Kelly Link will be reading in Greensboro tonight — check out the picture of her midflow on the UNCG MFA program page! Here’s the info:
The MFA Writing Program at Greensboro and The Greensboro Review will host a fiction reading by Kelly Link on Thursday, March 9th at 7PM in the UNCG Faculty Center on College Avenue. The event is free and open to the public and will be followed by a book signing.
And, hey if you are in that area, don’t miss the upcoming readings with Chris Abani (3/22), David Blair (4/5), and Heather Hartley (4/13).
This weekend I would love to be in San Francisco for FogCon where Ayize Jama-Everett and Delia Sherman are the Guests of Honor — and Iain M. Banks (RIP) is the Honored Ghost — and the theme is “Interstitial Spaces.” I just looked at the programming and it made me want to go, darn it. It will be a weekend of great conversations!
And coming up in two weeks, on Friday 3/24, Sofia Samatar will be on a panel at the Virginia Festival of the Book: “Building (and Breaking) Worlds in Contemporary Science Fiction and Fantasy,” Central JMRL Library, Charlottesville, VA.
We’ve arrived in DC — where democracy is taking a beating, fingers crossed it will survive — and tomorrow the whole AWP shebang begins. Our books are still in transit due to the ice storm that hit the northeast. With luck I’ll be getting them today and by tomorrow there will be a lovely table (110-T, come on by and say hello) full of books all neatly set up and ready for dispersement into the world.
There are approximately four quadrillions readings and parties going on in the next few days. Here are a few Small Beer-related or -adjacent during the conference and then on Saturday at 6 pm we have a reading with Kelly Link & Juan Martinez at Politics and Prose.
Signing at the Small Beer Press table: 110-T (on the edge, near Tin House)
10:00am to 10:30am Juan Martinez
10:30am to 11:00am Sofia Samatar
11:00am to 11:30am Kelly Link
|Thursday, February 9, 2017|
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm
Marquis Salon 7 & 8, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two
R205. The Political Woman: Historical Novelists Reimagine and Reclaim Women’s Place in Politics. (Erin Lindsay McCabe, Gina Mulligan , Karen Joy Fowler, Alex Myers, Mary Volmer) While rarely central and often discounted, women have always played a role in politics. In this panel, historical novelists discuss how and why they chose to unearth and reimagine the lost and untold stories of women in politics. What are the risks and rewards of using fiction to place women at the center of political narratives? What liberties are novelists compelled, or unwilling, to take with the historical record?
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
Ballroom A, Washington Convention Center, Level Three
R282. Jennifer Egan, Karen Joy Fowler, and Hannah Tinti: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau. (Ron Charles, Jennifer Egan, Karen Joy Fowler, Hannah Tinti) This event will bring together three engaging contemporary female writers to read and discuss their craft. Jennifer Egan is the author of five books, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel A Visit From the Goon Squad. Karen Joy Fowler is the author of nine books, including We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, which won the PEN/Faulkner Award. Hannah Tinti is the author of three books, including The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, which will be published in 2017.
|Saturday, February 11, 2017 View Full Schedule|
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
Liberty Salon N, O, & P, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four
S181. Immigrants/Children of Immigrants: A Nontraditional Path to a Writing Career . (Ken Chen , Monica Youn, Marie Myung-Ok Lee, Juan Martinez, Irina Reyn ) Not only do you not have an uncle in publishing or see people from the neighborhood get MFAs, immigrants and children of immigrants are inculcated to opt for “safe,” “secure,” often well-paying jobs; a writing career may seem like an unimaginable luxury or a fantasy. This panel of working writers looks at both psychic and structural issues that add a special challenge for writers from immigrant families.
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
Marquis Salon 9 & 10, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two
S271. The Short Story as Laboratory. (Lesley Nneka Arimah, Carmen Maria Machado, Kendra Fortmeyer, Sofia Samatar, Juan Martinez) What does short fiction allow? The form is beloved by science fiction writers, who use it to test out hypothetical futures; what does it offer writers who are doing other kinds of testing, related to emotional transitions, marginality, and migration? Is the short story an inherently border form? This panel considers these questions, the challenge of putting a set of experiments into a collection, and the tension between the laboratory and the completed book.
Kelly Link and Juan Martinez
Politics & Prose Bookstore, 5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008 Get Directions
Kelly Link will read with Juan Martinez (Best Worst American) at the most excellent Politics & Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse. This event is free to attend with no reservation required. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis. Click here for more information.
