Friday morning update: Caught up again! usps.com says books shipped yesterday are scheduled to arrive Monday so you can still order today and fingers crossed they will arrive Tuesday!
Hey, we still have a couple of days — today and tomorrow — where the post office says that if you order from our site, since we’re upgrading all US book orders to Priority Mail, the books should arrive by December 24th. It’s been pretty great fun in the last week piling up the books and shipping them all out. The post office has been really busy!
Also: don’t miss these signed books:
A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar paperback:
Questionable Practices by Eileen Gunn
(We also did quite a few ebooks!)
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by Greer Gilman
Stranger Things Happen (and other books) by Kelly Link
& even some random older books (After the Apocalypse by Maureen F. McHugh, Howard Who? by Howard Waldrop, oh I don’t know!) all shipping free Priority (if only I could spell that) free until December 20th
We always include free domestic Media Mail shipping for Small Beer Press orders but from NOW until December 20th we’re going to upgrade that: all domestic book orders will be automatically upgraded to Priority Mail shipping. This only applies to US domestic orders as international prices have, as we all know, gone nuts in the last few years, sorry. See Weightless for excellent worldwide ebook prices.
Not sure what to order? How about some new new new books? We published all of these in 2014:
(We also did quite a few ebooks!)
As well as a chapbook and 2 issues of LCRW (these 3 always include free first class mail shipping):
& even more more fabulous books . . . all shipping free Priority (if only I could spell that) free until December 20th:
Here’s our quick annual note that holiday mail dates are coming up fast. Also, our office will be closed from December 24 – January 1, 2015 and, based on previous years, it is unlikely we will ship over that period. (Of course, Weightless is always open.)
Here are the 2014 last order dates for Small Beer Press — which are almost the same as every other biz else in the USA. Dates for international shipping are here.
We ship all books media mail for free 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 on Priority Mail.
|Domestic Mail Class/Product||Cut Off Date|
|First Class Mail||Dec-20|
|Priority Mail Express||Dec-23|
The First Class and Priority Mail International Shipping deadlines are . . . tomorrow! Eek. We can still ship your books if you order today!
This weekend both Ted Chiang and Eileen Gunn were featured on WPR’s To the Best of Our Knowledge. Both were interviewed about their collections (Stories of Your Life and Others and Questionable Practices) and both read excerpts from their stories: lovely!
Kelly is off to Santa Cruz, California, where she’ll be on a panel on Thursday, November 20 at 4 p.m. with Karen Joy Fowler and Kim Stanley Robinson as part of Living Writers Series (free, open to the public from 4:00-5:45pm in Humanities Lecture Hall 206.)
Which reminded me of a thought provoking essay Robinson published on Slate recently, “The Actual World: “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.” Robinson reminded me that people are out there in the world (offline, really? Yes!) climbing, doing show and tell with Thoreauean objects on mountain tops, and getting out into the world. Slate — despite all the stickystickycruft on their site included many great photos which made the essay come alive as well as links (ah, the internet) throughout. The one I clicked and then left open as a tab for a week or so was this “Webtext on the Ktaadn passage from The Maine Woods.” I haven’t read The Maine Woods and am not sure I ever shall but this passage challenged me more to think about humanity and the world more than anything else I’ve read in a while:
I fear not spirits, ghosts, of which I am one, — that my body might, — but I fear bodies, I tremble to meet them.
Dickinson shows us the daily lives of both the upper crust, with their carpeted manor houses and petty intrigues, as well as the working poor, who live in noisy, crowded conditions. Intergenerational strife abounds, as children of all classes disappoint their elders by not becoming what they were brought up to be; the exchanges are witty yet full of meaning, illuminating the shift of power away from the old class system toward something new and unproven. Dickinson conveys a lot of excellent historical material in a thoroughly engaging narrative with enough suspense to keep readers entertained on multiple levels.
Fascinating to see that the book is categorized as “Jazz Age” — since it is set in the 1920s. Given the subject of the book, it would be fun to come up with other names for the time, “Age of Labor,” something like that? Also, given that the LA Times just cut all their sick leave and vacation time, I figure it’s about time to enter another age of labor. He said, optimistically.
It’s been a great first week for Delia Sherman’s first collection, Young Woman in a Garden. It already had a starred review from Publishers Weekly but then just before pub date, it was selected as one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year. Yay! Then we found out that in the current issue of Library Journal the book receives its second star! I didn’t find the whole review online, but part of it can be found here:
In this first collection from Sherman (The Porcelain Dove; The Freedom Maze), what seems ordinary consistently veers into the extraordinary and often downright surprising. . . . Ranging in length and style, these tales are captivating and odd, with characters and settings fully and memorably fleshed out.
More fun: Jason Heller gives the book a cracking review on NPR:
Real magic, right next door, indeed; each of the 14 stories in Young Woman in a Garden deals with some version of that equation, and it’s a testament to Sherman’s award-winning knack for fabulism that she pulls off such impossibilities with whimsy, dazzle and heart — not to mention a sharp edge of darkness.
Delia is reading in New York in a couple of weeks (more exactitude? On December 2 with Ellen Kushner) as part of the NYRSF reading series, this one guest hosted by Claire Wolf Smith.
Should you have gotten this far and begun to wonder where your next clickityinternetclick will be taking you, here’s a suggestion: one of Delia’s fabulous stories from this here book. Here’s “Nanny Peters and the Feathery Bride,” originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, in February 1990 and brought to you by the magic of The Internet Tubes.
New this week on Consortium’s Bookslinger app is Alan DeNiro’s story “Dancing in a House” from his collection Tyrannia and Other Renditions. Tyrannia just got a great review from L. Timmel Duchamp on Strange Horizons.
