LCRW 36 Table of Contents

Mon 28 Aug 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Coming out next month, the latest compendium of wonder:

Fiction

Gabriela Santiago, “Children of Air”
Lily Davenport, “The Crane Alphabet”
T. L. Rodebaugh, “The Secret History of the Original Line”
Mollie Chandler, “Evidence of a Storm”
Todd Summar, Watching You Without Me”
Laurel Lathrop, “Cunning”
Christi Nogle, “The Best of Our Past, the Worst of Our Future”
Zhao Haihong, “Windhorse”

Nonfiction

Nicole Kimberling, “How to Cook (Dis)Comfort Food”

Poetry

D M Gordon, Two Poems

Cover

kAt Philbin



Kij Johnson on Tour

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

The River Bank coverNext month we’ll publish Kij Johnson’s new novel, The River Bank. It is quite the treat, a much-needed break from the contemporary world, with chapter and spot illustrations throughout by Kathleen Jennings. Should you be in one of these places, why not go see her read for yourself!

Sept. 12, 7 p.m. Raven Book Store, 6 East Seventh St., Lawrence, KS
10/14, 1 p.m., Uncle Hugo’s Bookstore, Minneapolis, MN
11/20, 7 p.m., Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton, OR
11/21, Elliot Bay Bookshop, 1521 Tenth Ave., Seattle, WA

And more dates may yet be added so keep an eye on this page.

Meanwhile School Library Journal gave it a lovely review culminating thusly:

“Johnson’s attention to world-building and characterization create an engaging read with modern appeal while maintaining the aesthetic of the original. It also works as a stand-alone for new readers, though references to events covered in the first book are sprinkled throughout. Black-and-white line spot art and full-page spreads add to the nostalgic feel.”



Welcome to In Other Lands

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

In Other Lands coverFive years ago Sarah Rees Brennan emailed Kelly her story, “Wings in the Morning,” for our anthology Monstrous Affections. It was long: 17,000+ words in that early draft — although Sarah told us the actual first draft had been 30,000 words. . . . The final published version was about 2,500 words shorter than the first version we saw after a number of rounds of editing between Kelly and our fab Candlewick editor Deb Noyes.

At some point before the anthology was published Sarah decided to write a prequel short story to “Wings in the Morning” to post on her website for free. Said prequel grew like Topsy and before long the short story was 100,000 words . . .  in other words the short story prequel had morphed into a whole novel titled Turn of the Story. (You can read more about it here.)

Fastforward to today, zip!, and a newly edited, rewritten version of that book-of-Sarah’s-heart, now titled In Other Lands, and with a fancy shiny cover with cover and lovely interior illustrations by Carolyn Nowak is being published.

We like it, so do other people:

Deconstructs children’s portal fantasy, but without ever being mean-spirited about it. . . . this is more of a character book, slyly but charmingly and generously and affectionately examining and often turning inside-out all those familiar portal fantasy tropes, while the central focus is firmly on character. It’s funny, and wise, and sometimes heart-breaking, definitely LGBTQ friendly as the three main characters grow into their teens and discover sex and its attendant emotional landmines. Love-starved Elliott is the main POV, but the narrator dips into others’ POVs when necessary, and expertly presents Elliott with hilarious grace notes of free indirect discourse, adding to my delight. . . . There were moments I laughed so hard my nose hurt.
— Sherwood Smith

The novel has received two starred reviews (Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews) and is a Junior Library Guild pick. I really like that PW called it a “glittering contemporary fantasy” — not because of the shiny cover, but rather because of the fantastic characters on the inside: annoying Elliot, badass Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle, and the golden boy, Luke Sunborn. Each of them is not what might be expected and over the course of the novel they grow up and as they grow they take the reader with them into the pains and joys of friendship and love and the hard truths of learning to live in the world.

And I hope Colleen Mondor’s review of the book in this month’s Locus goes up online as it is amazing.

You can read Chapter One of In Other Lands on Tor.com as well as read Sarah Rees Brennan’s connected essay: Our Winged Brains: The Appeal of Winged Creatures in Genre Fiction.

If you’d like, you can enter to win one of 10 free signed copies at Shelf Awareness (ends Aug. 26).

Continuing with the irregular events surrounding this book it’s beginning to look like Sarah may be over here in the USA to do some reading in bookstores in January 2018  — some by herself, some accompanied by other writer. We’ll keep you up to date on that. In the meantime, Welcome to  In Other Lands.



