News for the New Year

I hope everyone had a happy new year.  I had a few friends over my place, and yes Blade Runner was watched.  I am not ashamed.  Though what happened before and after I cannot be responsible for.  😉

Anyway, surprisingly I have a lot of news today, considering it’s been a holiday.

First up is Sybil’s Garage, praised by Rich Horton in his year-end fiction round-up.  He says: “It’s a stylishly put together magazine, There’s plenty of poetry, art, and nonfiction in addition to the stories.  My favorite was Anil Menon’s “The Poincaré Sutra”, which I called (in Locus) “a perkily told but rather dark story of a 16-year-old Coptic girl in Israel, who falls in love with a Jewish boy while her father’s past pushes him in a different direction.” I also enjoyed stories by Swapna Kishore, Sam Ferree, Alex Dally MacFarlane, A.C. Wise, E. C. Myers, and Amy Sisson.”  I’m glad these stories are getting noticed because they are all really very good.  (Yes, I know I am biased, but I believe they all deserve wider looks.)

On the personal front, Lois Tilton reviews my story “The Suffering Gallery” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies and says, “Kressel’s piece is definitely a parody of sword-and-sorcery fiction, but it is otherwise true to the S&S conventions and winds up with a very satisfactory conclusion.”  It’s interesting in that I didn’t intend the overall story to be parody, but I did want the repartee between the antagonists to be darkly humorous.  In fact I had in mind the cartoon crooks Boris and Natasha from the Rocky & Bullwinkle Show.  I also wanted to play with point of view.  In a fantasy story, we usually expect the hero to succeed in his quest, and so I tried to play with those expectations.  It’s up to you to decide if it works.  You can read it here.  Or listen here.

And over on the Ordinary Day Anna the Piper reviews Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories, edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft.  Overall, they give the anthology 4 of 5 stars.  And of my story, she says, “Matthew Kressel, in “The Hands that Feed”, brings us a solid little tale of a shopkeeper with hidden talents, and the seemingly innocent young woman she comes to love. Our two heroines are Jewish and Hindu, as well as separated by thirty years of age, which makes for quite the unusual pairing indeed.”

So that was a nice way to ring in the new year!

Year-End Update

Just a few tidbits before the end of the year.  Most recently, Rich Horton lists my story, “The History Within Us,” as one of the “strong stories” from Clarkesworld Magazine this year.  The magazine is chock-full of amazing stories, so I’m honored that he thought mine was one of the best.

Also, just released this month, The People of the Book, which contains a reprint of “The History Within Us.”  With stories from Neil Gaiman, Michael Chabon, Peter S. Beagle, Jane Yolen & more, this anthology looks fantastic.  It’s next on my to-read list.

Over at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Scott H. Andrews has released a podcast of my story, “The Suffering Gallery.”  The production quality of the podcast is high, and I was pleasantly surprised by the audio effect Scott uses near the end to emphasize a particular aspect of a character.

Forthcoming from me in 2011, I have a story “The Hands That Feed” in Steam-Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories, which comes out in January.  I have “The Bricks of Gelecek” coming out in July in Naked City, edited by Ellen Datlow.  “Bricks” takes place in the same secondary world as “The Suffering Gallery,” and close readers will notice the overlap.  And sometime in 2011 I’ll have a non-fiction piece, “Mitigation Strategies” in Weird Tales #357. I’m also working on a redesign of the Weird Tales website, which we hope to launch soon.

Lately I’ve been working on a post-apocalyptic YA story, which is near finished (just needs one more read through), and been pecking at my novel for the past few days, cleaning up sections of the story with additions to the plot.  And Mercurio D. Rivera and I are working on a science-fiction graphic novel.

As of today, I have not scheduled a reading period for Sybil’s Garage.  Issue eight will go forward, but the reading period may be a little later than last year.  This is mainly because the editors and I all have been very busy.  When things settle down early in 2011 I’ll announce a date.

Until then, have a happy new year, and may you have much success and happiness in 2011!