Download the app and get reading here:
Bookslinger is a great way to try out a story from quite a few Small Beer collections, as well as books from many of the fab publishers Consortium distributes. Here’s a few recent stories available on the app from books we’ve published:
Eileen Gunn’s “Up the Fire Road” (from her collection Questionable Practices)
Howard Waldrop’s Nebula and World Fantasy Award winning story ”The Ugly Chickens.”
Howard Waldrop’s “A Dozen Tough Jobs.”
John Kessel, ”Pride and Prometheus”
Kij Johnson’s “At the Mouth of the River of Bees”
Georges-Olivier Chateaureynaud’s “Delauney the Broker“ (translated by Edward Gauvin)
Ray Vukcevich, “Whisper”
Maureen F. McHugh, “The Naturalist”
Karen Joy Fowler, “The Pelican Bar”
Kelly Link, “The Faery Handbag”
Benjamin Rosenbaum, “Start the Clock”
Maureen F. McHugh, “Ancestor Money”
Download the app in the iTunes store.
And watch a video on it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySL1bvyuNUE
We are so, so happy to celebrate Sofia Samatar’s novel A Stranger in Olondria receiving the World Fantasy Award. Congratulations and all joy to Sofia whose debut novel has been so widely recognized as a strong, inventive, and fabulous addition to the field. Besides the World Fantasy Award, Olondria has also received the British Fantasy and Crawford awards and was a Nebula and Locus finalist and Sofia won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
Congratulations are due to all the nominees and the winners:
Life Achievement: Ellen Datlow and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Novel: A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
Novella: “Wakulla Springs”, Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages (Tor.com 10/2/13)
Short Fiction: “The Prayer of Ninety Cats”, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Subterranean Spring ’13)
Anthology: Dangerous Women, George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, eds. (Tor; Voyager)
Collection: The Ape’s Wife and Other Stories, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Subterranean)
Artist: Charles Vess
Special Award – Professional: (tie) Irene Gallo, for art direction of Tor.com and William K. Schafer, for Subterranean Press
Special Award – Nonprofessional: Kate Baker, Neil Clarke, & Sean Wallace, for Clarkesworld
We spent the weekend in Arlington, VA, at the World Fantasy Convention catching up with many friends and meeting many new people. Our book haul was impressive! We came down from Massachusetts on the train with Kathleen Jennings whose illustration graces the cover of Olondria and throughout the weekend I was lucky enough to spend time with both Sofia and Kathleen. Part of the joy of the time was knowing that Sofia and Kathleen were comparing notes and that they were both looking forward to working on the cover of Sofia’s next novel, The Winged Histories, which, along with a short story collection, Small Beer Press will publish.
Once they’ve arrived back from Virginia, we’ll have a few signed copies of A Stranger in Olondria in stock (the hardcover will be out of print soon) as well as a few signed copies each of books from Ysabeau S. Wilce, Eileen Gunn, Nathan Ballingrud, Ted Chiang.
An Incomplete Report of the Events of the Past Weekend in the City of Crystals, somewhat near the Washington Which is Taxed But Without Representation.
We set out on Wednesday, October 8th, 2014, with eight mules and two packhorses. The mules carried our pineapples, books, and other items of domestic needs (couches, toasters, &c.) while for the most part we walked or sometimes lay down and let the ants carry us. We slept wherever the early sunsets found us: Springfield, Bridgeport, Baltimore, other places that are forgotten except for the bottles of brandy imprinted with their names and the somewhat happy memory of exchanging a carton of relatively new books to a M. Sturgis in New Amsterdam for a fine pair of shoes.
We arrived in the Crystal City and joined a parade of Readers, Writers, Publishers, Editors, Artists, and All Others Associated With the Fantastical Arts, that was heading to the Regency Hyatt. A time portal had been erected in Union Station, wherein we could also acquire timely appurtenances for a weekend in the Regency: wigs, collars, clothing, and so on. One Ms. Valentine advised us on our wardrobe and was kind enough to dispose of many of the inappropriate outfits in our trunks.
Once through the portal a TaxiFunicular took us all through the city and showed us many of the night sights before retracing its way back to our rooming house. We thanked the driver politely. Our rooming house had a cold box which puzzled us. But we used it to store our new clothes overnight and were most pleased by how refreshing they were in the morning.
Refreshed and ready to join the celebrations of the fantastic in literature, instead we immediately fled everyone we ever knew and spent the next two or three months two floors beneath the earth in the subterranean caverns where the purveyors of literature had been banished. Of course somewhere over our long journey down from our Northern home a carton or two of books had been misplaced so we applied for and were granted a special case one-time use telepathy license. We gathered many friends and strangers and sat in a helix pattern on the richly carpeted floor and sent messages to whomsoever might hear to ensorcell flights of herons to deliver replacements for our missing books. M. Berry in Amherst, Massachusetts, and M. Brown of Consortium in the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis in Snowlandia were projecting their spirits into the aether and were able to magick the herons. Many, many thanks are owed to them!
As to one M. DeLuca who helped us time after time. Thank you, M.
Sometime in the first month we began to meet up with friends and associates from city gatherings past. It had been many years since last we’d attended this particular traveling convention of like-minded readers and we shook many hands, drank many toasts, hugged many people, bought many books, ached and ached and talked of our so-long-missed late friend Jenna Felice, admired the art, sold many more books, and were generally astounded and amazed by how many people there were, how many we saw, and how many we did not.
Early one morning we took a mule with us and we went out into the city of Arlington and found that the government in this city there is entrenched in every aspect of life so much that they even control the grocery markets and severely limit what can be sold. The market stall we found would only sell us strongly fortified drinks from the far southern parts of this country such as Kentucky or from that beautiful northern outpost of civilization, Scotland. We begged and pleaded for solid sustenance and they put bags of chipped and fried potatoes or small sacks of boiled peanuts in our hands. Was this really Regency life, we wondered. We filled our panniers with tiny bottles of these highly flammable drinks and walked hungrily back to the rooming house. It was just breakfast time when we returned and a Ms. Jennings directed us to the stairs and after happily tramping up eighteen flights we found there was food aplenty after all and, as many others were, we were well looked after by the Saints of the Penthouse Suite.