Locus Says:

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

Locus August 2017 (#679) coverThis month’s Locus includes reviews of a four-fingered handful of our books! As well as all the usual good stuff: interviews with John Scalzi and Justina Ireland; reviews by Faren Miller, Gardner Dozois, & more; the Locus Survey results, an SF in Finland report, Kameron Hurley’s column [“Did ‘Being a Writer’ Ever Mean. . . Just Writing?”], reports from the Locus Awards and Readercon; & obits (boo!). [Locus is available from Weightless and they’re having a subscription drive this month and there is a Patreon.]

Four-fingered handful? Hmm. Three books are reviewed by the one and only Gary K. Wolfe. The first is Christopher Rowe’s new collection Telling the Map:

“. . . it is no accident that Christopher Rowe dedicates his first story collection Telling the Map to fellow Kentuckians Terry Bisson and Jack Womack. It’s also no accident that Rowe, on the basis of no more than a couple of dozen stories over nearly 20 years (of which 10 are collected here), managed to gain a reputation as one of the most distinctive voices to emerge from this period. This is not only because he writes with lyricism and great precision of style, but because of his firm geographical grounding, which is reflected in all the stories here (as well as in his title), but is a key factor in several (‘Another Word for Map is Faith’, ‘The Voluntary State’, ‘The Border State’). This isn’t the geography of fake world-building, with all those Forbidden Zones and Misty Mountains, but rather the geography of locals who measure distances between towns in hours rather than miles, and who know which bridges you’ll need to cross to get there. It’s also a world in which agriculture and religion are daily behaviors rather than monolithic institutions. As weird as Tennessee gets in Rowe’s most famous story, ‘The Voluntary State’ (and that is very weird) it’s a Tennessee we can map onto the trails and highways that are there now.
“‘The Voluntary State’ and its longer prequel novella ‘The Border State’ (the latter original to this volume), take up well over half of Telling the Map, and together they portray a nanotech-driven non-urban future unlike any other in contemporary SF.”

Gary goes on to write of Sofia Samatar’s debut collection:

Tender: Stories includes two excellent new pieces together with 18 reprints, and one of them, “Fallow”, is not only the longest story in the collection, but also her most complex and accomplished SF story to date. On the basis of her award-winning debut novel A Stranger in Olondria and its sequel The Winged Histories, Samatar’s reputation has been mostly that of a fantasist, and her most famous story, ‘‘Selkie Stories Are For Losers’’ (the lead selection here) seemed to confirm that reputation – although once Samatar establishes the parameters of her fantastic worlds, she works out both her plot details and cultural observations with the discipline of a seasoned SF writer and the psychological insight of a poet.”

and Kij Johnson’s forthcoming The River Bank:

“The familiar figures of Mole, Water Rat, Badger, Mouse, and of course Toad are here, but the story opens with two new figures, a young mole lady named Beryl and her companion the Rabbit, an impressionable young woman described by Mouse as ‘‘right flighty,’’ moving into Sunflower Cottage on the River Bank. Beryl is a successful ‘‘Authoress’’ of potboiling adventure novels, and while Johnson has a good time giving us hints of these novels and of Beryl’s own writing process, her real significance is that she is not only one of the first female characters to move into the village, but one of the first who actually has a clear occupation. Both she and Rabbit are welcomed by the locals, although Mole himself seems oddly reticent to have any dealings with her, for reasons that become clear much later. Most of these residents are familiar in their dispositions, although Toad may if anything be a bit darker and more reckless and impulsive than in Grahame. One of the more intriguing aspects of The Wind in the Willows, maybe especially for SF readers, was the satirical manner in which it introduced technology into the world of the animal fable, and Toad’s famous passion for motorcars is here supplanted by an equally voracious and hilarious lust for the new motorcycles, after he sees a messenger riding one. That, of course, leads to the series of disasters – and attempted interventions on the part of Toad’s friends – that make up Johnson’s fast-moving plot. . . . The delicate balance of challenging the assumptions of a beloved classic while retaining the oracular charm of that classic seems almost effortless in Johnson’s hands, but it’s more of an achievement than it might at first seem.”

