Triple Review: Matt Bell’s Story Collection How They Were Found

How They Were Found by Matt Bell is the debut collection by a talented story writer whose work often straddles the gap between realism and fantasy or horror. Formally innovative, his fiction has appeared in Conjunctions and Best American Mystery Stories. The stories range from the tale of a nineteenth-century minister creating a mechanical messiah to the documenting of a strange and failing military outpost. In advance praise for the collection, Laird Hunt called it “fierce, unflinching, funny.”

This is the second book selected for review by Larry Nolen, Paul Charles Smith, and myself. You can read the entries on this book by the other two here and here.

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Flotsam ‘n’ Jetsam: Wednesday Linkage

Just a few self-serving linkages for a Wednesday that you can ignore entirely if you like…

Ann will be the honored editorial guest at Fogcon in San Francisco next year. Ann will also be the editor guest of honor at Apollocon in Houston.

Somewhat chuffed that Australian national radio reviewed Finch favorably on The Book Show. Click on Show Transcript if you’d rather not listen to the audio.

Rose Fox on PW’s Genreville blog gave The Third Bear an honorable mention, in addition to announcing PW’s top choices for SF/F.

The Third Bear also made this great top 10 list I’m proud to be on.

John Coulthart talks to Coilhouse–great feature on an amazing artist and designer.

Steampunk Reloaded, on top of a starred review in Publishers Weekly, has received thoughtful, interesting reviews here, here, and here, in addition to nice previews here and here.

Booklifenow continues to have new content posted to it.

And as we get closer and closer to the holiday season, Ann and I hope you’ll consider The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals, which includes an interview with Duff Goldman and was designed by John Coulthart. We’ve been just a little bemused by a couple of the Amazon reviews and a couple reviews in the wider world that seemed to want either a more academic approach or a more factual (?!) one. While we have no problem with anyone who doesn’t enjoy the humor or the sense of play involved, we do think it’s a bit ridiculous to want something fun about imaginary animals to be more…rigorous and academic. Sigh.

Anyway, check out the website, these great reviews at Forward, the Barnes & Noble Review, and this preview on Jewcy.com, along with this excerpt. The Jerusalem Post also did a nice piece, but it doesn’t appear to be online.

Fill This Blog Up With Love, Haters!

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So I’m off on a little micro-journey to the FSU campus tomorrow and won’t be hanging around these electronic parts. By the time I get back tomorrow night, I want to see at least 50 comments from people about what they love—and I don’t want any of it to be about ponies. Things ya loved you saw or read or heard or whatever. Just things that brought you joy. But none of that Hallmark Greeting Card joy.

If there aren’t at least 50 comments, I am going to unleash waves of blog hate like you haven’t seen on the blogosphere since…erm, twenty minutes ago. If nuffin joyful happened the last two decades, go back another few years.

Remember, if you include a link, like a proper hot-link, my spaminator may perceive you as a blubbery e-meat-byproduct thread.

Shared Worlds Teen SF/Fantasy Writing Camp Awarded $15,000 Amazon.com Grant

Here’s some news definitely worth sharing: Amazon.com has awarded Shared Worlds, the teen SF/F writing camp, a $15,000 grant. This is a huge deal in terms of making sure we can offer scholarships to needy students. Special thanks to Matt Staggs, who has done a lot of freebie PR work for the camp.

More details below, in the full-on press release, which is also on the SW website

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Largehearted Boy: Big Heart, Lots of Year’s Best Lists

If you weren’t aware of it yet, check out Largehearted Boy’s compilation of year’s best lists for books. Omnivoracious/Amazon also has the run-down of their comics choices, and note Shipbreaker on the teen list.

P.S. One more episode like last night’s and Ann and I are walking away from the Walking Dead. Too many stoopids.

Dear Ignacio Sanz…Calling Ignacio Sanz

You have a micro submission in the Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities but haven’t responded to our pings. Please proceed to the courtesy phone nearest you that has email and email us at your earliest convenience….like, tonight. Thank you.

Expelling All My Internal Organs: Links and Such

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(The awesome Taylor F. Lockwood, fungi expert extraordinaire, from the e-card he sent over the holidays that I don’t think I ever responded to, alas. Check out his latest photos of bioluminescent mushrooms–I think from his latest trip to Brazil.)

I often joke that one of my writer defense mechanisms, if cornered at a con party (being shy) or about to be mugged (being prudent), is to expel all of my internal organs like a sea cucumber and flee in the resulting confusion and disgust.