The weeks passed and we were informed there was an outpost of Thai food little more than a day’s walk north. We did not even try to resist and found that although sober noodles could not be found, the drunken noodles sufficed.
One M. Rowe and Ms. Bond illustrated to us how to drink Kentucky Mashed Spirits and we found ourselves more and more happy to be educated in these esoteric spirits. Late one night we were shown the what was claimed to be Debbie Harry and Michael Lee Aday in a film together but how could we believe that such a thing existed that we’d never heard of? We did not.
As winter turned to spring we went forth less and less to the outside world. Down in the basement there were books, friends, fortified drinks full of cheer, energy, and future headaches, occasional snacks, tables to sleep under, and the never ceasing florescent lights. When high summer came one or two of the braver bookdealers packed up and took off for conventions that, so the rumor said, had bookrooms with windows. We were busy weaving our new pink T-shirts and did not pay attention and so we missed our chance to escape the basement.
Autumn came and one dark evening we were blindfolded and led to a charabanc. I do not know how long or how far we were driven but when it stopped we were all relieved to be taken into a house of Grecian wonders and our palates were amazed by four seasons of tastes. We were reminded of times and travels passed and also that we had left our families at home. We spent a week feasting and then the charabanc reappeared as if called by magic and we returned, as always, as if by a magnet in our souls, to the Regency. Oh that I could write of the wonders of the Regency. Even without a swimming pool it was a wonder of the world. Surrounded on all sides by huge and slightly similar rooming houses it stood silent and ready to stand down, waiting for the real monarch to appear, but always in place, ever ready to do the job thrust upon it.
By now we realized we must either fish or cut bait. Neither choice attracted us so we looked around and considered whether we should spend another winter in the Crystal City. We had by now found (and ridden and re-ridden and re-re-ridden the glass elevator) and had shared our excitement in it with the Rolling Thunder convention. We had sold many books, finished weaving the shirts and sold many of them. There were rumors: of Caribbean food in Union Station; that perhaps this fine convention might be winding down; that the time portal would close; that we had been outbid in the art show; that crystal miners were going to descend upon the Crystal City and mine it for crystal unicorns to sell at a thousand malls across the country. It was time to return home.
We said our goodbyes — and as always realized that we had missed many people: there are at least as many conventions as there are people — and packed up our last boxes of books. I will miss sleeping under that table but seeing the sun again more than made up for it.
After tears and hugs and promises that we will meet up again in some other past or future, Regency or otherwise, convention, we traded what we had left (tuppence and a pen that didn’t leak too badly) for seats in a nonfunicular Taxi and this time were sprinted directly to Union Station. We found the excellent restaurant and carried with us a feast.
We set off on our return trip, this time on a train, to Massachusetts at 12:30 pm on November 9th, 2014. Awards were given out while we traveled and the train was in a complete uproar of joy that only calmed once we reached Connecticut. They say our train is approaching Springfield and that in seventeen minutes we will be allowed once more to step on land. I hope we can still walk on the still and solid earth after all these weeks on this train. I hope my sense of time returns before tomorrow. It is very very dark and the train hurtles (of course) through it. We ride on rails and there is no stillness. Our hearts are full from the days, weeks, months away, and we miss everyone already. Goodbye, goodbye, hello, we hope to see you again soon. We go home now, so tired, but full of joy.
Good news: a new LCRW is coming out! It’s #31, December 2014, and I’m pretty sure it’s made up of more than a hundred thousand letters, most of them in the right place. We’re taking some to WFC this weekend and once we recover from the con and the train trip back subscriber, reviewer, and bookstore copies will shoot out all over the world, some avec le chocolat, some without. The ebook will be available and go out to subscribers next week.
There are two huge — and very different — stories that make up most of LCRW 31: Kathleen Jennings’s “Skull and Hyssop” and Owen King’s “The Curator.” I’ll leave it to you to decide which one is more your cup of tea, or, if you’re more like Kelly and me, maybe it will be both. Earlier this autumn I was temporarily overwhelmed with fennel and so I asked for help from Chef in Chief Nicole Kimberling. She has many great tips in her latest column, “Crazy-Sexy Agriculture.” Keep it on file!
The cover is indeed by our 5-year-old daughter. She is much enamored of rats — Templeton from Charlotte’s Web was the first, since then the fascination has only grown. This is a picture of many people and many rats. If you’d like to see the full image, click this:
And in the meantime, here’s the table of contents:
Jessy Randall, “You Don’t Even Have a Rabbit”
Goldie Goldbloom, “Never Eat Crow”
Kathleen Jennings, “Skull and Hyssop”
Owen King, “The Curator”
Sarah Micklem, “The Necromancer of Lynka”
Nicole Kimberling, “Crazy-Sexy Agriculture = CSA”
About the Authors
Lesley Wheeler, “Four Poems”
When: Saturday, Nov. 22, from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM, doors open 6:30 PM
What: WRITERS WITH DRINKS!
Who: Ysabeau S. Wilce, Polly Superstar, and Jasmine Wilkerson Sufi!
How much: $5 to $20, all proceeds benefit the CSC
Where: The Make Out Room, 3225 22nd. St., San Francisco
About the readers/performers:
Ysabeau S. Wilce’s new book is the story collection Prophecies, Libels, and Dreams: Stories. She’s also the author of Flora Segunda,
Flora’s Dare, and Flora’s Fury, and she has published work in Asimov’s, Steampunk!, and Fantasy & Science Fiction. She is a graduate of Clarion West and has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, the James T. Tiptree Award, and won the Andre Norton Award.