And will be unimpressed with your chaos, bombast, and moral weakness. That the Democratic Party are not impeaching this President yet is astounding. That the “Republican Party” accept their “President’s” actions: his racist Executive Orders, his racist and lying advisor and press secretary, his not recording his calls to Vladimir Putin, his insulting of allies, his emolument-clause twisting actions show that they are power hungry dogs willing to tear the country to pieces if only they can hold on to power for a moment longer.
Our town was supposed to get 51 refugees this year. There has been so much prepwork done for these 51 people — out of 60,000,000 displaced people. This anti-humanist “government” is a disgrace.
Here’s to the people who have been, are, and will continue to volunteer, march, and fight for actual freedom and the welcoming principles this country has (at least supposedly) espoused.
As well as all that: we publish extremely good books and here are a few spots in the world where they are being enjoyed:
— We published but five books last year and four of them are on the Locus Recommended Reading List. No stories from LCRW, which I’d disagree with, as would be expected of any editor. But I tend to think LCRW is one of the best zines out there and one I consistently read (for), so there’s my 2 cents.
— Over on Tor.com Juan Martinez writes about George Saunders’s CivilWarLand in Bad Decline for “The One Book That Unstuck My Writing”
“I owe so much of my writing life to George Saunders that even this introductory bit is lifted from him, I just realized, even as I started writing it. Because I was going to begin by sharing how often I fantasized about meeting writers I admired, and it’s super common, this fantasy—writers meeting their idols, and then the idol recognizes your genius and you become best buds, and the idol lifts you from whatever dire circumstances you happen to be in, and your life is perfect from then on. I totally wanted to start with that—with confessing how often I thought of meeting Saunders—before I realized why I wanted to start with that.”
— a profile of the indomitable Ursula K. Le Guin by David Larsen in New Zealand’s The Listener:
“Words Are My Matter demonstrates, among other things, the difference between a hectoring sermon and a memorable oration – notably in the text of her instantly viral 2014 speech on freedom, in which she lambasts profit-driven corporate publishing. ‘Books aren’t just commodities; the profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable – but then, so did the divine right of kings.'”
of Sofia Samatar’s Tender:
“Equal parts brutal and beautiful, flinty, and acrobatic, Samatar’s stories explore lesser known territories of the imagination. The results chime with all the strangeness of dream and the dark-hearted truth of fairytale. I loved it.”
Then an email like this comes in and I think YES! We will make the future we want and need. Today’s thanks go out to adrienne maree brown (co-editor of Octavia’s Brood) and Sofia Samatar for her collection Tender:
“Sofia Samatar’s stories are just so good. Surprising. Suspenseful at an emotional level — I kept finding myself plummeted into an emotion face first, everything built up so steadily, with such subtle and meticulous storytelling. Samatar earns readers’ trust and uses it to take us into unexpected territory, to make us see ourselves in our power, in our messiness. Tender is the right word, so many of these stories touched into the place of gasping, or tears. Each story had me like, “Oh this is my favorite, I must mention this one.” But then I would read the next story which would be Another Whole Paradigm, similar only in that the writing was astonishing, each word so precise. This collection is an exquisite exploration of what otherness and belonging and place and language and love do to us all. It is visionary fiction. Please accept this as my enthusiastic recommendation to let this book have its way with you.”
Reviewers/Booksellers/Bloggers: please check the book out on Edelweiss.
“The stories in Sofia Samatar’s Tender are perfect and profound works of art written with the impossible ease of someone who has unlimited access to the secret knowledge of the exact right order in which words are supposed to go. The stories ring in sympathy with the reader like the favorite stories of childhood or youth or old age: Familiar and strange in the same proportion. These stories give you several new lives to live and with each reading–because you will read all of them several times–you discover new tales and new possibilities hidden within and you are filled endlessly with the pure pleasure of great literature.”
Ben Loory just sent this about Sofia Samatar’s first story collection, Tender, coming in April:
“If a library came alive, and spent ten thousand years walking up and down upon the earth, exploring and dreaming and falling in and out of love, it might write stories like these.”
To which I say, wow! Also: true.
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:
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.
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 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.
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.”
Should democracy survive in this sometimes lovely country in 2017 we will publish these books:
1. Sofia Samatar, Tender: Stories
This is a ridiculously good book. Twenty stories including two new stories which — POP! there goes my mind.
