On the last day of the year: a quick fly-by on Small Beer books. In 2016 we (on purpose) published the fewest number of books we’ve done for a while and an unusual ratio of hardcovers to paperbacks — it’s also hard to properly count them. We published two trade paperbacks (Jeffrey Ford’s A Natural History of Hell and John Crowley’s The Chemical Wedding) but did we put out three hardcovers (Joan Aiken’s The People in the Castle, Sofia Samatar’s The Winged Histories, and Ursula K. Le Guin’s Words Are My Matter*) . . . or four or seven — including the Kickstarter there were three hardcover editions of The Chemical Wedding. . . .
All but The Chemical Wedding received starred reviews and ended up on Best of the Year lists and I toast each and every author. (Or, I will tonight!)
* A moment to celebrate: Words Are My Matter was our third title with Ursula K. Le Guin after her translation of Angélica Gorodischer’s Kalpa Imperial and her two volume The Unreal and the Real.
And even though we only published five titles (plus that fun but total time sink Kickstarter) I manage to be behind with so many things. Even when I reduced the number of books we published, I’m still behind. But! There are so many things to fill me with despair! So many interesting people on twitter! So many leaves to pick up on the walk to school. So many books to reprint — sneaked that last one in. I don’t think I’ve ever gathered in one place which books we reprinted in one year so here goes:
Nathan Ballingrud’s first collecton, North American Lake Monsters. Third printing — this book has legs! (Horrible things happen to those legs in at least one of the stories, but, still, legs!) The good news: Nathan is working on his next collection.
Naomi Mitchison’s novel Travel Light. Second printing. I read the first part of this to our 7-year-old who is part dragon herself and she really enjoyed all the parts with Uggi and the other dragons. She has the proper disregard for heroes, at least sometimes.
Ursula K. Le Guin, Words Are My Matter. The first printing was in October and the second in December — could I have increased the first print run? Yes. But I am so good at overprinting, so ordering a print run that was 220+% of the initial orders seemed like a solid call. Ordering another 50% of that first run was fun.
— A reprint not of our own: The Unreal and the Real in one volume, not two, with one extra story by Joe Monti at Simon & Schuster/Saga as part of a raft of Le Guin titles that they will publish including at some point a Charles Vess illustrated Complete Earthsea book I am very much looking forward to.
Another reprint not our own: Ted Chiang’s collection Stories of Your Life and Others (aka Arrival) by Vintage. The movie of the title story has made $90 million in the USA alone and the paperback edition was on the New York Times bestseller lists for four weeks which translates into thousands and thousands more readers for Ted’s fabulous stories. Sometimes, no, wait, very infrequently, things go right.
Nicole Kornher-Stace’s YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2016 novel Archivist Wasp. Third printing, May 2016. A book that blew out the door and keeps on going. As with Nathan above, Nicole is working on her next book.
Greer Gilman, Cry Murder! in a Small Voice. Second printing, March 2016. The first of Greer Gilman’s Ben Jonson, Detective novellas. Dense, bloody, funny, fantastic. Wait, I see a pattern here: Greer is also working on her next book. Writers write!
I think that’s it: five new titles and five reprints plus the de rigueur two issues of LCRW — thank you writers, subscribers, and booksellers for getting behind the only zine named after a Brooklyn girl who moved to London, married a Lord who probably had the syph, and published her own fancy fancy literary journal.
Sometimes in the past I’ve posted year end Small Beer bestseller lists but I find them oddly hard to do: should I list books shipped from our lovely distributor, Consortium (now owned by Ingram)? But what about website and bookfair sales? Books shipped out from Consortium, can and will be returned, sometimes months later. Should I post Bookscan rankings? Bookscan only seems to capture about 30-50% of actual sales — which I always forget when I look at their reports, oops, but is very clear when I look at sales/return numbers from Consortium.
Either way, we sold a lot of books in 2016: thank you. In 2017 we have many books planned and — if all goes well — more reprints. No Kickstarter, at least, I don’t think so right at this moment in the middle of inventory and preparing for 1099s and so on. There is a Howard Waldrop project kicking around…. We’ll see. Two more issues of LCRW FTW. We will go to AWP in Washington, DC, in February and Kelly is teaching at Tin House in Portland in July. I just received an update (no real movement, but the possibility of movement) on a secret project we’ve been slowly trying to make work for at least five years — it may not work, c’est la vie in publishing: try and make something happen for years, sometimes it flames out, disappears, or ends up elsewhere but if it ever did come together, wow, what fun.