Polly Superstar is the author of Sex Culture Revolutionary: A Memoir. She has dedicated her life to sexually progressive community as a latex fashion designer, a creator of arty, sexy parties, and a spokesperson for sex culture. er award-winning event, Kinky Salon, takes place in a dozen cities across Europe and North America.
Jaz Sufi is a poet, a Bay Area native, and the slammaster of the Berkeley Slam, the longest running poetry slam in California. She has competed for several teams at the National Poetry Slam and represented San Francisco at the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam. She was also a featured poet at the 2011 USF Creative Justice Art Show, and will be published in the upcoming Hurt to Hope Anthology.
About Writers With Drinks:
Writers With Drinks has won numerous “Best ofs” from local newspapers, and has been mentioned in 7×7, Spin Magazine, and one of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City novels. The spoken word “variety show” mixes genres to raise money for local causes. The award-winning show includes poetry, stand-up comedy, science fiction, fantasy, romance, mystery, literary fiction, erotica, memoir, zines and blogs in a freewheeling format.
If you can vote in today’s US elections, please do, thank you!
Election Day Bake Sale: pretzel rolos [perhaps a Rolo squished between 2 square pretzels: yum!], blondies, chocolate chip cookies (as requested by 5-year-old), and some kind of maybe pumpernickel bread thing. All in all, a good day. I can get depressed about the results schmesults later.
Wed 29 Oct 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., Andy Duncan, Benjamin Rosenbaum, conventions, Delia Sherman, Eileen Gunn, Ellen Kushner, Kathleen Jennings, Nancy Kress, Sofia Samatar, Ysabeau S. Wilce | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin
What’s going on? Too much to say! We have tables (and, hopefully, you know, books for sale on those tables) in the dealer room, and many, many Small Beer authors will be there including (although to paraphrase what The New Yorker always says at the start of their gig listing: authors live complicated lives and sometimes plans don’t work out):
Nathan Ballingrud, Ted Chiang, Andy Duncan, Jeffrey Ford, Eileen Gunn, Kathleen Jennings (all the way from Australia, wooee!), Kij Johnson, Nancy Kress, Ellen Kushner, Kelly Link, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Delia Sherman, Sofia Samatar, Ysabeau S. Wilce.
Here’s some of what I saw on the program list the other week. If you’re going, drop by and say hi!
E. Nesbit and Her Influence
Time: 4 p.m.-5 p.m., Thursday, Regency F
Panelists: Benjamin Rosenbaum (M), Ginjer Buchanan, Robert Knowlton, S. T. Joshi
Description: E. Nesbit published over forty children’s books, from the beloved The Railway Children to The Stories of the Treasure Seekers and Five Children and It. She also had a darker side, as seen in Something Wrong and Tales told in Twilight, collections of horror stories for adults. A writer of many sides, Nesbit had an influence on many writers, including C.S. Lewis, Michael Moorcock, and J.K. Rowling. The panel will discuss her work and why it continues to have an impact today.
Derived Myths: Making it Original
Time: 10 a.m.-11 a.m., Friday, Regency F
Panelists: Sandra Kasturi, Nick DiCharo (M), S. P. Hendricks, Ellen Kushner, Melissa Marr
Description: There is no denying that the influence of various mythologies on fantasy, which have been inspiration for Lord Dunsay, Elizabeth Hand, Barry Hughart and many more. With a wealth of examples, the panel will discuss when the myth inspiration is the center of the work to when it has lead to a whole new mythos.
Language and Linguistics in Fantasy
Time: 10 a.m.-11 a.m., Friday, Regency E
Panelists: Lawrence M. Schoen (M), C.D. Covington, Matthew Johnson, Sofia Samatar
Description: Foreign languages are often used in fantasy literature to add atmosphere, to show cultural backgrounds, and to bring a richness to the world, as can be seen in Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange and Richard Adams Watership Down. Some works rely on real languages. Others, such as Tolkien, have invented entire tongues of their own. Which stories incorporate other languages successfully, and where have authors stumbled, making too much of the work incomprehensible to the reader?
Reading: Nathan Ballingrud
Time: 10am-10:30am, Nov. 7, Fairfax
Adoption and Fostering in Fantasy
Time: 12 p.m.-1 p.m., Friday, Regency F
Panelists: Susan Dexter (M), Tina Connolly, Delia Sherman, Edward Willett
Description: Adoption or fostering is often used in fantasy and horror literature, from Oedipus to Jon Snow, from young Wart helping in the kitchens before that fateful day when he pulled a sword out of a stone in Londontown, to the most famous orphan of them all, Harry Potter. Dozens of fantasies feature young orphans who do not know their parentage, from Richard in Wizard’s First Rule, to Will from the Ranger’s Apprentice series, who is a ward of the state, to even Frodo, who was an orphan, albeit an older one, at the beginning of his adventures. There is even one beloved character, Taren from the Prydain Chronicles, who never learns his parentage, and this mystery itself proves to be his key to assuming the kingship. How does adoption, bastardy, mixed parentage, long-lost relatives all contribute to epic quests for self-knowledge in literature?
Beyond Rebellion in Young Adult Fantasy
Time: 2 p.m.-3 p.m., Friday, Regency F
Panelists: Ysabeau Wilce (M), Gail Carriger, Sarah Beth Durst,
Description: We all know the story of teen disaffection and rebellion, but there are plenty of Young Adult fantasies that maintain strong family ties, with rational adult role models, such as L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Stephen Gould’s Impulse, or even Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games. A look at books that don’t always have the hero with an unhappy home, discussion why this can also make an intriguing story.
