How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens explores the immigrant experience in a science fiction setting, with exciting fiction and poetry from some of the genre’s best writers.
In these pages, you’ll find Sturgeon winner Sarah Pinsker’s robot grandmother, James Tiptree, Jr., Award winner Nisi Shawl’s prison planet and Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Award winner Ken Liu’s space- and time-spanning story of different kinds of ghosts. You’ll find Bryan Thao Worra’s Cthulhic poetry, and Pinckney Benedict’s sad, whimsical tale of genocide. You’ll travel to Frankfurt, to the moon, to Mars, to the underworld, to unnamed alien planets, under the ocean, through clusters of asteroids. You’ll land on the fourth planet from the star Deneb, and an alternate universe version of Earth, and a world of Jesuses.
This is not a textbook. You will not find here polemics on immigration policy or colonialism. The most compelling fiction articulates the unsaid, the unbearable, and the incomprehensible; these stories say things about the immigration experience that a lecture never could. The purpose of this book is, first and foremost, to entertain the casual and the sophisticated reader, but its genesis is a response to the question: Who do we become when we live with the unfamiliar?
Table of Contents:
- Dean Francis Alfar, “Ohkti”
- Celia Lisset Alvarez, “Malibu Barbie Moves to Mars”
- RJ Astruc, “A Believer’s Guide to Azagarth”
- Lisa Bao, “like father, like daughter”
- Pinckney Benedict, “Zog-19: A Scientific Romance”
- Lisa Bolekaja, “The Saltwater African”
- Mary Buchinger, “Transplanted”
- Zen Cho, “The Four Generations of Chang E”
- Tina Connolly, “Turning the Apples”
- Indrapramit Das, “muo-ka’s Child”
- Tom Doyle, “The Floating Otherworld”
- Peg Duthie, “With Light-Years Come Heaviness”
- Thomas Greene, “Zero Bar”
- Benjamin S. Grossberg, “The Space Traveler’s Husband,” “The Space Traveler and the Promised Planet” and “The Space Traveler and Boston”
- Minal Hajratwala, “The Unicorn at the Racetrack”
- Julie Bloss Kelsey, “tongue lashing” and “the itch of new skin”
- Rose Lemberg, “The Three Immigrations”
- Ken Liu, “Ghost Days”
- Alex Dally MacFarlane, “Found”
- Anil Menon, “Into The Night”
- Joanne Merriam, “Little Ambushes”
- Mary Anne Mohanraj, “Jump Space”
- Daniel José Older, “Phantom Overload”
- Abbey Mei Otis, “Blood, Blood”
- Sarah Pinsker, “The Low Hum of Her”
- Elyss G. Punsalan, “Ashland”
- Benjamin Rosenbaum, “The Guy Who Worked For Money”
- Erica L. Satifka, “Sea Changes”
- Nisi Shawl, “In Colors Everywhere”
- Lewis Shiner, “Primes”
- Marge Simon, “South”
- Sonya Taaffe, “Di Vayse Pave”
- Bogi Takács, “The Tiny English-Hungarian Phrasebook For Visiting Extraterrestrials”
- Bryan Thao Worra, “Dead End In December” and “The Deep Ones”
- Deborah Walker, “Speed of Love”
- Nick Wood, “Azania”
Dean Francis Alfar is a fictionist, playwright and the publisher of the Philippine Speculative Fiction annuals, beginning with the first volume in 2005. His fiction has appeared in The Time Traveler’s Almanac, The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, Strange Horizons, Rabid Transit: Menagerie, The Apex Book of World SF, and the Exotic Gothic anthologies, among others. His books include a novel, Salamanca, and two collections of short fiction, The Kite of Stars and other stories and How to Traverse Terra Incognita.
Celia Lisset Alvarez holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Miami and teaches at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy. Her debut collection of poetry, Shapeshifting (Spire Press, 2006), was the recipient of the 2005 Spire Press Poetry Award. A second collection, The Stones (Finishing Line Press, 2006) followed that same year. Other work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals and anthologies. Born in Madrid of Cuban parents en route to the United States, she grew up in Miami, where she lives with her husband, Cuban-American literary scholar and fellow poet Rafael Miguel Montes.
RJ Astruc lives in New Zealand and has written two novels: Harmonica + Gig and A Festival of Skeletons. RJ’s short stories have appeared in many magazines including Strange Horizons, Daily Science Fiction, ASIM, Aurealis and Midnight Echo, as well as the short story collection Signs Over the Pacific and Other Stories (Upper Rubber Boot Books, 2013).
Lisa Bao is Chinese, Canadian, and American to various degrees. She studies linguistics and computer science at Swarthmore College. Her poetry has previously been published in Strange Horizons and Eye to the Telescope.
Pinckney Benedict grew up in rural West Virginia. He has published a novel and three collections of short fiction, the most recent of which is Miracle Boy and Other Stories. His work has been published in, among other magazines and anthologies, Esquire, Zoetrope: All-Story, the O. Henry Award series, the Pushcart Prize series, the Best New Stories from the South series, Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days, The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction, and The Oxford Book of the American Short Story. Benedict serves as a professor in the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Octavia E. Butler Scholar Lisa Bolekaja is a graduate of the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Workshop, an affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association, and a member of the Carl Brandon Society. She co-hosts a screenwriting podcast called “Hilliard Guess’ Screenwriters Rant Room” and her work has appeared in “Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History” (Crossed Genres Publishing), as well as “The WisCon Chronicles: Volume 8” (Aqueduct Press). Her story “Don’t Dig Too Deep” will be in the upcoming Red Volume, an anthology of speculative fiction produced by her Clarion 2012 class with all proceeds going to support the Clarion Foundation.
Mary Buchinger is the author of Aerialist (Gold Wake Press, 2015; shortlisted for the May Swenson Poetry Award, the OSU Press/The Journal Wheeler Prize for Poetry and the Perugia Press Prize). Her poems have appeared in AGNI, Cortland Review, DIAGRAM, Fifth Wednesday, Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. She is Associate Professor of English and Communication Studies at MCPHS University in Boston, Massachusetts. You can find her at yellowdogriver.blogspot.com.
