Dance on to the PKD Shortlist

Wed 20 Jan 2021 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Dance on Saturday cover - click to view full sizeWe’re delighted to see that Elwin Cotman’s Dance on Saturday is one of the finalists for the 2021 Philip K. Dick Award. Here’s the press release:

The judges of the 2021 Philip K. Dick Award and the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society, along with the Philip K. Dick Trust, are pleased to announce the six nominated works that comprise the final ballot for the award:

FAILED STATE by Christopher Brown (Harper Voyager)
THE BOOK OF KOLI by M. R. Carey (Orbit)
DANCE ON SATURDAY by Elwin Cotman (Small Beer Press)
BONE SILENCE by Alastair Reynolds (Orbit)
ROAD OUT OF WINTER by Alison Stine (Mira)
THE DOORS OF EDEN by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Orbit)

First prize and any special citations will be announced on Friday, April 2, 2021 at Norwescon 44 which will be held virtually this year. The link to the ceremony will be posted at when it is available.

The Philip K. Dick Award is presented annually with the support of the Philip K. Dick Trust for distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States during the previous calendar year. The award is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the Philip K. Dick Trust and the award ceremony is sponsored by the Northwest Science Fiction Society.

Last year’s winner was SOONER OR LATER EVERYTHING FALLS INTO THE SEA: STORIES by Sarah Pinsker (Small Beer Press) with a special citation to THE LITTLE ANIMALS by Sarah Tolmie (Aqueduct Press).

The 2021 judges are F. Brett Cox, Brendan A. DuBois, Cynthia Felice, Tim Pratt, and Jessica Reisman (Chair).

NPR Best of the Year

Wed 30 Dec 2020 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

In 2020 like everyone else in the world we rang the changes pretty hard. Our kid has been remote schooled (i.e. at home) since March, we closed Book Moon to walk-in browsing and ran it as a phone, online, and curbside pickup joint, and ran ourselves as hard as we could just to stand still.

Here’s an indented aside on Book Moon: it’s a small, local bookshop with an outsize national and international reach and those two facts kept it alive this year. We have a small staff, 4 smart and hardworking part-time booksellers, me and Kelly, and Kelly’s mother, an invaluable volunteer. We worked either as the 2 of us (plus kid doing school) or either Jed or Amanda alone in the store. On weekends in autumn and winter, Franchie worked outside as a carnival barker — although everyone has mixed feelings about actually trying to attract more people to the store. Having only one person in the store at a time was tough. I’m glad we only have one phone line and appreciate people leaving messages.

Every month at Book Moon has been our best month — but some of that is just us having fun with words. March to October sales were flat flat flat. We took out a small PPP loan which I think will be turned into a grant. Our landlords gave us a truly needed break on the rent — it was the difference between breaking even and losing money. All that aside, sure, these were our best March, April, May, June, July, August, September, and even October yet. November 2020 was 20% up on November 2019. December 2020 beat (THANKS ALL!) our actual best month so far, December 2019 — but woah what a different kind of work all these phone and internet orders are.

Book Moon is part of Do I want to only have a Bookshop site? No. Do I think it’s a good thing? People love it and if it gets them off the crappiness that is Am*zon, all the better.

I hoped and expected sales to grow this year. Easthampton has been very welcoming to having its own bookstore. But I also expected to have 1-3 booksellers in the store each day who were not Kelly or me. Covid meaning only us or 1 person at a time in the store has meant squeezing time for Small Beer pretty hard. Will it change? Yes. Soon? No.

So we ran ourselves hard because what we are doing, publishing books, running a bookshop, putting out a zine, is what we really want to keep doing. Do I want 750 Book Moons around the country or to publish 120 books a year? Not really. Do I like this what we’re doing? Yes!

So as purveyors of the written word — be it in printed book form, ebook, audiobook, zine, or T-shirt format — to readers local and far flung we are pretty damned grateful to still be around here at the end of December 2020 and to be (knock on wood, wearing a mask, washing hands) healthy. We’d like to do this for some years to come so we owe you thanks for buying books from us, borrowing them from a library, attending events, picking them up used, reviewing and sharing them.

In 2020 we published one new book (1), one TV tie-in (2), brought two books back into print (3) in new editions (as well as innumerable reprints, but that might be too much for me to go find), and published two issues of LCRW (41 — the free one, 42 — the answer, of course).