And then, turning the page, there is Colleen Mondor’s amazing review of Sarah Rees Brennan’s YA novel, In Other Lands — which comes out this Tuesday! The review begins thusly:

“I have rewritten the first paragraph of this review a half-dozen times, trying to find some way to make clear that Sarah Rees Brennan has created a nearly perfect YA fantasy without gushing. I can’t do it. In Other Lands is brilliantly subversive, assuredly smart, and often laugh-out-loud funny. It combines a magic-world school setting with heaps of snark about everything from teen romance to gender roles, educational systems and serious world diplomacy.”

It is pretty great when a book finds its reader!



Words Are My Matter wins a Hugo!

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

Words Are My Matter cover - click to view full sizeWe are delighted to hear that Ursula K. Le Guin’s nonfiction collection Words Are My Matter won the “Best Related Work” Hugo Award last night at the Worldcon in Finland!

This year’s Hugo sits “on a base designed and produced for Worldcon 75 by local Helsinki artist and Science Fiction fan, Eeva Jokinen” and we will post a picture of it if we can at some point later. In the meantime, congratulations to the fabulous list of winners and nominees!



“If Eudora Welty wrote SF”

Thu 20 Jul 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Telling the Map by Christopher RoweI really liked Craig Laurance Gidney’s short take on Christopher Rowe’s new collection, Telling the Map, “If Eudora Welty wrote SF, it might look like this. . . .”

The first reviews have been strong, including Gary K. Wolfe in the Chicago Tribune (“Rowe is endlessly inventive in presenting us worlds that are often dystopian, sometimes funny, but always original — and completely his own.”) and Nisi Shawl in the Seattle Review of Books (“Delightfully strange, these ten stories transport readers to futures full of sentient cars pining for their owners, automated horses, and tomatoes grown to give blood transfusions — an odd and interesting and deceptively bucolic setting for the narration of some astonishing events.”).

But the most enjoyable, perhaps because the take on it was so unanticipated, was Brit Mandelo’s in Tor.com. Of course I knew Brit had a Kentucky connection but this is where that ever-new chestnut, representation, rears its head. White, middle-aged college professors are maybe the only demographic (ok, and cops) used to seeing themselves or their lives regularly represented in fiction. For the rest of us it’s catch as catch can. Brit writes about this moment of wonder: where they saw the place they had lived picked up and looked at from unexpected angles, from a full and generous local perspective, where familiar locations and events were there on the page, but made new. All of which made the review a gift to me the reader, to see someone find a version of themselves or their life on the page.

I was recently reading an obituary in the local paper — it was someone I didn’t know — and it is so hard to try and capture what makes a person the love of someone’s life, what they loved, why they did the things they did. Fiction at least gives us the idea that we might be able to understand people far from us — and next door — and why they are living the lives they’ve chosen (or been thrust into). Anyway, here’s a chunk of Brit’s review, but I recommend you read the whole thing at the mighty tor.com:

“[T]here is one other consistent thread running through the entirety of the collection, and that is setting. In Telling the Map, Rowe has rendered Kentucky over and over again with a lush, loving, bone-deep accuracy—one that startled and thrilled me so thoroughly, as a fellow native son, that I had to read the book through twice to begin to form a critical opinion. . . . Across these stories, the drive to achieve and to exceed is a common factor. . . . Overall, though, this was a stellar set of stories that mesh well together. . . . Truly, Rowe’s skill at shifting the weirdness of the Appalachian South—the odd border state that Kentucky is—to a magic realist or scientifically fantastical future is singular and impressive. The result for a native reader is a feeling akin to awe, or perhaps just homecoming, but I suspect the result wouldn’t differ much for an unfamiliar audience either. If anything, the depth and breadth of comfort with a not-often-accessed culture and setting makes these stories fresh and engaging. It’s home for me; it might be a provocative unexplored landscape for someone else—but regardless, Rowe’s facility with language, description, and emotional arcs makes for a solid, intentional, and satisfying collection of short fiction.”


If you live in the southeastern part of the US you may see our above ad on your local bookseller’s website, see North Carolina’s Park Road Books or Malaprop’s for example. Indies are us! B&N, Books a Million, & other chains: also ok! Online behemoths who want to relentlessly squish all other businesses, feh!



Here Is a Map

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

Today is the publication day of a book I have been waiting for many years to read and for the world to read. There were years when I thought this book would never be. There were years I supposed that someone else would publish it — and that would be ok, because what I wanted above all was to read the book. That we are publishing Christopher Rowe’s Telling the Map: Stories is icing on the cake for me as a reader and publisher. The cover is by occasional genius-in-residence Kathleen Jennings — you can read more about her design here.