2. Laurie J. Marks, Fire Logic and Earth Logic in paperback. The ebooks are out but these trade paperbacks coming out is us building toward publishing the fourth and final Elemental Logic novel, Air Logic.
3. Kij Johnson, The River Bank: A sequel to Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. Illustrated throughout by Kathleen Jennings.
A book that came to us out of the blue and a reminder that there can be joy in the world.
4. Christopher Rowe, Telling the Map: Stories
Sometimes you wait a long time and then a good thing happens. This book ranges out from now in Kentucky to who knows where or when. And: wow.
5. Sarah Rees Brennan, In Other Lands: a novel
This is the funniest epic-not-epic fantasy you’ll read next year.
None of the covers are 100% final.
And, fingers crossed, there will be more books later in the year.
I owe an apology and a great debt of thanks to the authors for their immense patience as work slowed and stalled during and after this most recent election. Sorry. Putting out a new issue of LCRW helped with getting me back into doing things and not just calling senators and despairing.
I feel silly and melodramatic to be worried about democracy — not perhaps the best form of government, but the best I’ve seen yet — and to think that I and others can work to keep this country from becoming a militarized plutocracy/kleptocracy. This election that among others things was influenced by the Russian government…
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) December 7, 2016
…(oh that that were a conspiracy theory), this convulsion away from liberalism and toward a much darker, narrower future is horrifying and must be fought.
For now, we will fight one book at a time.
“Perpetually and pleasantly startling and unexpected. Her prose is by turns sharp and sumptuous, and always perfectly controlled. Samatar’s writing strongly recalls Guy Gavriel Kay’s fantasy, which reads like historical fiction, but there are strains here too of Jane Austen and something wilder.”
(BTW, we have signed copies from AWP if you’d like one.)
The timing of this review is fortuitous as this coming weekend Sofia is one of the three guests of honor at WisCon 40. I don’t know which Wiscon was my first — I think I will ask Kelly who has a better memory and will confirm that, no, I was not at the first one despite being the average seven year old reader of all things who would have enjoyed it. But I have many happy memories from going to many of them over the years, and a few crap memories, too, but c’est la vie, yes? The harassment policies are stronger now and I am more likely to speak up for myself in a way I did not in the past. Ach, youth. I wonder if in 20 years time I will look back at me now and still say, Ach, youth? (Hey, if the world has not flooded by then, sure.)
One of the things I have long loved about WisCon is the self selection of the attendees. Pretty much anyone who wanders into a convention tagged feminist science fiction has done some serious thinking about the state of the world — and whether we agreed or not, I’ve been to many panels (and parties, and conversations sitting on the floor of the hallway) where the conversations about where humanity is and where it is going are second to none.
I also love the speeches (wow!), the consuite (who knows when a snack is needed?), the Tiptree dessert sale (best reason ever to eat a plate or two of desserts), the opening night at Room of One’s Own, State Street restaurants, the art show and the auction — I have a few things from the auction that are still prize possessions. And of course, I love the book room, but, hey, that would not be a surprise. There are so many good publishers and bookstores. For the past half dozen years our friend David Schwartz has run the Small Beer tables, and he’s at it again this year. If you’re there, say hi. Hi, Dave!
I am sorry to miss it this year. Maybe next? I had a great time last year — although I ran a lackluster party which did not hold a candle to previous parties, sorry attendees! Sometimes the energy is there, sometimes you flip the switch and nothing happens. Eek. Besides, this decade the Floomp is the one and only place to be. How do I know? I saw photos from last year while I was babysitting. (The childcare at WisCon is topnotch and much appreciated.)
I will miss friends, strangers, seeing Sofia and Nalo feted, wandering around the farmer’s market, escaping to Michelangelo’s and attending a reading there anyway, and so many more things. It will be a fun, fast weekend, filled with the possibilities of bending the future into better shape and I hope everyone there has a grand time.
One of these days I will sit back with a huge bowl of popcorn, a beer, and a huge grin and watch the premiere of Ayize Jama-Everett’s Liminal books on TV or at the movies. No solid news yet, but one day it will come and I will be bouncing up and down about it. In the meantime listen to Lilliam Rivera’s interview with Ayize — and the great music — on Radio Sombra.