  1.  Elwin Cotman, Dance on Saturday: Stories
    — Karen Russell, “In addition to being wildly inventive, is also so goddamn funny.”
    — and the reason for the title of this post. It really is an amazing read.
  2. Nathan Ballingrud, Monsterland
    — if you watch the show on Hulu try and match the stories to the episodes.
  3. (i) Elizabeth Hand, Generation Loss
    — Danielle Trussoni, New York Times Book Review: <“Elizabeth Hand’s Cass Neary series began in 2008 with Generation Loss, a startling and addictive novel that introduced a protagonist fueled by drugs and post-punk irreverence.
    — More news on book 2 & 3 in the Cass Neary series in early 2021.
    (ii) Susan Stinson, Martha Moody
    — Karen Rigby, Foreword Reviews: “An exuberant, cheeky Western in which sensual hunger steers an offbeat homesteader toward freedom.”

Other things that happened: since a friend talked us into joining the local Hot Chocolate Walk me and the kid have joined 6,000+ people in early December on a walk to raise money for a local shelter organization, Safe Passage. This year there was no walk but of course Safe Passage still needs the funds so we put up our page and it was just beyond inspiring and so lovely to see people from all over the country donate. Thanks, all. I continue to review zines for Xerography Debt and really enjoy the different views of the world represented in zines.

Weightless Books continues along as a half decent DRM-free independent alternative ebookstore. Next year, time willing, Michael and I have a few ideas to freshen it up. But that would be after everything else gets done.

In LCRW news, a story from #40, Michael Byers’s “Sibling Rivalry” was reprinted in Best American Short Stories 2020, edited by Curtis Sittenfeld. We gave away #41 to print and electronic subscribers to provide a moment of joy for one and all. This year has been so crappy, sending out a couple of hundred free zines was a respite.

This was a year in which we writers sent us longer stories that caught us by surprise. From LCRW 42, Sarah Langan’s You Have the Prettiest Mask was excerpted on Lithub and there were 2 long stories in LCRW 41, Rachel Ayers, “Magicians & Grotesques” and David Fawkes’s “Letterghost.”

We have quite a backlog of good things to come for LCRW. Will 2021 be the year we manage 3 issues? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. I know we are publishing collections from Alaya Dawn Johnson, Isabel Yap, Jeffrey Ford, Zen Cho, and one more writer late in the year, perhaps there will be space for another LCRW in there somewhere.

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 42 cover - click to view full size Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet No. 41 cover - click to view full size Dance on Saturday cover - click to view full size Martha Moody cover - click to view full size Generation Loss cover - click to view full size

Online Events (links TK)

Wed 16 Sep 2020 - Filed under: Not a Journal., , , , | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

There are a few online events featuring Small Beer authors planned in the next couple of weeks and there are more TK but here are the first few:

September 16, 7 p.m. PST
Elwin Cotman (Dance on Saturday)
Register here.

September 24, 7:30 p.m. EST
Pre-register for the inaugural event of the Strange Light Reading Series (originally planned to take place at Book Moon) hosted by Alexandra Manglis & Yvette Ndlovu with Karen Lord (Redemption in Indigo 10-year anniversary reading) & Tess

a Gratton (Night Shine).

October 18, 6:30 p.m. EST

Elwin Cotman (Dance on Saturday)
The Ivy Bookshop, 5928 Falls Road, Baltimore, MD 21209
Register here.


2 x Buzzfeed

Wed 3 Jun 2020 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment| Posted by: Gavin

Dance on Saturday cover - click to view full sizeWe moved Elwin Cotman’s forthcoming collection, Dance on Saturday, from this month to August since a lot of booksellers and reviewers were unable to receive their review copies in a timely fashion. But that just means more time for people to look forward to it!

Buzzfeed recently had it on 2 summer reading lists. Add it to yours!

“Cotman blends humor, emotional clarity, and wild imagination to bring life to stories about identity, power, and human nature.”
— Arianna Rebolini, Buzzfeed, 29 Summer Books You Won’t Be Able To Put Down

“Fantastically weird short stories infused with elements from Black culture. . . . Each story provides a singular and riveting reading experience.”
— Margaret Kingsbury, Buzzfeed, 17 Summer Must-Reads For Fantasy Lovers