Many years ago, (ok, 14), we published a chapbook of five of Christopher’s stories, Bittersweet Creek and Other Stories (out of print but still findable — I still love the cover illustration by Shelley Jackson and the title but not the type design for his name, oh well), and from talking with Christopher at the time I could see that part of publishing it for him was clearly a stepping away from one style of story into a new set of styles that he went on to explore over the next few years.

When “The Voluntary State” was published by Ellen Datlow on SciFiction in 2004, it opened reader’s eyes (and heads) to a writer who had taken the measure of science fiction and then rebooted it using a landscape and culturally based personal mythology. It is a “deep and rich and tangled” story that surged through readers like electricity and over the next few years Christopher sometimes tapped into the same vein and published more stories that came from a similar — although completely different, of course — place: “Gather,” The Contrary Gardener, “Another Word For Map is Faith,” and now (is it wrong to sigh at last? No. Because although there is never a responsibility of a writer to return to a story, the wishes of Christopher’s readership were strong), at last, we have a follow up to “The Voluntary State,” “The Border State.”

Telling the Map coverToday in Lexington, Kentucky, Christopher Rowe and family and friends and readers will celebrate the publication of Telling the Map at the mighty Joseph-Beth Books. All over the country readers will be picking up the book to be swept away for a brief moment into these ten fabulous and unique stories where precision of language is Christopher’s “watchword and his sacrament.”

The book has been well reviewed in the trades

Publishers Weekly: “In his inventive debut collection, Rowe bends the world we know…”
Kirkus Reviews: “A clutch of complex, persuasive visions of an alternative South…”

and has popped up in many recommended reading lists

io9.com: Must Read SF&F for July
Chicago Review of Books: 12 Books You Should Definitely Read This July
Vol 1 Brooklyn: “volleys out questions of place, of borders, and of family along the way…”

and now it goes out to you, Dear Reader. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think and then of course, while we are all alive and breathing and the world renews itself each day even as we stand horrified to see what the future has wrought, to seeing what Christopher does next.



The Rumpus Interviews Juan Martinez

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

The Rumpus published a lovely, wide-ranging interview with Juan Martinez (Best Worst American) by James Tadd Adcox today. I loved this part about walking the tightrope of writing in another language and the way he speaks about English:

“. . . never lost the sense that I was playing with someone else’s toys. That the language wasn’t quite mine. Not owning the tools of your trade can be freeing, I suppose. And enjoying the freedom of being in-between—from not fully being comfortable—that’s a lot freeing, because it short-circuits the fear, the freak-outs we all have when writing. The Oh-God-I’m-getting-this-wrong-I’m-not-doing-a-very-good-job jitters. Because I trick myself into writing through, and fixing it later, and it was a relief to learn that everyone feels this way, and that we all have to trick ourselves into navigating the unnavigable. I love English. I love what it can do. It’s insanely pliable, and it’s capable of swift shifts in register, and it accommodates so much. I’ll never speak it without an accent. And I’ll never quite lose the sense that English doesn’t love me as much as I love it, but, like I said, I’m pretty sure that’s a universal constant with all writers in all languages, the whole Flaubert and music-on-cracked-kettles-for-bears thing.”



Need Worldcon Memberships?

Fri 7 Jul 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal. | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

I am sorry to say we will not be able to attend the Worldcon, therefore we have 2 adult and 1 child memberships available for sale & transfer. The adult memberships are 95€ and the child membership is 55€. Please email me at [email protected], thank you!

Updated: we now have one adult membership and one child membership available.



Vandana Singh Defies Expectations

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

Ambiguity Machines coverSays multiple award-winner Ken Liu, one of the first readers of Vandana’s forthcoming collection Ambiguity Machines and Other Machines:

“Singh defies expectation with every exquisite turn of phrase. She gives you strange, powerful visions that move the heart and challenge the mind.”
– Ken Liu, author of The Grace of Kings and The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories



OtherLife’s first reviews

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

OtherLife, the movie based on Kelley Eskridge’s novel Solitaire has debuted at the Sydney Film Festival and has picked up some great reviews. As Kelley says, “You can find OtherLife on Facebook and on Twitter. Read about the wild ride of indie filmmaking at the OtherLife Journals.”

I hope it gets released in the US as it sounds — from the Hollywood Reporter review — like a film that would be fun to see on a movie screen.

