Emerald City has Nice Things to Say

The Emerald CityEmerald City has just released a review of Sybil’s Garage No. 3. Among other positive reviews, their Nic Clarke says this of Sybil’s Garage:

Cat Rambo’s “Lonesome Trail” is “a succinct, magical transmutation of poetry-writing into a night journey through a luminous desert valley.” Yoon Ha Lee’s “So That Her High-Born Kinsmen Came” is “a haunting glance into the mind of a nursing mother.” Eric Gregory’s “The Redaction of Flight 5766” is “fascinating [and] ambiguous.” Brian Conn’s “Six Questions About the Sun” is “a gloriously inventive alternate cosmology.

The full review.

More info about the magazine.

The Jim Hans, Hoboken Extraordinaire Podcast

Jim Hans.  Can you dig?(As Published in Sybil’s Garage No. 3. Click here to order the magazine).

The story goes something like this: One sunny early autumn day I was strolling down Third Street in Hoboken, heading towards Washington Street when I happened upon a small gate sale. I browsed the various items for a few minutes when a home-grown magazine from the late 70s called Time Machine caught my eye. Full of beautiful engravings and drawings from the early 20th century, as well as letters from Buckminster Fuller and other notables, articles of opinion, comedy, and history, the magazines begged to be purchased. And each of these treasures was only $1. I grabbed the lot of them and went to buy, when an innocent looking man named Jim said, “Oh, you like those? I got more in the back.”

He returned with a stack of several more, remarking, “Those were real fun to make.” I then connected the dots — rather slowly — that this Mr. Jim Hans was the creator of this wonderful magazine. I later found out, Jim holds more secrets. He was the founder of the Hoboken Historical Museum, and his book of history, 100 Hoboken Firsts was recently released by them.

An entire room of his home is filled with the most fascinating items from the beginning of last century. He currently lives in Hoboken with his wife, Beverly. This interview took place a few weeks after our encounter. (We weren’t expecting to release this as a podcast, so please excuse our “ums” and “wells” and verbal hopscotch. A (heavily edited) transcription of this interview is included in Sybil’s Garage No. 3

Interview Part 1 (29:43)

Interview Part 2 (28:42)

To purchase Sybil’s Garage No. 3, please click here.

A Long Year’s Journey into Spring

Translation: We've fallen and we can't get upThe air smells a little cleaner. The buds on the trees start to break. Melancholy people open up their mouths and smile. Spring has arrived. Its signs are everywhere. Take this for example:

Sybil’s Garage No. 3 has arrived. That’s right. It’s now for sale on our website. This time around, we’ve got more pages and longer stories. And the author list is just fantastic, with Lee Thomas, Yoon Ha Lee, Paul Tremblay, and many more. We’ve got an interview with Kelly Link and artwork from Stephanie Rodriguez. There’s 76 pages of speculative fun.

Consider too that Lauren McLaughlin (who conducted the Kelly Link interview above) has returned to New York and has re-joined our writers’ group, Alteredfluid. Although she picked up a dabble of a British accent, we’re still thrilled to have her back.

Balticon. Though I’ve never been, I’ve heard good things (I’ve heard t’ings…), and this year promises to be grand. We’ll be heading down I-95 with a posse soon. Look for us!

And personally, I am less than 80 pages from finishing my novel. It’s been a long road, but then, so is anything worth doing. Nothing tastes so good as bread you’ve baked yourself.

On a final, non-sequiturial note, here’s our latest message to those ETs.

LunaCon Lunacy

Lunacon 2006Nevermind the fact that the hotel was unfinished. Nevermind the fact that there was no bar, and some of the panels took place inside cramped hotel rooms. Nevermind the fact the hotel’s layout was horribly confusing even with a map in hand. It’s still impossible to go to a Con these days and not have just a little bit of fun.

We started out at a panel on “How Editors Think” which was held in the impressive top floor of the hotel. Colored lights and concert speakers had been set up around the stage, but strangely the three panel guests were not miked in any way. And, even though it was bright and sunny (or perhaps, because it was bright and sunny) the curtains were all closed giving the large place a kind of damp, cloistered feel. The panel ended up being more of a discussion of the current trends in novels (i.e. trends of publisher purchases), in which the panelists suggested that urban supernatural (a.k.a. contemporary vampires, witches, warlocks) are selling like hotcakes, while traditional strong sellers like science fiction are a hard sell now unless you are a name or (in the editors’ words) writing space opera or military SF.

At noon we waddled into “Jujitsu for Writers and Artists.” After about five minutes of the very stocky and intimidating (not in a burly kind of way but the way a bus is intimidating when it’s headed your way ) host telling us (in case we didn’t know) that martial artists and boxers do not have to register their hands as a deadly weapon and also that if you punch someone in the jaw ungloved you will most likely break all the bones in your hand, I politely snuck out while my companions Mercurio Rivera and Paul Berger stayed. I should have stayed with them for reasons forthcoming.

