Locus Recommended Reading

Fri 13 Feb 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Locus February 2015 (#649) cover - click to view full sizeThis month’s issue of Locus (handily available on Weightless) is a humdinger of a read — not just for this here publisher, although our books do get many great shout outs. For which, Yay!

I always find the year in review columns interesting to see the range of books covered, what I’ve read, and what I’ve missed. This year I thought they were even more enjoyable than ever because they were even more personalized than ever. There is still the authoritative Recommended Reading List, but there are so many books and magazines mentioned and highlighted throughout the whole issue (ok, I haven’t read the whole thing yet) that I found it made for immersive reading. I love how widely the editors look for books and how fresh their eyes are. It’s easy to get tired of the unending stream of books, magazines, anthologies, ebooks, audiobooks, podcasts, etc., but what I got from this issue was that it was put together by a group of people who are enthusiastic about books and their jobs and are happy to share their enjoyment.

This year three of our 2014 books and one story from LCRW were included in the list. (We published 3 new collections and 1 new novel, and reprinted 2 novels and 4 ebooks to make a total of 10 books, plus 1 chapbook and 2 issues of LCRW):

Questionable Practices, Eileen Gunn
Young Woman in a Garden, Delia Sherman
Prophecies, Libels, and Dreams: Stories of Califa, Ysabeau S. Wilce
“Skull and Hyssop”, Kathleen Jennings (Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet no. 31, Dec. 2014)

I’m very happy to see that Monstrous Affections, the YA all-monster-all-the-time anthology that Kelly and I edited for Candlewick was on the list, received some fabulous mentions, and had 5 stories included. Me, I’d have included all 15 stories, but, hey, I co-edited the beast:

Monstrous Affections, Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant, ed (Candlewick)
“Moriabe’s Children”, Paolo Bacigalupi
“Left Foot, Right”, Nalo Hopkinson
“Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (the Successful Kind)”, Holly Black
“Mothers, Lock Up Your Daughters Because They Are Terrifying”, Alice Sola Kim
“The New Boyfriend”, Kelly Link

And it is also pretty fabby to see Kelly’s three stories included, one from Monstrous Affections and one story from the anthology My True Love Gave to Me which is not included in her new collection, Get in Trouble (also reviewed in this issue by Gary K. Wolfe):

I Can See Right Through You”, Kelly Link (McSweeney’s #48)
“The Lady and the Fox”, Kelly Link (My True Love Gave to Me)

Happily for us, there were also a couple of reviews of our books. Gardner Dozois reviewed Ysabeau S. Wilce’s Prophecies, Libels, and Dreams:

. . . lyrical, whimsical, eccentric, baroquely ornamented, and often very funny. . . . but what really makes these stories shine is the voice they’re told in – one using flamboyant, over-the-top verbal pyrotechnics that somehow almost always pay off. . . .

and Eileen Gunn’s Questionable Practices:

Nobody sees the world quite like Gunn does, who puts her own unique spin on everything, transforming even the mundane into something rich and wonderful . . . [including] two stories published in this collection for the first time, “Phantom Pain” and the richly textured variant on the Golem story, “Chop Wood, Carry Water”.

and even a review of Monstrous Affections by Rich Horton.

And, if you do go check out the Recommended Reading list, don’t forget you too can go vote in the poll. I like voting in almost any context so of course I recommend it here. In the meantime, thanks to Locus for all the work that goes into that corker of a February issue and to everyone who reads and votes for our books.



Ted Chiang and Eileen Gunn on To the Best of Our Knowledge

Mon 24 Nov 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

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!



SBP @ WFC 2014

Wed 29 Oct 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , , , | 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!

Thursday

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.

Friday

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

Saturday

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

Sunday

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?

 



Bookslinger: Up the Fire Road

Fri 22 Aug 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

New this week on Consortium’s Bookslinger app is Eileen Gunn’s story “Up the Fire Road” from her collection Questionable Practices.

Previous Small Beer stories on Bookslinger:

Howard Waldrop’s Nebula and World Fantasy Award winning story  “The Ugly Chickens.”

Howard Waldrop’s “A Dozen Tough Jobs.”

Bernardo Fernandez’s “Lions” (translated by co-editor Chris N. Brown) from Three Messages and a Warning.

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



In which we go to Readercon!