And at the very end of this year I signed a contract and sent of a check for a short story collection that has been a long time in the making — but more on that in the new year: more books, more cheer, and of course: more fighting for freedom, equality, and justice for all. Happy new year to you and yours.
On Sunday, July 13, 2014, Greer Gilman received the Shirley Jackson Award for her chapbook Cry Murder! in a Small Voice at Readercon in Boston.
In celebration of the occasion of sending Cry Murder! back to the printer for a third run we are pleased to reprint Greer’s acceptance speech:
Guess I’m scary. Who knew ?
I was monster angry when I wrote this. That — film Anonymous had just come out, and the media was full of its promoters, saying that the glover’s son Shakespeare wasn’t privileged enough to be a writer. Here:
“Whoever Shakespeare was, he wasn’t a little ordinary yeoman . . . I’m quite certain that he was a quite exceptional aristocrat who had to keep totally quiet and needed Shakespeare as cover.”
“A little ordinary yeoman.” My little Haitian dressmaker. My houseboy.
And that? was Vanessa Redgrave of the Workers Revolutionary Party. As my friend Cathy Butler said, “Scratch a socialist, find an extra from Downton Abbey.”
Shirley Jackson would have laughed.
Look around this room, Vanessa. We’re all extraordinary.
All of us write.
The Anonymian cult also believes that writers only write about their own quite exceptional lives. One must be a prince to write Hamlet, a vampire to write Dracula —
Let’s stake that conceit, shall we?
I myself have been a ghost, now and then, a whole pantheon of vengeful goddesses, a murder of crows—and I love that I get to be Ben Jonson, in all his fury, his fatness, and his honesty. I love playing in his world of players, writing poetry and taking names.
is what I’ve been doing recently. And the first one to go to the printer is Greer Gilman’s first Ben Jonson (“Detective!“) chapbook Cry Murder! in a Small Voice. Despite or because of that amazing Elizabethan voice, this is the little book that could. We are out of stock for a couple of days, but, hey, the ebook is always available!
Tomorrow night, meet at a crossroads on a windy night, the moon in tatters and the mist unclothing stars, and make your way clear to Porter Square Books in Cambridge for Greer Gilman’s first reading from the shiny new paperback edition of her Tiptree award winning novel Cloud & Ashes: Three Winter’s Tales.
Sonya Taaffe (who re-read Cloud & Ashes with a fabulous eye for detail, thank you!) will also be reading. She is celebrating the publication of her new collection of 36 poems and 1 story, Ghost Signs.
It will be a night of language explored, stretched, and broadened: don’t miss it!
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 – 7:00pm
Porter Square Books
25 White St.
Cambridge, MA 02140
When a star falls, we do say: the Nine are weaving. Look! The Road’s their skein, that endlong from the old moon’s spindle is unreeled. Their swift’s the sky. O look! says Margaret. The children of the house gaze up or glance. The namesakes. Look thou, Will. Look, Whin. They stitch your daddy’s coat. The twins, still whirling in the meadow, seem as heedless as the light, as leaves. Now one and now the other one, they tumble down and down the slope, lie breathless in the summer grass. His mantle’s of the burning gold, says Whin; and Will, His steed is January. I’m to have his spurs.
Bright-lipped in her bower of meadow, imber-stained, small Annot gazes. She is like bright Annot fled; is like herself. I’ve counted seven for the Ship. Like cherrystones. I’ve wished.
What Nine? says Tom.
Why, sisters in a tower—see yon smutch of silver, where it rises? Back of Mally’s Thorn?
He studies. Aye. And stars in it. Like kitlins in a basket.
Their house. It is a nursery of worlds.
Is’t far? says Annot. Can I walk there?
Not by candlelight, says Margaret. ’Tis outwith all the heavens, sun and moon. I’ll show thee in my glass. But she is elsewhere now, remembering the Road beneath her, and the heavens that her glass undid. Remembering the Nine, the sisters at their loom of night.