Reading: Jeffrey Ford
Time: 5pm-5:30pm, Nov. 7, Arlington
Fantasy Artists That Take Up the Pen
Time: 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Saturday, Tidewater 2
Panelists: Charles Vess (M), Kathleen Jennings, Greg Manchess, Ruth Sanderson
Description: There are authors who are know for doing artwork, such as Beatrix Potter, Rudyard Kipling and Neil Gaiman, so it should be no surprise that artists can also be drawn to writing. The panel will discuss the impact of being both artist and writer and how these two creative forms interact.
Reading: Andy Duncan
Time: 11am-11:30am, Nov. 8, Fairfax
Reading: Kelly Link
Time: 11:30am-12pm, Nov. 8, Fairfax
Historical People in Fantasy
Time: 1 p.m.-2 p.m., Saturday, Tidewater 2
Panelists: Eileen Gunn (M), David B. Coe, Jack Dann, Jean Marie Ward, Rick Wilber
Description: When using Samuel Adams, Joseph Warren, or perhaps on of the most used names, Nikola Tesla and other real people as characters in fiction, what liberties can an author take and what holes do they have to fill? How close to the real Jack Kerouac does Nick Mamatas get in Move Under Ground? What do creators owe to history, especially if the players are in a new world as in Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld series. The panel will discuss where historical truth meets literary license.
Lafferty as an American Fantasist
Time: 2 p.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, Tidewater 2
Panelists: Andy Duncan (M), Carrie Cuinn, Andrew Ferguson, Gordon Van Gelder, Don Pizarro, Cat Rambo
Description: R. A. Lafferty was known for his original use of language and metaphor. Drawing on storytelling traditions of the Irish and Native Americans, but with his own twists, as in The Devil is Dead and The Flame is Green. The panel will explore how Lafferty used American history, American landscapes, and American folklore/mythology in his work.
Reading: Nicole Kornher-Stace
Time: 2:30pm-3pm, Nov. 8, Fairfax
Young, Middle-Aged, and Older Writers
Time: 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Sunday, Washington
Panelists: Catherine Montrose (M), Nancy Kress, Kevin Maroney, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Description: Some writers’ best work is the first thing they ever published. Others, like George R. R. Martin, get better with age. Others, such as Terry Pratchett, have maintained their quality over a span of decades. How does the age and/or generation of the writer affect the story? Also, does the age at which authors began to write matter? The bestselling Eragon was published by a young man of not yet twenty, while Tolkien did not get his first work published until he was forty-five. How does getting older affect an author’s work? How do they feel about their earlier works when they look back? Have our opinions, as readers, changed on this subject over time?
Lovely, lovely it is, too. I still find myself wanting to check Delia’s bibliography to see if she published had a collection of stories at some point that I missed. But, no, Young Woman in a Garden does seem to be the first one. Which is fabulous news for us as Delia has many, many great and fun and odd and fantastic stories and to bring fourteen of them together in one book is an incredible assortment of riches.
Publication date is November 11 and as you can see the finished books are here in the office nicely on time — so, yes, we will have them at the World Fantasy Con in DC — and they will start showing up in your fave indie bookstores (etc.) soon.
In the meantime you can read two of the stories online: “Miss Carstairs and the Merman” (and an author spotlight interview) is on Fantasy Magazine — which was brought back to life for this special “Women Destroy Fantasy” issue, and “The Ghost of Cwmlech Manor” is on Tor.com.
Here’s a large part of it: 4 new books for early 2015! Two of them are from Ayize Jama-Everett, The Liminal War (June) and The Entropy of Bones (August). You can read about how the covers came about today on Tor.com. The covers are both by John Jennings, check out his tumblr which is full of excellent art. You can read the first three chapters of Ayize’s first novel The Liminal People here. The books are all connected, but can also stand alone. More on these two pageturners soon-ish.
Two more books! First, another translation of an Angélica Gorodischer novel! Prodigies (translated by Sue Burke) is considered by the author and many others to be her best novel. After Sofia Samatar reviewed Kalpa Imperial so thoughtfully we asked her to have an early look at Prodigies and this is what she said:
“Gorodischer’s rhythmic and transparent prose reveals the violence underlying bourgeois respectability. Prodigies is both incisive and incantatory.”—Sofia Samatar, author of A Stranger in Olondria
The fourth book is the first Big Mouth House title of 2015, Nicole Kornher-Stace’s debut YA novel Archivist Wasp. It’s a dark, thrilling ride (wait, did I really write that? Yup. Sorry! But, you know: true!) set in a deeply imagined future. Just wait. Here’s a better description:
“Goes off like a firecracker in the brain: the haunted landscape, the sure-footed, blistering prose — and, of course, the heroine herself, the most excellent Archivist Wasp.” — Kelly Link, author of Get in Trouble
San Francisco, so lucky to have not one but at least FIVE Burmese restaurants. That shows there are a lot of smart people in that city because the food is fab. If, like me, there are no Burmese restaurants near you, please hie yourself to Yoma Boston’s site and order some tea salad. Yumtastic.
Why am I chuntering on about San Francisco? Because Ayize Jama-Everett (great news about him coming before the end of the month!) is taking part in the ongoing LitQuake celebration of books, readers, and writers and it looks Don’t-Miss-Fascinating.