Tue 8 Jul 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Hey, are you going to Readercon this weekend? We are! Well . . . Kelly will be there Friday and then she is flying off at oh-dark-thirty on Saturday for beautiful Portland, Oregon, where she’ll be one of the fab faculty at the Tin House Writers Workshop. OK, Tin House first: it’s held at Reed College, Oregon, and Kelly is doing a seminar:

Wednesday July 16th, 3pm, Vollum Lecture Hall
Nighttime Logic: Ghost Stories, Fairy Tales, Dreams, and the Uncanny, with Kelly Link

The writer Howard Waldrop distinguishes between the kinds of stories that rely upon daytime logic and stories that use nighttime logic. What does he mean by this? We’ll examine writers, stories, and techniques that dislocate the reader and make the world strange. 

and a reading:

Thursday, July 17th, 8pm
Reading and signing with Kelly Link, Mary Ruefle, Antonya Nelson

Kelly is not on programming at Readercon. But, many, many Small Beer authors are! Some of them may be familiar, some will have travelled many miles to be there. Check out the program here to see where these fine folks will be:

All the way from Seattle: Eileen Gunn!
All the way from Austin! Chris Brown
Shirley Jackson Award nominee Greer Gilman [fingers crossed for both that and for an appearance by Exit, Pursued by a Bear]
Up from NYC: Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman
Down the coast from Maine: Elizabeth Hand
Al the way from California, Crawford Award winner Sofia Samatar

— which all means we will have signed copies to go out from next Monday onward. (Want a personalized book? Leave a note with your order!)

I (Gavin) have two things scheduled:

Friday
4:00 PM    CL    Kaffeeklatsch. Gavin Grant, Yoon Ha Lee.

Saturday
10:00 AM    G    Books That Deserve to Remain Unspoiled. Jonathan Crowe, Gavin Grant, Kate Nepveu, Graham Sleight, Gayle Surrette (moderator). In a 2013 review of Joyce Carol Oates’s The Accursed, Stephen King stated, “While I consider the Internet-fueled concern with ‘spoilers’ rather infantile, the true secrets of well-made fiction deserve to be kept.” How does spoiler-acquired knowledge change our reading of fiction? Are some books more “deserving” of going unspoiled than others? If so, what criteria do we apply to determine those works?

If you have big opinions about spoilers, tell me! Wait, don’t spoil the panel! Wait! Do!

We will have two tables in the book room, where, besides our own best-in-the-world-books we will also help DESTROY SCIENCE FICTION, yay! We will have copies of the limited print edition of one of the most interesting (and huge, it is $30, has color illustrations, plus an additional story) anthologies of recent days: Women Destroy Science Fiction edited by Christie Yant and with a pretty incredible Table of Contents.

Come by and say hi!



Celebrate the Questionable Practices!

Tue 11 Mar 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Questionable Practices coverToday we’re breaking out the champagne for breakfast to celebrate Questionable Practices. Not our own no doubt numerous questionable practices, but rather the fabulous Eileen Gunn’s second short story collection, Questionable Practices, which has been making its way out into the world for the last week or two.

It’s been 10 years(!) since Eileen’s first collection, Stable Strategies, which is highly recommended, of course! If you’ve never heard of Eileen (or, even if you have!) and you want to find out more about Eileen and her stories, writing, possible novel and so on, you can listen to her chat with Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe on this week’s Coode Street Podcast. And Gary has a lovely, long review of the book in this month’s Locus magazine which ends with “It’s always good news to get a new Gunn collection, and it’s always bad news that they come so infrequently.” Hey, this one’s out, maybe it won’t be another decade until the next.

Eileen will be out and about over the next couple of months at bookshops and conventions and so on and you can say hi and get a signed copy—or you can order it here.

March 19 – 23, ICFA, Orlando, FL
March 26, 7 pm, Launch Party, University Bookstore, Seattle, WA
April 12, 3 pm, Borderlands Books, San Francisco, CA
April 16, 7 pm, Writers with Drinks, San Francisco, CA
May 22 – 25, WisCon, Madison, WI
June 18, 7 pm, KGB Bar, New York, NY
July 10 – 13, Readercon, Burlington, MA



Champagne!

Tue 28 Jan 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Lovely news came in late last week for Sofia Samatar and her debut novel, A Stranger in Olondriawhich has been honored with the Crawford Award. We are immensely happy for Sofia! Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors: Yoon Ha Lee for Conservation of Shadows (Prime Books), Helene Wecker for The Golem and the Jinni (Harper), and N.A. Sulway for Rupetta (Tartarus Press).

Sofia will be at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando, Florida, where the award will be presented on March 22.

And in an amazingly graceful segue, I can reveal that Eileen Gunn will also be at that conference and will be celebrating the publication of her second collection of stories, Questionable Practiceswhich just received its first review, and it’s a star from Publishers Weekly!

“Nebula-winner Gunn combines humor and compassion in 17 short, intricate gems that showcase her many talents. Of particular note among these outstanding works are the poem “To the Moon Alice,” in which a bombastic threat provides escape from comedic domestic violence, and “Michael Swanwick and Samuel R. Delany at the Joyce Kilmer Service Area, March 2005,” an affectionate fable-like tribute to two legendary authors. “Up the Fire Road” provides dueling accounts of triadic romance and problematic parentage. “Phantom Pain” is a kaleidoscopic examination of a wounded soldier’s life. Though Gunn first saw print in the 1970s, this short collection contains a surprisingly large portion of her stories; her rate of publication has recently been increasing, giving fans reason to hope for many more delights to come.”

Nice!

And since all posts should have 3 items, we’re raising up a glass of champagne to toast Holly Black whose novel Doll Bones is one of this year’s Newbery Honor books!