Ayize read part of his final Liminal novel at the AWP conference in LA last month and he sang part of the song “Notorious” — which is on the episode by Turbulence but Ayize also mentions the version by Nãnci and Phoebe, listen to that one here — I love Nãnci and Phoebe’s Cypher Cycles song, too: they’re outside, it’s cold, people are going by, no matter, the singing and beatboxing is great.
A little international news: the French translation of A Stranger in Olondria has been nominated for the Prix Imaginales. Fingers crossed we will have more international news on Sofia’s books soon, too.
And a couple of fave author have new novels coming out:
“Nerve-jangling and addictive, Elizabeth Hand’s Hard Light offers up a signature Cass Neary tale of moral ambivalence, keen betrayal and a dark lushness that leaps off the page. And with Cass―relentless in her dangerous curiosity, her ruthless art of survival―Hand has created an anti-hero for the ages. We’d follow her anywhere, into any glittery abyss, and do.”
and a trailer:
“Like an alchemist, Sofia Samatar spins golden landscapes and dazzling sentences. . . . The Winged Histories is a fantasy novel for those who take their sentences with the same slow, unfolding beauty as a cup of jasmine tea, and for adventurers like Tav, who are willing to charge ahead into the unknown.”
Sofia also has a new story today in The Revelator:
Besides our groovy (sorry) reading on Wed. March 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Last Bookstore [with Kelly Link (Get in Trouble), Maureen F. McHugh (After the Apocalypse), Ayize Jama-Everett (The Entropy of Bones), and Sofia Samatar (The Winged Histories)] we have a few other things we’d like to share:
First: we have a table, #1331, in the huge bookfair. Come search us out!
Second: panels and stuff!
Thursday, March 31
11:00 am to 11:30 am
Table 1331, Ayize Jama-Everett (The Entropy of Bones) signing
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm
Room 515 A, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
R265. Smooth Criminals: What’s at Stake When We Break the Rules? (Juan Martinez, Susan Hubbard, Robin Rozanski, Julie Iromuanya) What writing rule do you hate? Love? We all break a few: We switch POV halfway through a story, we use too many exclamation marks, we don’t write what we know, or we use the wrong form, the wrong genre. The panelists balance the costs and benefits of these misdemeanors. They explore how rules hinge on cultural, ethnic, and social backgrounds. They provide rule-breaking exercises that have helped generate exciting material and talk about how rule-breaking has helped them publish and teach.
Friday, April 1
10:30 am to 11:45 am
Room 513, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
F161. Small Beer Press: 15th Anniversary Reading. (Sofia Samatar, Ayize Jama-Everett, Maureen F. McHugh, Juan Martinez) Fifteen years after Small Beer Press was founded to publish works that cross genre definitions, traditional bookstore shelving options, and academic course descriptions, four authors from different parts of the USA who now all live in California read from their books and then discuss the spaces their books were published into with Small Beer Press publisher and cofounder Gavin J. Grant.
2:00 pm to 2:30 pm
Table 1331, Sofia Samatar (The Winged Histories) signing
4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
Concourse Hall, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One
F271. Kelly Link, Emily St. John Mandel, and Ruth Ozeki: A Reading and Conversation, Sponsored by Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau. (Emily St. John Mandel, Ruth Ozeki, Kelly Link) This event brings together three brilliant contemporary female writers—Kelly Link, Emily St. John Mandel, and Ruth Ozeki—to read and discuss their craft and experiences as genre-bending authors. Kelly Link is the recipient of an NEA grant and is the author of Get in Trouble. Emily St. John Mandel is the author of Station Eleven, a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award. Ruth Ozeki is the author of A Tale for the Time Being, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
Saturday, April 2
10:00am to 10:30am
Table 1331, Kelly Link (Get in Trouble) signing
11:00am to 11:30am
Table 1331, Maureen F. McHugh (After the Apocalypse)
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
AWP Bookfair Stage, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One
S171. In the Realms of the Real and the Unreal. (Katharine Beutner, Sofia Samatar, Carmen Machado, Alice Sola Kim, Kelly Link) This panel explores genres of fiction that juxtapose the real and the unreal in experimental ways: historical fiction, literary fantasy/science fiction, weird fiction, and satire. Where do we draw the line between a secondary world and a distorted reflection of our own world’s beauty, violence, and diversity? Can we discern a poetics of the unreal in contemporary fiction? How have the continual debates over generic boundaries—and/or their irrelevance—affected the ways contemporary writers work?