Zen Cho was born and raised in Malaysia, and now lives in London. Her short story collection Spirits Abroad was published in summer 2014. Her short fiction has appeared most recently in anthologies End of the Road from Solaris Books, Love in Penang from Fixi Novo, and The Alchemy Press Book of Urban Mythic. She was a 2013 finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
Tina Connolly’s stories have appeared in Lightspeed, Tor.com, Strange Horizons, Rich Horton’s Unplugged: Year’s Best Online SF and URB’s Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days. Her books include the Nebula-nominated fantasy Ironskin (Tor, 2012) and its sequel Copperhead.
Indrapramit Das is a writer and artist from Kolkata, India. His fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Asimov’s and Apex Magazine, as well as anthologies The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Thirtieth Annual Collection (St. Martin’s Press), Aliens: Recent Encounters (Prime Books) and Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond (Rosarium Publishing). His short story “The Widow and the Xir” is available as an ebook from URB. He is a grateful graduate of the 2012 Clarion West Writers Workshop and a recipient of the Octavia E. Butler Scholarship Award to attend the former. He completed his MFA at the University of British Columbia.
Tor Books published Tom Doyle’s first novel, American Craftsmen, in 2014. His novelette “While Ireland Holds These Graves” won third place in the Writers of the Future contest, and his novelette The Wizard of Macatawa (Paradox #11) won the WSFA Small Press Award. His stories have also appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Futurismic, and several other magazines. Paper Golem published his short fiction collection, The Wizard of Macatawa and Other Stories.
Peg Duthie is a Taiwanese Texan resident of Tennessee. She is the author of Measured Extravagance (Upper Rubber Boot, 2012), and there’s more about her at www.NashPanache.com.
Tom Greene was born in Texas, grew up as a biracial Anglo/Latino science nerd, then moved to New England to study British Literature. He works as a full-time English professor and part-time lecturer on vampire literature. Recent publications include short stories in Analog, Polluto and Strange Horizons. He lives in Salem, Massachusetts with his wife and two cats.
Benjamin S. Grossberg is the author of Space Traveler (University of Tampa Press, 2014), Sweet Core Orchard (University of Tampa, 2009, winner of the 2008 Tampa Review Prize and a Lambda Literary Award), Underwater Lengths in a Single Breath (Ashland Poetry Press, 2007). His poems have appeared in many venues including the Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry anthologies. He teaches creative writing at The University of Hartford.
Minal Hajratwala has inhabited San Francisco, New Zealand, Michigan, Bangalore, and several other earth sites. Her nonfiction epic, Leaving India: My Family’s Journey from Five Villages to Five Continents, won four literary awards. She is the editor of Out! Stories from the New Queer India and creatrix of a one-woman performance extravaganza, Avatars: Gods for a New Millennium. Her poetry collection Bountiful Instructions for Enlightenment is forthcoming in 2014. Educated at Stanford and Columbia, she was a 2010-11 Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar. She is a writing coach and co-founder of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, publishing innovative poetry from India, and can be found at www.minalhajratwala.com.
Julie Bloss Kelsey started writing scifaiku in 2009, after the birth of her third child. Her short science fiction poems have since appeared in Scifaikuest, Seven by Twenty, microcosms, Eye to the Telescope, and other publications. She won the Dwarf Stars Award in 2011 for her poem Comet. Julie lives in Maryland with her husband, kids, and an ever-changing assortment of pets. Connect with her on Twitter (@MamaJoules).
Rose Lemberg was born in Ukraine, and lived in subarctic Russia before immigrating to Israel with her family in 1990. She moved countries again in 2001, this time to the US, for graduate school. She officially became an immigrant in 2010, after living in the US for 9 years as a nonresident alien. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Apex, and other venues. For more information, visit roselemberg.net.
An author and translator of speculative fiction, as well as a lawyer and programmer, Ken Liu is a winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards. His fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov’s, Analog, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and Strange Horizons, among other places. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts. His debut novel, The Grace of Kings, the first in a fantasy series, will be published by Simon & Schuster’s new genre fiction imprint in 2015, along with a collection of short stories. He’s online at http://kenliu.name.
Alex Dally MacFarlane is a writer, editor and historian. When not researching narrative maps in the legendary traditions of Alexander III of Macedon, she writes stories, found in Clarkesworld Magazine, Strange Horizons, Heiresses of Russ 2013: The Year’s Best Lesbian Speculative Fiction and other anthologies. She is the editor of Aliens: Recent Encounters (Prime Books, 2013) and The Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women (Constable & Robinson, 2014).
Anil Menon’s short stories have appeared in Albedo One, Chiaroscuro, Interzone, Interfictions, LCRW, Sybil’s Garage, Strange Horizons, among other publications. His debut novel The Beast With Nine Billion Feet (Zubaan Books, India) was nominated for the 2010 Parallax Prize and the Vodafone-Crossword award. Along with Vandana Singh, he co-edited Breaking the Bow (Zubaan Books, 2012), an anthology of speculative short fiction inspired by the Ramayana.
Editor Joanne Merriam is a Nova Scotian writer living in Nashville, Tennessee, and runs Upper Rubber Boot Books. Her writing has appeared in Asimov’s, Escape Pod, On Spec, Pank, Per Contra, Strange Horizons, and The Journal of Unlikely Entomology. Her poetry collection, The Glaze from Breaking, was published by Stride Books in 2005 and was re-issued by URB in 2011. She is also the co-editor, with H. L. Nelson, of Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up To No Good.
Mary Anne Mohanraj wrote Bodies in Motion (a finalist for the Asian American Book Awards and translated into six languages) and nine other titles, most recently The Stars Change (Circlet Press, 2013). Mohanraj received a Breaking Barriers Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women for her work in Asian American arts organizing, and has also won an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship. Mohanraj is Clinical Assistant Professor of fiction and literature and Associate Director of Asian and Asian American Studies at the University of Illinois. She serves as Executive Director of DesiLit.
Daniel José Older is the author of the upcoming Young Adult novel Shadowshaper (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2015) and the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series, which begins in January 2015 with Half-Resurrection Blues from Penguin’s Roc imprint. Publishers Weekly hailed him as a “rising star of the genre” after the publication of his debut ghost noir collection, Salsa Nocturna. He co-edited the anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History and guest-edited the music issue of Crossed Genres. His short stories and essays have appeared in Tor.com, Salon, BuzzFeed, the New Haven Review, PANK, Apex and Strange Horizons and the anthologies Subversion and Mothership: Tales Of Afrofuturism And Beyond. Daniel’s band Ghost Star gigs regularly around New York and he facilitates workshops on storytelling from an anti-oppressive power analysis. You can find his thoughts on writing, read dispatches from his decade-long career as an NYC paramedic and hear his music at ghoststar.net and @djolder on Twitter.