We also just added a new Monstrous Affections reading with me, Kelly, and M. T. Anderson — and possibly more special guests To Be Announced. So here’s an update on what’s happening in the next couple of weeks:
M. T. Anderson, Sarah Rees Brennan, Joshua Lewis, Kelly Link, Gavin J Grant (Monstrous Affections), 10/22, 7 pm
Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA
NEW LOCATION: Ysabeau S. Wilce (Prophecies, Libels, and Dreams) & Garth Nix (Clariel), 10/25
SF in SF, The Women’s Building, Audre Lourde Room, 2nd Floor, 3543 18th Street, one block up from Valencia, San Francisco, CA 94110
Sarah Rees Brennan, Alice Sola Kim, Joshua Lewis, G. Carl Purcell, Kathleen Jennings, Kelly Link, Gavin J. Grant (Monstrous Affections), 10/28, 7 pm
McNally Jackson, NYC
NEW: M. T. Anderson, Kelly Link, Gavin J. Grant (Monstrous Affections), 11/1, 4 pm
Mystery on Main Street, Brattleboro, VT
NEW: And! Many authors we have published will be at the rapidly approaching World Fantasy Convention. We’ll have tables in the dealer room and will have excellent books by: Nathan Ballingrud, Ted Chiang, Andy Duncan*, Jeffrey Ford*, Eileen Gunn, Kathleen Jennings, Kij Johnson, Nancy Kress, Ellen Kushner, Kelly Link, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Delia Sherman, Sofia Samatar, Ysabeau S. Wilce, and maybe even more, who knows!
World Fantasy Convention, Washington DC/Arlington, VA
Good news: the printer is about to ship us the second printing of the paperback Nathan Ballingrud’s Shirley Jackson award winning debut collection North American Lake Monsters.
And: the hardcover is about to be declared out of print, so get it while you can. We will have some here for a little while longer and are hoping to bring some to the World Fantasy Convention in DC where Nathan can sign them.
Also, should you already have devoured the book and now be demanding more Ballingrudian fiction, why, I am very happy to be able to help you with that. Check out Monstrous Affections (for which sometimes I affeckt an extra k), dig around, and you’ll find Nathan’s um, diabolical?, “The Diabolist.”
Holy bananas, Batman. Days go by, books explode out into the world (hello Gwenda!), leaves FALL FROM TREES, eek!
Did you hear Molly Gloss has a book out at the end of this month? I read it this week on my sickbed and it is so FABULOUS. It’s called Falling From Horses and you can pre-order signed copies from Powell’s! Which by all that is good in the world you SHOULD. Or, at least, strongly consider.
Susan Stinson says Spider in a Tree:
But, but, that book just came out! Argh, time, is, passing! (Apologies for that comma.)
Over at Weightless you can get the new issue of Lightspeed which has a heck of an energetic story from Ysabeau S. Wilce (“The Biography of a Bouncing Boy Terror”) which not coincidentally can also be found in her debut collection — which comes out in 2 weeks! — Prophecies, Libels, and Dreams. In the same issues: stories by Kelly Link (“Water Off a Black Dog’s Back”), Daniel José Older, Megan Kurashige, along with excerpts from Paolo Bacigalupi’s new novel, THE DOUBT FACTORY and Ann Leckie’s ANCILLARY SWORD. That John Joseph Adams sure puts together quite the package!
Ever wondered* what distractions emperors and other mayors faced? How did they cope? Were they gamers? (Tricky Dicky, looking at you.) Click through for some great face to face comparisons for Winston “Angry Birds” Churchill and more as Benjamin Parzybok delves into “A Brief History of Video Games Played by Mayors, Presidents, and Emperors.”
Ysabeau’s book is now available to reviewers, bloggers, librarians, and booksellers on Edelweiss. The requests are coming in thick and fast.
More info on these two books — and 2015′s book, wow, so oncoming, such nearness — soon.
* Ben, not asking you.
PS Win a copy of Prophecies, Libels, and Dreams here.
PS x 2 Name your city and get a free audiobook of Sherwood Nation!
Mon 29 Sep 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., Benjamin Parzybok, Greer Gilman, Monstrous Affections, sick as dog but not eating sick ok, Susan Stinson, Ysabeau S. Wilce | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin
Well, last week I caught a bug going round and was laid low. So low! Am still so low am very unimpressed with self. Hoping this week will improve but am still mostly horizontal. Sleep. Such a lovely thing.
This week: hilarity!
Still not well.
Unimpressed x 2.
Also: the our office building (which I have been to since last Monday…) is undergoing some kind of electrical reconnect and will have no power on Tuesday and Wednesday. If I had the energy, I’d find it ridiculous. Now, makes me want to nap.
Throw your name in the hat for a copy of Ysabeau S. Wilce’s forthcoming collection, Prophecies, Libels, and Dreams.
READINGS! (first posted here)
Ted Chiang (Stories of Your Life and Others), 10/2, 10 am
Who and What Will Get to Think in the Future?
Future Tense, Washington, DC (livestream will be available)
Susan Stinson (Spider in a Tree), 10/8, 7 pm
Reading at Grace Episcopal in Amherst, Mass.
Greer Gilman, (Exit, Pursued by a Bear), 10/11
Slater Memorial Museum, Norwich CT
Benjamin Parzybok (Sherwood Nation), 10/15, 7 pm
Elliot Bay Books, Seattle, WA
M. T. Anderson, Sarah Rees Brennan, Joshua Lewis, Kelly Link, Gavin J Grant (Monstrous Affections), 10/22, 7 pm
Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA
Ysabeau S. Wilce (Prophecies, Libels, and Dreams), 10/25
SF in SF, San Francisco, CA
Sarah Rees Brennan, Alice Sola Kim, Joshua Lewis, G. Carl Purcell, Kathleen Jennings, Kelly Link, Gavin J. Grant (Monstrous Affections), 10/28, 7 pm
McNally Jackson, NYC
Handy Small Beer calendar here.
Very interested in seeing what happens today in Scotland’s independence referendum!
The polls close at 10pm in Scotland (in 5 hours time), giving the 97% of registered voters plenty of time to get to the polls, and then to have some fun before the results are announced. The count isn’t expected until something like 7 am — which is 2 am here in Western Massachusetts, early enough that I expect I’ll be up waiting to see what’s happened. Off to read more #indyref.
