Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Breath of the Sun by Rachel Fellman

I'm pleased to announce the release of Breath of the Sun, a debut novel, by Rachel Fellman, in both print and e-book editions. You can read a sample from the book at Aqueduct's site as well as (of course!) purchase a copy there. 

Lamat Paed understands paradoxes. She's a great mountain climber who's never summited, the author of a tell-all that didn't really tell anything. For years she guided pilgrims up the foothills of the Sublime Mount, leading them as high as God would let them go. And then she partnered the apostate Southern priest Mother Disaine on the most daring, most blasphemous expedition in history—an attempt to reach the summit of the sacred mountain, the top of God's head. Disaine returned in triumph, claiming to be the first person since the prophet to have summited and lived. But Lamat went into hiding.

Now, late in life and exiled from the mountain, Lamat finally tells her story to her partner, Otile. It's the story of why she really wrote her first book all those years ago, how she came to be cast out from the mountain-dwelling Holoh people, and how she fled to the anonymity of the city to hide from her fame. Most of all, it's the story of her bond with Mother Disaine—the blasphemer, charlatan, and visionary who stole Lamat's life to serve her own purposes—and what really happened on their last, greatest expedition.

Sarah Tolmie, author of The Stone Boatmen, loved the book. "Not since The Left Hand of Darkness has any book conveyed to me the profundity of the winter journey and the intensity of relationships forged in it. But where Le Guin was always evasive about religion in her sublime mountain landscapes, Fellman is direct about it. She creates an immanence in her mountain, The Body of God, that her characters respond to with an authentic and credible religious passion, one that gets mixed up with all other passions in their lives.

"The creed of Asam is elegantly crafted, beautifully quotable: Your bodies are the compaction of stars and your minds are the compaction of history. Be decent to each other; pity each other, for it is not an easy state to be made of so much and live for so little a time. The prose throughout is simple and luminous, with many sentences that hang in the mind: Sometimes I think there is nothing sadder than a toy. They usually have faces, but they have no use. Altogether a book that is about much more than ambition to scale a peak."

Publishers Weekly loved it too, giving it a starred review: "Fellman's riveting debut melds prophecy, postcolonial politics, and mountaineering in a nuanced secondary-world fantasy. Scarred from a calamitous expedition she'd rather bury, Lamat Paed, indigenous mountain guide and climbing memoirist, is finally telling the true story of her last, traumatic climb: leading the charismatic and manipulative Mother Disaine, member of a religious order of academians, to climb the mountain that Lamat's Holoh people consider the body of God. Interlacing the expedition with Lamat's marriage-destroying first climb, prophecies, and manuscript footnotes from Lamat's lover, Otile, Fellman ably executes an ambitious structure and delivers an atmospheric, poetic, and occasionally wry and brutal story that moves with the gentle but unstoppable momentum of an iceberg. This is a compassionate and finely observed debut from an author to watch."

Rachel read from Breath of the Sun at WisCon, and will be reading it from it again at Borderlands Books in  September. I just happen to have a photo from her WisCon reading:

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Cascadia Subduction Zone, Vol. 8, 3

The summer issue of The Cascadia Subduction Zone is out. In it you will find flash fiction ("Roots" by Sara Codair and "The Canonization of Junipero Serra" by Nancy Jane Moore), poetry (by Gwynne Garfinkle and Alexandra Seidel), and a memorial to Kate Wilhelm and Gardner Dozois. And of course it has reviews: Karen Burnham's column "Dust Lanes," Amy Thomson's appreciation of Suzette Haden Elgin's linguistic sf for our "Grandmother Magma" column, and reviews by Kathleen Alcalá and others of four new novels. Finally, the issue's featured artist is Jeanne Gomoll, who gives us a taste of her on-going "Space Babe" series.

The CSZ is available for purchase at http://thecsz.com/. Electronic copies are $3, print copies $5; electronic subscriptions $10, print subscripts $16.