I slid very late into a panel on the powerful themes of the science fiction films of the mid 60s which, though interesting at points, quickly diverged into a list of all the movies the hosts had seen along with lots and lots and lots of trivia about these films which, to be quite frank, I wasn’t really interested in. Case in point: In response to one of the panelists suggesting that people don’t go to films for ideas anymore and instead they go to be entertained, I asked the reason for this change. The answer was a list of movies that had good ideas, then a divergent conversation based on one of those movies, and… well, you get the idea.

I met Paul and Mercurio out in the hall where they told me the wonderful lessons I missed. Their “Jujitsu” host (who was very Caucasian and not at all shaped like your stereotypical martial artist) had said to them: “Everyone of you in here has a razorblade on them.” They had all looked around nervously at one another until the host held up his Lunacon badge and pointed to its sharpened ends. They also learned how McDonald’s straws can be folded into sharp points rather quickly, and when placed between the fingers of the hand, happen to match precisely the separation of the human eyes. Their host had been stabbed multiple times. I was sorry (or grateful) I missed the panel.

We next saw “Ask the Editors” with Douglas Cohen, JJ Adams, Marvin Kaye, Darrell Schweitzer, and Mike Penncavage. No one asked any questions in the first few seconds of awkward silence so JJ pointed to me and said, “Matt Kressel, ask a question.” “We’ve all heard what makes editors reject a story,” I said. “But what makes you keep reading? Is it a visceral or emotional reaction? Is it intuition?” I thought it was pretty good for an on-the-fly answer. Of course, I’m partly cheating here. I’m an editor myself, so it wasn’t too difficult constructing a question that I thought others might want to know the answer to.

We next broke for lunch in the hotel cafeteria which had two waiters, a hostess, and at least two busgirls but yet somehow could not keep up with a load of about eight tables. We waited 45 minutes for mediocre food and snuck out with a bad tip on the table. Paul and Mercurio thought a man in the corner was Harlan Ellison, but they were soon disabused.

We split up and they went to a panel on Noir SF/F while I walked very late into a panel on the state of small press. I started asking the panelists on the state of small magazine press, on marketing and advertising, and a whole load of other questions. I paused to let other people ask questions, and one raised their hand and began to address my questions. I then divulged, “If it’s not already obvious, I edit a small press magazine called Sybil’s Garage.” As it turns out, Neil Clarke of Clarkesworldbooks was in the audience and he came up and introduced himself.

Next I took a tour of the dealer room where I saw William Shunn, whose excellent essay was in Sybil’s Garage No. 2. He informed me that his novella was recently published by Asimov’s. Congrat’s Bill! I also bought two books by Lin Carter, whose fantastic imagination I admire.

We ended the day in a small hotel room/panel on psychology in SF with the host Lawrence M. Schoen, who has an interesting resume containing such gems as being adept in the Klingon language, having once taught Japanese, a Ph.D. in Psychology, and also he happens to be a talented writer. The conversations that went on in this small room are too detailed to discuss here, but essentially we talked about character motivation and plot. Lawrence suggested that a character can never walk away from the plot, otherwise your plot is flawed. A character, he said, must act or react, and this is not a choice. But how he responds is his choice. We went over our one hour allotment as we were all engrossed in conversation. Lawrence said, “I’d ask you guys to come join me at the bar, but there is no bar, and this con is very, very strange, so I guess we’ll just stay here.” And we did.

We finally waddled out of the room at 6:30 or so and hit the elevators where we ran into Carol Pinchefsky and her husband Peter. There was a very boisterous and talkative woman, short but with big brown eyes that kind of held you in her gaze as she talked. Beside her was her very tall Asian husband with the kind of glasses very serious folks wore in the 80s. The woman said of her husband, “We met during a murder trial.” And I said to the man, “You were the attorney for that case, I hope?” She turned to her husband and said, “Next time we tell that story, honey, you’re the attorney okay?” We talked with her for several minutes while “Jujitsu” man from the earlier panel waited behind the talkative woman for the elevator. It was very surreal standing there in that moment, with a man who could clearly kill me with his Lunacon badge on one side, and on the other side a man who was involved in some kind of murder trial I really didn’t want to know about, all the while people in strange period costumes filed out of the elevators and the stairwell. Cons really are the only kind of place where these things can happen.

It’s at the Printer’s

It's never too late for evolution.Several people have recently emailed us asking when the issue will be available. A safe estimate is that we will have print copies next week. Theoretically we could start selling PDFs now, but we’ve chosen to wait until the contributors and editors have their copies first. And also, we’ll be sending out review copies at that time as well. Please email us to request a review copy.

Some more news about the issue:

We have a great interview with Kelly Link conducted by Lauren McLaughlin, and an interview with Jim Hans of Hoboken fame. A podcast of Jim’s interview will be available on this site to coincide with the public release of the magazine.