(Maybe it arriveth?) I read a great author interview yesterday — although it’s a bit weird to write that when the author speaks nicely about Small Beer, so skip that part and read the great stuff about The Joy of Cooking, Scrivener, measuring a book’s worth by its weight, and more with Ben Parzybok and Anne Rasmussen on the Late Night Library.
“A group of idealists, led by a charismatic young woman, struggle to remake society in postapocalyptic Portland, Ore.”
What are they talking about? A book I’ve been looking forward to bringing out for the last couple of years. Maybe more than that, I don’t know how long ago it was that Ben mentioned he was writing a book about water. Given the ongoing water troubles (shortages, floods, sea levels rising) and Ben’s community-biased view of the world, this was always going to be a timely novel and when it came in it blew me away.
I hope to be talking about it and keep on spreading the news about this book for a while yet. You can get your copy at all indie bookstores (and all the other usual places), our site, or get the ebook right now on Weightless.
If you’re on the west coast, please consider going to get your copy here!
Sept. 16, 7:30 PM Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W. Burnside St., Portland, OR
Sept. 27, 8:30 PM PNBA Sweet & Greet (pdf), Hotel Murano, Tacoma, WA
Oct. 15, 7 PM Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 Tenth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122
(Or, How to Drink Well After the End)
Herein will I tell how I made really delicious alcoholic cider using only time, sweat, $2 worth of yeast, $18 worth of rented local cider mill, and a small mountain of fruit I wild-harvested entirely within biking distance of my house in Southeastern Michigan in the fall of 2013.
The result is in the running for the most delicious fermented beverage I’ve ever made. It has by far the lowest carbon footprint of any fermented beverage I’ve ever made. And it has the lowest cost of any fermented beverage I’ve ever made or tasted ($2 a gallon). It was also fun. And it filled me with profound satisfaction akin to nothing so much as seeing a piece of fiction I wrote appear in print.
1. The Wildcrafting Caveat
Wildcrafting is the art of knowing how and where wild things grow, when and how to harvest them so they grow back again the next year. I do it because wild food is cheaper than cultivated food, is made with less pesticides and generally less stupidity and a lot of the time it tastes better. I realize that if everybody did it, we’d all starve to death. So I do it sparingly. Please do the same.
2. A Cider for the Post-Apocalypse
Long have I touted cider as the gateway drug of the home fermentation hobby. It requires only two ingredients, apples and yeast. There’s no mash, no boil, no hop additions, practically no equipment to buy (a gallon jug and a balloon will do it on a shoestring), not really even any reading to do, at least to get that first batch going (I have done a lot of reading). Only recently did it occur to me that the same features may make cider the last practicable fermented drink to outlast the (zombie) apocalypse–at least for me, comfortably situated at the 42nd parallel, well within prime apple-growing range, in the water-rich Great Lakes State, at the far northwestern edge of Johnny Appleseed’s much-mythologized trail. Grain requires lots of work to get it to a fermentable place: not just tilling, irrigating, growing, but harvesting, drying, winnowing, sprouting, malting, mashing, boiling, cooling. Time, labor, resource and energy-intensive. Apples, on the other hand, in the right climate, in the right weather conditions, grow abundantly by the side of the road even when nobody’s paid them a lick of attention for twenty years. Not that there isn’t work in getting from a pail of apples to a gallon of cider, but in a good year the raw materials are there for the taking.
Michigan’s 2012 apple crop was devastated by an early spring heatwave. 80 degree temperatures caused trees to bud and even blossom. Then all those buds got killed in a more seasonable deep freeze that immediately followed. No buds, no apples. In 2014, the apple crop was likewise devastated, this time by the harshest winter in recorded history. Trees put all their energy into toughening up against the elements and made apples only as an afterthought. So much for free apples in the post-apocalypse? Not so! Not every year, at least. In 2013, apples grew in such profundity they were dripping off the trees, piling up knee-deep swarmed with yellowjackets on the lawn. People didn’t know what to do with them. One of my neighbors got so fed up he had his tree ripped out and chopped up for firewood. I, on the other hand, planted three apple saplings in my front yard. Nice thing about cider, if you do it right it’ll keep and even improve for 2-3 years. Ferment in sufficient volume (and hope for a lightweight apocalypse), and your supply will weather the dry years.
3. Harvest, Part the First: Apples
Over several weeks, late September to mid-October, I biked and hiked around town and woods, climbed trees, filled bike panniers with wild apples, muled them home. These weren’t, for the most part, the prettiest or even the tastiest apples: oft they were mushy in hand and had blemishes. Some were sweet enough, but lacking in tartness (acid) and bite (tannin). The vast available quantity enabled me to be picky–bruised or worm-eaten fruit I left alone–but not that picky. I harvested from seven different apple trees, best guess mostly ancestral Red Delicious and Cortland, plus one glorious Golden Delicious that entirely lived up to its name.
Let me put in a word in defense of Delicious. The grocery store/school lunch crowd know Red Delicious as an abomination, a horror of modern agricultural practice. If it’s pretty, who cares if it tastes like paste? But scroll back a generation or five to the ancestor breed of our modern candy-red pasteball and you’d find something entirely different. Should you care to refer to the literature or maybe ask your gran, you’d find Red Delicious was formerly in fact quite tasty and came well-recommended as a cider apple. So shut up, haters. These wild trees I was picking from were all well over 60 years old, huge, sprawling trees I climbed and swung about in like a monkey and occasionally fell out of not like a monkey, part of an abandoned orchard now overgrown and absorbed into the local county park.
When I got them home, I stored the apples in buckets on my back porch. I accumulated 2.5 bushels ~= 23 gallons of apples. Then I waited a few weeks. Given time, stored apples naturally soften, making them yield more juice. In the meantime I twice went through what I’d harvested and threw out any bruised fruit so it wouldn’t spoil the rest.