Abbey Mei Otis likes people and art forms on the margins. She studied creative writing at Oberlin College and is a graduate of the Clarion West Writers Workshop. She has taught poetry in the DC public schools with the DC Creative Writing Workshop, and is now a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, Texas.
Sarah Pinsker is a writer and musician living in Baltimore, Maryland. Her fiction has been published in Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and the Long Hidden anthology, among others. Her novelette “In Joy, Knowing the Abyss Behind,” was nominated for the Nebula and won the 2014 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award.
Manila-based Elyss G. Punsalan runs her own video production company. Some of her fiction can be found in the anthologies Philippine Speculative Fiction (Volumes 3, 6, and 9), Philippine Genre Stories, A Time for Dragons, HORROR: Filipino Fiction for Young Adults, and the webzine Bewildering Stories. At one point in her life, she produced and hosted the monthly Filipino audio fiction site Pakinggan Pilipinas (pakingganpilipinas.blogspot.com).
Benjamin Rosenbaum lives near Basel, Switzerland with his wife and children. His stories have been published in Nature, Harper’s, F&SF, Asimov’s, McSweeney’s, and Strange Horizons, translated into 23 languages, and nominated for Hugo, Nebula, BSFA, Locus, World Fantasy, and Sturgeon Awards. He has collaborated with artist Ethan Ham on several art/literary hybrids. Find out more at www.benjaminrosenbaum.com.
Erica L. Satifka’s fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, Ideomancer, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet and the Greek magazine supplement εννέα. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Visit her online at www.ericasatifka.com.
Nisi Shawl’s collection Filter House was a 2009 James Tiptree, Jr., Award winner; her stories have been published in Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror and both volumes of the Dark Matter series. She was the 2011 Guest of Honor at the feminist SF convention WisCon and a 2014 co-Guest of Honor for the Science Fiction Research Association. She co-authored the renowned Writing the Other: A Practical Approach with Cynthia Ward, and co-edited the nonfiction anthology Strange Matings: Science Fiction, Feminism, African American Voices, and Octavia E. Butler. Shawl’s Belgian Congo steampunk novel Everfair is forthcoming in 2015 from Tor Books. Her website is www.nisishawl.com.
Lewis Shiner’s latest novel is Dark Tangos (Subterranean Press, 2011). Previous novels include Frontera and Deserted Cities of the Heart, both Nebula Award finalists, and the World Fantasy Award-winning Glimpses. He’s also published four short story collections, journalism, and comics. Virtually all of his work is available for free download at www.fictionliberationfront.net.
Marge Simon’s works appear in Strange Horizons, Niteblade, DailySF Magazine, Pedestal Magazine, Dreams & Nightmares and other places. She edits a column for the HWA Newsletter and serves as Chair of the Board of Trustees. She has won the Strange Horizons Readers Choice Award, the Bram Stoker Award(2008, 2012 & 2013), the Rhysling Award and the Dwarf Stars Award. Collections: Like Birds in the Rain, Unearthly Delights, The Mad Hattery, Vampires, Zombies & Wanton Souls, and Dangerous Dreams. Find her at www.margesimon.com.
Sonya Taaffe’s short fiction and poetry can be found in the collections Postcards from the Province of Hyphens (Prime Books), Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books), and A Mayse-Bikhl (Papaveria Press), and in anthologies including Aliens: Recent Encounters, Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry, People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, and The Best of Not One of Us. She is currently senior poetry editor at Strange Horizons; she holds master’s degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object. She lives in Somerville with her husband and two cats.
Bogi Takács is a Hungarian Jewish author, a psycholinguist and a popular-science journalist. E writes both speculative fiction and poetry, and eir works have been published or are forthcoming in a variety of venues like Strange Horizons, Apex and GigaNotoSaurus, among others. E is online at www.prezzey.net.
Deborah Walker grew up in the most English town in England, but she soon high-tailed it down to London, where she now lives with her partner, Chris, and her two young children. Find Deborah in the British Museum trawling the past for future inspiration or on her blog: deborahwalkersbibliography.blogspot.com. Her stories have appeared in Nature’s Futures, Cosmos, Daily Science Fiction and The Year’s Best SF 18.
A South African clinical psychologist, Nick Wood has short stories in AfroSF, Interzone, Infinity Plus, PostScripts, Redstone Science Fiction and the Newcon Press anthology, Subterfuge, amongst other publications. His YA speculative novel, The stone chameleon, was published in South Africa. Nick has completed an MA in Creative Writing (SF & Fantasy) through Middlesex University, London and is currently training clinical psychologists in Hertfordshire, England. He can be found: @nick45wood or nickwood.frogwrite.co.nz.
Bryan Thao Worra is an award-winning Lao-American writer. An NEA Fellow in literature, he is a professional member of the Horror Writer Association and the Science Fiction Poetry Association. His work appears internationally, including in Innsmouth Free Press, Tales of the Unanticipated, Illumen, Astropoetica, Outsiders Within, Dark Wisdom, and Mad Poets of Terra. He is the author of the books of speculative poetry On the Other Side of the Eye, Barrow, and Demonstra. Visit him online at thaoworra.blogspot.com.
Stories and poems from the book available online:
- RJ Astruc, “A Believer’s Guide to Azagarth” (Third Order Magazine)
- Pinckney Benedict, “Zog-19: A Scientific Romance” (Zoetrope All-Story)
- Tina Connolly, “Turning the Apples” (Strange Horizons)
- Thomas Greene, “Zero Bar” (Strange Horizons)
- Minal Hajratwala, “The Unicorn at the Racetrack” (Stone Telling)
- Alex Dally MacFarlane, “Found” (Clarksworld Magazine)
- Mary Anne Mohanraj, “Jump Space” (Thoughtcrime Experiments)
- Bryan Thao Worra, “Dead End In December” (Innsmouth Free Press)
16 March 2015
Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up To No Good is a feminist anthology of dark fiction, co-edited by H. L. Nelson and Joanne Merriam. Containing 35 stories of “bad” women, and “good” women who just haven’t been caught yet, it features Joyce Carol Oates, Aimee Bender, Diane Cook, and 33 other fearless women writers.
