“Su Wei’s The Invisible Valley is a remarkable work, pungent, funny, and mind-widening. Austin Woerner’s translation is nearly invisible: it erases all barriers of strangeness and places the reader deep within a Chinese experience that comes to seem as familiar to us as our own daily round — if ours too had ghost brides and very big snakes.”
(In case you missed it, John has a new website, here, which isn’t quite a deep dive but will be a very enjoyable browse for any Crowley reader.)]]>
It is hard to pay printing, royalties, artists, advertising and marketing, rent, etc. with less than 1/3 of retail.
I know not everyone has a good local bookstore, a local branch of a chain, or a decent library, but if you have, *please* consider buying/borrowing books there. Am*zon still want to crush all competition (Bezos’s first name for the business was Relentless dot com) in all markets that they enter. They are fantastic at customer service, especially compared to some local businesses, but they are terrible for everyone else, suppliers, intermediaries, etc. If a company needs help with marketing, they should definitely hire SMR Digital.
The discount creeps up a little more every year — something has to give. I suppose it won’t be Am*zon. Guess it will be us Small Gazelle Presses who want to publish interesting books, work with a wide range of people and artists, and see if we can send these weird things out into the world and find readers.
We are all together building the world we want. I want small and big bookstores all over the place. Loads of publishers following their own visions. This Christmas/holiday of your choice, please consider Powell’s, Indiebound, Kobo, B&N, anyone, anyone but Am*zon.
I put this in the newsletter yesterday and now we’re caught up with shipping from that, I’m posting it here.
Buy any 2 of our books and pick one of the books below FREE!
Include the title as a note or email us, we can deal with it! (Buy 4, pick 2 freebies, buy 12, pick, I don’t know, 7,8?)
Print titles only.
North America only: sorry. International mailing is abominable. (But: DRM-free ebooks are here.)
All US orders taking advantage of this will be upgraded to Priority Mail.
(Sorry: remainders not included.)
Offer ended 5 pm EST December 20, 2017.
Holiday Shipping Deadlines.]]>
Anyway, the latest anyway in a line of 10,000, besides Publishers Weekly including it in their Top 10 SF, Fantasy & Horror Spring 2018 Announcements(!), Library Journal gave Vandana Singh’s forthcoming collection a very strong review in their December 1 issue**:
“In “Wake Rider,” a young woman faces death in different forms as she also contemplates the possibilities of her life. In “Oblivion: A Journey,” a long-held need for revenge keeps the protagonist striving for life beyond death until the realization sets in that mortality may be the only relief. The heroine of “Requiem” travels to Alaska a year after her aunt’s disappearance, seeking answers. All of the stories here feature characters who are trying to discover the nature of their existence and how their lives connect others. VERDICT Rising star Singh draws on her Indian roots and physics background to bring her first North American collection to readers. Admirers of literary sf will want to read this.”
* Answers on a postcard to the usual address, thank ee kindly!
** Also in that issue: their review of The Invisible Valley.
“In 1960s China, life takes a dramatic turn for 21-year-old Le Beiping immediately after he is tricked into entering a “ghost marriage” with Han, the dead daughter of the foreman from his reeducation group. Sent off to work as a cattle herder in a remote area called Mudkettle Mountain, Lu meets Jade, a woman in a free, loving community of “driftfolk,” who has three children by three different men in the community. Lu is soon adopted into the group and enjoys the contentedly nudist lifestyle of several individuals there. Based on the author’s own experiences, the story may surprise readers expecting a ghost story, but what comes to light at the end is more shocking and gritty than anticipated. The vernacular of the driftfolk, well translated by Woerner, recalls Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn; obviously these characters are not in the mainstream.”
* Request a free copy from LibraryThing.]]>
Best Worst American
By Juan Martinez
Small Beer Press
“In his debut short story collection, Juan Martinez takes us across the country (and possible countries) in brisk tales that range from sci-fi and horror to realism and metafiction.” —Adam Morgan]]>
Let’s talk about heart books. Because today I want to call your attention to two books that are long shots at best, but which I loved them dearly as a reader. More than that, despite the flaws that I predict will ultimately sink them, these are strong books that deserve close attention.
Oh well, thinks I — as I, of course, think all our books should win all the awardz, all! Well, maybe not. How about just most of them?