Sybil’s Garage Film Shoot

Last night I trekked up to the north end of Clinton Hill in Brooklyn for the Sybil’s Garage film shoot.  A start-up film production company offered to make a promo film for us as a way to build their resume.  We bounced ideas back and forth.  They sent me a script, I sent them my comments.  And before no time at all they were shooting.

I arrived at the set, made to look like a graffitied parking garage, in their office studio:

I know when working with creative people, it’s best not to micromanage.  Better to let their subconscious have free reign.  In my version of the film, people would be sitting across from each other in a kind of competition as they’d read sections of stories to a greater audience.  The one who moves the audience the most, “wins,” the metaphor being that each piece of Sybil’s Garage is more moving than the last.  This vision of the scene was confirmed when I saw the director writing out scripts like this*:

But then something happened.  I’m not sure what.  Somehow the scene ended up being shot like this:

A screaming, shouting, cussing, drinking mini-riot.  A literary rumble.  Not exactly the solemn affair I’m used to at KGB.  I decided to just roll with it.  I was not going to interject, like the school librarian, and say, “You know, these things are usually much more staid affairs.  Maybe we can tone it down?”  No way.  People were having too much fun, and so I stood there in my PJs (yes, I wore PJs; we were supposed to dress “eclectic”) as we shot the scene from about a dozen different angles.  The directors promised me an awesome promo film, and I trust them, even though our visions differ.  And you know, it got me thinking, maybe exactly what literature needs right now to make it hip and relevant is a little punk rock.  I’m looking forward to the finished product.

Oh, and doesn’t Paul Berger look totally f’n awesome here?  I’d hire him to solve a murder.  Or maybe commit one.

* The story is E.C. Myers’ “My Father’s Eyes”

Half-Priced Holiday Sale

To celebrate the holiday season, Senses Five Press is offering a 50% discount on everything in our store, including the latest issue of Sybil’s Garage and the World Fantasy Award-winning anthology Paper Cities.  Just use coupon code HOLIDAZE2010 when checking out.

Have you read Sybil’s Garage No. 7 yet?  Read what others are saying about the latest issue.

“It’s been awhile since an anthology had this kind of emotional impact on me…this one is highly recommended.”
– N.K. Jemisin, Hugo-nominated author of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

“One of my favorite magazines.”
– John Klima, Hugo Award-winning Editor of Electric Velocipede

“Beautifully designed and printed as always, Sybil’s Garage which has been one of the best small press speculative fiction journals, graduates to anthology status.”
– Richard Bowes, multiple World Fantasy Award-winning author

“The always interesting ‘zine Sybil’s Garage is back with a thicker than usual issue”
– Rich Horton for Locus Magazine

“Every story had something for me to like: vivid description, playful language, a character to root for, mystery, poignancy, tragedy, an intellectual puzzle, a sting in the tail.”
-SFF Portal, Alison Sinclair

Get a copy here. Maybe Get two.  Or twelve.  It’s that time of year.

And Have You Seen?

Support your favorite small presses!  Remember to get your copy of Sybil’s Garage No. 7:
Barnes &
Powell’s Books

And in the UK, Europe, and other regions:
Book Despository

And always at:
Senses Five Press

Have a happy holiday season and a wonderful new year!

Matt Kressel

The Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship Fund eReader Drawing

The Carl Brandon Society is holding a raffle fundraiser to support the Octavia E. Butler Memorial Scholarship.  The Carl Brandon Society is an organization which strives “to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction.”  The scholarship enables writers of color to attend one of the Clarion writing workshops, where Octavia got her start.

For only $1 you can win a Nook, Kobo eReader, or an Alex, preloaded with fiction from N. K. Jemisin, Nisi Shawl, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Terence Taylor, Ted Chiang, Shweta Narayan, Chesya Burke, Moondancer Drake, Saladin Ahmed, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, and many others.  (They’ll also be preloaded with copies of Paper Cities and Sybil’s Garage No. 7).

You can find more about the drawing here.