Table of Contents:
- Janet Shell Anderson, “Every Purpose Under Heaven”
- Sidney Archer, “Woman Enough”
- Alisha M. Attella, “Rise”
- Gwen Beatty, “Angel Thinks She Will Die Very Soon”
- Aimee Bender, “Broke”
- Tina Connolly, “Hard Choices”
- Diane Cook, “Moving On”
- Kathy Fish, “The Hollow”
- Amina Gautier, “A Cup of My Time”
- Amelia Gray and Lindsay Hunter, “Sisters”
- Tina May Hall, “Vampire”
- Rebecca Jones-Howe, “Better Places”
- Andrea Kneeland, “Imagination”
- Molly Laich, “Kristen Doesn’t Like Surprise Parties”
- Heather Lindsley, “The Angel of Death Has a Business Plan”
- Holly Lopez, “The Head”
- Kelly Luce, “Rooey”
- Mesha Maren, “Eminent Domain”
- Jessica McHugh, “In the Silt”
- Mary Miller, “This Boy I Loved a Rock”
- Ellen Birkett Morris, “After the Fall”
- Joyce Carol Oates, “Spotted Hyenas: A Romance”
- Jennifer Pelland, “The Kennel Club”
- Cat Rambo, “Ms. Liberty Gets a Haircut”
- Joani Reese, “Good Neighbors”
- Marytza K. Rubio, “Clap If You Believe”
- Nisi Shawl, “Looking for Lilith”
- Quill Shiv, “The Bitter Sea”
- Emily Slaney, “Bear Traps”
- Amber Sparks, “We Dressed Up Like Other People”
- Rachel Swirsky, “The Sea of Trees”
- Meg Tuite, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”
- Damien Angelica Walters, “Girl, With Coin”
- xTx, “Today I Am A Wife”
- Bonnie ZoBell, “Tricking the Moon”
Janet Shell Anderson has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for fiction and the Micro Prize for short fiction, published by Cease, Cows; decomP; FRIGG; Vestal Review; Gemini Magazine; Black Heart; Convergence; Grey Sparrow; and others. She likes flash fiction and is an attorney.
Sidney Archer is one of the pseudonyms of K.D. McCrite, popular author of children’s books and cozy mysteries. As Sidney Archer, she looks into the darker side of life, seeking redemptive qualities found in the shadows. She harbors passion for a well-crafted story, a unique plot twist, or a colorful phrase. Her books guide readers along narrow paths fraught with obstacles and illusion until light shines fully on what was hidden. Desolate Heart, a between-worlds novel, tells the story of a cursed painting, the man who has been trapped in it for a century, and the modern-day woman who finds him.
Alisha M. Attella lives in Long Beach, California with her two blond children and one black cat. In their tiny apartment she reads books, scratches out poems and stories, raises-up the children, and talks to the cat about writers and schedules and the wonders of publishing. She’s served as Managing Editor at Mojave River Press & Review and Cease, Cows, and her own work can be found in Lummox, East Jasmine Review, San Pedro River Review, Cadence Collective, and elsewhere.
Gwen Beatty is a sorority dropout from Iowa. She is an editor at First Stop Fiction and her website is the ridiculously convenient gwenbeatty.com.
Aimee Bender is the author of five books, including The Girl in the Flammable Skirt and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Her work has been translated into sixteen languages. She lives in Los Angeles.
Tina Connolly lives with her family in Portland, Oregon. Her stories have appeared in Lightspeed, Tor.com, Strange Horizons, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Her first fantasy novel, Ironskin (Tor 2012), was nominated for a Nebula, and the sequels Copperhead and Silverblind are now out. She narrates for Podcastle and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, runs the Parsec-winning flash fiction podcast Toasted Cake, and her website is tinaconnolly.com.
Diane Cook is the author of the story collection Man V. Nature (Harper, 2014). Her fiction has been published in Harper’s, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Zoetrope, Guernica, and elsewhere. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and on This American Life, where she worked as a radio producer for six years. She won the 2012 Calvino Prize for fabulist fiction, and earned an MFA from Columbia University, where she was a teaching fellow. She lives in Oakland, California.
Kathy Fish’s short fiction has been published or is forthcoming in The Lineup: 25 Provocative Women Writers (Black Lawrence Press, 2015), Guernica, Indiana Review, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. She served as guest editor of Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web 2010. She is the author of three collections of short fiction: a chapbook of flash fiction in the chapbook collective, A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women (Rose Metal Press, 2008), Wild Life (Matter Press, 2011), and Together We Can Bury It (The Lit Pub, 2012).
Amina Gautier is the author of two short story collections: At-Risk, which won the Flannery O’Connor Award (University of Georgia Press, 2011) and Now We Will Be Happy, which won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize (University of Nebraska Press, 2014). More than eighty of her short stories have been published, appearing in Antioch Review, Best African American Fiction, Callaloo, Crazyhorse, Glimmer Train Stories, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, North American Review, Notre Dame Review, and Southern Review among other places. Her stories have been honored with the Crazyhorse Fiction Prize, the Danahy Prize, the Jack Dyer Prize, the Lamar York Prize, the Schlafly Microfiction Award, and the William Richey Award as well as fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, Breadloaf Writer’s Conference, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, MacDowell Colony, Prairie Center of the Arts, the Retreat for Writers at Hawthornden Castle, Sewanee Writer’s Conference, Ucross Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, and Writers in the Heartland, as well as artist grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
Amelia Gray is the author of four books: AM/PM, Museum of the Weird, THREATS, and Gutshot. She lives in Los Angeles, where she is at work on a novel.
Tina May Hall lives in upstate New York where she teaches creative writing at Hamilton College. Her collection The Physics of Imaginary Objects won the 2010 Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Her stories have appeared in Quarterly West, Black Warrior Review, The Collagist, Fourth River, and other literary magazines.
Lindsay Hunter is the author of the story collections Daddy’s and Don’t Kiss Me and the novel, Ugly Girls. Find her at lindsayhunter.com.
Rebecca Jones-Howe lives and writes in Kamloops, British Columbia. Her work has appeared in [PANK], Pulp Modern, and Punchnel’s, among others. Her first collection of short fiction, Vile Men, will be released by Dark House Press in summer of 2015. She can be found online at rebeccajoneshowe.com.