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5331081de4b02aa0f34b5ee9/t/563bf01fe4b0826bf0b8b20d/1446768671752/OTHERLIFE.png“As OtherLife progresses and the pacing warms up, you can sense the shit about to hit a virtually rendered, glitch-prone fan. . . . The near-future setting, combined with Helen O’Loan’s resourceful, interior-heavy production design, protect the film from extending its sci-fi inclinations beyond the point that can be reasonably achieved within its modest budget. The atmosphere is big but the settings are contained, like Shane Abbess’ Infini.
And like last year’s horror indie Observance (another innovative Australian genre film, constructed on an even smaller budget), OtherLife’s score and sound design is so striking it is practically a character in the film. All credit to Jed Palmer, who also worked on 2014’s delightful The Infinite Man.”
The Guardian

“A stylish piece of sci-fi pulp fiction. . . . OtherLife likewise boasts a non-linear structure that is just explicable enough until one too many late reversals, though its puzzles could prove catnip to genre fans who thrill to fare such as FX’s Legion that blurs the line between real worlds and virtual ones.”
The Hollywood Reporter

Read more about the film here and check in here later for who knows what?



The Committee Picks . . . The Chemical Wedding

Tue 20 Jun 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

New England Book Show 2I never got round to posting some lovely news about one of our books last month but today in among all the copyright registrations, LCRW submissions, and the ubiquitous printer bills, there was a certificate from the Bookbuilders of Boston for The Chemical Wedding which was a Committee Pick for the 60th Annual New England Book Show.

Back on May 9th, I went with The Chemical Wedding illustrator Theo Fadel and her partner to Symphony Hall in Boston for the award show. It was great fun seeing all the winners and we had that lovely extra frisson of enjoyment since our book was one of them. The food was tasty, the chat was good, and the show catalog (the blue hardcover with New England in silver in the photo below) is a thing of beauty, which is still out on the table at home because at the moment it is too pretty to put away.

I haven’t entered books for the awards before because while I think we make beautiful books, so do Candlewick and Beacon and David R. Godine and so on and on but The Chemical Wedding was such an unusual book I hoped it might catch the jury’s attention. Yay for trying! And when you read the committee citation the award is obviously for designer Jacob McMurray and illustrator Theo Fadel, to whom I am still very grateful that we actually pulled this book off.

And now I will go find a place on the wall to hang our certificate — which I had fun photographing on top of an unbound copy of the book. New England Book Show 3

New England Book Show 5



Skillfully Reinventing Familiar Narratives

Fri 16 Jun 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Telling the Map coverIt’s what Christopher Rowe has been doing for lo these some years now and soon enough there in every bookstore in the nation will be his collection of stories and those familiar but reinvented narratives will be spreading like wildfire. The week of publication will be celebrated throughout Kentucky but specifically in the author’s hometown of Lexington with these events:

Tuesday July 11th, 7 p.m.: Launch Party at Joseph-Beth Booksellers with drinks and snacks. Richard Butner will interview the author followed by a Q&A and a signing.

Friday July 14th: This, as Christopher pointed out, is Bastille Day. It is also Alumni Day at Bluegrass Writers Studio at Eastern Kentucky University MFA program’s summer residency in Richmond, KY, so Christopher Rowe will be reading for the students on campus in the afternoon and at 5 p.m. Rowe plus a number of alums with will do a reading. New Lexington pop-up bookseller Brier Books will sell books.

Saturday, July 15th, 8 a.m. til 1 p.m.: Lexington Farmer’s Market Homegrown Authors. Rowe will be there from  manning a table, talking to people, hopefully selling some books. Note that one scene in “Nowhere Fast” is set at this very farmer’s market, in this very spot. Again, books provided by Brier Books.

What’s the book about? Lemme let the professionals at Publishers Weekly cover that:

“In his inventive debut collection, Rowe bends the world we know, remaking regions of the southern United States. Appalachian settings, recurring characters, and dystopian themes of societal degradation link the stories. In “The Voluntary State,” a band of marauders from Kentucky attack a painter named Soma’s car and kidnap him. Japheth Sapp, the leader of the captors, recruits Soma in a plan to sneak into Nashville and kill Athena Parthenus, the governor of Tennessee. Meanwhile, Jenny, a mechanic, reunites Soma with his repaired (and sentient) vehicle. All paths converge in an explosive conclusion. In “The Border State,” twin cyclists Maggie and Michael Hammersmith set off on a bike race across Kentucky. Their ride takes them along a river and the Girding Wall, which isolates Athena’s Tennessee. The race evolves into a search for their missing father, and a hunt for answers to mysterious messages from their mother, who drowned in a flash flood 20 years earlier. Rowe skillfully reinvents familiar narratives and widens common story lines into a world where anything seems possible. Wild creativity, haunting imagery, and lyricism—as displayed in “Two Figures in a Landscape Between Storms”—urge readers forward even as the pacing slows to provide needed exposition. While at times the poetic syntax of the sentences hampers comprehension, the book offers an immersive and original reading experience.

