Shipping Going Well

Mon 19 Dec 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

At least, it’s going well from here — thank you! It’s busy as all get out but we are up to date to Thursday’s orders and by the end of today will have caught up again — unless there are too many orders to ship, woohoo, bring it! The post office says that US Priority Mail orders will still arrive by Christmas if ordered by 12/21, go for it!

Want some last minute present ideas? (OK, these are all going to be Small Beer books, I think.) Nothing here will stop the howling void of despair and depression taking over all from the electoral shenanigans but they will distract for various amounts of time:

Margaret Atwood selected Ursula K. Le Guin’s Words Are My Matter as one of her favorite books of the year in the Walrus:

It was a pleasure to encounter renowned SF and fantasy writer Ursula K. Le Guin’s book of essays, Words Are My Matter, and to hear her wise, informed, elegant, and occasionally testy voice discussing such joys as the early H.G. Wells classics such as The Time Machine and China Miéville’s Embassytown—which surely owes a debt to Le Guin’s own The Left Hand of Darkness, now out in a sumptuous new Penguin Galaxy edition.

And Nora Jemisin recommended the book in the New York Times Book Review. Also: there was an Ursula K. Le Guin symposium at the University of Oregon.

Sit back (or go jog, or shovel some snow) and listen to David Naimon and Sofia Samatar chat about The Winged Histories on the Between the Covers podcast. The Winged Histories was chosen as one of the best books of the year by NPR — yay!

The Valley Advocate ran a 3-page spread on John Crowley’s The Chemical Wedding which included interviews with Crowley, illustrator Theo Fadel, and designer Jacob McMurrary. The paper edition had many illustrations. Meanwhile the book was reviewed on Tor.com.

See the Elephant ran a review of Joan Aiken’s The People in the Castle, which was also selected as one of the year’s best books by the Washington Post. Double yay!

See the Elephant had previously run a review of Jeffrey Ford’s A Natural History of Hell which much to my enjoyment began “Hellishly Good Stories.” Jim Sallis revelled in Ford’s collection in F&SF (“Formally Ford’s stories are object lessons in how to stage a narrative.”) Alvaro Zinos-Amaro reviewed it on IGMS and DF Lewis wrote reaction posts while reading the stories. Hazel and Wren also liked the book. What can I say? It struck a chord.

There is a new issue of LCRW and meanwhile the previous issue received a strong review in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination and another in New Pages.

And Mary Rickert’s collection, You Have Never Been Here, came out so late in 2015 that a lot of people read it this year, i.e. Sallis (“Reading a Mary Rickert story quite often is like sinking through layers of such worlds. We begin in one place, blink, and open our eyes to somewhere—something—else.”) in F&SF and William Grabowski in See the Elephant: “Rickert’s work, its superbly subtle handling of deepest human yearning for something to heal the howling void behind our increasingly demythologized world, shows the ineffable power—and value—of fantastical storytelling.”

Quickshots:
— Afrofuturism? The Liminal War
— Density? Prodigies
— The underworld? Archivist Wasp
— Digging a hole? Secession? Sherwood Nation
— Middle grade ecothrillers? The Fires Beneath the Sea

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-11-45-03-am

Toodles!



WaPo Notable Book

Tue 22 Nov 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

The People in the Castle coverDelighted to see the Washington Post selected The People in the Castle as a Notable Book of 2016:

“A best-of collection — with an introduction by Kelly Link — by the late British master of supernatural fiction and children’s literature.”

I think my favorite line from a review is still  “Sprightly but brooding” from Kirkus Reviews’s starred review which captures something of the range of darkness and light within the book.

Read “Cold Flame” on Tor and the introduction and title story on Tin House.

“The particular joys of a Joan Aiken story have always been her capacity for this kind of brisk invention; her ear for dialect; her characters and their idiosyncrasies. Among the stories collected in this omnibus, are some of the very first Joan Aiken stories that I ever fell in love with, starting with the title story “The People in the Castle,” which is a variation on the classic tales of fairy wives.”
— Kelly Link, from her Introduction

 



Dark stories to read by the campfire

Mon 26 Sep 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

The People in the Castle cover - click to view full sizeJust came across this article by Ryan Porter in the Toronto Star from late July which has a nice rec. for The People in the Castle. Anything about keeping warm is suddenly of interest as the temperatures take a quick plunge here in Western Mass.:

Dark stories to read by the campfire

“We love to read about humanity’s dark side — here, a few writers on the books they’ve written to send a chill up your spine.”