Andrea Kneeland is the author of How to Pose for Hustler (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2015). Her stories and poems have appeared in more than 50 journals and anthologies. More work can be found at andreakneeland.com.
Molly Laich is a writer in Seattle. Her work has appeared in Hobart, [PANK], Midwestern Gothic, and beyond. You can read her blog at mollylaich.com.
Heather Lindsley’s work has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Asimov’s, and Strange Horizons. Her fiction has also been in John Joseph Adams’s dystopian anthology Brave New Worlds, in Year’s Best SF 12, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, and in Talking Back, edited by L. Timmel Duchamp. She has been featured on Escape Pod as a writer and on Podcastle as a reader, and her stories have appeared in Polish, Romanian, Russian, and French translations.
Holly Lopez lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband, pampered Doberman, and the growing number of offbeat characters mulling about in her head. Her work has appeared in Plots With Guns and Charlotte Viewpoint.
Kelly Luce’s story collection, Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail, won the 2013 Foreword Review’s Editors Choice Prize in Fiction. Her work has been honored by fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Jentel Arts, Ragdale Foundation, Kerouac House, and Michener Center for Writers, and has appeared in Salon, O Magazine, Crazyhorse, American Short Fiction, Electric Literature, and other magazines. She’s the editorial assistant for the O. Henry Prize anthology and editor-in-chief of Bat City Review. She grew up in Illinois and currently lives in Austin, TX.
Mesha Maren is a fiction writer from southern West Virginia whose work appears or is forthcoming in Tin House, The Oxford American, Hobart, The Barcelona Review, and other literary journals as well as the anthology Forty Stories: New Writing from Harper Perennial.
Jessica McHugh is an author of speculative fiction spanning the genre from horror and alternate history to young adult. She has had seventeen books published in six years, including her bestselling Post Mortem Press thriller, Rabbits in the Garden, and the first two books in her edgy YA series from Evolved Publishing, The Darla Decker Diaries. More info on her speculations and publications can be found at JessicaMcHughBooks.com.
Mary Miller is the author of two books, Big World and The Last Days of California. Her work has appeared in dozens of journals and anthologies including McSweeney’s Quarterly, American Short Fiction, the Oxford American, and New Stories from the South.
Ellen Birkett Morris is a writer and poet based in Louisville, Kentucky. Her fiction has appeared in journals including The Antioch Review, Notre Dame Review, South Carolina Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, wigleaf, and Paradigm. Her story “The Cycle of Life and Other Incidentals” was a finalist in the Glimmer Train Press Family Matters short story competition. Morris is a recipient of a 2013 Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council.
Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award, the National Humanities Medal, the Commonwealth Award for Distinguished Service in Literature, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. Her acclaimed fiction includes We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, and The Falls. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University.
Jennifer Pelland is a two-time Nebula nominee for short fiction, and has a short story collection (Unwelcome Bodies) and novel (Machine) available from Apex Publications. Nowadays, she mostly belly dances. Find her at www.jenniferpelland.com.
Although currently on the road, Cat Rambo usually lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov’s, Clarkesworld Magazine, and Tor.com. Her short story, “Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain,” from her story collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current Vice President of SFWA. For more about her, as well as links to her fiction, see kittywumpus.net.
Joani Reese is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Final Notes and Dead Letters, and the poetry collection Night Chorus, forthcoming from Lit Fest Press. Reese’s poetry and fiction have been widely anthologized and featured in over seventy print and online venues. She has been poetry editor for THIS Magazine and senior poetry editor for Connotation Press—An Online Artifact and was fiction guest editor for Scissors and Spackle in 2013 & 2014. Reese is currently Editor-in-Chief of the online magazine MadHat Lit, the quarterly online presence of MadHat Publishing. Reese won the first Patricia McFarland Memorial Prize for her flash fiction and The Graduate School Creative Writing Award from The University of Memphis for her poetry, where she earned her MFA. Reese won the 15th Glass Woman Prize in 2014 for her flash fiction and currently lives in Texas with six fine cats and some men. She also has a real job.
Marytza K. Rubio is a writer from Santa Ana, CA.
Nisi Shawl’s acclaimed story collection Filter House was one of two winners of the 2009 James Tiptree, Jr. Award and a nominee for the World Fantasy Award. She was WisCon 35’s Guest of Honor. She edited WisCon Chronicles 5: Writing and Racial Identity and with Dr. Rebecca J. Holden she co-edited Strange Matings: Octavia E. Butler, Science Fiction, Feminism, and African American Voices. With classmate Cynthia Ward she co-authored Writing the Other: A Practical Approach. Shawl is a cofounder of the Carl Brandon Society and serves on the Board of Directors of the Clarion West Writers Workshop. Tor books will publish her Belgian Congo steampunk novel Everfair in Fall 2015. Her website is www.nisishawl.com.
Quill Shiv is a genre-blending writer living in Saugus, MA. Her work has appeared in the anthologies Haikus for Lovers (ed. Laura Roberts) and 1 Photo, 50 Authors, 100 Words: Flash Fiction (ed. Madison Woods), and in literary magazines such as Metazen and The Watermark. When not cross-stitching or blogging at www.QuillShiv.com, Quill spends her time perfecting the nap-to-coffee ratio.
Emily Slaney is 70% no confidence, with dark humor and a crooked smile. She describes her writing as nihilistic emotional satire because she likes to make you laugh before she pulls it all away from you. She lives in England with her husband and kids in a semi-detached madhouse where sarcasm is what passes for everyday speech. She has been published in Menacing Hedge, Revolt Daily, Solarcide, Parable Press, Thunderdome Magazine, and Cease, Cows. You can find more about Emily at: emilyslaney.com.
Amber Sparks is the author of the short story collection May We Shed These Human Bodies, and co-author (with Robert Kloss and illustrator Matt Kish) of the hybrid novella The Desert Places. Her second short story collection, The Unfinished World and Other Stories, is forthcoming in 2016. You can follow her on Twitter @ambernoelle, or at ambernoellesparks.com.