 



LCRW 36 cover illustration

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

We’re working on LCRW 36 and I just love this cover, “I Was Raised By The Forest” by kAt Philbin, so much I had to post it.

(Get LCRW delivered just for you.)

I Was Raised by the Forest



Get Your Hands on In Other Lands

Fri 2 Jun 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

Goodreads Book Giveaway

In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan

In Other Lands

by Sarah Rees Brennan

Giveaway ends June 10, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway



The Force Acting Since 2003

Fri 26 May 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

As I scry the calendar I see Christopher Rowe’s collection Telling the Map approaching in July and I remember again that anthology Kelly edited in 2003, Trampoline, because there in those pages the very first story in the book was Christopher Rowe’s “The Force Acting on a Displaced Body”:

The little creek behind my trailer in Kentucky is called Frankum Branch. I had to go to the courthouse to find that out. Nobody around here thought it had a name. But all the little creeks and branches in the world have names, even if nobody remembers them, or remembers which Frankum they’re named after.

Read on: The Force Acting on a Displaced Body



OtherLife Premiere at the Sydney Film Festival

Fri 26 May 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

OtherLife world premiereGood news from Australia for fans of Kelley Eskridge’s novel Solitaire: the film based on the book will premier next month at the Sydney Film Festival — wish I was going! Here’s the filmakers’ announcement:

We are honoured to have been invited to screen OtherLife at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival! The WORLD PREMIERE will be on Friday, June the 16th at the Event Cinemas on George St, Sydney, Australia. We could not have come this far without the unwavering support of our investors, including Screenwest, Screen Australia, Deluxe, Red Apple Cameras, Head Gear Films and Josh Pomeranz of Spectrum Films. See you at the screening!

So now get your tickets here!

The film is not a straight adaptation of the novel, instead it is a different story that sprang from the novel as you can see if you compare the description of the novel:

Solitaire: a novel coverJackal Segura is a Hope: born to responsibility and privilege as a symbol of a fledgling world government. Soon she’ll become part of the global administration, sponsored by the huge corporation that houses, feeds, employs, and protects her and everyone she loves. Then, just as she discovers that everything she knows is a lie, she becomes a pariah, a murderer: a person with no community and no future. Grief-stricken and alone, she is put into an experimental program designed to inflict the experience of years of solitary confinement in a few short months: virtual confinement in a sealed cell within her own mind. Afterward, branded and despised, she returns to a world she no longer knows.

Struggling to make her way, she has a chance to rediscover her life, her love, and her soul—in a strange place of shattered hopes and new beginnings called Solitaire.

with the description of the film:

Ren Amari is the driven inventor of a revolutionary new drug. OtherLife expands the brain’s sense of time and creates virtual reality directly in the user’s mind. With OtherLife, mere seconds in real life feel like hours or days of exciting adventures. As Ren and her colleagues race around the clock to launch OtherLife, the government muscles in to use the drugs as a radical solution to prison overcrowding. They will create virtual cells where criminals serve long sentences in just minutes of real time. When Ren resists, she finds herself an unwilling guinea pig trapped in a prison cell in her mind. She must escape before she descends into madness, and then regain control of OtherLife before others suffer the same fate.

As author Kelley Eskridge says, “the film story and the book story are different in terms of plot. But they are deeply connected in core concepts and in the emotional exploration of loneliness and connection.” Kelley wrote the script over many years with Gregory Widen and director Ben C. Lucas, you can read about parts of the process here: The OtherLife Journals.

I can’t wait to see the film and enjoy the differences and similarities to the book.

