Mon 3 Apr 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Out today on The Offing:An Account of the Land of Witches” a multi-layered story from Sofia Samatar from her collection Tender: Stories, which oh me oh my-oh comes out next week.

Tender cover - click to view full size



Finding Telling the Map

Tue 21 Mar 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Telling the Map cover - click to view full sizeWe’re making it easy to find Christopher Rowe’s Telling the Map . . .

. . . it’s now available on Edelweiss!



LCRW: Pay Rate Rise

Mon 13 Mar 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 2 Comments | Posted by: Gavin

A few weeks ago I posted this on Twitter:

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 35 coverAnd I wanted to bump it here, especially the part about “Always seeking work by women & writers of color” — which I have said in interviews (Reckoning | Tor) and added to our Guidelines.

Our previous rates were: $25/story, $5/poem. Our new rates are: fiction & nonfiction, US$0.03/word ($25 min); $10/poem. We still only take paper submissions and aren’t the fastest responders but that’s something we will work on for 2017. In the meantime, anything you can do to help spread the word is much appreciated, thank you.



What’s Up?

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

Kelly Link will be reading in Greensboro tonight — check out the picture of her midflow on the UNCG MFA program page! Here’s the info:

The MFA Writing Program at Greensboro and The Greensboro Review will host a fiction reading by Kelly Link on Thursday, March 9th at 7PM in the UNCG Faculty Center on College Avenue. The event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a book signing.

And, hey if you are in that area, don’t miss the upcoming readings with Chris Abani (3/22), David Blair (4/5), and Heather Hartley (4/13).

FOGcon logo: the Golden Gate Bridge as a bookshelf, in fogThis weekend I would love to be in San Francisco for FogCon where Ayize Jama-Everett and Delia Sherman are the Guests of Honor — and Iain M. Banks (RIP) is the Honored Ghost — and the theme is “Interstitial Spaces.” I just looked at the programming and it made me want to go, darn it. It will be a weekend of great conversations!

And coming up in two weeks, on Friday 3/24, Sofia Samatar will be on a panel at the Virginia Festival of the Book: “Building (and Breaking) Worlds in Contemporary Science Fiction and Fantasy,” Central JMRL Library, Charlottesville, VA.

 



Aliens, Viruses, Neanderthals, & Shapeshifters

Tue 21 Feb 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Today we publish The Bodies of the Ancients, Lydia Millet’s final novel in her middle grade Dissenters series through our Big Mouth House imprint for books for readers of all ages:

It has been fascinating to work with Lydia on these books and to see the fight against global warming used as the basis for a fantasy series. The final volume includes aliens, bugs, neanderthals, changelings, and a few world-shaking surprises for the Sykes family as everything is (well, sort of) tied up. Along with the shapeshifters and magic there is some actual satisfying climate science, of course, since Lydia has worked at the Center for Biological Diversity for many years.

You can start reading the first book in the series, The Fires Beneath the Sea, right now on Wattpad and the second book, The Shimmers in the Night, has just been added. To reintroduce the series on the publication of the final book we have put the whole series on sale for up to 50% off here!



Ampara Dávila

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

From the Paris Review:

“Born in the town of Pinos in the state of Zacatecas, Dávila published her first book of stories, Tiempo destrozado—from which “Moses and Gaspar” is taken—with the prestigious Fondo de Cultura Económica in 1959. During the previous decade, she had published several volumes of poetry, but it was fiction that made her name. Her stories immediately commanded respect, and it’s hard to overstate how grudgingly such respect was granted to women in that era: Tiempo destrozado was published barely six years after women in Mexico were granted suffrage. The 1950s were a rich decade of Mexican literature only peppered with female names, such as Rosario Castellanos and Elena Garro—heavyweights who nevertheless had to fight against being overshadowed by male colleagues and partners. Dávila herself was secretary to the great Mexican writer Alfonso Reyes, and Reyes opened literary circles to her and encouraged her to publish her stories. At the same time, we shouldn’t reduce Dávila’s history to the male figures who helped smooth her access to the patriarchal milieu: she built herself a literary career in willful defiance of both peers and parents who believed that it was absurd for a woman to move to Mexico City from the provinces in hopes of pursuing such a vocation.”

Read More

[h/t as ever to Christopher Brown]



Roses Are Red

Tue 14 Feb 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Best Worst American cover - Violets are violet
Today is the day
We publish Juan Martinez

At AWP this past weekend more than one person came up, looked at Juan Martinez’s debut collection Best Worst American, and thought it had something to do with HMH’s Best American Short Stories which in itself was hilarious and gave me an idea for a new series of books — which we will not be publishing. AWP also turns out to be a great place to have a Juan Martinez book as he has graduated from a couple of universities and taught at a couple more. So many people came by either looking for him or the book. At least I could always help with the latter — even on Saturday when I was pretty much a zombie.