Rachel Swirsky holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers Workshop. Her short fiction has appeared in numerous venues, including Tor.com, Subterranean Magazine, and Clarkesworld Magazine. It’s also been nominated for the Hugo Award, the Locus Award, and the World Fantasy Award, among others, and twice won the Nebula Award. Her second collection, How the World Became Quiet: Myths of the Past, Present and Future, came out from Subterranean Press in 2013.
Meg Tuite’s writing has appeared in numerous literary journals. She is the author of two short story collections, Bound By Blue (Sententia Books, 2013) and Domestic Apparition (San Francisco Bay Press, 2011), and three chapbooks, the latest titled Her Skin is a Costume (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2013). She won the Twin Antlers Collaborative Poetry award from Artistically Declined Press for her poetry collection, Bare Bulbs Swinging (2014) written with Heather Fowler and Michelle Reale. She teaches at the Santa Fe Community College, is an editor for Santa Fe Literary Review and Connotation Press, and has a column up at JMWW. She lives in Santa Fe with her husband and menagerie of pets. Her blog: megtuite.com.
Damien Angelica Walters’ work has appeared or is forthcoming in various magazines and anthologies, including Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volume One, The Best of Electric Velocipede, Nightmare, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Shimmer, Apex, Glitter & Mayhem, Not Our Kind, and What Fates Impose. Sing Me Your Scars, a collection of her short fiction, will be released in early 2015 from Apex Publications, and Paper Tigers, a novel, will be released later that same year from Dark House Press.
xTx is a writer living in Southern California. Her work has been published in places like The Collagist, [PANK], Hobart, The Rumpus, The Chicago Review, Smokelong Quarterly, and Wigleaf. Her short story collection Normally Special is available from Tiny Hardcore Press and her chapbook Billie the Bull is available from Dzanc Books. Her story “The Mill Pond” won the 2012 storySouth Million Writers Award. She says nothing at www.notimetosayit.blogspot.com.
Bonnie ZoBell’s new linked collection from Press 53, What Happened Here: a novella and stories, was released in 2014. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in fiction, the Capricorn Novel Award, and a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award. She has held resident fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, VCCA, and Dorland, received an MFA from Columbia University on fellowship, and currently teaches at San Diego Mesa College. Visit her at www.bonniezobell.com.
Susan Perabo is Writer in Residence and Professor of English at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. She is the author of a collection of short stories, Who I Was Supposed to Be, and a novel, The Broken Places (both with Simon and Schuster). Her fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize Stories, and New Stories from the South, and has appeared in numerous magazines, including One Story, Glimmer Train, The Iowa Review, The Missouri Review, and The Sun. Her new collection of short stories is upcoming from Simon and Schuster in 2016.
In addition to co-editing Choose Wisely, Joanne Merriam has edited How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens and 140 And Counting: an anthology of writing from 7×20. In 2001, she quit her job as the Executive Assistant of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia to travel Canada and write The Glaze from Breaking. Her writing has also appeared in The Fiddlehead, [PANK], Per Contra, Strange Horizons, and The Journal of Unlikely Entomology. In 2004, she immigrated to the USA, and now resides in Nashville, Tennessee.
In addition to co-editing Choose Wisely, H. L. Nelson is head of the online magazine Cease, Cows and Co-CEO of LitDemon.com. Her publications include Writer’s Digest, Nightmare, Lunch Ticket, [PANK], plus over 50 others in the last few years. H. L.’s poem “Absolution” was nominated for Best of the Net 2013. Her fiction chapbook, The Sea is Only Meat, will come out this summer from Sundress Publications.
Stories from the book available online:
- Aimee Bender, “Broke” (Vestal Review)
- Tina Connolly, “Hard Choices” (Brain Harvest)
- Kelly Luce, “Rooey” (The Literary Review)
- Cat Rambo, “Ms. Liberty Gets a Haircut” (Strange Horizons)
- Emily Slaney, “Bear Traps” (Revolt Daily)
13 March 2015
There’s been a lot of discussion lately about diversity in science fiction, with a flurry recently (at least on my Facebook wall) of people reacting to K. Tempest Bradford’s I Challenge You to Stop Reading White, Straight, Cis Male Authors for One Year. I’m not particularly interested in entirely cutting out any group from my reading (and in any case that would be impossible since I’m not going to change my open submissions policy and submissions are about half of my reading—though we’re closed to submissions at the moment and won’t reopen until autumn), but I think Bradford is talking about something really important here.
I read to learn, to connect, and to escape—sometimes all three at once. I want to read books from other countries and cultures and backgrounds than mine so I can have a more complete picture of humanity. I want to read widely and wildly. To that end, I want to read authors from other countries, other races, other sexual orientations, than my own. So, to share the joy, here’s are a few of the diverse books I’ve enjoyed recently.
|Alaya Dawn Johnson’s The Summer Prince puts us in a futuristic matriarchal Brazil, where men compete to become the Kings that die at the end of every glorious year and the Aunties are the ones who are really in charge. It’s about creative stagnation and what’s important in art as much as it’s about a revolution against a calcifying state, and I can’t stop recommending it to all my friends.|
|Samuel R Delaney’s Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand was first published in 1984, but I first read it last year. I wasn’t particularly jazzed about the love story (which reduced love to eroticism) but was super excited about everything else: the sprawling space epicness of the protagonist’s diplomatic travel from world to world, the slow gorgeously-told reveals, the play with gender and race, and the essential danger of knowledge causing societies to melt down.|
|Chan Koonchung’s The Fat Years is a near-future (except in the past, since it was published in 2009) story set in post-global-economic-meltdown China where China has entered a golden age of prosperity, and everybody is tremendously happy for some pretty dodgy reasons. It is banned in China for talking openly about the Cultural Revolution, the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989 and the Falun Gong suppression. I listened to it as an audiobook on a long drive, and was riveted.|
|The Stars Change by Mary Anne Mohanraj is a far-future fast-paced novel with alternating viewpoints characters in a race against time to stop a bomb from destroying a populous area of a large city (and potentially also destroying the goodwill that allows interspecies cooperation on the planet). It’s also a love story and a story about the power of large families. I raced through it and found it tons of fun.|
|Report from Planet Midnight isn’t Jamaican-Canadian Nalo Hopkinson’s best book, but it’s the one I’ve read most recently and I thought it was pretty great, and it’s very short, so a good introduction to her Afro-Caribbean short stories. My favourite was “Message in a Bottle,” about an artist discovering how much his work comes to mean to the future.|
|Roadside Picnic by Russian authors Arkady Strugatsky and Boris Strugatsky is a 1972 novel that I only found out about after it was re-issued in 2012. Aliens leave behind some garbage that makes the local area wildly unsafe (gravity sinks, hell slime, etc.) and our protagonist risks his life to steal an alien artifact from that area, and better his lower middle class existence. Solidly fun and surreal Soviet classic.|
|Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 was celebrated widely when it came out so you probably already know about it, but it’s so excellent I couldn’t leave it off this list. A young woman enters a parallel dimension very similar to ours, and meets there a childhood friend who is ghostwriting a book by a dyslexic teenager who has a vision of another alternate reality. It starts slow (lovingly-described meal assembly can take paragraphs), but stick with it. Gorgeously-written, marvelous fantasy novel.|
And, finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention:
|Upper Rubber Boot Books’ forthcoming anthology of science fiction on the immigrant experience, How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens, is more than half writers of color, and also includes many non-American and immigrant writers:|
- Dean Francis Alfar & Elyss G. Punsalan (both Philippines)
- Nick Wood & Alex Dally MacFarlane & Deborah Walker (all three in the UK)
- Benjamin Rosenbaum (Switzerland)
- Bogi Takács (Hungary)
- RJ Astruc (New Zealand, and whose steampunk short story collection Signs Over the Pacific and Other Stories we published as an ebook last year).