And the review begins:
Oh my heart. This book made me happy. It’s laugh out loud funny and also fantasy, which is not exactly a common pairing, and in a dark, miserable year when it seems like the sky really IS falling, this was exactly the breath of fresh air I needed.
If you have not read the book and don’t like spoiler: Don’t Read This Post! But if you have read the book, this is such an enjoyable read. It is real fun thinking of this book being a contender for awards and Karyn lays out the reasons why so well. Either way, winner or not, the book is fab and making more readers happier every day which is a pretty fantastic result.]]>
by Sofia Samatar
Most of the 20 sumptuous tales in Sofia Samatar’s collection Tender take place on Earth – although not always the Earth we might recognize. Sprawling in subject from the supernatural power of names to the loneliness of a half-robot woman, Tender redefines the emotional power and literary heft that speculative fiction can convey. Where Samatar’s acclaimed fantasy novels exist in a strange, dreamlike world, her short stories daringly explore the overlap of familiarity and otherness.
— recommended by Jason Heller, book critic
The River Bank: A Sequel to Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows
by Kij Johnson
A beautiful, pitch-perfect sequel to Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, with characters original to Kij Johnson and spot illustrations by Kathleen Jennings, The River Bank is that species of fan fiction that unfolds new material from a beloved property with hardly a hint of a seam. Meandering with a river’s pace through musings on art, home and the end of summer, The River Bank is a more than worthy successor.
— recommended by Amal El-Mohtar, book critic
1. So here’s an actual distraction for me and maybe you: the books, zine (singular, dammit! Must do more in 2018), the tweets we published in 2017. Wait, is there a way to count annual tweets? I don’t want to know.
— Small Small Small Small Small Smol Beer Press (@smallbeerpress) December 1, 2017]]>
What am I talking about? The Invisible Valley, Su Wei’s first published novel and first to be translated into English. It’s huge, babby, monstrous, hot, humid, fascinating, immersive, and we’re going to publish it in April 2018. Are you curious? Reviewers can get advance uncorrected copies on Edelweiss and we’ve just added an excerpt here.]]>
Join us for PW’s third annual Children’s Starred Reviews Celebration! on December 4. https://t.co/kCt6EiDJ1V @smallbeerpress @sarahreesbrenna #PWStarsCelebration! pic.twitter.com/bZogowxaXf
— Publishers Weekly (@PublishersWkly) November 28, 2017
Which book? This one!]]>
Might as well order now, order often!
Here are the last order dates for Small Beer Press — which, in case you’re thinking about waiting until the last minute to order some chocolate Christmas trees are about the same as every other biz in the USA. Dates for international shipping are here.
All orders include free first class (LCRW) or media mail (books) shipping in the USA.
But: Media Mail parcels are the last to go on trucks. If the truck is full, Media Mail does not go out until the next truck. And if that one’s full, too, . . . you get the idea. So, if you’d like to guarantee pre-holiday arrival, please add Priority Mail:
|Domestic Mail Class/Product||Cut Off Date|
|First Class Mail||Dec. 19|
|Priority Mail||Dec. 20|
|Priority Mail Express||Dec. 22|
|First Class International (generally)||Dec. 7|
Order a book today!
Just like to read a book, don’t care about a ding or two?]]>
We went to cloudy and muggy, phew, San Antonio*, Texas, last week for the World Fantasy Convention and on Sunday — while we were at the airport waiting for our flight and chatting over a very much enjoyed beer with Scott Andrews of Beneath Ceaseless Skies — the awards were handed out.
I am delighted to report that Jeffrey Ford won for his collection A Natural History of Hell and doubly delighted to say that Jeffrey Alan Love, whose art graces the cover of that book among others, received the award for Best Artist. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners!
Jeffrey Alan Love made a huge impact at the con by pulling out his paper, pens, ink and pads and making (and giving away!) pieces of art at the bar and at the (massive! overwhelming!) group signing event on Saturday night. I took one home with me and am still amazed by his process. Can’t wait to pick up Kevin Crossley-Holland’s Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki which Jeffrey illustrated.
I spent most of my time in the dealers room chatting with people, checking out all the books, the lovely books, that everyone had brought, buying books, and sometimes selling books. We sold most of the books we brought, a lovely thing! I wonder sometimes if book rooms like this will still exist in five or ten years. They’re just like indie bookstores: if people want them to exist, they shop there. If they don’t care, they don’t buy books there, and the book room (or bookstore) disappears. I’m for them going on and on. I do love poking around and finding books I knew and did not know I wanted.