“Though the late fantastical British writer is best known for her children’s literature, this short story collection, edited by Aiken’s daughter Lizza and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction finalist Kelly Link, compiles tales of the surreal and supernatural suited for an adult audience. ‘A Leg Full of Rubies’ features a doctor whose own mortality is measured out by the grains of sand in an hourglass; ‘A Portable Elephant’ imagines a world where a live animal companion is required to buy passage across a border. ‘She was one of those writers who made me think you can be funny while telling a scary story,’ Link says. ‘You can still write really fresh contemporary takes on a classical ghost story.’”



Who Are The People in the Castle?

Tue 12 Apr 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

The People in the Castle cover - click to view full sizeIt has been eight years since we published our first Joan Aiken title, The Serial Garden, and five (where does the time go?!) since the second, The Monkey’s Wedding, was released. Today is the publication day for our third Joan Aiken collection, The People in the Castle: Selected Strange Stories.

The book came about because Kelly and I had been talking to Joan’s daughter, Lizza Aiken, for a while about what fun it would be to make a selection of favorite stories from across the many, many collections Joan published — there are twenty-eight collections listed in the front matter of The People in the Castle, and that does not include some of her kid’s collections. (See all Joan’s books here.)

So Kelly and I went back and read as many of the collections as we could, which was obviously the most enjoyable part of the project and something I recommend replicating — you can usually find loads of her books at the library. Kelly has a better memory than me, so she would say something like How about story “x” from this book? or I love story “y” from that book and I’d go back and read it yet again and soon Kelly and I and Lizza came up with dream lists of stories we’d like to include. Of course the lists were too long and there was some horse trading (how about we drop these two stories but add this one? etc.) and in the end we had a list that satisfied everyone of twenty dark, funny, oddball, sometimes heart-wrenching stories. And now: they are a book!

We received finished copies of the book from the printer just in time to take with us to the AWP Conference in LA and we had the great pleasure of selling out of it very quickly — that cover has the magic pick-me-up quality that all publishers and authors everywhere are always searching for.

Kelly wrote an introduction to the collection:

“The particular joys of a Joan Aiken story have always been her capacity for this kind of brisk invention; her ear for dialect; her characters and their idiosyncrasies. Among the stories collected in this omnibus, are some of the very first Joan Aiken stories that I ever fell in love with, starting with the title story ‘The People in the Castle,’ which is a variation on the classic tales of fairy wives.”

The whole introduction — as well as the title story — is available for your reading pleasure on the Tin House blog and Kelly’s introduction segues beautifully into Lizza’s introduction, “The Power of Storytelling: Joan Aiken’s Strange Stories”:

“Joan Aiken once described a moment during a talk she was giving at a conference, when to illustrate a point she began to tell a story. At that moment, she said, the quality of attention in the room subtly changed. The audience, as if hypnotised, seemed to fall under her control.
‘Everyone was listening, to hear what was going to happen next.’
From her own experience, whether as an addictive reader from early childhood or as a storyteller herself, learning to amuse a younger brother growing up in a remote village, by the time she was writing for a living to support her family, she had learned a great respect for the power of stories.”

 Publishers Weekly gave the book a boxed, signed review: “There’s so much to love about this slender collection… The juxtaposition of mundane and magical…feels effortless and fresh. The language is simply splendid, so evocative, as though the stories were actually very dense poems. And it brilliantly showcases Aiken’s affectionate, humorous, deft portrayals of female characters… Aiken’s prose is extraordinary, impossible to do justice to in this small space. Her skill with the language of folk tales—specifically the oral storytelling native to the British Isles—is unparalleled.”

If you’d like a taste, try “The Cold Flame” which is available on Tor.com. This story makes me shiver and laugh every time.

Get your copy today: Small Beer · Weightless · Powell’s · IndieBound

Sale options:

  1. The People in the Castle (hc) + The Monkey’s Wedding (hc): $38
  2. The People in the Castle (hc) + The Monkey’s Wedding (hc) + The Serial Garden (pb): $50


One for the Poets

Thu 7 Apr 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Tor.com just posted a Joan Aiken story from The People in the Castle. It is creepy, funny, fantastic, and as Tor says, “darkly lyrical.”  It is for poets, would-be poets, for writers, I suppose, of all sort, and writers’ families . . .

