Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Feminist Futures 2019 Storybundle

Cat Rambo has curated another Feminist Futures Story Bundle. This one includes two Aqueduct Press books, Mindscape by Andrea Hairston and Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett. Here's the scoop:

I always enjoy putting together StoryBundles, and particularly Feminist Futures ones for Women's History Month. This bundle brings together some terrific reading that is some of the best offered by independent and small press publishing. It's my attempt to celebrate the excellent work being written by today's female speculative fiction authors.

The first recorded writer is the Akkadian/Sumerian poet and hymn writer Enheduanna (2285 BCE-2250 BCE), a woman whose work influenced a group of others that includes the psalms and prayers of the Bible and Greece's Homeric hymns. Women have always been part of science fiction, whether it was Margaret Cavendish's beating Jules Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs to the center of the Earth in The Blazing World, Mary Shelley's commentary on science, humanity, and the parent/child relationship in Frankenstein, or Charlotte Perkins Gilman writing an alternative — and often appealing — society in Herland.

But somehow women often — perhaps even usually — get erased, overall. A few figures linger, perhaps because their impact is so undeniable that they cannot be obliterated, or perhaps tolerated for some other reason, but many of the female figures — Miriam DeFord, Zenna Henderson, Judith Merrill, Katherine MacLean — fade away. Certainly it's not a phenomenon restricted to one gender — and it's affected by race, sexuality, and similar factors as well — but women seem especially prey to it and one facet of feminism is finding, celebrating, and amplifying those voices so they survive in order to inform and teach the world to come.

Another important facet of feminism — for me — is at least in part about valuing and encouraging inclusivity by reaching out to invite a wide range of voices. This is a nicely diverse bundle, including queer and trans voices, and as such it presents interesting, thought-provoking science fiction that talks about our future and how we'll remain human in it from perspectives that are comic, dramatic, sometimes tragic, but always engaging, imaginative, and compellingly told.

How do we preserve women writers in history? A lot of it is making sure part of the public conversation includes discussion of their work. If you enjoy these voices, let's talk about them! Let me know what you thought, and please spread the word via your social media, so others can join the conversation. I'll be doing some video interviews with authors about their books - look for the hashtag #thefutureisfeminist on social media or subscribe to my Youtube channel or newsletter to make sure you get notified when they appear!

The Feminist Futures bundle runs for three weeks only - pick up yours now! Cat Rambo

For StoryBundle, you decide what price you want to pay. For $5 (or more, if you're feeling generous), you'll get the basic bundle of four books in any ebook format—WORLDWIDE.

         Snapshots from a Black Hole and Other Oddities by K.C. Ball
         Sunspot Jungle by Bill Campbell
         Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett
         Queen of Roses by Elizabeth McCoy
If you pay at least the bonus price of just $15, you get all four of the regular books, plus SIX more!

         Albatross by R.A. MacAvoy and Nancy L. Palmer
         Cat Pictures Please and Other Stories by Naomi Kritzer
         The Child Goddess by Louise Marley
         Exile by Lisa M. Bradley
         The Goodall Mutiny by Gretchen Rix
         Mindscape by Andrea Hairston
This bundle is available only for a limited time via It allows easy reading on computers, smartphones, and tablets as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books!

It's also super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.

         Get quality reads: We've chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
         Pay what you want (minimum $5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth. If you can only spare a little, that's fine! You'll still get access to a batch of exceptional titles.
         Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their catalog. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there's nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
         Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to Girls Write Now!
         Receive extra books: If you beat the bonus price, you'll get the bonus books!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Carol Emshwiller (1921-2019)

Carol Emshwiller died on February 2. She was an important voice in the field, author of seven collections (plus two collections of her complete short fiction oeuvre) and six novels (two of which were Westerns).

Her wild yet disciplined creativity produced fiction that ranged from quirky and playful to downright experimental, and made her a delightful partner in conversation. She was best known in our field through her short fiction, which appeared in Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions and, frequently, in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, but she produced some brilliant novels, too. I suspect it was the very versatility of her talent that made her novels nearly invisible to most readers. Her most powerful novel, in my opinion, was The Mount (2002), which won the Philip K. Dick Award, her most touching novel Ledoyt (1995), and her most playful and wrenching novel Carmen Dog (1988).