If you’re reading about this book for the first time, try this:

— so many short stories in one place I cannot list them all*
— also pointed out to me this weekend: none of these stories have been published in magazines in the sci-fi or whatevs genre
— 2 of these stories were read on NPR’s Selected Shorts

— Juan read the title story at Politics & Prose this weekend and it was hilarious
Chicago people: don’t miss his reading on Thursday night
Chicago people: if you do miss his reading on Thursday night, here is your second chance: Feb. 27, 6:30 p.m. Curbside Splendor Happy Hour Swill (with Kathleen Rooney)
— A. M. Dellamonica on Tor.com captures the range of the book: “out of the realm of the mildly disturbing, into something colder, more unequivocally horrifying…. stories run from the darkly absurd to finely-honed depictions of American immigrants’ experiences.”
— But what if you are just looking for, you know, weird stuff? Nisi Shawl says at the Seattle Review of Books that you will be ok: “Weirdness builds upon delectable weirdness throughout the whole book.”

You can get your print copy here (sorry, no signed copies in stock from AWP as sold them all! — but you can order them from W&CF above) or the ebook here. Enjoy!

* Ok, so there is a list, aka the TOC, here.



AWP 2017, Before

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

We’ve arrived in DC — where democracy is taking a beating, fingers crossed it will survive — and tomorrow the whole AWP shebang begins. Our books are still in transit due to the ice storm that hit the northeast. With luck I’ll be getting them today and by tomorrow there will be a lovely table (110-T, come on by and say hello) full of books all neatly set up and ready for dispersement into the world.

There are approximately four quadrillions readings and parties going on in the next few days. Here are a few Small Beer-related or -adjacent during the conference and then on Saturday at 6 pm we have a reading with Kelly Link & Juan Martinez at Politics and Prose.

Thursday
Signing at the Small Beer Press table: 110-T (on the edge, near Tin House)
10:00am to 10:30am Juan Martinez
10:30am to 11:00am Sofia Samatar
11:00am to 11:30am Kelly Link 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Marquis Salon 7 & 8, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two

R205. The Political Woman: Historical Novelists Reimagine and Reclaim Women’s Place in Politics. (, , , , ) While rarely central and often discounted, women have always played a role in politics. In this panel, historical novelists discuss how and why they chose to unearth and reimagine the lost and untold stories of women in politics. What are the risks and rewards of using fiction to place women at the center of political narratives? What liberties are novelists compelled, or unwilling, to take with the historical record?

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Ballroom A, Washington Convention Center, Level Three

R282. Jennifer Egan, Karen Joy Fowler, and Hannah Tinti: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau. (, , , ) This event will bring together three engaging contemporary female writers to read and discuss their craft. Jennifer Egan is the author of five books, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel A Visit From the Goon Squad. Karen Joy Fowler is the author of nine books, including We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award. Hannah Tinti is the author of three books, including The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, which will be published in 2017.

Saturday, February 11, 2017 View Full Schedule

12:00 pm to 1:15 pm

Liberty Salon N, O, & P, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four

S181. Immigrants/Children of Immigrants: A Nontraditional Path to a Writing Career . (,  ,  ,  ,  ) Not only do you not have an uncle in publishing or see people from the neighborhood get MFAs, immigrants and children of immigrants are inculcated to opt for “safe,” “secure,” often well-paying jobs; a writing career may seem like an unimaginable luxury or a fantasy. This panel of working writers looks at both psychic and structural issues that add a special challenge for writers from immigrant families.

4:30 pm to 5:45 pm

Marquis Salon 9 & 10, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two

S271. The Short Story as Laboratory. (,  ,  ,  ,  ) What does short fiction allow? The form is beloved by science fiction writers, who use it to test out hypothetical futures; what does it offer writers who are doing other kinds of testing, related to emotional transitions, marginality, and migration? Is the short story an inherently border form? This panel considers these questions, the challenge of putting a set of experiments into a collection, and the tension between the laboratory and the completed book.

Saturday
6 pm
Kelly Link and Juan Martinez
Politics & Prose Bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008 Get Directions
Kelly Link will read with Juan Martinez (Best Worst American) at the most excellent Politics & Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse. This event is free to attend with no reservation required. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis. Click here for more information.



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