“Patrick was a poet, perhaps I should explain. Had been a poet. Or said he was. No one had ever seen his poetry because he steadfastly refused to let anyone read his work, though he insisted, with a quiet self-confidence not otherwise habitual to him, that the poems were very good indeed. In no other respect was he remarkable, but most people quite liked Patrick; he was a lanky, amusing creature with guileless blue eyes and a passion for singing sad, randy songs when he had had a drink or two. For some time I had been a little in love with Patrick. I was sorry to hear he was dead.”

 



Joan Aiken’s Puffin Passport

Thu 18 Feb 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Love this Puffin Passport (“Perused and pronounced a proper Puffin author”!) from Lizza Aiken’s rich Joan Aiken site. (Click to see it at a decent size there.)



Joan Aiken giveaway

Thu 4 Feb 2016 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

No, we don’t have Joan Aikens to give out, but we are giving away 5 advance copies of The People in the Castle: Selected Strange Stories on Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The People in the Castle by Joan Aiken

The People in the Castle

by Joan Aiken

Giveaway ends February 12, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway



Back in stock: The Serial Garden

Wed 30 Sep 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

With all the celebrations and reviews for the new Virago edition of The Serial Garden in the UK — for example, The New Statesman:

“Virago Modern Classics reissues The Serial Garden by Joan Aiken (£8.99, eight-plus), a long-lost collection of stories about the imperturbable Armitage family, whose small village must endure unicorns, fairy godmothers and more. Inexhaustibly imaginative, Aiken was one of the 20th century’s greatest children’s authors. Witty, zany and entirely sane, this is a necklace of diamonds.”

— I’m very happy to say that we had the opportunity to reprint our Big Mouth House edition. It arrived from the printer a couple of weeks ago and has been shipping out to (I would suppose) very happy readers since.

Our edition has a cover by Beth Adams and interior illustrations by Andi Watson and the Virago edition, which I’m very much looking forward to seeing, has a cover and interior illustrations by Peter Bailey.

The Serial Garden cover

More?

“It’s a delightful summary of one side of Aiken’s talent: whimsical, funny, a series of brilliantly imaginative ideas stitched together with dream logic. But along with the happiness, there is often a tug of melancholy, of love unrequited and yearnings unsatisfied – as in the title story, in which a cut-out cardboard garden on the packet of an obscure German brand of cereal is the gateway to a vanished past. It is the mixture of irrepressible gaiety and invention with the tragic that makes Aiken one of the great children’s authors.”
The Telegraph

“A delightful whimsical set of stories about young Mark and Harriet Armitage and the fantastical things that just happen to them, where if the lawn is full of unicorns you can count on their father to rush out and try to stop them eating the roses. These stories are funny and often unexpectedly poignant. They also don’t have a wasted word or scrap of information. They’re both charming and genuine in a way that few things manage.”
—Jo Walton



Don’t miss

Mon 10 Aug 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Tyrannia and Other Renditions cover - click to view full sizeThis great pictorial celebration of Joan Aiken’s life and writing on the Guardian.

This strong essay/mini-rant by Charlie Jane Anders about “Ursula K. Le Guin, Fyodor Dovstoevsky, and the Snuggly Comfort of Evil.”

Listen to this KSMU interview with the Twin Cities’s genius-in-residence Alan DeNiro.

This Book Riot list of 6 books not to miss from mighty mighty small presses — which includes Geoff Ryman’s Was as well books from fave publishers Cinco Puntos, Text, and Coffee House.



Kij in NC; UKL in Seattle; Sofia in Madison (of course)

Sun 7 Oct 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

We will have a fun announcement on Tuesday, October 9th. Come back for it!

We’re busy falling in love with the people and city of Uppsala, Sweden, at Swecon/Kontrast. The food here is as great as promised, although I do not think we will eat better than the homemade (for 21 people!) meal that Daniel ______ (last name TK!) slaved over for days. Ok, while naps are being had by part of our party, here are a few upcoming readings and so on.

If you’re in North Carolina (or, you know, have a small plane can fly there—or, better, have a friend with a tandem and can bike there!) on Tuesday night, don’t miss rising star Kij Johnson’s appearance at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh. (Tues., Oct. 9th, 7:30 PM)

Also coming up soon, Ursula K. Le Guin will be doing a Clarion West fundraiser event in Seattle. I’d go if I were there, dammit.

Join Ursula K. Le Guin Saturday evening, October 13, as she helps us kick off our upcoming 30th Anniversary Year. From 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. we’ll celebrate Clarion West’s past record of excellence and reflect on our future growth at the Uptown Hideaway, 819 5th Ave N., in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood. Attendance is limited to 100 people. All proceeds benefit Clarion West.