I’m pleased to note that the first paperback edition of Greer Gilman’s amazing, immersive, enchanting, mind boggling, fever-inducing, death-defying literary tightrope walk, Tiptree Award winner Cloud & Ashes: Three Winter’s Tales has gone to press and will be published in April of this year.
Greer will be reading and taking questions at the mighty Porter Square Books on April 21st at 7 pm along with one of her amazing first readers, Sonya Taaffe, who will be celebrating the publication of her own latest book, Ghost Signs, a collection of 36 poems and one story, published by our friends at Aqueduct Press.
Should you read Cloud & Ashes? Here is one reader’s response:
“Cloud & Ashes is not a book for every reader; but it is a book for every human. (It’s also a book for every library that desires to be worthy of that appellation.) There might seem to be a contradiction in those words, and there might well be, were every human to read. But to my, mind reading is an effort that exists outside its own exercise; that is when we read, it may feel like an internal, unshared, indeed unsharable experience. But that is not, I think the case. When we read, we go to the place where writing comes from, and in so doing, I think we leave something of ourselves behind as readers. Greer Gilman found whatever it is that is left behind, she has captured it in her net of words and managed to write it down and get it published. That is a herculean feat. It may only happen once in her lifetime or in ours. But it’s happened here and now. What you do with it is up to you. For eternity, as it happens.”
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.
Tue 8 Jul 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., Chris Brown, Cons, Delia Sherman, Eileen Gunn, Elizabeth Hand, Ellen Kushner, Greer Gilman, Kelly Link, Readercon, Sofia Samatar | 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:
4:00 PM CL Kaffeeklatsch. Gavin Grant, Yoon Ha Lee.
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!
We have very good news for Ben Jonson fans, and even better for Greer Gilman’s! Greer is back with a new novella, Exit, Pursued by a Bear, featuring none other than Jonson and Henry Stuart, heir to the throne and, sadly, tone dead in his dealings with the Unseen World.
Once again Kathleen Jennings — who won a Ditmar Award for her art this past weekend! — has provided the art, but this time for the front and the back cover. Exit will be available in print and ebook editions this September, but don’t be too surprised if we have earrrrly copies at Readercon in July since Greer will be there and can do a reading.
Congratulations to all the finalists for the Shirley Jackson Awards, especially to Nathan Ballingrud whose debut collection, North American Lake Monsters, is a nominee in the single author collection category, and to Greer Gilman whose Cry Murder! in a Small Voice, is a nominee in the novelette category.
The awards will be presented on Sunday, July 13, 2014, at Readercon 25, in Burlington (outside Boston), Massachusetts. Kelly was one of the jurors this year, so, as the site says: “Where a conflict of interest arises for a juror, the juror recuses himself/herself from voting for the particular work.”
Come say hello if you’re at Readercon! We will have stacks of these books — and more goodies, of course. And by the end of the week we should have another piece of very exciting news for fans of Greer Gilman!
Happy New Year!
Later this week we’ll get the last Bookscan report for 2013 and we’ll be able to replicate our 2012 bestsellers post.
In the meantime, here’s the first and last orders from our website in 2013 and the first from 2014. Greer’s excellent chapbook—for which there is a followup coming!—was no doubt helped by Henry Wessells choosing as his best book of 2013!
First: Greer Gillman, Cry Murder! in a Small Voice
Last: who knows?
Wed 18 Dec 2013 - Filed under: Not a Journal., 2013, Alan DeNiro, Amalia Gladhart, Angelica Gorodischer, Greer Gilman, Howard Waldrop, Peter Dickinson, Sofia Samatar, Susan Stinson | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin
Sometimes I miss Badreads, the community reading site that AFAIK closed down earlier this year. I haven’t yet really migrated to LibraryThing (there’s that part ownership thing) or any of the others. I certainly liked seeing what other people were reading and keeping up with what I was reading.
Now, who knows what I read? I barely do. Although I really enjoyed the most recent issue of Pen America. Not just because they reprinted two stories from Three Messages and a Warning either. The whole thing was great, from the forum on teaching writing (Dorothy Allison, Paul La Farge . . . and Elissa Schappel’s heartbreaking piece) to the poetry by Ron Padgett (“Advice to Young Writers”) and two graphic narratives (comics!) by the fab David B. and Jean-Pierre Filiu (translated by none other than Edward Gauvin!) and Brian Evenson and Zak Sally. Anyway, you want a good magazine? Go read it.