If you’re in LA — or going there for the AWP conference — I hope you’ll join us on Wednesday, March 30, at 7:30 pm at the Last Bookstore for a reading/party with beer, snackity snacks, and most importantly, excellent short readings from four fabulous authors!
Ayize Jama-Everett, The Entropy of Bones
“. . . consistently resists easy categorization. . . . by setting the book in a weird, if recognizable, Bay Area, Jama-Everett captures something about the way it feels to live so close to so much money and yet so far; he traces the differences between postindustrial East Bay towns, the gray melancholy of an older city, the particular feeling of struggling while surrounded by otherworldly wealth. If the book veers among different approaches . . . there’s nevertheless a vitality to the voice and a weirdness that, while not always controlled or intentional, is highly appealing for just that reason.”— Charles Yu, New York Times Book Review
Kelly Link, Get in Trouble: Stories
Time Magazine Top 10 Fiction of 2015 · NPR 2015 Great Reads · Slate Laura Miller’s 10 Favorite Books of 2015 · Buzzfeed Books We Loved in 2015 · Book Riot Best of 2015 · io9: Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2015 · Flavorwire: Best Fiction of 2015 · San Francisco Chronicle Best of 2015 · Electric Lit Best Story Collections of 2015 · Washington Post Notable Books of the Year · Kirkus Best Books of the Year · Toronto Star Top 5 Fiction of 2015 · New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice · Los Angeles Times bestseller · Locus Recommended Reading
Maureen F. McHugh, After the Apocalypse: Stories
Shirley Jackson Award winner · Publishers Weekly Top 10 Books of the Year · NPR Best Books of the Year · io9 Best SF&F Books of the Year · Tiptree Award Honor List · Philip K. Dick Award finalist · Story Prize Notable Book
Sofia Samatar, The Winged Histories
“A highly recommended indulgence.” — N. K. Jemisin, New York Times Book Review · “An imaginative, poetic, and dark meditation on how history gets made.” — Hello Beautiful · “Samatar has created characters that you will carry around with you for weeks (months?). If you love strong voices, world-building, and books that tell hard truths with beautiful language, these are for you.” — Jenn Northington, Book Riot · “Samatar’s use of poetic yet unpretentious language makes her one of the best writers of today. Reading her books is like sipping very rich mulled wine. The worldbuilding and characterization is exquisite. This suspenseful and elegiac book discusses the lives of fictional women in a fantasy setting who fear their histories will be lost in a way that is only too resonant with the hidden histories of women in our own age.” — Romantic Times Book Reviews (4.5/5 stars, Top Pick)
Yay! No matter what you may have heard on the radio, read on the internets, or seen scratched on the sidewalk outside your favorite bookshop, today is the official publication day for Sofia Samatar‘s second novel The Winged Histories and here at last it is.
And here for your enjoyment, a review of the book by Marion Deeds on Fantastic Literature who enjoys writing down who the book might be fore and says “If you love stories but distrust them, if you love language and can also see how it is used as a tool or a weapon in the maintenance of status quo, then read The Winged Histories” and then Mahvesh Murad interviews Sofia about “writing short stories, teaching, translations and making life a giant book club” for episode 47 of the Midnight in Karachi podcast.
All in all, it is a great day for all of us here, the day we publish The Winged Histories.
Just got wind of two, wait, three, highly relevant and interesting staff picks at by one great bookseller at Ravenna Third Place Books in Seattle. Two out of three books here may not surprise you, the third one may?
It’s pretty great as a publisher on (near!) the east coast to see our books as staff picks on the west coast. Which reminds me that The Winged Histories is also a staff pick at BookPeople in Austin, yay!
The Winged Histories by Sofia Samatar
“You can always trust Small Beer Press to bring you the beautiful and the strange. In The Winged Histories, four women (a solider, a scholar, a poet, and a socialite) relate their experiences of a shattering rebellion and its aftermath. Far from linear, each woman’s narrative plumbs the depths of their individual and cultural memories; and surprisingly the ending — where Samatar ties off a wonderful multitude of threads — was so brilliant, such a dark surprise, it was nearly my favorite part. One of the best things about The Winged Histories (and its stunning prequel, A Stranger in Olondria) is its fierce lyricism and the depths of Samatar’s worldbuilding. Every character is a believable expression not only of individual traits but of the invented historical texts, whole schools of literature, arguments between translators, oral traditions, and the fragments of bestiaries of the literature-sodden world of Olondria. Every page is worth your time.”