October 26th there’s the Joan Aiken celebration in NYC which we’ve alluded to before.

Into November: between the 7th & 10th, Sofia Samatar, whose fabulous debut novel A Stranger in Olondria we’re publishing in hardcover/paperback/ebook in April 2013, will be at the Wisconsin Book Festival. We were there a few years ago and remember it fondly. Any excuse to stay in Madison! You can download a chunk of the novel here.



Bath bricks, senna, sassafras, and brown calico

Thu 4 Oct 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Joan Aiken’s daughter Lizza has a lovely essay on the British Council website, “Voices: The Magical Mysteries of Children’s Literature,” where she talked about her transatlantic roots (Joan Aiken was US poet Conrad Aiken’s daughter) and the culture shock that reverbrated through her when she crossed the Atlantic as a child. I love this part:

“On our next trip over the Atlantic we visited the wonderful island of Nantucket, and Joan got the idea to write her own version of Moby Dick, in another of the Wolves Chronicles called Nightbirds on Nantucket. Here her intrepid English cockney heroine Dido Twite wakes up on a whaling ship in hot pursuit of a pink whale and lands on this mysterious American island where not only the language but the customs are strange. Within minutes poor Dido is scrubbed with a bath brick, doused with senna and sassafras, and buttoned into brown calico! Interestingly, this book was possibly more successful back in England where these New England customs had long since died out.”

We’re talking to Lizza about published another Joan Aiken collection (yay!) and in the meantime if you are in Cheltenham on October 13th of New York City on October 26th I hope you can make it to the events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.



In the mails recently

Tue 25 Sep 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Here are pics of a few things that have arrived at the office recently:

  1. Galleys of A Stranger in Olondria — booksellers, meet Sofia and get your copy at the Heartland Fall Forum.
  2. Daniel A. Rabuzzi’s The Indigo Pheasant (read his guest post here).
  3. J. Boyett’s novel Brothel, which arrived with a nice note.
  4. Bike cards from the fabulous artists at Cricket Press in Lexington, Kentucky
  5. Galleys of the two volume Selected Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin.
  6. The first issue of One Teen Story: “The Deadline” by Gayle Forman (subscribe!)
  7. A stack! Made up of . . .
    1. Donny Smith’s new translation of Wenceslao Maldonado’s If Cutting Off the Gorgon’s Head.
    2. A galley of the Subterranean Press edition of Kelly’s Stranger Things Happen with the lovely cover and interior illos by Kathleen Jennings.
    3. The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 23, edited by Stephen Jones, which includes Joan Aiken’s story “Hair”
    4. Fantasy & Science Fiction‘s September/October issue featuring Peter Dickinson’s “Troll Blood” as well as stories by Andy Duncan and Richard Butner.
    5. Finished and actual copies of Kij Johnson’s At the Mouth of the River of Bees.

And!

Finished and actual copies of Lydia Millet’s new middle grade novel, The Shimmers in the Night, whose publication day is TODAY!



Joan Aiken, new Wolves editions

Thu 20 Sep 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin


Joan Aiken’s Dido Twite series is celebrating its fiftieth(!) anniversary this year.

There are beautiful new editions coming out in the US and the UK as well as a new audio book, read by Joan’s daughter, Lizza. (You can see all the international editions here!)

There will be events in the USA (at the Bank Street College Auditorium on Oct. 26th) and in the UK (at the Cheltenham Festival, Saturday, October 13.



The Serial Garden

Mon 16 Apr 2012 - Filed under: Big Mouth House, Books, | 2 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

October 2008 · 332 pp · hardcover · 9781931520577 | ebook · 9781931520980
April 2012 · 332 pp · trade paperback · 9781931520829
September 2015: second printing.
A Junior Library Guild Selection.

“Joan Aiken’s invention seemed inexhaustible, her high spirits a blessing, her sheer storytelling zest a phenomenon. She was a literary treasure, and her books will continue to delight for many years to come.”
—Philip Pullman

The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories is the first complete collection of Joan Aiken’s beloved Armitage stories — and it includes four new, unpublished stories.

After Mrs. Armitage makes a wish, the Armitage family has interesting and unusual experiences every Monday (and the occasional Tuesday). The Board of Incantation tries to take over their house to use as a school for young wizards; the Furies come to stay; and a cutout from a cereal box leads into a beautiful and tragic palace garden. Charming and magical, the uncommon lives of the Armitage family will thrill and delight readers young and old.