I joined Pen a couple of years ago (teenage me: so proud!) and now Kelly’s a member, too. Are you a writer or editor? Do you care about intellectual freedom? If you can swing it, sign up here!
Ok, so, Small Beer: What have we been up to this fine year almost done and gone?
2 issues of LCRW! A record! Well, for recent years. We are planning 2 more for 2014. Phew!
A banner year for Weightless, yay!
And the New York Times just gave a great review to one of our final books of the year, Howard Waldrop’s new collection. I always think our books are so good that they all should be on NPR, in the WaPo, the LA, NY, St. Petersburg, Seattle, and London Times, etc., etc., so sometimes I surprised when they aren’t. I know: different strokes for different folks and all that, although really I think since all our books are so good they should overcome any reader prejudices. (“Short stories! Pah!”) The real reason they’re not reviewed anywhere? All the papers and magazines find it hard to justify reviewing half a dozen or more books from the same publisher. Right? Right!
BTW: if you would like to order Small Beer books (we have many signed copies!) to arrive in time for the holidays, please select Priority Mail. We are shipping until 5 pm on Thursday December 19th this year.
Here’s a picture of all the books we published this year and below, a little bit more about each book.
CRY MURDER! IN A SMALL VOICE
What, another chapbook? That’s two in two years! The last one we did was in 2004 (Theodora Goss) and the next one should be 2014. Woo! This one is a dark, dense and intense serial killer story with Ben Jonson, detective and avenging angel.
“A jewel of a novella.”—Strange Horizons
The darkest book I expect we will ever publish! Bleak? Check. Monsters? Check? Fabulous, fabulous writing? Check!
“Matched to his original ideas and refreshing refurbishments of genre set pieces, Ballingrud’s writing makes North American Lake Monsters one of the best collections of short fiction for the year.
“The beauty of the work as a whole is that it offers no clear and easy answers; any generalization that might be supported by some stories is contradicted by others. It makes for an intellectually stimulating collection that pulls the reader in unexpected directions. The pieces don’t always come to a satisfactory resolution, but it is clear that this is a conscious choice. The lack of denouement, the uncertainty, is part of the fabric of the individual stories and of the collection as a whole. It is suggestive of a particular kind of world: one that is dark, weird, and just beyond our ability to impose order and understanding. These are not happy endings. They are sad and unsettling, but always beautifully written with skillful and insightful prose. It is a remarkable collection.”
Flying out the door in our town (Broadside Books alone has sold 140+ copies!) and now all over the country. Jonathan Edwards, we hardly knew ye. Until Susan brought you and your family and your town back to life.
“Ultimately, ‘Spider in a Tree’ is a lesson in what not to expect. Stinson eludes the clichés usually associated with religious extremism to peel away the humans underneath. We speak of a loving God, who asks us to embark upon a deadly war. We most easily see the sins in others that we are ourselves guilty of. Every ambition to perfect ourselves has a very human cost. As we reach for what we decide is the divine, we reveal our most fragile human frailties. Words cannot capture us; but we in all our human hubris, are quite inclined to capture words.”
—The Agony Column
A STRANGER IN OLONDRIA
We still have a few hardcovers of this left, unlike most other places. Some reviewers have really got this book including Jane Franklin in Rain Taxi who just gave it a huge excellent review. Yes, it’s a fantasy novel. Yes, it’s fantastic. Sofia sure can write.
“Sofia Samatar’s debut fantasy A Stranger in Olondria is gloriously vivid and rich.”
—Adam Roberts, The Guardian, Best Science Fiction Books of 2013
“For its lyricism, its focus on language, and its concern with place, it belongs on the shelf with the works of Hope Mirrlees, Lord Dunsany, and M. John Harrison — but for its emotional range, it sits next to books by Ursula K. Le Guin or Joanna Russ.”—Jane Franklin, Rain Taxi
Angélica Gorodischer. Translated by Amalia Gladhart.
Our second Gorodischer—and we have high hopes of a third and maybe even a fourth! This one is a discursive, smart, self aware science fiction. Don’t miss!