The Entropy of Bones by Ayize Jama-Everett
“Ayize Jama-Everett’s Entropy of Bones is a very exciting book! Chabi is unlike most young women — but that’s as far as Jama-Everett takes this trope before thankfully inverting it on its head. Chabi is black-Mongolian, and comes from part of the Bay Area solidly ignored if not harmed by that area’s rapid gentrification. She’s ready to start putting her martial arts training to use by earning money as a bodyguard, providing for herself and her estranged alcoholic mother. But then her mentor disappears, and she realizes that without her knowledge (and certainly her consent) he has transformed her into an unwilling champion in an ages-old supernatural battle. There are taut action sequences and moral conflicts, but Chabi’s tough, wise, and funny character holds every strange, fascinating bit together. Her story is rooted solidly in our own world, from aspiring young DJs to pot-growing cottage industrialists, but the behind-the-curtain world of elemental good and evil Jama-Everett creates feels tantalizingly real.”
And then the third pick is a book on my TBR pile, useful!
Our Spoons Came from Woolworths by Barbara Comyns
“This beautiful book, the story of an impoverished, naive young artist in 1930s London, totally took me by surprise. At first the mishaps of newly-married Sophia and her husband Charles are funny and awkward — everything Sophia cooks tastes like soap; they paint all of their furniture sea-green; they live in terror of Charles’ forbidding relatives; and they’re always hard up for money. But through a masterful technique of Comyns, Sophia’s wondering attitude slowly reveals as much about her (and her unconscious attempts to deflect the emotional impact of constant disappointments) as it does those around her, who benefit from exploiting her optimism and self-doubt. Some moments of the book approach psychological horror, and the happy ones (they exist!) come as a great relief.”
So next month we’ll try and take it back to where it all began: the zine, in print!
I’ll post the table of contents soonish. The cover is by none other than Kathleen Jennings. There are excellent stories. There will not be blood. There will be poetry. There will not be political posturing. Wait, there may be. We may misspell the acronym: LCWR, CLWR, MEHH, WHUT, LWRW, WWLCD? (She’d marry another younger man, start a fannncy lit mag, join a hospital ship, get a tattoo, have some fun.)
But I am meanwhiling here first about Sofia Samatar who has two stories in the inaugural edition of HMH’s latest addition to their Best American series: Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015. Also: are there more SBP authors in this book? Yes! See Nathan Ballingrud, Kelly Link, and two stories (Holly Black’s and Paolo Bacigalupi) from Monstrous Affections received honorable mentions.
It’s interesting to look at the list of stories passed on to Joe Hill by series editor John Joseph Adams to see where they were first published.
You can read Joe Hill’s introduction to the book on Entertainment Weekly where he calls Sofia ” a rising star in the genre” and “a young she-can-do-anything star” and describes her two stories as “incredibly different and equally breathtaking stories.” Absolutely!
Meanwhile over in bookland, Mary Rickert’s You Have Never Been Here: New and Selected Stories received two lovely trade reviews from PW and Kirkus. We’re sending out our last few galleys now and fingers crossed we will have the book on hand at World Fantasy Con in Saratoga Springs in a month or so! Mary will be there and we will not be running out of books the way we did with Archivist Wasp at Readercon. Dammit! (Sorry again, Nicole!) See below for links to the reviews. Suffice to say if you’ve enjoyed collections we’ve published by Elizabeth Hand, Nathan Ballingrud, Kelly Link, etc., etc., this one is for you.
And we are working on another collection, this one for July of next year by none other than Jeffrey Ford. But, hey, enough for today. More on that manana!
“Beautiful, descriptive prose enriches tales of ghosts, loss, and regret in this leisurely collection. . . . Fans of Neil Gaiman and Kelly Link will appreciate Rickert’s explorations of myth and memory.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Short stories about people haunted by loss and transformed by grief. Ghosts walk through this collection. Witches are rumored. People collect bones, sprout wings, watch their feet turn into hooves. Above all, people tell stories—stories that cast spells, stories that change the world. In “Journey into the Kingdom,” a tale about ghosts who walk out of the sea has a powerful effect on a young widower. In “Anyway,” a mother asks herself what she would sacrifice to save her son’s life. In the collection’s longest story, “The Mothers of Voorhisville,” a group of women are drawn together when they realize their newborn babies have something very strange in common. Not every piece sings, but those that do have a powerful, haunting effect. As the mother of a dead girl puts it in “The Chambered Fruit,” the best of these stories show how “from death, and sorrow, and compromise, you create,” how “this is what it means…to be alive.” Rickert’s (Holiday, 2010, etc.) writing is crystal-clear, moody, occasionally blood-chilling. Her characters maneuver through a world where strange, troubling transformations are possible, but they live and breathe on the page, fully human. The worlds Rickert creates are fantastical, but her work should appeal not just to fantasy fans, but to anyone who appreciates a well-told tale.”
