A year ago I would given this award to Night Shade Books without hesitation. They were publishing consistently good novels, most of which were debuts, that felt polished. 2012 not so much. Their debut line-up slipped noticeably, although there were several standouts, and even their more seasoned authors felt untouched by the editorial process.
Who then wears the crown for 2012? With Pyr, Angry Robot, and Jo Fletcher off the table thanks to the backing of a larger publisher (Prometheus, Osprey, and Quercus respectively), the remaining presses are small even compared to Night Shade.
For me, it comes down to two: Small Beer Press and their outstanding commitment to fabulist (and other) fiction and ChiZine Publications’ weird/dark list. There are other very good small presses –Pandemonium, Prime, Tachyon, and Subterranean, to name a few — but none that maintain the standard of interesting points of view as my two finalists.… Read the rest
My newest column on small presses has gone up at SF Signal. I focused the spotlight on Prime Books, a small publisher out of Maryland.
I apologize for being two months behind on my column. It’s been a busy time. My wife and I found out we’re having our second child. We bought a puppy. I’m transitioning into a new job. All of those are excuses, but the reality is Prime Books publishes collections of short fiction almost exclusively. And between you and me, I don’t really consume short fiction with any great vigor. See, I’m one of those readers who falls into the one more chapter syndrome. Novels suck me in, they demand I keep reading them well into the night. When I finished a short story I just put down the book, satisfied and ready to sleep.
For the purposes of this column, I’ve made it a point to read two new volumes from each publisher before writing about them.
… Read the rest
This week I’m on the SF Signal podcast talking about whether or not optimism is SF is dead. It’s an idea that’s been discussed before ad nauseum, but seems relevant again in recent days as a result of Paul Kincaid’s article in the Los Angeles Review of Books titled, “The Widening Gyre”. I’m joined on the podcast by Stina Leicht, Jamie Todd Rubin, Derek Johnson, Jaym Gates, and estimable Patrick Hester.
The discussion started with an idea that optimism in SF meant, generally, happy stories or stories set in a utopia. I took the notion of optimism slightly different, looking instead the optimism in the development of human capability (i.e. – interstellar travel, posthuman, et. al.). Unfortunately, with an hour and six panelists, we only started the conversation. But, hopefully it gets people thinking.
Give it a listen.
At the end of the podcast I mention four articles worth checking out on this subject.… Read the rest
I write a regular column at SF Signal spotlighting small presses from around the world. Last month I wrote about Small Beer Press, a literary genre press out of Massachusetts. Today, I spent 1100 words on ChiZine, the rapidly growing dark fiction press from Toronto, Canada.
I’ve taken to frequenting brick and mortar book stores more often since beginning this column. I find myself needing to peruse the stacks, to see what catches my eye and what’s being stocked. It should come as no surprise that few of the presses I’ll be covering find themselves en masse on the shelves at Barnes & Noble, but some do. ChiZine Publications is one of them.
When I first came across ChiZine, two years ago or so, I wrote them off to some degree. I’ve never been one for weird for its own sake and covers like David Nickle’s Monstrous Affections coded that way for me.
… Read the rest
A few weeks back SF Signal approached me about my interest in doing a column. After some back and forth we decided on a column about small presses. I’ve always been a fan of reading things a little off the beaten path around here and I hope to do even more of it in the months ahead. It’s an important subject and one I’m passionate about. I very much appreciate SF Signal giving me the opportunity.
My point of view with the column centers around what role small presses play in the larger game of science fiction and fantasy. Not just what are they’re doing, but hopefully a little bit about why they’re doing it. I’ll also be reading a few books from the press before each column to get a feel for what they’re all about. When appropriate I’ll be reviewing them here. I began with Small Beer Press:
I begin with Small Beer Press, founded by husband and wife Gavin Grant and Kelly Link who first teamed up in the late 90′s under the Hugo-nominated zine Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.
… Read the rest