“Perhaps the strangest thing about these tales is how easily one forgets the mechanics of their telling. Medrano’s audiences are at first reluctant to be taken in by yet another digressive, implausible monologue about sales and seductions in space. But soon enough, they are urging the teller to get on with it and reveal what happens next. The discerning reader will doubtless agree.”
—Review of Contemporary Fiction
HORSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOR: STORIES
We keep getting letters from Waldrop fans who are so pleased he has a new book out: and that after 40 years he’s in the New York Times! Spread the joy!
“What’s most rewarding in Mr. Waldrop’s best work is how he both shocks and entertains the reader. He likes to take the familiar — old films, fairy tales, Gilbert & Sullivan operettas — then give it an out-of-left-field twist. At least half the 10 tales in his new collection are prime eccentric Waldrop . . . as he mashes genres, kinks and knots timelines, alchemizing history into alternate history. In “The Wolf-man of Alcatraz,” the B prison movie rubs fur with the Wolf-man; “Kindermarchen” takes the tale of Hansel and Gretel and transforms it into a haunting fable of the Holocaust; and “The King of Where-I-Go” is a moving riff on time travel, the polio epidemic and sibling love.
“Among the most successful stories is “The Horse of a Different Color (That You Rode In On),” an improbable confluence of vaudeville (two of the main characters perform in a horse suit) and the Arthurian Grail legend that manages to name-check Señor Wences, Thomas Pynchon, “King Kong” and more as Mr. Waldrop tells of the Ham Nag — “the best goddamned horse-suit act there ever was.” It’s certainly the best horse-suit-act story I’ve ever read.”
—New York Times
TYRANNIA AND OTHER RENDITIONS
Alan’s second collection marries absurdity to with politics and heart. Every writer is unique. Alan? Alan is like a superhero made up of the best parts of half a dozen of our favorite writers. Read these two excerpts to see why: “Tyrannia”, Walking Stick Fires [excerpt].
“Most of Tyrannia‘s rambunctious, immensely entertaining stories — seven of them science fiction — blend bizarre speculations with intermittent humor. When there isn’t humor, there’s weirdness — often extreme weirdness, funny in its own right. Fair warning: what I’m about to describe might not always make sense. That’s in the nature of this highly unconventional collection.”
—Will George, Bookslut
We added Reading Group Questions to the former and the latter includes an author interview carried out by none other than Sara Paretsky. These two sort of mysteries are filled with bon mots, memorable characters, and the strangeness of the 1950s, 1970s, and 1980s. There is nothing as haunting as the last line of The Poison Oracle.
“Dickinson’s crime novels are simply like no other; sophisticated, erudite, unexpected, intricate, English and deeply, wonderfully peculiar.”
—Christopher Fowler, author of The Memory of Blood
We are very pleased to celebrate the publication day of Greer Gilman’s novella chapbook Cry Murder! in a Small Voice. There is no one who writes like Greer, as you may know if you’ve dreamt your way through Cloud & Ashes. Cry Murder! is a different beast, a mystery—of sorts—a tale of Ben Jonson and loss and longing in seventeenth century London. And we are very happy to note that the cover of Cry Murder! is by Kathleen Jennings who also created the beautiful cover for Cloud & Ashes.
Early readers say:
“I made myself portion this exquisite novella out over days, so I could savor the language, a lacework of Elizabethan poesy and paradigm spun with subtle modern thread to make it pleasing to the contemporary eye.” 
“Cry Murder is in fairly equal measures funny, heartbreaking, and downright eerie, sometimes within a sentence or even a phrase of each other.” 
“A delight. Greer Gilman’s Cry Murder! in a Small Voice is a highly original, thought-provoking and beautifully polished tale; a short story written in a chewy, glistening Jacobethan prose which is entirely the author’s invention.” [Oxfraud]
We’re hugely excited to see that Greer Gilman‘s astounding novel Cloud & Ashes: Three Winter’s Tales is one of the winner of this year’s Tiptree Award. We love to put shiny stickers on our books and this particular sticker is a real fave. Also can’t wait to get our hands on a copy the other winner, the first two volumes of Fumi Yoshinaga’s manga, Ooku.
The awards (money! art! chocolate!) will be presented at Wiscon in Madison, WI, in May, and Greer (and perhaps some of her art) should be there to receive hers.