- Zen Cho (Malaysian living in London)
- Indrapramit Das (Indian living in Canada)
- Rose Lemberg (Ukrainian living in the USA)
- me (Canadian living in the USA)
Through a typo (I put 2/16/15 instead of 3/16/15) that Amazon refuses to fix, the book is available now in paperback on Amazon, in advance of the 16 March release date when it will be available everywhere.
That’s just dipping your toe in… my to-read list also includes Kabu Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor, Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko, Omon Ra by Victor Pelevin, the Ice Trilogy by Vladimir Sorokin, A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar, Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias, The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz, The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna, Half-Resurrection Blues: A Bone Street Rumba Novel by Daniel José Older, and Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho.
27 February 2015
Just learned that today is Imbolc, a Gaelic festival for the beginning of spring! So, happy Imbolc, and here’s some news about our Spring 2015 catalogue:
- How to Live on Other Planets also has a page on Goodreads, and is available for pre-order for Amazon Kindle.
- We announced the table of contents for Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up To No Good, which includes luminaries like Joyce Carol Oates, Aimee Bender and Diane Cook. Complete list is here.
Also, as always, there’s new reading out from, and news for, Upper Rubber Boot authors since our last round-up at New Year’s!
Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days contributor Brian Evenson has translated Incidents in the Night Book 2, by French artist David B.
|Choose Wisely: 35 Women Up To No Good contributor Andrea Kneeland‘s How to Pose for Hustler is out in a month and is already getting rave reviews from Roxane Gay (“Kneeland’s remarkable, razor sharp short fictions”) and Lindsay Hunter (“It’s a how-to for people trying to be people, trying to figure out how to live despite the darkness and confused desires that are too often mistaken for light. This book is a headlamp, and it is also the darkness. I could not put it down.”).|
How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens contributor Ken Liu (who had a very, very short story in 140 And Counting) has a translation of “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang in Uncanny. io9 recently discussed his translation of Cixin Liu’s The Three Body Problem.
His fellow contributor Daniel José Older‘s new book Half-Resurrection Blues was called “fresh and richly envisioned” in Publishers’ Weekly.
Finally, Sarah Pinsker‘s “Beauty and the Baby Beast” was in Daily Science Fiction.
1 February 2015
Still ecstatic about the support received through the Kickstarter campaign for HOW TO LIVE ON OTHER PLANETS. At the end of each campaign, you send a survey out to the people who donated to get whatever information you need in order to provide them with their rewards.
Got some heart-warming and some hilarious responses to the open-ended survey question, “Questions? Special instructions? Kickstarter forces backers to answer all questions, so if you’ve got nothing, just put a period or something in the space.” Here are some of the best:
“You guys rock.”
“N/A, Congratulations on a well run campaign! I can’t wait to see what else you may offer in future campaigns! Can’t wait to read the stories!”
“Give yourselves a pat on the back – you deserve it!”
“I’m sorry we didn’t meet the stretch goal. May this book be a bestseller when it comes out.”
“This space not left blank.”
16 January 2015
We’re almost halfway to the stretch goal of $4,500, which would allow me to do an actual print run instead of print-on-demand – so the money goes to a local printer instead of Amazon, and we’ll have more money for advertising/promotion/etc. Upper Rubber Boot Books is ending 2014 with three dollars in our bank account (no kidding) so this is a HUGE boost for us and I’m so grateful for everybody’s support (and the many shares of my statuses about the campaign, so helpful in getting the word out!). I’m sure the authors will enjoy getting a larger royalty check too!
This morning, we’ve added a new reward level!
COMBO & COACHING for $100
Receive a mobi (ebook for Kindle) or ePub (ebook for Nook, iPad, Kobo, most other e-readers) version of the book, a month before the general public, AND a copy of the print version as soon as it’s available. (If – and only if – we reach our stretch goal, you’ll get it before the official release date.)
ALSO, receive a 1:1 coaching session with writing coach, author and anthology contributor Minal Hajratwala to work on your creative goals, blocks and strategies. Suitable for all genders & genres. Available anywhere in the solar system via Skype. $155 value.
If you’ve already donated, you can increase your previous pledge and change to this reward.
This pledge level is limited to 3 people.
29 December 2014
Our Kickstarter campaign for the immigrant science fiction anthology HOW TO LIVE ON OTHER PLANETS: A HANDBOOK FOR ASPIRING ALIENS went live on Saturday. With stories by Sturgeon winner Sarah Pinsker, James Tiptree, Jr., Award winner Nisi Shawl, World Fantasy Award winner Lewis Shiner, and Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Award winner Ken Liu, and poems by Bryan Thao Worra, Minal Hajratwala, and Peg Duthie, as well as material by 28 other excellent and diverse writers, this is a hell of a read.
You can essentially pre-order the book to get it in advance of the general public as an ebook and, if we reach our stretch goal of $4,500, as a trade paperback (it’ll be available as a trade paperback either way, but if we don’t reach the stretch goal you won’t get it earlier than the rest of the world).