Relatedly, I haven’t expelled the contents of my “Links to Blog About” folder in quite awhile–like, months, so here goes. Unlike the scenario below, it should in fact be an enjoyable experience. If you pick through it, as I work back through Time, I’m sure you’ll find something of interest.

>>>Topical! Current! Important! Drawing—eReaders for Carl Brandon Society. One dollar tickets. You buy them, the Carl Brandon Society pulls five at random as winners of eReaders loaded with stories and poems by writers including N. K. Jemisin, Nisi Shawl, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Terence Taylor, Ted Chiang, Shweta Narayan, Chesya Burke, Moondancer Drake, Saladin Ahmed, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz and more. The proceeds from the drawing benefit the Butler Scholarship, a fund that sends two emerging writers of color to the Clarion writers workshops annually. (Ann and I can tell you personally how valuable those scholarships are, having taught at Clarion San Diego this past year.)

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>>>Glory for Toni Jerrman, editor of Finnish magazine Tähtivaeltaja (among our favorites, even though we can’t read it—the layout is kinetic, beautiful, perfectly positioned between punk and genre), who has won the Rakkaudesta kirjaan Prize, which comes with a cash prize of 5,000 euros. We’ve known Toni for awhile now, and not only is he a class act, but he’s a nice guy and a great talent. The judges of the prize agree: “[Toni] has selflessly and in a long-standing manner worked to promote science fiction, fantasy and horror literature for more than 25 years. Because of his determination and enthusiasm, these literary genres, which have not always enjoyed uncritical admiration and have traditionally only been accepted by marginal groups, are now well-known among the reading public. As the editor-in-chief of Tähtivaeltaja magazine, newspaper critic, radio journalist and lecturer, Jerrman has worked to present the history of the genre and promoted the books of high-quality writers that have previously been unknown in Finland.” Congrats, Toni! (Note: earlier this year, Hal Duncan’s Vellum won the Tähtivaeltaja-award for the best SF book published in Finland.)

>>>Karen Rider guest blogged over at Booklifenow as a working parent who is also a writer. She has been using my strategy guide Booklife to help prioritize and in other ways to maximize her time and effort. Check out Booklifenow for recent features, too, on the Altered Fluid writing group and a whole lot more, most of the content generated by that work horse Jeremy L. C. Jones (thanks, Jeremy.)

Turns out Bookmarks Magazine listed my novel Finch as one of their top 50 best reads, from books reviewed in 2010.

>>>From Bar to Bar has been publishing some of the more creative author interviews you’re likely to find anywhere. Check it out—and note that next up are Ekaterina Sedia, Charles, and moi. (I’m bringing the Mord, so watch out—it will indeed get dangerous…)

>>>Despite this trailer worrying me a little bit, the new Predators movie, just out on video, has not even the tiniest bit of influence from my Predator novel in it. Indeed, Predators is a pretty banal and mediocre flick that neither Ann nor I recommend. Lawrence Fishburne was the best part of it, but he’s not in it for long. And was it just us or did the setting seem to get cheaper and cheaper looking as the film went along? Anyway, blah. Not worth your time.

>>>Fascinating interview here , including awesome book cover graphics, with Franz Rottensteiner, who has written and edited many books in the fields of science fiction and fantasy, especially about European fiction.

Jha links to all kinds of current stuff, including tons of (gasp) Steampunk posts.

>>>Dustin Monk emailed me a very considerate personal micro-submission for Lambshead, based on my story Errata: “Two Pearl-Handled Revolvers – 5-chamber handguns; single action; polished; no sign of rusting. The guns were discovered next to the decaying corpse of a penguin with apparent gunshot wound to the head in a rundown condo near Lake Baikal, Siberia, by a travel journalist friend of Dr. Lambshead. The travel journalist included a note with the guns; it reads, ‘both revolvers have been fired twice…awful smell in the freezer…can’t look…several copies and errata of magazine Argosy…scribbled notes by disappeared midlist writer Jeff Vandermeer in a black book…final page, written in all caps ‘WHERE IS MY EPIPHANY, JAMES OWEN?’ The travel journalist ended his note with a post-script, as follows: ‘Ed says there’s a lot of vodka in this condo, Thack. I may never leave.’ …should read…’So much vodka in this condo, Thack, and a shaman named Ed who wants to show me the Book. I may never leave.'”