The Tiptree Award jury also announced an honor list (as well as honoring L. Timmel Duchamp’s Marq’ssan Cycle) of awesomeness:
- Alice Sola Kim, “Beautiful White Bodies” (online at Strange Horizons 2009.12.07-14)
- Vandana Singh, Distances (Aqueduct Press 2008)
- Caitlin R. Kiernan, “Galapagos” (in Eclipse 3 edited by Jonathan Strahan, Night Shade Books 2009)
- Jo Walton, Lifelode (NESFA Press 2009)
- Maureen F. McHugh, “Useless Things” in Eclipse 3 edited by Jonathan Strahan (Night Shade Books 2009)
- Paul Haines, “Wives” (in X6 edited by Keith Stevenson, coeur de lion 2009)
If you haven’t gotten your copy of Cloud & Ashes yet, Greer is part of a group signing (with Paul Tremblay, John Crowley, and more) at 1:30 PM at the Harvard Bookstore this Saturday as part of Vericon. Greer is reading at 4 PM and if you’re in the Boston area, this panel at 10 AM on Saturday is probably worth going to:
John Crowley, Greer Gilman, and Katherine Howe talk about how they craft cultures for the people who populate their stories.
It’s kind of odd to hit a year-change with no Year’s Best duties but I’ve been enjoying reading many other Best of Year/Decade lists—and the odd squeak about how this isn’t the end of the decade, dammit! I will miss the year-in-summary but I certainly couldn’t write it this year—or any year soon.
Apparently by the end of the world (2012) we will have “golden fleece’ lozenges” containing “interferon alpha, a protective protein made naturally by the body when attacked by a virus” which would mean not being hit with a grotty cold-like thing first thing in the year. Can’t come fast enough. Blech.
Also, maybe by 2012 Apple will have developed a power cord that doesn’t break every couple of years. How often do you see this rating in the Apple Store:
Bah. Hard to get excited about the iSlate while our two old MacBooks are sharing a cord!
So, given that the the last couple of days have been cold-days here is some catch-up blathery mostly from the old year so that, maybe, just maybe, after this ohnine will be deid and ohten will not be the new year, it will just be the year.
First: thanks! Our fundraising sale raised just under a $1,000 for Franciscan Hospital for Children—so we made up the difference and will be dropping a check in the mail this week. A good piece of that total came a buck at a time but there were many people who paid retail price. Yay! We have a fundraiser reading coming in March in Boston which should be fun. Will, of course, keep you posted,
Second: Joan Aiken’s The Serial Garden is a finalist in the Cybils Awards in the Middle-Grade Fantasy & Science Fiction category. Yay for the Armitage family! (Did we mention it was chosen as one of the best books of 2009 by the parenting part of Toronto Star? 2008, 2009, who cares when it came out: we all know it’s a great book.)
And more: Much love was apportioned to Greer Gilman’s Cloud & Ashes at the end of year multi-critic list at Strange Horizons. It’s not a book for every reader but for those it hits, yep, it is the thing.
Poppy Brite’s Second Line continues to get coverage at home. New Orleans Magazine says, “Her novels Liquor, Prime and Soul Kitchen have introduced readers to the wild world of Chefs John Rickey and Gary “G-man” Stubbs. The couple lives for food and the art of making it as many New Orleanians do. The two stories in Second Line serve as earlier and later chapters in the steamy soap opera saga.”
Holly Black was interviewed by Veronika about spooky dolls, what’s coming up, and so on. We’re getting her book ready to send to the printer—it will be our biggest book for a while, so it’s pretty exciting.
Kelly’s second collection Magic for Beginners made two other Best of the Decade lists: HTML Giant and the Village Voice—both of these make pretty great To-Read lists. Also weird and great to find on the web was Bryan Lee O’Malley enjoyed “Magic for Beginners.” Huh and wow. Maybe after Scott Pilgrim 6 is done he’ll do MFB as a comic. Cough. But then the comments today include infinite boners, so readers beware. In wandering about his site I downloaded one of his albums (recorded as Kupek)—it’s no Sex Bob-omb (cough, again) but it’s worth checking out.
For new stuff, ah, come back tomorrow or next week. And in the mean time, cheers!
so on. Wait: aren’t all stories made up? No! Because, wait for it, some of them are True. Riiiight, on with the show.