On a personal note, I’m stupidly proud of the video, which is stop-motion, hand-drawn by me. Hope you enjoy it and decide to support the project.
8 December 2014
Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 1, containing poetry by Jenna Bazzell, Martin Anthony Call and Campbell McGrath, released 17 November 2014.
This is the first volume in the Floodgate Poetry Series, an annual series of books collecting three chapbooks by three poets in a single volume. Chapbooks—short books under 40 pages—arose when printed books became affordable in the 16th century. The series is in the tradition of 18th and 19th century British and American literary annuals, and the Penguin Modern Poets Series of the 1960s and ’70s.
Campbell McGrath’s Picasso/Mao is a short collection of poems told from the point of view of the two historical figures, spanning seventy-five years of history. McGrath is the author of twelve collections of poetry, and has been awarded Guggenheim and MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships. He is the Philip and Patricia Frost Professor of Creative Writing at Florida International University.
Jenna Bazzell’s Homeland describes a troubled family life, beginning with a drug deal gone bad, redeemed by time and the pleasures of the natural world. Bazzell won the 2010 AWP Intro Journal Award and an Honorable Mention from the Academy of American Poets Prize for poems included in the collection.
Martin Anthony Call’s The Fermi Sea explores a near future of urban decay, nanobots and holograms against a backdrop of lost love. Call earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 2008.
Reviews of Floodgate Poetry Series Vol. 1:
This collection of chapbooks offers the reader a startling variety. Bazzell’s Homeland is a compelling blend of narrative coherence and lyric lift. The opening poem, “Bubba Pub,” offers us the DNA of her entire chapbook: poems anchored in place and relationship. The poem describes a drug deal the speaker goes on with her mother, and a line like “the long O of a gun barrel tunnels back to the torso of a man” both shows the horror of being robbed during the interaction and “how suddenly night takes on strangeness.” It has been said that literature should either make the familiar strange or the strange familiar; Homeland does both with alacrity. The Fermi Sea, by Call, explores a distinctly 21st-century theology, one where the Holy Ghost is turned holographically into the Hologhost. And Call makes use of poetic puns throughout his chapbook, all of which are charmingly and even philosophically attractive. And, finally, in Picasso/Mao, McGrath opens up history, art, and politics to the purview of poetry. The unlikely pairing of these two figures allows for many unexpected and exciting overlaps and divergences. Campbell offers us entry into the minds of his poetic subjects in persona poems that delight with their ambition. Floodgate brings together three poets of stunning range and ability.
—Okla Elliott, author of The Cartographer’s Ink and From the Crooked Timber
The poems in Jenna Bazzell’s Homeland read with the mournful longing of prayers we know will not be answered. In their lyrical cataloguing of the living abundance of the land, the hope that the lost will be found again rises out of grief again and again with a powerful—because forever unsatisfied—poignancy. Whitman advised us to look for him under our bootsoles. Bazzell searches everywhere for the rebirth of the missing, patiently testing the face of the owl or the water that stands in the ditch for the solace of the familiar, the untamed astonishment of “[t]he brown fields. The unseen sky. The need to believe.”
—Lisa Lewis, author of Burned House with Swimming Pool and Story Box
Moved to praise Jenna Bazzell’s poems, one could say they transcend the subject of a family relationship. But what the poems really work so ardently to do is stay—rooted in their rich Southern landscape, and true to the woman they remember. Continually uncovering new angles for approaching her lyric narrative sequence, Bazzell closes each poem with such well-crafted care that, turning a page, the reader is both surprised that more could follow and drawn further into material so deeply felt it will never be finished.
—Rose McLarney, author of The Always Broken Plates of Mountains and Its Day Being Gone, winner of the National Poetry Series award
Martin Anthony Call’s character sketches in The Fermi Sea call to mind a dystopian Spoon River Anthology set somewhere mid-twenty-first century on the West Coast. Filled with nanotechnology, all-digital media, walled cities, holograms, and air cabs, these poems project a gritty disillusionment about the power of both humans and machines. (Think more Blade Runner than Star Trek.) With deft poetic strokes, Call introduces the reader to a host of characters whose trials have only just begun.
—Sandy Longhorn, author of The Girlhood Book of Prairie Myths and The Alchemy of My Mortal Form, winner of the 2014 Louise Bogan Award
Martin Anthony Call pairs a dystopian vision with formal craftsmanship and narrative intricacy. Fusing the old world with the next world, The Fermi Sea is an elegy for the present, a portrait of perception in which the real is always a step ahead and certainty is a rumor that no one cares to repeat. Haunting and urgent, Call has found a line and a music as arresting as it is gratifying. A remarkable collection!
—James Kimbrell, winner of the Academy of American Poets Prize, and author of The Gatehouse Heaven and My Psychic
In Picasso/Mao Campbell McGrath perfects the persona in a series of historical poems that span seventy-five years. While the founder of Cubism decries “the idiocy of war,” the founder of the Red Army draws an egg, failing a class in life drawing. Ample, dazzling, and elegantly crafted, these poems demonstrate a great mind enacting other great minds. Oscar Wilde once wrote, “A mask tells us more than a face.” These McGrath poems tell us much more than biography—they demonstrate cultural shifts and perception, a sophisticated and compassionate worldview, the poet’s intellect shining through.
—Denise Duhamel, author of Blowout and Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems, and guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2013
Campbell McGrath brings music to his epistolary poems centered on Mao and Picasso, their deeply lyrical voices a resistance to “the sugar-coated bullets of bourgeois entitlement,” their obsessions revealed by each “owning nothing, [but] having staked everything.” These poems are divergent elegies to lost loves, Mao to his war, Picasso to his art, and McGrath is the expert historian, translator, creator of “art [that] is not documentation, but transformation.” I was transformed by these poems, and transfixed, twisted, torn asunder, rebuilt, reformed, and awe-struck. You will be too. And Mao? McGrath teaches him to sing like a poet from his “Hall of the Wealth of Books.” And Picasso? McGrath paints him, “to stave off death.” And fearsome, the knowledge that McGrath just continues getting better.
—Seth Brady Tucker, author of Mormon Boy and We Deserve the Gods We Ask For, winner of the 2013 Gival Press Poetry Award
17 November 2014