Announcing Sybil’s Garage No. 7

Sybil's Garage No. 7

Senses Five Press is pleased to announce the release of Sybil’s Garage No. 7.

Where can you find a television that sees five minutes into the future? Where can you find dragons trapped in a jar and an illness which turns people into glass? Where might you find families who sell their brainpower to corporations for penny wages, or dead relatives that sit down for family meals?

Why, in the pages of Sybil’s Garage No. 7, of course.

In this seventh issue of the highly acclaimed series, you will find twenty-seven original works of fiction and poetry from today’s top talent, with suggested musical accompaniment, our trademark design aesthetic, and much more. But be sure to leave a trail of breadcrumbs on your way into Sybil’s Garage, or you may not find your way out.

6″x9″, 206pp
ISBN: 978-0-9796246-1-2

Available from Senses Five Press,, BarnesAnd and other fine bookstores.

For more information click here.

Table of Contents:


“By Some Illusion” — Kathryn E. Baker
“Suicide Club” — Amy Sisson
“The Noise” — Richard Larson
“A History of Worms” — Amelia Shackelford
“Thinking Woman’s Crop of Fools” — Tom Crosshill
“The Unbeing of Once-Leela” — Swapna Kishore
“How the Future Got Better” — Eric Schaller
“The Telescope” — Megan Kurashige
“Under the Leaves” — A.C. Wise
“The Ferryman’s Toll” — Sam Ferree
“The Tale of the Six Monkeys’ Tails” — Hal Duncan
“The Poincaré Sutra” — Anil Menon
“Kid Despair in Love” — M.K. Hobson
“My Father’s Eyes” — E.C. Myers
“An Orange Tree Framed Your Body” — Alex Dally MacFarlane
“The Watcher Thorn” — Cheryl Barkauskas
“Other Things” — Terence Kuch
“The Dead Boy’s Last Poem” — Kelly Barnhill


“Seven League”s — Lyn C. A. Gardner
“One October Night in Baltimore” — Jaqueline West
“Indian Delight” — Alexandra Seidel
“Candle for the Tetragrammaton” — Sonya Taaffe
“Emigrant” — Linsdey Duncan
“Schehirrazade” — Amal El-Mohtar
“The Hyacinth Girl” — Adrienne J. Odasso
“Pathways Marked in Silver” — Marcie Lynn Tentchoff
“Rain ” — Juliet Gillies


“Glourious Homage: Quentin Tarantino’s Love Letter to Cinema” — Avi Kotzer

Sybil’s Garage Editor Spotlight – Mercurio D. Rivera

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Sybil’s Garage is a group effort.  Several people work really hard behind the scenes to make each issue happen.  This is the first of a series of posts where I intend to highlight the contributions of each editor.  I’ve asked each person to talk a little bit about his/her experience working for Sybil’s Garage.

Our first editor is Mercurio D. Rivera.  When Mercurio joined our writers group a few years back, I never thought this humble quiet fellow would soon become one of my best friends.  His advice is among the first I seek when faced with a tough decision.  In a few short years, Mercurio has gone on to become quite an accomplished hard SF writer.  He does have a bit of an impish side, though, which is why he’s earned his moniker of Evil David.  But a regular bathing in holy water usually keeps his evil tendencies at bay.  And, by coincidence, it’s also his birthday today, so I hope y’all will join me in wishing him a happy one.

Mercurio D. RiveraMercurio D. Rivera is an attorney and science fiction writer whose stories have appeared regularly in Interzone (#204, #214, #219, #226, #227).  His Interzone stories “Longing for Langalana” and “In the Harsh Glow of its Incandescent Beauty” are part of an upcoming series of interconnected tales about his strange aliens, the Wergens, and their unrequited love for humanity.  His work can also be found or is forthcoming in Unplugged: The Web’s Best SF and Fantasy, Download 2008, edited by Rich Horton (Wyrm Publishing), Nature, Black Static, Electric Velocipede, Abyss & Apex, Escape Pod, Starship Sofa and elsewhere.  His fiction has been acknowledged on the Locus Recommended List for 2008 (finishing at #25 in the short story category), the StorySouth Million Writers List for 2008, and several of his stories have received honorable mention in Gardner Dozois’s Year’s Best Science Fiction anthology.  His website is

Mercurio says:

Sybil’s Garage started off as a thin stapled ‘zine, grew into a crisp digest-sized magazine format, and this year took the next step in its evolution, morphing into a gorgeous trade paperback anthology.  (Next year?  I have the scoop: glorious, three-dimensional, interactive holograms!)  Along the way, it’s developed a faithful following and a reputation for offbeat, high-quality fiction.  It’s been a wild ride, and I can’t tell you how proud I am to have been a passenger aboard Matt Kressel’s runaway car, gesticulating crazily and shouting directions from the backseat.  Or something like that.