The Serial Garden includes Joan Aiken’s Prelude to the series from Armitage, Armitage, Fly Away Home, as well as introductions from Joan Aiken’s daughter, Lizza Aiken, and best-selling author Garth Nix, and is gloriously illustrated throughout by Andi Watson.

More about Joan Aiken, Liza Aiken, and Andi Watson.

Free Download: download a DRM-free PDF of an unpublished Armitage family story, “Don’t Go Fishing on Witches’ Day,” along with the introduction by Lizza Aiken or read it online.
The Serial Garden is the first title in our imprint for readers of all ages: Big Mouth House.

Readers say:

“What a thrill to discover this gem from the witty and endlessly inventive Joan Aiken.”
— Chris Riddell

“Inexhaustibly imaginative, Aiken was one of the 20th century’s greatest children’s authors. Witty, zany and entirely sane, this is a necklace of diamonds.”
The New Statesman

“It’s a delightful summary of one side of Aiken’s talent: whimsical, funny, a series of brilliantly imaginative ideas stitched together with dream logic. But along with the happiness, there is often a tug of melancholy, of love unrequited and yearnings unsatisfied – as in the title story, in which a cut-out cardboard garden on the packet of an obscure German brand of cereal is the gateway to a vanished past. It is the mixture of irrepressible gaiety and invention with the tragic that makes Aiken one of the great children’s authors.”
The Telegraph

“A delightful whimsical set of stories about young Mark and Harriet Armitage and the fantastical things that just happen to them, where if the lawn is full of unicorns you can count on their father to rush out and try to stop them eating the roses. These stories are funny and often unexpectedly poignant. They also don’t have a wasted word or scrap of information. They’re both charming and genuine in a way that few things manage.”
—Jo Walton

“In a singularly important publishing even, the first complete collection of Aiken’s 24 beloved Armitage cycle of stories appears here for the first time. The family who dwells in and out of magical worlds transcends fantasy and enters the world of classic, entrancing literature. Belongs on every child’s bookshelf. For all ages.”
Smithsonian Magazine’s 2008 Notable Books for Children

“Buy it to read to your kids, and you’ll find yourself sneaking tastes on the sly; a little Aiken is a fine thing to have in your system at any age.”
—Salon.com

“The eccentricities of magic are never more comically evident than in the late Joan Aiken’s work. Her The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories (Big Mouth House, 328 pages, $20, ages 5 to 11) is a spectacularly good treasury in the British tradition of practical magic…. You can’t do better than to get your fantasy-reading child hooked on Aiken’s playful, witty magic.”
Parent Central.ca, The Toronto Star

“The wit is irrepressible, the invention wild…. Such delicious lightness, paradoxically, is the fiction’s raison d’être.”
—Ed Park, Los Angeles Times

“[Aiken’s] most charming stories are the ones recently collected in The Serial Garden…. It’s best to savor them.”
—Adrienne Martini, Locus

“The Armitages’ wacky magic (usually a Monday occurrence) and that of their fantastical town, a place filled with witches and magical beings, rises from the pages when matters go slightly awry, in the manner of Edward Eager and E. Nesbit.”
Kirkus Reviews

“One of the ingredients which add such a sense of playful wit to Aiken’s stories — and which make them so worth rereading — is her genius for wordplay, and this is perhaps most obvious in the fabulous names she gives characters, such as Miss Hooting, Mrs. Mildew, Admiral Lycanthrope, and Lady Nightwood. The title of “The Serial Garden” itself is a play on words, and it is the intelligence and the cleverness of Aiken’s prose which make these stories so suitable for readers of any age. “With the publication of The Serial Collection readers of all ages have the opportunity to enjoy some of the best writing by one of the most superb and timeless fantasy writers.”
—Green Man Review

The Serial Garden is my happiest discovery this year.”
Los Angeles Times

“Joan Aiken wrote Armitage Family stories her whole life, and they are a treat.”
The Cultural Gutter

“The stories seem to spring from what was surely (given the sheer output and popularity of her books) an extremely active and creative mind, in all ways dedicated to the enjoyment of the reader.”
The Short Review

“The Armitage’s world grows richer as it is extended. This is a collection of stories which allow — in fact demand — the reader joins in with their own imagination and remakes the story inside their own head.”
January Magazine

Praise for Joan Aiken:

“These are admirable stories for any age because they are dug from a delightful mind. Many will drop into their readers lives like those enriching stones which break the surfaces of still pools and leave rings long after their splash.”
Times Literary Supplement

“Whether scary, satiric, or poetic, Aiken’s tales have strong settings, memorable characters, insight, and humor.”
School Library Journal

“A consummate story-teller.”
The Times

“A writer of wild humor and unrestrained imagination.”
Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature

“With its fine-tuned combination of folklore and fun. . . . a good source of imaginative tales to read alone or aloud.” —Booklist

“The best kind of writer, strange and spooky and surprising, never sentimental or whimsical.” —Kelly Link (Pretty Monsters)

“Joan Aiken’s magic stories have the right mixture . . . distinguished and sometimes beautiful writing and always in a frame-work of logic.”
—Naomi Mitchison, New Statesman

“This year can boast one genuine small masterpiece. . . . The Wolves of Willoughby Chase . . . almost a copybook lesson in those virtues that a classic children’s book must possess.”
Time Magazine

Table of Contents

Introduction by Lizza Aiken
Introduction by Garth Nix
Prelude by Joan Aiken
Yes, but Today Is Tuesday
Broomsticks and Sardines
The Frozen Cuckoo
Sweet Singeing in The Choir
The Ghostly Governess
Harriet’s Birthday Present
Dragon Monday
Armitage, Armitage, Fly Away Home (also known as “A Batch of Magic Wands”)
Rocket Full of Pie
Doll’s House to Let, Mod. Con.
Tea at Ravensburgh
The Land of Trees and Heroes
Harriet’s Hairloom
The Stolen Quince Tree
The Apple of Trouble [read an excerpt]
The Serial Garden
Mrs. Nutti’s Fireplace
The Looking-Glass Tree
Miss Hooting’s Legacy
Kitty Snickersnee
Goblin Mujsic
The Chinese Dragon
Don’t Go Fishing on Witches’ Day
Milo’s New Word

On the web:

Publication history

“Yes, but Today Is Tuesday,” “The Frozen Cuckoo,” “Sweet Singeing in The Choir,” “The Ghostly Governess,” “Harriet’s Birthday Present,” “Dragon Monday”
All You’ve Ever Wanted (1953)

“Armitage, Armitage Fly Away Home,” “Rocket Full of Pie,” “Doll’s House to Let, Mod. Con.,” “Tea at Ravensburgh”
More Than You Bargained For (1957)

“The Land of Trees and Heroes,” “Harriet’s Hairloom,” “The Stolen Quince Tree,” “The Apple of Trouble,” “The Serial Garden”
Armitage, Armitage Fly Away Home (1968)

“Broomsticks and Sardines”
A Small Pinch of Weather (1969)

“Mrs. Nutti’s Fireplace”
A Harp of Fishbones (1972)

“The Looking-Glass Tree”
The Faithless Lollybird (1977)

“Miss Hooting’s Legacy”
Up the Chimney Down (1984)

“Milo’s New Word”
Moon Cake and Other Stories (1998)
Reproduced by kind permission of Hodder and Stoughton Limited.

“Kitty Snickersnee,” “Goblin Music,” “The Chinese Dragon,” “Don’t Go Fishing on Witches’ Day”
The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories (2008)

Credits

  • Cover art © Beth Adams.
  • Interior illustrations © by Andi Watson.
  • Photo credit: Photo by Rod Delroy.

Previously: A Celebration of the Armitage Family, Books of Wonder, Nov. 16th, with Michael Dirda, Charles Schlessiger, and Lizza Aiken.



Typoes (sic)

Mon 19 Mar 2012 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

The Serial Garden cover - click to view full sizeWe’d always rather hear about typos in our books rather than just have readers suffer in silence. Please do email us at info @ smallbeerpress . com if you come across any. It’s always an email that makes me wince, but it’s great to be able to fix future editions.

One happy example: in the next couple of weeks we’ll be publishing the paperback edition of our first Big Mouth House title, Joan Aiken’s The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories, and thanks to Jed Hartman and some few others this edition will have a few less typos. But, again, should you find any typpos (sic . . .), please do tell, thank you!



Big Mouth asks for typos!

Tue 13 Dec 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

I hate this part! But it must needs be done. Next spring we’re publishing paperbacks of two of our Big Mouth House titles and we would love to hear from anyone who has spotted a typo. (You can send in typos you find in any of our books anytime. It makes me wince, but, better to know about them than not, right? Right. Argh!)