— Kirkus Reviews
Climate change is one of humanity’s most pressing challenges. Researchers, environmentalists, and writers including Kim Stanley Robinson have called our societal failure to address climate change a problem of the imagination as much as one of economics or the environment. Previous generations of science fiction and fantasy writers provided inspiration for technical innovations ranging from cellphones to robotics to gene therapy. Michael J. DeLuca wanted to ask today’s writers: can speculative fiction help us find new ways to understand and approach the complex issue of global warming?
Stories, poetry, and nonfiction inspired by this question can be found in the new issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet (LCRW), the venerable, much-awarded indie fiction zine from Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link’s Small Beer Press. LCRW #33, guest edited by Michigan writer Michael J. DeLuca, approaches its theme of humanity’s relationship with the earth with a little humor, a touch of horror, and seventeen different kinds of understanding.
DeLuca spent two months reading hundreds of submissions from all over the world. The table of contents includes writers from California, Florida, Massachusetts, Minneapolis, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, Nova Scotia, Canada, London, U.K., and features stories, poems, essays and art from World Fantasy and Campbell award winner Sofia Samatar, Nebula and Shirley Jackson award nominee Carmen Maria Machado, World Fantasy Award nominee Christopher Brown and many other.
DeLuca says that asking this question of writers is ”not about pointing fingers or shouting down deniers. It’s not about politics. It’s about people, about how our actions affect the earth and how it affects us: physically, emotionally, spiritually. We’re part of the earth and it’s a part of us. I asked for optimism, I expected cynicism, I got both. I tried to find complexity and overlook the easy answers.”
LCRW #33 is now available in print from many independent bookstores or directly from the publisher at smallbeerpress.com and in DRM-free ebook from weightlessbooks.com as well as all the other usual ebookstores.
Michael J. DeLuca is available for interviews and excerpts are available for reprint.
About the Editor
Michael J. DeLuca is a writer, reader, dreamer, designer, brewer, baker, photographer, and philosopher. He produces both virtual and tangible goods in the form of bread, beer, tomatoes, websites, and stories. His fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex, and Interfictions, among others. He can be found online at mossyskull.com and twitter.com/michaeljdeluca
Discarded Titles for LCRW #33
The Humanity Versus the Earth Issue
The Earth Saves Itself from Humanity Issue
The 30% Non-Dead-Tree Issue
The Crying Indian Is Actually Italian Issue
The Women Turning Into Trees Issue
The What the Mushrooms Told Me Issue
The Jellyfish Inherit the Earth Issue
The Critical Mass Issue
The There Is No Such Thing as Critical Mass Issue The Change Is Inevitable Issue
The Inevitability Is Change Issue
Magazine / $5.00 / 56 pages
Ebook / $2.99 / ISBN: 9781618731173
What: Tuesday Funk with Alan DeNiro, Cameron McGill, Patty Templeton, Christa Desir and H.Melt, hosted by Andrew Huff and Eden Robins.
When: Feb. 3rd, 7 pm for 7:30 start.
Where: the Hopleaf (where the Bookslut readings used to be and very close to the excellent Women & Children First!), 5148 N. Clark St., Chicago 773-334-9851
Get ye along for there won’t be another chance to see Alan until AWP in April — where we will have a reading, a table, a banner, but probably not 100 mugs on a table the way Isaac Fitzgerald had on The Rumpus table in Boston a couple of years ago. Wait. We could totally rip that off.
Alan might read from his latest book, Tyrannia, which if you like weird political poetic poemic polemic stories: is for you.
In other news: Sofia Samatar has been burning up the internet! Here are a few links to keep you busy while we work on getting her second novel The Winged Histories ready to drop next year: twitter · The Guardian · Post 45.
