The Third Bear Arrives! (and a couple cool books)

UPDATE: Great Third Bear review in the Sacramento Book Review.

“One of our very best contemporary practitioners of the fantastic. Superb prose, overwhelmingly odd situations, and fascinating, eccentric characters.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

On the heels of a great review by PW, The Third Bear has arrived on our doorstep, festooned with blurbs by, among others, Cat Valente, Junot Diaz, and Mike Mignola. Although the official publication date is late July/early August, it appears to be available on Amazon (where right now you can buy it along with China’s Kraken for a ridiculous price).

Collections tend to underperform compared to novels, so I appreciate your giving it a shot.

Two other books entered the house today that require a little extra attention, under the cut.

I have a blog post in draft about anthologies from a writer’s POV, but I’m a little under the weather and may not post until Friday. We’ll see.

[Read more…]

Okorafor on Who Fears Death Controversy

I found this post by Nnedi Okorafor a necessary push-back against a certain kind of intolerant reaction to the author writing about female genital cutting in her new novel.

First of all, I speak about what I choose to speak about. Let’s see you try to stop me. Secondly, if writers only wrote about what they’d experienced, then few people would write about wizards and unicorns. Thirdly, let’s be honest here, you can lace the practice of female genital cutting with whatever elaborate stories, myths and traditions you want. What it all boils down to (and I believe the creators of this practice KNEW this even a thousand years ago) is the removal of a woman’s ability to properly enjoy the act of sex. Again, this is about the control and suppression of women.

Go check it out.

Aqueduct Press’s New Heirloom Series–Support It!

One of the great experiences of my teenage reading life was the Virago Modern Classics series and Virago books in general–among the ways that I discovered Angela Carter (The Passion of New Eve, #96), Janet Turner Hospital, and many other amazing writers. Whenever I enter a used bookstore, I still seek out those distinctive green spines. They promise something unique that I probably can’t get elsewhere, and they evoke memories of so many unexpected discoveries.

Now Aqueduct Press has instituted the Heirloom Books series to bring to light forgotten writers and worthy out-of-print books, and it reminds me strongly of some of the Virago lines. Certainly, the design idea is excellent, and they’ve even managed to provide “end papers” in a trade paperback by having a nice single page floral pattern on the first and last pages inside the books, along with some other great touches.

The first two in the series are now out (well, the second is out in a few days), and I suggest you check them out: It Walks in Beauty by Chandler Davis and Dorothea Dreams by Suzy McKee Charnas. (I’ll be blogging more about this on Amazon shortly.) Let’s make sure this series gets to book 50, and then book 100.

I’m out the door traveling tomorrow, so I’ll keep it brief, but also received recently the latest Rain Taxi with a great cover by Winona Cookie/Ramona S and my favorite Finnish magazine featuring Ellen Kushner, among others…and I’m finally getting a chance to dive into the work of Doris Lessing this weekend!

[Read more…]

Clarion Blogging

Clarion San Diego has a bunch of guest blogging going on in aid of raising awareness (and money) for their write-a-thon. State funding for things like funding is taking a hit, and it’s important to support Clarion with your donations.

Recent entries include writer/scientist/artist Eric Schaller’s fascinating look into the myth of the “lone scientist,” Justin Whitney’s writing prompts, and much more.

Meanwhile, Shweta Narayan is working out the details of contributing her poetry to the cause.

Support these worthy people, and support Clarion. I would be participating in the write-a-thon if I wasn’t pinned down with death-defying deadlines.

Anthologies: A Reader’s Point of View

Earlier this month, I asked questions about anthology editing and anthology reading. As you can tell from the thread, there were a lot of good, thoughtful responses.

Next week, I’ll address some of the issues surrounding anthologies from a writer’s perspective and from an editor’s perspective. For now, though, I’ll explore what I as a reader want from a fiction anthology.

[Read more…]

What Does Betty White Have to Do with Book Sales?

Mebbe nuthin’. Mebbe everything.

The first two books chosen in McKenzie’s experiment are Wyoming author Shawn Klomparens’ Jessica Z. and Two Years, No Rain. She chose these books because “they were the best two books I’d read in the last six months that were relatively unknown.”

…and that’s all for today. *Head hits desk.*

The Narrative Realities of Matthew Cheney

Go check out this great essay at Strange Horizons. It’s incisive, curmudgeonly, and as with all of Cheney’s essays, well-written. Makes me want to read the Okorafor even more now.

The Weird: All In

So we’re just a week away from turning in the final stories for our weird antho from Atlantic’s Corvus imprint: 750,000 words, covering 100 years. We’re all-in at this point. And I mean that in every possible way. I’ve gained ten pounds the last four months despite my best efforts, drank too much, spent too much time on the computer, been irritable and cranky, and suffered more anxiety than ever before on a project. Gone from incredibly highs to plummeting lows, and back again. Had the stuffing punched out of us and gotten back up and always found work-arounds and ways to get where we wanted to go. (Shout-out to Gio Clairval, our secret weapon, best ally, the spy who knew just enough languages to make a lot more possible.)

[Read more…]

Big Oil, Corruption, Global Problems

Michael Bishop forwarded me this piece by Juan Cole that places the blame firmly where it belongs: on big oil, captured legislatures, politicians working against the people’s best interests. This isn’t to say that each individual person shouldn’t proactively reduce their carbon footprint and be as active as possible on environmental and energy issues. It just points out that it shouldn’t be this bad, and corporations have way too much power–and that it’s simplistic to self-flagellate without considering the whole picture.

Maybe this isn’t news to anyone, but its important to remember, especially in the aftermath of eight years of Bush basically loosening often already loose regulations and in general bending over backwards for big oil and other corporations that cannot be trusted to serve the public good.

Then you have to factor in that this is a world-wide problem–case in point this revealing piece on oil spills in Nigeria, and how overlooked that problem has been.

Short of some kind of international oversight, I don’t see how this problem gets solved. These companies need to be brought to heel. Basically, we’re destroying our planet, and this is just one of the ways we’re doing it. Whether you’re left wing, moderate, or right wing, I hope everyone could agree that we need a combination of governmental, corporate, and personal responsibility to make any progress at all. How long can you keep fouling your nest before you die?

Mindmeld on Essential Collections…and an Old Man

(Book covers as part of Tetris, courtesy of SF Signal)

SF Signal ran a Mindmeld where they asked me and others about essential short story collections. Go check it out. Here’s my list, sans descriptions.

1.The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
2.The Lottery & Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
3.Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link
4.The Zanzibar Cat by Joanna Russ
5.Bloodchild by Octavia Butler
6.Star Songs of an Old Primate by James Tiptree Jr
7.The Seventh Horse by Leonora Carrington
8.To Charles Fort, with Love by Caitlin R. Kiernan
9.The Wind’s Twelve Quarters by Ursula K. LeGuin
10.Tainaron: Mail from Another City by Leena Krohn

….and for something completely different, check out an excerpt from a genius old man’s Old Men in Love, over on Omnivoracious.