 



John Kessel on The Moon and the Other

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

Shelf Awareness just review John Kessel‘s new novel The Moon and the Other:

The Moon and the Other coverIf the literary zeitgeist has been dominated by dystopias, The Moon and the Other evokes Dickens and H.G. Wells. It’s science fiction with heart, romance with ideas. It’s utopian and it’s savvy. Kessel’s droll, sideways humor surfaces periodically, as in “uplifted” dogs and casual allusions to punitive “debtors freezers.” He explores gender identity and politics, portraying the complexity of social customs and relationships with neither jaundice nor bullishness. Focused on the lives of his characters, Kessel keeps pace yet makes room for his meticulously thought-out future world.

It’s a grownup vision: not because it’s serious, but because it’s wondrous. It extrapolates not just society and technology, but real-world emotions and human behavior as well. This moon is a place we’ve never seen before in fiction.

and I’m happy to say we have an interview with Kessel for you!

North Carolina (by way of Buffalo, NY) writer John Kessel has long been a writer we love — both his books, and the man himself. We had the joy of publishing a collection of John’s, The Baum Plan for Financial Independence, [I still love the easter egg dustjacket we did] a few years back and when I saw that he had a new novel coming out from Saga/S&S, The Moon and the Other, I jumped on the chance to talk with him about it:

Your new novel, The Moon and the Other, is set on the moon: do you think there will be people walking in the moon in the near future?

John Kessel: I don’t know if people will be on the moon real soon, but I do think it would be possible given current technology to colonize the moon and build livable environments there. The main thing stopping us is whether there is a strong enough motive to do it.

There would either have to be some economic advantage to be gained from living on the moon, or the people who financed and moved to such a colony would have to have reasons that went beyond economics. In my book I hypothesize that many people go to the moon as separatist groups seeking to establish independent alternative societies away from the nation states of earth, based on social principles that people on earth might find objectionable, rather the way groups like the Quakers and Shakers, and later the Mormons and the Oneida Community, established their own social systems away from Europe or the rest of American society.

What was the impetus for writing this book?

John Kessel: There were several. One was a thought experiment, creating a place, my Society of Cousins, where men are given social and sexual privilege at the cost of giving up the right to vote. I had written three stories [Including Tiptree Award Winner “Stories for Men” — ed.] set in that world and have been thinking about it for twenty years or so. I also wanted to explore various political ideas—the notion that most societies are neither utopian nor dystopian, and there is a continual friction between individual freedom and social comity. I also spent a lot of time thinking about masculinity, what defines the male, what different ways there are to be male, and how some are more available to people than others. I am very interested in the question of to what degree our behaviors are biologically determined and to what degree they are social constructed. Is violence a direct result of male biological imperatives, and if so, what can we do about it?

Did you have any societal models in mind when you described the Society of Cousins?

John Kessel: I modeled aspects of the Society of Cousins on the social structures of bonobos, and to a degree on the culture of the Mosuo people of China, near the border of Tibet. Both might be characterized as matriarchal societies with a different sexual and familial setup than the patriarchal hierarchical structures we are more familiar with.

Did you see this book as being in conversation with books or stories by yourself or other writers?

John Kessel: I have been very influenced by feminist sf over the last forty years, from Ursula K. Le Guin to Joanna Russ, Karen Joy Fowler, Eleanor Arnason, and many others. I suppose you could say that The Moon and the Other is in conversation with lots of traditional sf going back to Robert Heinlein as well. I am a magpie, and I borrow pretty shamelessly from my betters. I have been ripping off my pal James Patrick Kelly for decades, and Kim Stanley Robinson’s novels about colonizing the solar system have also had their effect on me.

After teaching writing for many years, did you find yourself breaking any rules you’d not expected to while writing this?

John Kessel: I tend to be pretty conservative in my understanding of story construction and novel writing. I believe in all the traditional elements of characterization, plotting, extrapolation, significant detail, story logic, etc. I don’t think I did anything too unusual in that regard. I do seem to like stories with multiple character viewpoints, where none of the individual points of view can be said to be exactly my own. I have inserted some passages of non-narrative exposition in this novel, rather the way that Kim Stanley Robinson has done in some of his work and I do have one big time disjuncture in the book that I intend to be a bit of a jolt.


Extras: listen to John Kessel on UNC public radio’s “The State of Things” and Carolina Bookbeat with Sam Montgomery-Blinn and Mur Lafferty and read more about The Moon and the Other.

 

 



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 about a seo.services company, in other words (hours to read the book) x (future readers) and if those “hours to read the book” are enjoyable and productive, although you can also hire companies as indexsy seo agency to help you with your SEO efforts and produce better results for your company. 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.



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