All of us on Sybil’s editorial staff are members of the Altered Fluid ( writing group.  Many years ago, Matt managed to blackmail us with incriminating photos rope us all in with his inimitable charm and contagious enthusiasm for creating and developing his own print magazine.  Although I was initially concerned about the time commitment involved, my fears were assuaged by the fact that six to eight Fluidians volunteer on any particular issue, and that the slush pile is divvied up among us.  For example, Sybil’s Garage No. 7 received well over 500 submissions.  Divided by six editors, this resulted in a much more manageable story-load, especially when compared with the tsunami of slush that regularly hits other magazines that have far fewer editors.  This allowed me to be a bit more patient when reading manuscripts and to occasionally provide feedback and personal encouragement.  I can’t help it; even after all of these issues I still empathize strongly with every writer whose story I reject, especially those who send us the near-misses.  Over the years, I’ve found reading slush to be an invaluable learning tool that has helped me see the common mistakes that can torpedo a story as well as the special qualities that make a submission stand out in the crowd.  I can’t help but be struck by the fact that as Sybil’s has continued to improve and evolve with each successive issue, so has Altered Fluid and our successes as writers.  At least in my case, I attribute part of that to the lessons learned from reading slush.

Beyond slush reading, typically I’ll assist on a particular issue by drafting the author’s contracts, copy-editing four or five stories, proofing the final version of the issue, opining on stories forwarded by the other editors, and adding my two cents on the final selections.  If I feel strongly in favor or against a particular story, I make sure my voice is heard.  One of the most satisfying aspects of working on Sybil’s is that Matt encourages input from all the editors on every aspect of each issue, from the final story selections to his cover design to his layout of the magazine.  He carefully takes all these different opinions into consideration then pulls out the incriminating photographs, waves them in our faces and pulls rank in making his final decisions.  Make no mistake, Sybil’s Garage is the product of Matt’s vision–he invests the capital, makes the final calls, designs the cover and the layout so that it has that unique Sybil’s look to it, and promotes the hell out of each issue–but it is also a labor of love for all the backseat drivers like me who are passionate about producing something special and making Sybil’s the very best it can be.

I finished the friggin’ editor’s spotlight. Can I get those incriminating photos back now?  Geez.”

ReaderCon 21, or The Super Secret Party That Everyone Knows About

There is a certain timelessness to conventions.  And as such they do not translate well into a linear narrative.  Perhaps that’s because a large portion of the time we are talking about ideas, things, places, events outside ourselves and often outside our universe.  Coming back home after that is like traveling near the speed of light and returning to a changed world.  Except the world hasn’t changed.  We have.

Readercon 21 started off somewhat humbly.  Several of my friends who have accompanied me before couldn’t make it, and this time around I knew a larger portion of the attendees than ever before.  My first thought upon arriving was that the convention didn’t feel real.  I tried to explain this to a few folks, and they kept reminding me that it was still Friday and it takes some time for things to warm up.  And warm up they did.

The first panel I attended, one of the annual short-fiction summaries, name-checked two friends of mine as talented up-and-comers: Genevieve Valentine and Alaya Dawn Johnson.  It was nice to hear their work getting recognized.  Later, Scott H. Andrews hosted a Beneath Ceaseless Skies reading, where I read a section from “The Suffering Gallery,” a short story appearing in BCS this fall.  I also heard Michael J. DeLuca, Margaret Ronald, Tom Croshill (which I later found out was his first reading), and several other talented fantasists.  People seemed to like my excerpt.  In fact, people seemed to like all the stories, which is a credit to Scott’s editorial eye.