>>>The mighty Yoshio Kobayashi wrote to tell me that my story “Fixing Hanover” will be in a special Steampunk edition of Hayakawa’s SF Magazine. Good. My anti-Steampunk story keeps anti-colonizing.

>>>Sir Tessa sent me these awesome photos from Argentina, some of which may be deployed for…stuff…projects…things. Stop pushing me! You’ll just have to wait and see.

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>>>Simon Sellars (back in February of this year!) sent me links to interviews with the crazed, debauched monsters that run the delightfully perverse Savoy Press: Michael Butterworth and David Britton (divided into two parts, like a common magic trick).

>>>Ann Kjellberg (also back in February!) sent me this email, along with the link to her new journal: “I’ve worked at the New York Review since the 80s, and before that at Farrar, Straus & Giroux and the journal of the Swedish Academy, Artes. I am also the literary executor of the poet Joseph Brodsky and have published two editions of his work in translation. I felt the need and the opportunity for a serious and not medicinal literary journal. I hope you’ll have a look and want to order a copy and perhaps consider signing up for the various connective ways of being involved. The first issue includes new work by Seamus Heaney, Padgett Powell, Lydia Davis, Les Murray, Paul Muldoon, Tim Parks, Derek Walcott, Glyn Maxwell, Durs Grünbein, Robin Robertson, Mary Jo Salter, Robert Wrigley, Karl Kirchwey, and William Wadsworth, as well as several people you probably have not heard of. I would welcome your attention and I hope you will like it.”

>>>J.K. Stephens (back in January!) sent me a photo of his compleat VanderCollection (whoa!):

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>>>Jim Hall, yes we’ll be on Cultpop TV, just as soon as we finish these deadlines; email soonish.

>>>Matt Staggs (also back in January!) informed me that when I posted three youtube videos in one blog entry, synched to comment on one another, I was ahead of my time, youtube having finally caught up.

(Su Lynn Cheah—thanks for the thanks for the holiday card [December 2009!] and sorry I never got back to you!)

>>>This guy emailed to say he suspected I might be the next Michael Swanwick. I never responded. Sorry.

>>>Mother Jones believes fungi can cure small pox. Unfortunately, it leaves you with Large Pox, because fungi are perverse that way. Oh, yeah, and S.J. Chambers sent me a photo of stuff in her front yard:

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>>>Finally, there’s a Portuguese version of the Lambshead fake disease guide, with additional contributions from Portuguese writers, including these diseases emailed me by Luis Rodrigues, a great friend and translator. Here are the translated titles:

* Fulminant alomorphia, aka Metamorphosis (lots of references to Ovid and Kafka, naturally)
* Meme cancer
* Cerberitis, aka Kerberitoa Exigua
* Circumambulation
* Lovecraft’s Disease, aka Fish Plague, aka Piscis Pestis
* Egophobia
* Newborn silico-lacteous enteropathy, aka Rubbery Milk Syndrome, aka Valentino’s Disease
* Agnostic Spondylosis of the Geographic Membrane, aka Travelling Sneeze Flu
* Felix Influenza, aka Happiness Flu
* Lexical Hypersensitivity, aka Lexiconis Sensus Acerrimus
* Hippopotamus perperam animadvertu (the delusion of being always in the presence of hippos)
* Insideout, aka Organismus inversionem
* Legisreia (dictatorship as a disease)
* Omnianthropocogniscite (narcissistic paranoia, the desire to be known by all)
* Y Pandemic
* ABS (Absolute Blame Syndrome, the delusion that you’re to blame for everything that happens)
* Slan’s Syndrome, aka Convivial speculophilia syndrome (this one’s Rodrigues’s—it’s the science fiction fandom as a disease)
* Superman Syndrome, aka Superius Superio

>>>Luis also sent me photos of this book that I never posted…and that’s it. I think I’ve expelled all of my internal organs. Keep the links and emails coming, now that I’m caught up…

Photo on 2010-03-14 at 02.06

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Amazon UK Best-Of SF/F List: What’s Center Genre?

Amazon UK just posted their best-of SF/F list for the year, as reported by SF Signal. For comparison purposes here’s the US list, with commentary on 1-5 and 6-10. For the US list, I put together a list of recomendations, and then the final list is compiled after consultation with Amazon editors and with consideration of recommendations coming back from them—same as, for example, their comics best-of list, which is compiled by their comics expert and used to include some of my recommendations when I was reading and featuring graphic novels for Amazon’s book blog.

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