Meghan McCarron had recommended to all that the Esquire bar should be checked out and wow, that was a great hot tip. I loved the cocktails upstairs but the downstairs Cocteles de Maíz were the cocktails of my heart: that the menu was designed and printed (on paper made of corn!) by a local press, Snake Hawk Press [really, click that link], helped but wow. Also yum. What creations.
Of the Guests of Honor, I met David Mitchell and he was lovely, yay! Here’s Kelly’s picture of him chatting with Ted Chiang. I caught up briefly with Tananarive Due (one of my Clarion instructors!); I saw Gregory Manchess signing lots of books and enjoyed his art in the art show; I picked up a book by toastmaster Martha Wells; and I was sorry to miss Gordon Van Gelder being roasted, see my note above about the Esquire bar and not having a reservation there that night, darn it. Next time.
The final Guest of Honor Karen Joy Fowler did a couple of readings (thanks, schedulers!) so I got to the second one. She read chapters two and three of her next novel and all I can say is I hope it comes out sooner rather than later. She is a hell of a writer. Karen signed copies of her collection What I Didn’t See for us but then we sold them all, sorry. In fact, Kij Johnson and Kathleen Johnson signed copies of The River Bank and we sold out. Howard Waldrop then signed copies of Howard Who? and Horse of a Different Color and we sold out but we still have a few signed available from a previous visit, phew once more.
Then we came home, somewhat exhausted and ground into the floor by the act of talking to people for many days in a row — yup, that’s too much. Luckily now I get some quiet time to try and catch up on shipping and reading and erk, better go do that. (Smooth outro? Achieved!)
* — on the day we left, the day of the awards, the town was busy, people were going on about their lives, except for the 26 people murdered in a church 30 miles away. The gun laws and the amount of guns in this country are insane. Why are people allowed to have machine guns?]]>
“Ranging in scale from the smallest life to far-ranging interplanetary adventures, and drawing upon both science and mythology, Vandana Singh’s stories are luminous and compassionate.”
You can read the title story on Tor.com. I just went over the proofread copy of the book with Vandana and it is such a fun book — if your idea of fun is Vandana’s unique thread of science fiction, which, of course it is! Or will be. Just wait and see, what a book. The book ends with a huge new story, “Requiem” set in Alaska with whales and drilling and global warming and a missing scientist.
Between “Requiem”, Christopher Rowe’s “The Border State” and Sofia Samatar’s “Fallow,” we have had a run of amazing original novellas.]]>
In reverse order they are:
Alien Virus Love Disaster, a debut collection of door-stomping-down stories from Abbey Mei Otis
Half-Witch, a debut YA novel of by John Schoffstall
and The Invisible Valley, a debut novel by Su Wei translated by Austin Woerner
Don’t like vertical images? Like ebooks? Check them out on Weightless!
Howard is one of 20+ authors (including Christopher Rowe) who will be in Santa Fe at the Jean Cocteau Cinema this weekend for the huge George R. R. Martin Wild Cards celebration. It sounds like so much fun! One day I will get back to Santa Fe and visit the cinema and see all the groovy stuff they have there.
There are more than a couple of great lines in Elizabeth Banicki‘s Austin Chronicle Waldrop profile including this paragraph:
I’d been scouring libraries across town for collections of his writings. His brilliant short stories “Mary Margaret Road-Grader” and “The Ugly Chickens” had me high on how he bends reality while staying completely grounded in human nature. In those stories, unremarkable people adventure through fantastical scenarios where their physical and psychological worlds are woven together, often indistinguishable. The residual effects stayed with me for days. Great writing does that thing where you’re reading along and then – POP! – you get socked with a sentence or paragraph so clean, words so perfectly chosen to relate to human experience, that you can only drop the book into your lap and recover. Waldrop’s writing does that.
But I am slightly worried about a couple of later parts:
Waldrop doesn’t believe he’s a mystic, but he does believe he can kill any publication just by letting them publish his work.
and then at the end:
Waldrop has various works in progress, one of which will be published in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.
I think LCRW will be ok. In the meantime, Howard’s most recent collection Horse of a Different Color is 50% off this week to celebrate!]]>