Ayize Jama-Everett is working on the final final line edits of The Liminal War. That book is going to Knock People Over.
Michael DeLuca was just out here in Western Mass. and we talked about his guest editing an issue of LCRW — and drank some delicious beer. He also shoveled our drive, whoa! Snow days!
This morning brought to you by the sun which refuses to shine. Perhaps it is annoyed about the arrow I shot it down with the other day. I apologized and explained I was worried it would go away forever and we’d end up in a very boring (and short) dystopic future. The sun said it was not down with that and after chatting with the moon it promised to spin things up a bit and add a few minutes back to each day. At this point the whole southern hemisphere of the planet said, “Oi!” and I hid behind some boxes of books until they went away.
This morning also brought to you by the second printing of Sofia Samatar’s A Stranger in Olondria which arrived in the office and in the warehouse this week. At last and yay!
This morning is also brought to you by the Throwing Muses’s Hunkpapa (there are 4 comments on that page [where I think you can listen to the whole album!]: 1 offer to help with response, 1 comment, and 1 demand, which is a tiny look in at how people’s expectations and demands on performers have changed. Expectations: so high! Politeness, where did you go?). Anyway, Hunkpapa which was the only Muses I could find this morning in the office. Luckily I have a cassette player here(!). I think I have it because of the single “Dizzy” and also the year 1989. I’ve been reading Kristin Hersh‘s memoir Rat Girl which is pretty fantastic. It’s a real reminder that a writer (and a book) can have a voice unlike any other. There are sentences in there that read/sound like nothing I’ve read. The call out one-to-three line excerpts from the lyrics to her songs add a refractive perspective to the events. I’m almost done with the book and at that stage where I don’t want to be finished it — this is where series fiction/nonfiction wins! — but there’s no further memoirs, yet, so I’ll just have to stick it back on the shelf and re-read it sometime.
This morning also brought to you by a day where we’ve caught up on shipping again (yay! — just a couple of orders that came in after I left the office yesterday), a day in which we’ve reduced the submissions to a near-manageable 2-foot stack with plans for reducing even that, and the very, very cheery news that there is some solid forward movement on our our John Crowley project. Yay!
We are so, so happy to celebrate Sofia Samatar’s novel A Stranger in Olondria receiving the World Fantasy Award. Congratulations and all joy to Sofia whose debut novel has been so widely recognized as a strong, inventive, and fabulous addition to the field. Besides the World Fantasy Award, Olondria has also received the British Fantasy and Crawford awards and was a Nebula and Locus finalist and Sofia won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
Congratulations are due to all the nominees and the winners:
Life Achievement: Ellen Datlow and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Novel: A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar (Small Beer)
Novella: “Wakulla Springs”, Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages (Tor.com 10/2/13)
Short Fiction: “The Prayer of Ninety Cats”, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Subterranean Spring ’13)
Anthology: Dangerous Women, George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, eds. (Tor; Voyager)
Collection: The Ape’s Wife and Other Stories, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Subterranean)
Artist: Charles Vess
Special Award – Professional: (tie) Irene Gallo, for art direction of Tor.com and William K. Schafer, for Subterranean Press
Special Award – Nonprofessional: Kate Baker, Neil Clarke, & Sean Wallace, for Clarkesworld
We spent the weekend in Arlington, VA, at the World Fantasy Convention catching up with many friends and meeting many new people. Our book haul was impressive! We came down from Massachusetts on the train with Kathleen Jennings whose illustration graces the cover of Olondria and throughout the weekend I was lucky enough to spend time with both Sofia and Kathleen. Part of the joy of the time was knowing that Sofia and Kathleen were comparing notes and that they were both looking forward to working on the cover of Sofia’s next novel, The Winged Histories, which, along with a short story collection, Small Beer Press will publish.
Once they’ve arrived back from Virginia, we’ll have a few signed copies of A Stranger in Olondria in stock (the hardcover will be out of print soon) as well as a few signed copies each of books from Ysabeau S. Wilce, Eileen Gunn, Nathan Ballingrud, Ted Chiang.
Wed 29 Oct 2014 - Filed under: Not a Journal., Andy Duncan, Benjamin Rosenbaum, conventions, Delia Sherman, Eileen Gunn, Ellen Kushner, Kathleen Jennings, Nancy Kress, Sofia Samatar, Ysabeau S. Wilce | 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!
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.
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
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
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?