We added a short intro video (see below) to the Writer’s Daily Planner since it is so late to hits stores — managed to post it on Facebook and IndieBound, not sure if it will end up on Powell’s. Used the Flip camera, then upped the sound. Need a better mic!
And: we’ve added discounts! (Not sure if we will get organized enough to do a sale before the year ends. Hmm.)
And: Greer gets some fan art.
Nice review of Hound @ Fictionophile: “If bibliophilia is an illness, then Henry Sullivan is terminal!”
Ed Park pulls a thread and finds a story in American Fantastic Tales.
And, you know, other stuff.
Many ‘ands make light work?
BSCreview has 3 free copies of A Working Writer’s Daily Planner 2010 to give away. Want Want Freebies?
Lev Grossman included Kelly’s Magic for Beginners in a list of “the six greatest fantasy books of all time.” Ladies and Gentlemen, start your arguments.
Richard Nash calls out BEA (via Shelf Awareness) on their rather silly decisions not to have a big party and not to let in the grand reading public. BEA is dying and no one seems to care. The American Booksellers Association has sensibly started a new thing, the very successful Winter Institute where publishers and booksellers get to meet in peace. Book fairs (hello Brooklyn!) do tremendously. ComicCon is spinning off secondary fairs like no one’s business. Kids are lining up to get into manga fairs. Someone else is going to take up the slack (hello again, Brooklyn, LA, Washington DC, Miami). Putting publishers in front of the public is no bad thing. We went to a huge indie book fair in Italy that was 4 days long and bigger than the Javits Center. People love that stuff — come on BEA, get like AWP and other smarter conferences, let the people in.
Hal Duncan has songs (with Neil Williamson) and a successful pay-per-view (or whateveryoucallit) going on on his site.
Time and again, in innumerable different ways, we see hints about the ways that the stories we tell shape the actions we take…. This is where the circle is broken, and if events drive us incessantly towards tragedy as stories must, it is a very different tragedy from what has gone before.
Cloud and Ashes is not an easy book to read, but it is incredibly worth while making the effort. Any sense I have given of what goes on here is inevitably only partial, there is so much I have had to omit, major characters, significant plot lines. Above all, I have barely hinted at how much it plays with gender roles, how much it has to tell us about the role of women in shaping the world, indeed how every potent active character is female. It is a book you will barely grasp, but it is a book whose hold on your mind, on your memory, is assured. It is a story about story, and stories are what we are all made of. Abandon hope all ye who enter here.
And She Who Must on LJ:
I loved it, and it still took me about a month to read it; it’s quite long, and very, very rich. After a few pages I’d have to stop and digest what I’d read. I don’t think that’s a bad thing – indeed, I was in no hurry to reach the end, I didn’t want it to be over.
Today we took a wander over the river to Cambridge to see the new instant book machine at the Harvard Book Store (which has been named the Gutenborg!). Various publishing luminaries were there including our own Greer Gilman—who described her post-Harvard Library job search as looking for an iPod job in a PC world . . .—and we listened to them try and persuade us that this is the future. Well, part of it. Being historically minded, the first book they printed was the Bay Psalm Book, which was the first book printed in English on this continent, in 1640 in Cambridge, no less.
It was at once fun and anti-climatic as the machine ran off the book in the promised four minutes and . . . that was it. Other bookshops with these machines report that they do a bang-up business, more with local authors than with out of print books. After all, why buy some scanned copy of Sense and Sensibility for $8 when you can get a decently edited one for, er, maybe about the same. Hmm. Well, luckily the Harvard Book Store has a good used section downstairs.
Our books are available on Google Books (with various levels of access) who have a deal with the manufacturer On Demand Books so at some point our books will hopefully be part of the instantprint experience.
As with everyone else who came by to see the machine in action, we’ll wait and see what happens.
It took a while to organize but we’ve just posted Michael’s great picture of Greer Gilman’s Cloud & Ashes. These angled shots give a much better idea of what one of our books look like and this, thanks to Kathleen Jennings’ wonderful cover, is one of the more beautiful ones we’ve put out:
But by the time you’ve explored the many forms (physical and metaphysical) of Unleaving, spent time with various incarnations of Ashes, and seen just what Margaret could become after childhood’s left behind, it shouldn’t be all that hard to show a little patience with her adolescent uncertainties, plus subplots and further arcane references. And the payoff is immense. I finished Cloud & Ashes almost tempted to write a thesis that compares it favorably to what James Joyce did in Ulysses and tried in Finnegan’s Wake, yet feeling like I’d lived through it all.