“In this distinctive coming-of-age tale, best friends Zach, Poppy and Alice set out on a life-altering quest driven by the presence of a sinister bone china doll who haunts their dreams and waking hours. Black explores complex questions of storytelling, imagination and changing friendships in this superbly haunting narrative.”

It’s a great book for kids or adults and we are just beside ourselves with joy that Holly’s book was recognized by the ALA. Props to the ALA for running a fabulous awards organization: it’s not even the end of January and they fired off a couple of dozen fab awards in under an hour. Wow!



Jeff Ford says

Mon 13 Jan 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

“Eileen Gunn’s terrific new story collection, Questionable Practices, is a unique amalgam of big ideas and versatile styles packed into short pieces devoid of loose threads and excess baggage. Gunn manages to perfectly balance themes of thought paradox, gender politics, corporate culture, time travel, steampunk, with a storyteller’s ability to immediately draw the reader in through character and drama. Real science fiction, great humor, and some cool collaboration with Michael Swanwick make this a good choice for SF short fiction fans.”

Sounds about right to us!



Not bells, an endorsement

Mon 23 Dec 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Questionable Practices coverWhat’s that ringing sound in your ears? Not the bells, the bells, rather Margo Lanagan’s ringing endorsement of Eileen Gunn’s March 2014 collection, Questionable Practices.

And should you wish a quick blast of excellent and odd Christmas fiction, try Eileen and Michael Swanwick’s “The Trains That Climb the Winter Tree.”

“From the first sentence of an Eileen Gunn story, you know you’re in the hands of a master. She brings you good, knotty characters every time, and sends them on trajectories you can’t help but care about. She roams the world and lets you appreciate its depth, variety and complications. She does humour and seriousness with equal aplomb; she can write to any length and know exactly what’ll fit. Above all she’s a sharp and a deep thinker; it’s a privilege to watch her mind at work. Read these stories and there’s no question you’ll feel like a smarter, more attentive human being.”
—Margo Lanagan

Preorder (or gift!) the paperback here and the ebook here.

We’ve also added the first couple of Eileen’s events:

March 19 – 23, ICFA, Orlando, FL
March 26, 7 pm, University Bookstore, Seattle, WA



Freebie

Fri 13 Sep 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

It’s true: tomorrow at the Harvard Book Store Warehouse Weekend we’ll be giving away a free chapbook to those who take full advantage of our pile-them-high-and-sell-the-cheap sale!

The two story chapbook, North American Monster Stories, will never be for sale. The stories are the title story from Nathan Ballingrud’s collection, North American Lake Monsters, and “Up the Fire Road,” a story from Eileen Gunn’s collection Questionable Practices

The whole weekend looks like fun. There are tons of great journals and publishers—as well as MBTA gifts and the all important food truck: Fugu Truck.

Here’s the whole list from the Harvard Book Store site:

Black Ocean – In addition to showcasing some of their stunning books, this press will host author signings and meet & greets throughout the day.
Boston Review – You can’t beat free issues of a great literary magazine with an email newsletter sign-up, and that’s just what you’ll get at Boston Review’s booth today.
Cervena Barva Press –  Founded in 2005, Cervena Barva Press (“Red Color” in Czech) publishes poetry, fiction, plays, translations and memoir from writers all over the world.
Fugu Truck – This awesome local food truck will be serving up Asian street food beloved by Bostonians.
Harvard Review – Calling all writers of short fiction, poetry, and non-fiction: Bring a few pages of your submission and get an on-the-spot assessment by Harvard Review Editor Christina Thompson (from 12:00 P.M. – 2:00 P.M.).
Inman Review – A local literary journal with a great reputation, Inman Review will be discussing (and maybe even accepting) submissions today in addition to selling current and back issues.
MBTAgifts – Always a favorite, MBTAgifts offers old MBTA signs and memorabilia.
Ploughshares – This literary heavyweight offers up discounts on back issues and a free digital solo when you sign up for their newsletter.  They also promise to be charming and personable. No blank stares. EVER.
Q’s Nuts – A Somerville favorite, this artisan nut company will have you giving in to tempation once you try their line of sweet, savory and exotic flavors.
Rose Metal Press – Learn about hybrid genres when you visit the booth of this Brookline-based press, and pick up a book, button, or bookmark while you’re at it.
Small Beer Press – All the way from western Mass., this smashing husband and wife duo is planning to offer a very special giveaway, a great selection of remainders and zines for sale, and maybe even mugs!
Ward Maps – Harvard Book Store’s Park Street neighbor will feature antique and rare maps for sale.
Wilderness House Press – An imprint of Ibbetson Street Press, Wilderness House Press will feature books for sale as well as author booksignings and giveaways.

Our Warehouse is located at 14 Park St. in Somerville, between Somerville Ave. and Beacon St., just outside of Union Square. The closest T stop is Porter Square, on the Red Line, and bus lines #83 and #87 have stops on Somerville Ave. near Park St.

And unlike at most parties… friends of friends are definitely encouraged to bring friends! See you there!