Later, I participated on a panel about the bright future of SF magazines, which had as a launching point the question of how to make SF magazines more culturally inclusive.  Liz Gorinsky did a great job keeping us on topic, and we heard well-thought-out comments by panelists Neil Clarke, K. Tempest Bradford, and pinch-hitter Michal J. DeLuca, who was there for Gavin Grant.  Compared to last year’s somewhat sullen first panel on the future of SF magazines, this one felt much more positive, and we all agreed the short fiction market is in a renaissance.  These things go in cycles, and we are presently on an upswing.

Kate Baker (known for her podcasts at Clarkesworld Magazine, writing under Kathryn E. Baker) was in the audience, and she was shyly waving at me until I suddenly realized who she was.  She did a wonderful podcast of my story “The History Within Us” and also has her first published story in Sybil’s Garage No. 7.  I ran over and hugged her, which I realized immediately following might have been a little too forward considering we had only met for the first time.  I hope she forgives my exuberance.

At the Meet the Prose party I chatted with a lot of lovely people, including Mary Rodgers, whom I met in New York a few weeks back, and I got to taste a Brooklyn Stout from Scott H. Andrews, who had smuggled in a growler into the hall.

I had a nice conversation with Jacob Weisman and Bernie Goodman from Tachyon Publications about Jewish-themed fiction (I’m writing a novel partly based on Jewish myths).  And they also gave me excellent publishing advice.  By the time everyone moved toward the bar, it was 1 a.m., and they were closing.  Exhausted, I ducked off to my bedroom.

Saturday, I was free of panels, and so attended things sparsely.  But I did attend Alaya Dawn Johnson’s reading from her novel Moonshine.  I also attended Part II of the future of SF magazines and also found the panelists to be forward-thinking and positive.  The general consensus was that the short fiction future is a good one.

I attended the Rhysling Awards (two poems from Sybil’s Garage No. 6 were nominated in the short-form category).  We didn’t win, but I heard several fabulous poems, especially a sung one from Amal El-Mohtar.  I offered to record a classical guitar accompaniment to it, which she seemed excited about.

All of this felt like a prelude to Saturday night.  We had been planning to throw a room party for a while, and the intention was to tell a few people, but not the entire con.  After all, it was a small room, and we didn’t reserve a suite or a room on the party floor.  Well, the word got out.  We knew this when a gentleman showed up first to the party whom no one knew.  “Where did you hear of this party?” we asked him.  He named another person no one in the room had told.  That’s when we knew things might get…crowded.

The lovely Kristin Janz bartended, making specialty cocktails such as Aviations and Margaritas.  The room quickly got hot and loud and sometimes raucous, but I punctuated the noise with readings from the new issue of Sybil’s Garage No. 7.  Kathryn E. Baker, Tom Croshill, E.C. Myers, and Amal El-Mohtar all got up on the bed and read at various points in the night.  And all were grand.  More than one person told me these readings were the best they’d heard at the con.  At one point even Peter Straub showed up to our party, but when I somewhat awkwardly re-introduced myself to him and praised his latest novel, he told me he was going to “mingle on” and left the party.  Oh, well.

I popped in to a party Mike Allen threw upstairs, and there was treated to a fabulous performance of theatrical poetry (I unfortunately don’t recall the name of the woman he read with, but she [edit, thanks Amal!] Claire Cooney was great too.)  It is so wonderful to be surrounded by creative people.  At times like these, there are no other places I’d rather be.

At around 4:30 a.m. the last stragglers left the party.  But I could not sleep, and so wandered down into the lobby to hang with Liz Gorinsky and Benjamin Rosenbaum.  At one point the hotel called security on her because Ben had stacked pillow cushions upon her.  I kid you not.

The sun was coming up.  I had another day and another panel to attend.  And so at some point I wandered off to bed.  I think it was 6 a.m.

Three hours later, miraculously, I was up.  The shower, which the night before was full of beer, had one remaining.  Not bad, I thought.  I made it in time to see the metaphysical hard SF panel, which was highly entertaining if not a bit over my head a times.  Mr. Ben Rosenbaum, you are super smart, but can you slow down sometimes to let us non PhDs grasp an inkling of what you are saying?  I’m tongue in cheek of course.  I thought Ben and the other panelists were fabulous.  I can sometimes forget how many smart people come to ReaderCon.  It’s staggering.