I took my apples to a local hundred-year-old cider mill, where I paid a pittance for the privilege of feeding them into a hopper and watching them get shredded to bits, smashed flat, flash-pasteurized by bombardment with UV light, and finally poured out in glorious golden liquid form into two five-gallon glass carboys. Nine gallons!
6. A Word on Pasteurization
Pasteurization kills bad bacteria, but it also kills yeast. Yeast occurs naturally on apple skins, but as with sourdough bread yeast and wild Belgian beer yeast, different strains occur in different locales, and different strains are better than others for fermenting fruit sugars into alcohol. Had I been doing this in Western Mass, I could have saved myself $2, skipped the pasteurization and let the wild yeasts do their work, which under the right conditions they do robustly enough that they outcompete any of those bad bacteria anyway. It so happens, however, that the naturally occurring yeast in SE Michigan is crap for fermenting sugars into alcohol. So I was happy for that UV light: it saved me having to kill off the wild yeast with sulfites.
I took my nine gallons of cider home and tasted it. Insipid, sweet enough, but not very acidic (pH 4.0) nor very tannic. Acids and tannins matter to good cider because they enable a safe environment for fermentation and ensure a long shelf life. And they taste good, in moderation. So I needed to add some acids and tannins.
8. Harvest, Part the Second: Crabapples and Fox Grapes
I could have just added some powdered citric acid and malic acid and grape tannin, but where’s the fun in that? So I went back out into the woods and fields and brooksides and picked 4 gallons of Siberian crabapples (a genetic precursor to cultivated apples much used in landscaping and by kids for throwing at their siblings, also full of acids, tannins and sugar) and 2 quarts of fox grapes (tiny little native American grapes, incredibly tart and sour). I pulped and pressed these myself, at home, using food processor, colander, glass bowl and a 25-lb dumbell.
From all of the above raw materials plus a little local wildflower honey, I made the following:
Fox Grape Cider
- 4.5 gallons cider
- 7 cups crabapple juice
- 1.5 cups fox grape juice
- Lalvin K1v1116 dry white wine yeast
- pH 3.7 (perfect, at the upper end of ideal for cider)
- Original gravity 1.051, final gravity 1.005, 6% alcohol
Cyser (honey cider)
- 3.5 gallons cider
- 2.5 cups crabapple juice
- 2 lbs wildflower honey
- 1/2 tsp powdered citric acid
- 1/2 tsp powdered tartaric acid
- Lalvin K1v1116 dry white wine yeast
- pH 4.0 (too high, but I let it go because it tasted great and I’ve known the sugars in honey to throw off pH readings in the past)
- Original gravity 1.066, final gravity 1.005, 8.3% alcohol
I saved out a gallon of cider for use topping off carboys during the 3 months’ fermentation and bulk aging (also for sipping hot during the coldest winter in recorded history). Fermentation is the easy part. Just put on a fermentation lock, store somewhere cool and dark, sit back, rack off once in awhile into a clean carboy and drink something else you’ve got handy while you wait.
Then I bottled half, kegged the other half, aged another 3 months and have been sipping chilled, delicious cider ever since. If I pace myself, it just might last me through the glorious bumper crop (fingers crossed) of 2015.
I’ve been making cider since 2006. I started in Western Mass, where due to long history and resurgent tradition (IMHO) the apples are the best in the country. It made me, I now realize, snobby about cider. I nigh gave up fermenting apple juice when I moved to Michigan because I knew I wasn’t about to find ready-to-hand blends of heirloom cider apples around every corner.
This experience, wildcrafting and blending my own, has completely turned me around. These two wildcrafted ciders are nothing remotely like ye cloyingly sweet mass-produced draft ciders–not much like the delicate flavors of the ciders of my homeland either I confess–but funky, complex, tart and sour, entirely satisfying and addictive.
And I owe it all to the crabapples. A month from now, if you live somplace where winter hasn’t killed them, go out and take a tiny bite of a crabapple or three. Try go get past the sourness and bitterness, or rather, try to recognize those as concentrated flavor elements. I did, and I was amazed at the complexity. (Wildcrafting has well prepared me for this effort–the domesticated palate, I fear, tends towards the bland.) Plus, as I learned from cider nerds at the Great Lakes Cider and Perry Festival last year, the higher the acid content, the longer cider will last in the cellar (and the longer it needs to age, because those acids need time to break down and become palatable).
So the blend is really the key. Ideally, you might make several batches with increasing proportion of higher-acid fruit: one batch for year one, another for year two, another for year three, by which time hopefully there’d have been another bumper crop so you could start again.
If you try it, let me know how it goes, won’t you?
No offers of deer, dear, please. No kids on bikes riding threateningly around our town. Just Benjamin Parzybok’s debut novel Couch $1.99 on both bn.com and Weightless today — and, Couch now has a sneak peek of Ben’s forthcoming droughty Portland novel Sherwood Nation.
BTW, if you’re on the west coast you can go see Ben at one of these readings:
I think both bookstores have pretty comfy chairs. You probably don’t need to bring your own couch . . .
We have a lot of things coming up for Benjamin Parzybok’s forthcoming novel Sherwood Nation — although just to be absolutely clear: we have nothing to do with any droughts anywhere! Just in time for pub date (next week!) Booklist drops a great review:
“Parzybok is riffing on the Robin Hood story, to be sure, but he also layers on some astute social and political commentary, and he’s built a fully functioning and believable future world. Give this one to fans of Adam Sternbergh’s Shovel Ready (2014).”
We’ll also have fun news tomorrow about how you can pick up a very affordable copy of Couch — both in ebook and print! Until then, conserve that water!