Here are the books we’re working on and would love to here hear from you about:

Joan Aiken, The Serial Garden. This is a book with legs! So happy that people love this book. The paperback will be a few dollars cheaper but should have all the art and so on from the hardcover.

Lydia Millet, The Fires Beneath the Sea. The first edition is pretty much sold out—that Kirkus Reviews Best of 2011 listing certainly helped! The paperback will include the first chapter of the follow up, The Shimmers in the Night, which comes out in July.



2011 Catalog & more

Mon 27 Jun 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | 3 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

The Child Garden coverWe have a new catalog! It’s up on Scribd already and at some point there may even be a print edition. Don’t know if it will be color glorious color thoughout, so you have to look there to see all the lovely lovely bookcovers we have this year. The cover is Kathleen Jennings’s picture from the cover of The Child Garden. The back cover art is a secret. Well, until you look at it. More secrets inside. Mostly on page 28. Completists can see or download all our catalogs here.

Nice: Patrick Ness won the U.K.’s Carnegie medal for Monsters of Men (the third Chaos Walking book).

What’s coming up? Joan Aiken stories! “Spur of the Moment” in Eleven Eleven. “Hair” in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. “Reading in Bed” on Tor.com.

Karen Joy Fowler’s collection is on the (quite!) long Frank O’Connor Award longlist.

If we had been faster on the draw, this story by Christine Sneed would have been in the next LCRW—which approacheth completion! Honest, guv. Christine didn’t simultaneously submit it, rather she sent us a nice postcard withdrawing her story after we’d had it for too long. Shame on me! I am trying to read faster, but the eyes, they can’t do it. In the meantime, I recommend this story of “Fortune“:

His plan was small but ambitious. He began by designing business cards on his computer, using purple ink on white paper and Clip-art pictures of Merlin’s hat, a crystal ball, and a spray of stars that arced upward from his name.

We were luckier with other stories! We’re already buying for next spring. Of note, since I was adding some new titles to Weightless Books: 12.6% (or 1/8, near as just about) of subscribers to LCRW now subscribe to the ebook edition. Hmm! But we like print, so until it’s the other way around, I think we’ll keep with the paper edition.

Back to the new issue: we have a cover from Kathleen Jennings, who we love.

Go get it: Small Beer Press 2011 Catalog



Go see Ted in Portland on Monday & Tuesday

Sat 4 Jun 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

@ Beaverton Powell’s, Portland, OR
Mon, June 6, 7pm – 8pm

Where Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton, OR 97005 map
Ted Chiang, Nancy Kress, Ursula K. Le Guin @ McMenamins Kennedy School,
Tue, June 7, 7pm – 8pm
Where 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave. Portland, OR 97211 map

(Keep up with all our authors here.)

Locus reviews The Monkey’s Wedding and recommends you read it.

Added 2 new books to Scribd—and half a dozen other ebook sites(!)—so now you can directly preview these two books. The Child Garden is shipping out soon (pre-orders will go out this coming week) and The Fires Beneath the Sea has been delayed until July (sorry!):

The Fires Beneath the Sea by Lydia Millet

and



Daisy, the crispest colleen in Killyclancy

Wed 4 May 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Just posted a story for your amusement, “Girl in a Whirl” by Nicholas Dee Joan Aiken. It is, of course, from our new, posthumous collection by Joan. The stories in the book range from wildly funny to quite dark. (This story’s one of the former type—fresh and funny fifty years later).

If you want a more nuanced consideration of the book, John Clute reviewed it on Strange Horizons. Here’s a pull quote:

“Almost all the stories assembled in The Monkey’s Wedding—except for the devastating title story itself, from 1996, and “The Fluttering Thing” from 2002, which is set on a journey towards Final Solution; it is even more terrifying than The Scream, also 2002—flow with a porcelain lucidity and gaiety that manifests the high energy of Aiken’s early prime.”
—John Clute, Strange Horizons

But the real fun is in the rest of his review (which is at the end of his column) where he skips the story summations (although his aside on the title story is absolutely accurate) and says of these uncollected stories, “It is a joy to recover them now.” It’s a joy to see someone able to express his enjoyment of these stories so well. (Much better than me! I just keep saying They’re great! They’re funny! They’re great!)



The Monkey’s Wedding ships . . .

Wed 20 Apr 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Good news from our printer: The Monkey’s Wedding has shipped out to our distributor—and the distro has started shipping it out! So, soonish, we will have it and be able to ship it to you you you, you lovely reader, you. Due to me travelling, the ebook will go out up on most sites (including Weightless)  a day after publication day: April 19th.

