It’s almost all go on John Kessel’s new collection, The Baum Plan for Financial Independence. The book is at the printer , the proofs have been ok’d, it’s just a matter of ink being lathered onto paper then washed carefully off to leave the notes (or “letters” as John likes to call them) that you can take home and sing. Will the book be ready in time for John’s first reading at Quail Ridge Books? We are on the edges of our seats! (See more of John.)
Will you be able to find The Baum Plan in your local bookshop? Yes! The American Booksellers Association just announced their April bookseller picks and they’ve included Kessel’s book. Here’s what they had to say about this book (and a few others):
THE BAUM PLAN FOR FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE and Other Stories by John Kessel
“John Kessel’s writing exists at the edge of things, in the dark corner where the fiction section abuts the science fiction shelves, in the hyphen where magic meets realism. This is one of those too rare short story collections that you can recommend with confidence to both the literary snob and the hard-core computer geek.”
—Rich Rennicks, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, NC
THE SHADOW YEAR by Jeffrey Ford
“I loved The Shadow Year. In this story of the secrets of a 1960s Long Island suburb, Ford’s writing is hypnotic, as he examines the dark side of living in a small town through the lives of three siblings.”
—Roberta Rubin, The Book Stall At Chestnut Court, Winnetka, IL
Other books on the list include new collections from Jhumpa Lahiri (Unaccustomed Earth) and Kevin Brockmeier (The View from the Seventh Layer); Jack O’Connell’s novel THE RESURRECTIONIST (which has already been highly recommended by a couple of readers we trust); the anthology of the moment, THE NEW WEIRD, edited by Jeff and Ann Vandermeer; and finally ARMAGEDDON IN RETROSPECT, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Between these and some of the rest of the list, that’s more than a month’s reading. Unless you are a book-a-day monster and then we are green and envious and trying not to be small about it all.
More on The Baum Plan:
There’s a humongous review by Nick Gevers in the March issue of Locus.
Library Thingers (now exploding locally!) your copies of The Baum Plan for Financial Independence are in the mails and may even have arrived. We look forward to your reviews. Maybe there will be copies of Ben Rosenbaum’s collection up for grabs later this spring.
Lunacon: No, we will not be there. However, there will be one copy of Kessel’s book available (along with a CD of John reading the title story) from the Book Exhibit and Raffle: “The funds raised go directly into the Donald A. and Elsie B. Wollheim Memorial Scholarship Fund, which helps beginning SF and fantasy writers attend the Clarion or Clarion West Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop.” Bid high!Listen to an episode of Starship Sofa featuring John’s story “Buffalo” narrated by James Campanella.
And lastly here’s what Publishers Weekly thought about the book:
The Baum Plan for Financial Independence and Other Stories
John Kessel. Small Beer (www.smallbeerpress.com), $24 (336p) ISBN 978-1-931520-50-8; $16 paper ISBN 978-1-931520-51-5
This nuanced mostly reprint collection, the first in a decade from Nebula winner Kessel (Good News from Outer Space), plays on the theme of a hapless, down-on-his-luck man thrown into extraordinary circumstances. “The Juniper Tree,” the Tiptree-winning “Stories for Men,” “Sunlight or Rock” and “Under the Lunchbox Tree,” all tied to Kessel’s lunar colony sequence, explore the limits placed on a man’s life in a beautiful, woman-dominated city on the barren moon. In “Powerless,” the only story original to the volume, a hapless inventor finally perfects a strange new power generator, destroying his relationships along the way. Paying homage to the classics, “Every Angel Is Terrifying” serves as a sequel to Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” while in “Pride and Prometheus” Mary Bennet meets Victor Frankenstein. These well-crafted stories, full of elegantly drawn characters, deliver a powerful emotional punch. (Apr.)
Powerful, baby, powerful.