Thursday, November 15, 2012

Aqueductista News

I've gotten way behind on this. First, before offering you some links pertinent to Aqueduct authors, I thought I'd begin by mentioning some of the books Aqueduct will be releasing in 2013. This spring, you can look forward to a new, debut novel from Aqueduct, Necessary Ill by Deb Taber, which tells a story set in a sophisticated, (literally as well as metaphorically) underground community of "neuters."

We'll also be publishing "a pseudotreatise of urbogony" titled Squaring the Circle, a collection of tales by Romanian author Gheorghe Sasarman, which was brought to Aqueduct by Ursula Le Guin, who read the tales in a Spanish translation and was so delighted by them that she began to try her hand at translating them into English. Her labor of love, assisted by Spanish translator Mariano Martín Rodríguez, resulted in Squaring the Circle. I'll just say that although they aren't in Aqueduct's usual line, I couldn't resist publishing Sasarman's tales. And finally,

I'd like to mention, also, that Aqueduct has just acquired another novel for which we haven't yet set a publication date, Stone Boatmen, by Canadian poet and scholar, Sarah Tolmie. (Sarah's scholarly specialty is Piers Plowman.) Curiously enough, Sarah's manuscript also came to me by way of Ursula. Ursula's recommendation warned me that it's not like anything she'd ever read before. "My feeling about it is that it's like Islandia or The Worm Ouroboros or Gormenghast-- a one of a kind." And indeed, that's just what it is. All I can say now is that it's something special, and I'm excited to be publishing it.

Now to some of the links I think you might find interesting:

--Karen Burnham has reviewed Christopher Barzak's Birds and Birthdays for Strange Horizons. Burnham writes: "Barzak presents us with three short stories based on surrealist paintings by women (one of which, "Birthday," is original to this collection) and an essay on the work and history of three female surrealist painters. In under one hundred pages, this volume delivers a neat package of beauty, information, and interpretation." She expresses particular appreciation for the book's prose style.

--Brit Mandelo has also reviewed Birds and Birthdays for  She writes: "These two refracted views of the paintings—through fiction, through scholarship—infuse the audience's own readings of the works in question, providing a delightful triple translation of art (painting) to art (fiction) to art (painting) to interpretation (scholarship/fiction). This is what makes the book so definitively interstitial, to my eye: It is many things, in many shades and forms, all looping back together infinitely.

"The end result is a joyful tribute to these three women painters in the form of handsome, lyrical fiction and precisely considered scholarship. Barzak’s awareness and sensitivity bring the project full-circle, as he considers the project/process/praxis of translating these women’s subjectivities to the page from his own personally-inflected position in cultural production."

-- Richard Larson has reviewed Kiini Ibura Salaam's Ancient, Ancient, also for Strange Horizons. Larson writes: "The stories in Kiini Ibura Salaam's debut collection, Ancient, Ancient, from feminist science fiction publisher Aqueduct Press, are imbued with the urgency and expansive scope of imagination that we've come to expect from the best of science fiction. Salaam takes us to distant places but makes them familiar in unsettling ways, ably transforming the fantastic into a mirror through which we can examine—and reckon with—our own struggles."

 His particular interest is in the book's vision: "The world as Salaam paints it is full of harsh and beautiful things: she insists that we must venture into dark places to emerge as who we are meant to be. The best of her work is imbued with subtle interventions which ultimately provide the reader with sharply felt revelations, the secrets within the text that we must each decipher independently and which speak to each other to reveal a larger project. The stories work from mutual touchstones: the illustration of sex as an act of power; a visceral relationship to the human body as a mode of currency as well as a site of rebellion; and the examination of the struggle to find oneself, particularly as a woman, in a world that offers so few options. Few writers pay such focused attention to a specific set of ideas and concerns, and this accomplished collection provides a vigorous exploration into Salaam's unique vision."

--At Futuristically Ancient, Aker reviews Ancient, Ancient, too. Her review begins: "The ancient mysteries of life hold in their grasp the power of seduction. We find seduction, being led away, in a sexual experience, a sensual touch, the coming of a new life or death, the physical movement of bodies in a dance, the allure of magic, the call of nature, the possibility of a new truth or that a truth was a lie, or to experience the life of another. There is a freedom and danger, a pleasure and pain in seduction, and Kiini Ibura Salaam compellingly explores them in her collection of speculative short fiction stories, Ancient Ancient."

-- And speaking of Ancient, Ancient, its author has made a short video about it:

-- Brittainy Warman has reviewed Liz Henry's Unruly Islands for Stone Telling. She writes, "Henry's poetry is not at all the kind of poetry most people are thinking of when they say that "they don't like poetry." Viciously modern, biting, sometimes beautiful, and always fascinating, Henry's poetry is very much a product of the world she lives in."

Warman concludes: "My favorite poem in the text, however, was "Mother Frankenstein," which I was familiar with due to its first publication in Stone Telling. This poem has the reader from the very first line — "Mother Frankenstein swollen lightning / stitching needles where my lips kiss / in your smoke-ghost skull where axons / open fire with past love letters electric / little histories of the alphabet gathered / in your pathetic apron's outwash plain" (39). This piece is the perfect example of the way that Henry's poetic style can smack you in your heart and fill your mind with unbidden images and associations. The poem is haunting and I found myself re-reading it again and again.
Overall the collection is full of the compelling and unusual poetry that the world so desperately, constantly needs more of. Henry is a challenging and unique poet, a poet born of stars and the Internet, and I look forward to making more "weird trip[s] through [her] brain" (Henry 2012b)."

--Sue Lange has reviewed the latest issue of the Cascadia Subduction Zone at the Book View Cafe. She begins: "This latest issue of Cascadia Subduction Zone is one of their best, IMHO. The emphasis this time around is on the creative process with visual art taking center stage. Two essays stand out: Kiini Ibura Salaam’s “Painting and Writing: My Yin and Yang,” and Mark Rich’s “Line Improvisation: Notes by the Fly in the Web.”" Her focus is largely on the two essays she mentions and Nic Clarke's review of Birds and Birthdays.

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