And: if you’d like a taste of the book here are a few opportunities for the short fiction reader:

“Hair” will be included in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

“Spur of the Moment” will be reprinted in Eleven Eleven—I love the cover of the 10th issue—which is a fabby multi-genre lit journal from the California College of the Arts.

And, with travelling having stopped everything: you still have a day or two to win one of five free copies of the book—plus two readers will receive an original issue of Argosy with one of Joan’s pseudonymous stories in it!



Joan Aiken Nom de Plume Giveaway!

Mon 21 Mar 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | 60 Comments| Posted by: Gavin

Joan Aiken giveawayWe just sent none other than a new collection by the late and much missed Joan Aiken to the printer. What a storyteller! It’s been pure pleasure working on The Monkey’s Wedding and Other Stories. It’s full of spooky, funny, heartbreaking, enchanting, clever, and sometimes wicked stories.  There are 19 stories in all, six of which have never been published(!), and two of which were first published in Argosy Magazine under the pseudonym Nicholas Dee.

Which is where the fun comes in. Tell us either

  1. your favorite pseudonym (and, if you want, why it’s your fave)
  2. your pseudonym (own up!)
  3. or a pseudonym you’d like to use (it can be serious or . . . not so serious!)

On publication day April 19, 2011 we’ll use random.org to pick two winners each of whom will receive not only a copy of The Monkey’s Wedding, but also an original copy of the issue of Argosy containing one of Joan’s pseudonymous stories—as well as any goodies we have lying around the office. And, three more readers (in the US & Canada only, sorry) will receive copies of the book!

Here are the Tables of Contents of Argosy with “Red-Hot Favorite” (this issue also has a story by Isak Dinesen) and “Girl in a Whirl” and above is a pic of the original magazines. (Which make for fascinating reading, btw: from the ads it looks like there were as many people willing to part new writers from their money then as there are now!

And of course you can make sure you get your copy (hardcover or ebook) of The Monkey’s Wedding by ordering it here.

That’s it! Enter as many times as you like. Can’t wait to find out who you all really are!



On how to quiet a baby

Tue 15 Mar 2011 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Mystery baby by Adam Tinworth“I will only mention that, after a good deal of experiment, I found one infallible method of stopping the baby’s howls. This was to put it in the pram and race it at top speed (I should say here that I had won the fifteen years and under three-quarter mile at the village sports) round and round the field. The baby liked this. Unfortunately Tweetie the dog didn’t care for it; he was nervous about my running, maybe he thought I was trying to kidnap the child, and insisted on racing beside me, taking a nip out of my calf every so often and barking in a high-pitched hysterical manner.”
—from “Harp Music” by Joan Aiken in The Monkey’s Wife and Other Stories

Photo by Adam Tinworth.


2011 looks good from here

Sun 5 Dec 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | 1 Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Lydia Millet, FiresSpread the word! We have added a bunch (A BUNCH!) of new books to the site. These are the books we’ve been secretly working on this year—well, the ones we’re telling you about. We’ve got contracts going on a few more by authors familiar and not so much and they all share one thing: they are Awesome.

In what way Awesome? Don’t you just want them all now? Yes!

How about Lydia Millet‘s first kid’s book?—and it’s the first of a series! It’s set on Cape Cod where nothing  is quite what it seems. Not to be a spoiler, but it has a killer last line. And, we are so proud to be publishing a new Joan Aiken collection! (We have an excellent competition coming with this.) Joan’s stories are unique, they’re so amusing, so unexpected. She’s a little along the lines of Roald Dahl, I suppose. Oh, what an odd and excellent book. And, the cover is by one of our faves, Shelley Jackson.

We’re going to be doing another Planner and this one has fabby art by Kathleen Jennings. Email us if there’s something you’d like to see in it—or if you have something to pitch for it.

Also: more Geoff Ryman: The Child Garden is even weirder than you remember. Biopunk London, polar bears, viruses, and more. Wowee. New cover coming on that, too.

Good news for fans of Boston bookhound Henry Sullivan, The Second Hound, aka Hound2, or, A Slepyng Hound to Wake, is even better than the first!

Annnnnnnnd, there’s a chapbook from your friend and mine, Hal Duncan!



Hello 2010

Mon 4 Jan 2010 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

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:

Apple 60W MagSafe Power Adapter (for MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Pro)Customer Ratings 2.0 Based on 1139 reviews

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!



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