You can also read Greer’s Locus interview in the August issue:
“Many people have used ballads as sources of literary fantasy. I use ballads, but in shreds and patches, along with things I’ve read, word etymologies, a lot of dialect — my writing is both folk and baroque. I’ve got these great slabs of rhapsody and blots of vernacular. I think I use a fairly low percentage of Norman French-Latinate English, simply because I love the old root stock of the language. There are a scattering of words in my books I’ve made up on models from root stock. I love words passionately! (Maybe I should have been a philologist.) I discovered the Oxford English Dictionary at college, and spent all my time in the English students’ lounge reading their copy.
This month, or maybe next, depending on which bibliographic source you believe, Greer Gilman’s second novel, Cloud & Ashes, springs fully formed into the world. If you’ve ever had a chance to hear Greer read you’ll know what an entrancing, immersive experience this book is.
To begin with, I wanted a Yorkshire dialect, because I so love the Watersons’ voices. It’s changed over the long years, becoming more itself, more Cloudish, but it’s founded on Yorkshire, mostly on the Dales and the North York Moors and coast.
Greer will read from Cloud & Ashes for the first time at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Mass., on Wednesday, May 20, at 7 PM, then at Tuesday May 26 at 7 PM, she will read from Cloud & Ashes at Back Pages Books in Waltham. After that she is one of the Guests of Honor at Readercon 20 (July 9-12) and there may yet be a couple more readings appearing on the schedule.
Somewhat recently, Greer was one of the guests at the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts and she sent us a recording of her reading. Greer is introduced by her friend and fellow conspirator, Faye Ringel, and after a 40-minute reading, Sonya Taafe sings “The Scarecrow,” one of the songs Greer incorporates into the novel, then Greer reads a little more. You can download and listen to the (large) MP3 here.
We spent a decent part of last week shipping out most (nothing ever gets finished) of the pre-orders for Cloud & Ashes as well as a goodly number of review copies, so there should be more happy readers and more people reading about it soon.
We just got a note that Greer Gilman’s (awesome) second novel Cloud & Ashes will ship soon from the printer, Thomson-Shore in Dexter, Michigan. That is one Michigan company who do great work and we doubt they need any bailout. Also, we’re very happy to be working with an employee-owed company. So, Cloud & Ashes will be in stores within a couple of weeks. If you’d like yours faster, order it here.
You can see the amazing front cover by Australian artist Kathleen Jennings at Powell’s or on Indiebound, what you can’t see is the full wraparound effect of it which is pretty pretty. Here’s a little note from the artist abut it.
Thanks again to those readers who pre-ordered the book—you can find their names in the old-fashioned subscription list on the inside of the dustjacket.
“Sublimely lyrical Jacobeanesque dialect . . . readers who enjoy symbolism and allusion will cherish Gilman’s use of diverse folkloric elements to create an unforgettable realm and ideology.”—Publishers Weekly
Cloud & Ashes: Three Winter’s Tales Greer Gilman. Small Beer, $26 (448p) ISBN 978-1-931520-55-3
Almost two decades after the publication of her debut novel, Moonwise, Gilman returns to the fantasy realm of Cloud with a trilogy of interconnected narratives. 2000’s Nebula-shortlisted “Jack Daw’s Pack” follows an otherworldly traveler as he creates a rich tapestry of myth in the cards he throws down. 2003’s “A Crowd of Bone,” which won the World Fantasy Award, is a decidedly nonlinear tragedy about child witch Thea, who flees her goddess mother and a foolish love-struck mortal. The novella “Unleaving,” the original piece of the trinity, revolves around Thea’s daughter, Margaret, who “unravels” the heavens and, in turn, much of the mythos of Cloud. Though the sublimely lyrical Jacobeanesque dialect is challenging, readers who enjoy symbolism and allusion will cherish Gilman’s use of diverse folkloric elements to create an unforgettable realm and ideology. (May)