Vol.8, 3 (July 2018)

In Memoriam 
Kate Wilhelm and Gardner Dozois

jungle red
   by Gwynne Garfinkle
The Shadow of the Peak
    by Alexandra Seidel

Flash Fiction
    by Sara Codair
The Canonization of Junipero Serra
    by Nancy Jane Moore

Grandmother Magma 
Suzette Haden Elgin’s Native Tongue and Láadan
   reviewed by Amy Thomson

Dust Lanes 
Stories in Capricious #9, edited by A.C. Buchanan
   by Karen Burnham

Book Reviews 
The Mere Wife, by Maria Dahvana Headley
   reviewed by Kathleen Alcalá

Medusa Uploaded, by by Emily Devenport
   reviewed by Phoebe Salzman-Cohen

A Study in Honor, by Claire O'Dell
  reviewed by Cynthia Ward

The Invisible Valley, by Su Wei
   reviewed by Arley Sorg

Featured Artist 
Jeanne Gomoll

Monday, July 9, 2018

L. Timmel Duchamp's Chercher La Femme

I'm pleased to announce the publication of Chercher La Femme, a new novel by L. Timmel Duchamp (i.e., me!), which is scheduled for official release on August 1, 2018. It is available for purchase in print and e-book formats through Aqueduct's website now.

Novels, of course, always have origin stories..Sometimes a word or phrase, sometimes a dream, sometimes even an image that however fleeting lingers long after it has been glimpsed. In this case, reading Stanislaus Lem's Solaris and watching Andrei Tarkovsky's exceedingly long film based on that novel planted the seed of this novel in my mind. Over the course of two years I drafted the original version in the early 1990s.  I then set it aside. Some fifteen years later, Helen Merrick offered me a perceptive critique. Since I lacked the time to do anything with it then, I saved it for future consideration;.it proved tremendously helpful when I decided to read the manuscript during one of my Port Townsend writing retreats.

On a more personal note, because the novel is written from a non-dystopian perspective, a part of me worried loudly that it might seem out of step with 2018's horrendous fake reality, but in fact its perspective has proven to be helpful for my thinking, rather than evasive. In a sense, it's more fully grounded in 2018's reality than it was in 1993's, without being swallowed up by the social psychological pervasiveness that many of us are struggling to escape. Dare I say aloud that that in our hearts, many of us feel certain that the triumph of neoliberalism can only be a dead end for our species? 

You can  read a sample from the book.Or purchase it here: http://www.aqueductpress.com/books/978-1-61976-147-6.php.

Here's a brief description:

"Everything about the humanoids inhabiting the planet La Femme is beautiful and desirable. Even their names are a pleasure to the tongue, a pleasure that can be experienced only in meat space."  —Paul 22423
They named the planet "La Femme" and called it a paradise and refused to leave it. Now Julia 9561 is heading up the mission to retrieve the errant crew and establish meaningful Contact with the inhabitants. Are the inhabitants really all female, as the first crew claimed? Why don't the men want to return to Earth? What happened to the women on the crew? And why did Paul 22423 warn the First Council to send only male crew members?

"Speculative fiction at its purest."
 —-Vonda N. McIntyre, author of Dreamsnake and The Moon and the Sun

"Chercher La Femme, which unfolds in a strange, complex, alien future, effectively explores several themes: of personal identity and how it holds itself together but is also porous to experience; of communication with alien life forms and how amorphous and challenging that might be; and of the visceral power of alien forms of beauty and art, giving the story compelling depths. The tense stretch between the Pax and the "Outsiders" offers an interesting representation of the real-world tension we now live with, between low-tech societies and those racing to colonize outer (and inner, personal) space in all sorts of ways.

"There's some interesting tidal stirring going on at the more cerebral levels of modern SF, which I think began with books like A Voyage to Arcturus and Solaris. It's now manifesting itself in, for example, Jeff Vandermeer's Southern Reach books and in this book, Chercher La Femme, as well as in films like Arrival, They Remain, and of course Annihilation. Human bafflement and consternation characterize these stories, in the face of the most alien kind of alien-ness we can imagine at this point, and a necessary softening and yielding of our age-old infatuation with a propulsive, often violent drive to control (or kill) whatever is ineffable and strange to us.
 —Suzy McKee Charnas, author of The Vampire Tapestry and the Holdfast Chronicles

And here's Publishers Weekly's review:

Aqueduct editor Duchamp's concentrated and demanding examination of what's accepted as "self" is cleverly and convincingly presented as a simple piece of science fiction. Diplomat Julia, a member of a socialistic human society known as the Pax, is the head of a mission to a far-off world, La Femme. The mission's primary purpose is recovery of the first ship sent to make contact with La Femme's inhabitants, though further diplomatic advancement is planned as well. Julia is distracted from the mission objectives by her deep analysis of her life thus far and the utopian ideal she lives by, particularly when she deals with her splintered crew. What she and her crew find upon arrival is enough to shake them all. Duchamp (Stretto) makes abundant challenges to gender norms and raises questions of what constitutes alienness, and the novel's humanistic approach and unwavering commitment to Julia's frank introspection go beautifully with a precisely detailed world. This thoughtful tale bears rereading and contemplation.
  —Publishers Weekly, June 2018

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Le Guin Tribute Anthology: A Call for Submissions

Here is Rose Lemberg, on a volume to be published by Aqueduct Press:

Call for Submissions: Ursula K. Le Guin tribute poetry anthology

I am seeking submissions for an anthology of poetry in tribute to the life and works of Ursula K. Le Guin. The anthology is tentatively titled CLIMBING LIGHTLY THROUGH FORESTS, and it will be published by Aqueduct Press sometime in 2019.

Ursula K. Le Guin was perhaps most known for her SFF fiction, but she was a prolific poet, with a dozen poetry collections in print (her last poetry book is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press this Fall).

Unlike her big-idea SF, her poetry was often more personal in scope, engaging closely with land and landscape of the Pacific Northwest; much of her poetry is not speculative at all. Le Guin was a complex, prolific creator whose work influenced and touched so many of us.
For this anthology, I am seeking poetry that engages with Ursula K. Le Guin’s life and work broadly construed – including her fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. I will be looking for a variety of voices, themes, treatments, and approaches. Both critical and celebratory approaches are welcome, as is anything in-between.

You are welcome to engage with specific books and/or stories, or take it in other directions. Your poems do not have to be speculative, although a speculative element is always welcome. There are no length or style limitations. Very short and very long works are welcome. Experimental forms are welcome. Prose poetry is welcome. Rhymed and formal poetry is welcome. I truly welcome poetry of any kind. Please do not send me short stories or nonfiction, however.

As always, I am hoping to receive poetry from people from a variety of backgrounds. Everybody is welcome to submit! I welcome work from people who belong to marginalized/underrepresented groups and communities,  including from Black people, Indigenous people, and/or people of color, from migrants, from non-Western and non-Anglophone people, from disabled and neurodiverse people, from LGBTQIA+ people, from people of all genders. You do not need to be marginalized to submit. I welcome submissions from new and established voices, seasoned poets and people who never wrote poetry before. Please don’t self-reject!

Where to submit: Please submit up to 3 (THREE) poems to lembergsubmissions@gmail.com. If you are sending a reprint, please indicate where and when it was first published. Your submissions should be titled LE GUIN SUBMISSION: Your last name

Please do not submit more than 3 poems total for this call (you can send them together or separately).
Editorial form of address: since people ask me about this! “Dear Editor” is great.”Dear Rose” or “Dear R.” is also fine. Please don’t call me either Ms, Mr, or Mrs.

Payment: The tribute anthology is a paid opportunity: we are paying $20 per original poem. While I am primarily looking for original poetry, I will consider reprints as well (payrate for reprints TBD).

An important note on rejections: Ursula K. Le Guin’s work and life was important to many of us. It can be heartbreaking to receive a rejection for work that deeply matters to us. Unfortunately, I will only be able to fit a limited amount of poems, and I foresee some difficult decisions to come. Whatever the outcome of your submission will be, please rest assured that I will review it with utmost care, and that a rejection is not a reflection on yourself, your craft, or your personal connection to Ursula K. Le Guin’s work – but simply the reality of publishing.

Submissions period: the anthology is open to submissions (as of July 3rd, 2018), and it will be open to submissions till October 15th, 11:59 Central. I will let you know within 90 days of submission whether your work is accepted, rejected, or held for further consideration.
I’m looking forward to reading your work!