I hosted a Sybil’s Garage kaffeeklatsch, of which the lovely JoSelle Vanderhooft attended, and we spoke in depth about where to take Sybil’s Garage and Senses Five Press.  Mercurio D. Rivera and Devin Poore, editors of Sybil’s Garage, sat in on the conversation.

There was also more mingling.  And carnivorous plants.  Oh, and I sold nineteen copies of Sybil’s Garage No. 7.  A good omen, or I should say is a sibylline signal of future sales.

Some other highlights, not necessarily in any order:

  • Talking with Sean Wallace of Prime Books about anthologies
  • Finding out I share a TOC with Neil Gaiman, Michael Chabon and Peter Beagle (The People of the Book, Prime Books, Dec 2010)
  • Finding out Gordon Van Gelder and I are distant cousins
  • Seeing Kelly Link for literally ten seconds
  • Swimming in the pool in the rain
  • Going out for Korean BBQ and finding out all of the NY people were already dining there
  • Hanging out with Brett Savory and Sandra Kasturi of Chi Zine Press
  • Talking e-books with Neil Clarke of Clarkesworld Magazine
  • Seeing Blake Charlton transformed into The Last Cakebender (see photos)
  • Jeremy Lassen suggesting dirigibles are the new vampires

The surreality of the opening hours evaporated away by the end of the weekend.  The conference had most definitely become real.  The wave function collapsed.  Now I’m left with the typical post-con blues, missing the conversations and the stimulation.  But I’m also rejuvenated by the weekend, brimming with creative energy, and I’m looking forward to starting several new projects soon.

Thanks to all who attended for a great weekend.  And thanks to the organizers for putting this convention together.  You can see some of my photos here.

Some (Good) Things

I spent a fun Fourth of July weekend relaxing after a somewhat harrowing experience getting Sybil’s Garage ready for Readercon*.  On Monday, I spent the evening at Devin J. Poore’s house where we watched the fireworks from his rooftop deck.  Got to catch up with some old friends there too, which was nice.  Here’s what the fireworks over the Hudson looked like:

Yesterday I spent the afternoon at Jones Beach with my cousin.  We arrived at 3pm, and the temperature was still well in the 90s.  We stayed until the sun set.  It was quite beautiful. I took a photo.  Then I stopped by my folks’ house for a bit, and they promptly fed us.  Then my dad showed us his giant tomato garden (organic varieties, them all.)

So after a day in the sun and a few nights of little sleep I was somewhat cranky today.  And then Mercurio D. Rivera delighted me with news that my story “Saving Diego” has received an honorable mention in Gardner Dozois’ The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Seventh Annual Collection. My story originally appeared in Interzone #221.

Mercurio was also name-checked in the opening comments, specifically about his whimsical SF story “Dear Annabehls.”  Alaya Dawn Johnson also received an honorable mention for her story “The Yeast of Eire.”  Congrats to fellow Altered Fluidians for the mentions.

* I’ve had nightmares about the production of Sybil’s Garage.  In the latest, I received the proofs, and they were horribly wrong.  The cover was pitch dark and the images were duplicated all across the pages kaleidoscopically.  While I was looking at the mistakes, a bottle of Listerine on the stove caught fire, and I inhaled toxic fumes, which made me cough up blood.  “Never mind!” my dream self said, “There’s no time for doctors.  I’ll just open the windows, get some air, and then get back to working on Sybil’s.  I only have three days to go!”  Or some such.  Can you tell I’m stressed?  😉

My ReaderCon Schedule

ReaderCon is one of my favorite conventions, and I’m really excited about this year.  I’ll be arriving on Friday, July 9th and staying through Sunday.  I’ll be on one panel, hosting a kaffeeklatsch for Sybil’s Garage, and doing a reading.  Here’s my schedule:

Beneath Ceaseless Skies Reading – Friday, 6pm
Reading with several BCS authors.  I’ll be reading an excerpt from “The Suffering Gallery.”

The New and Improved Future of Magazines – Friday, 8:30pm, Salon G
Bradford, Clarke, Gorinsky, Ga. Grant, Kressel

Sybil’s Garage Kaffeeklatsch – Sunday, 1pm, Vineyard
Kressel & editors from Sybil’s Garage