I first met Carol in person in 2001, shortly after an essay of mine, engaging with two of her early stories, "Sex and/or Mr. Morrison" and "Peninsula," appeared in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet. As we walked side by side down State Street in Madison, heading for lunch with a gaggle of other writers, she said, "I read your essay, you know." I don't exactly recall how my shock expressed itself--with a gasp, or an acceleration of my pulse? "It was interesting," she said. And then she really surprised me by confiding that "Peninsula" is about incest-- which I'd suspected but had been too unsure of to bring into the essay, since if my speculation were wrong, it would likely skew my discussion of it unforgivably.

After that first meeting, we met at each subsequent WisCon she attended, usually at dinner with Tom, whom she liked a great deal; and she often sat with Andrea Hairston and me at the Sign-out held at the end of WisCon, where fans bring books to be signed by attending authors. In one of our earliest meals together, Carol expressed an earnest need to let me know that she wasn't a feminist--because, she said, she liked men. I never did figure out how she reconciled that strange equation of feminism with man-hating to her identification of me as a feminist (even before we met) and our always happy talk-heavy meals with Tom. There was never been any doubt in my own mind, though, that Carol was a feminist through and through.

When in 2005 I asked her to send me an epistolary fantasy, she wrote a "Love Letter to My Character Abiel/Beal Ledoyt," which I published in Talking Back (2006). It begins "I've never loved a character of mine as much as I love you. I know you don't want to hear anything like this or even a little bit like this. It'll embarrass you."

The relationship between an author and her characters is, at base, thoroughly personal, no matter its residence in the author's imagination. "I first saw you," Carol writes of Ledoyt, "and began to think of you as a character at a little, homey rodeo in a small town. No real bleachers, just a few rows of seats--as if for a home-town baseball game. You were a few rows ahead of me with a red-headed three-year-old girl on your lap. But mostly you were surrounded by boys--a whole van load, five or six eight-to-twelve year olds it looked like. They vied for your attention., but you were quiet. I think joking under your breath. The kids laughed, but I couldn't hear. You were a countrified looking man. Thin and bony. The kind of man who could never look dressed up no matter what you had on."

At one point, she confesses, "I almost didn't finish the book when I realized you'd have to die."

Her letter ends with "Though you're of my own making, I'm...Yours always, Carol." 

 I write to her, now: Carol, your strong, vibrant voice will always be with us.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Award Season at Aqueduct Press

For your convenience, we have gathered all the titles that we published in 2018 and are eligible for awards this year. We are very proud of our catalogue and happy to be providing samples for you to read on each link. A bit further below, you will find all the poems and short stories that are original to the 2018 Conversation Pieces and can be considered individually.


The Breath of the Sun, by Isaac R. Fellman* (2018)
Chercher La Femme, by L. Timmel Duchamp (2018)


The Adventure of the Dux Bellorum, by Cynthia Ward (2018)


People Change by Gwynne Garfinkle (2018)
If Not Skin by Toby MacNutt (2018)
Feed Me the Bones of Our Saints by Alex Dally MacFarlane (2018)
Liminal Spaces by Beth Plutchak (2018)
Invocabulary by Gemma Files (2018)

Short fiction

In People Change by Gwynne Garfinkle:

·      “The Paper Doll Golems”

In If Not Skin by Toby MacNutt:

·      “Skin-Changer”

In Feed Me the Bones of Our Saints by Alex Dally MacFarlane:

·      “O Fox Confessor, Your Mouth is as Powdered Turmeric”

In Liminal Spaces by Beth Plutchak:

·      “The Swan Sister”

·      “Skin and Bone”
·      “What She Thought She Knew”
·      “A Matter of Time”


In People Change by Gwynne Garfinkle:

·      “levitation class”

·      “Irena in the Garden”
·      “Flaxen Mane”
·      “Gojira / Godzilla”
·      “Thirteen Faces of Deathdream”
·      “Mildred’s Villanelle”
·      “shell”
·      “love song from The Blob”
·      “to Steve McQueen”

In If Not Skin by Toby MacNutt:

·      “Heart to Heart”

·      “Relapse”
·      “Grit”
·      “All Sparks”
·      “Running Cold”
·      “Of Burials at Sea”
·      “Journeyman”
·      “Subtle Revels”
·      “Flashpoint”
·      “Planetary Alveolus”
·      “Burning the Candle”
·      “Best Beloved, Flesh of My Flesh”

In Invocabulary by Gemma Files:

·      “Ed Gein at Night

·      “She Who Stops
·      “Minotaur
·      “A Batch of Golems”
·      “Ruach Elohim”
·      “Old Traitor”
·      “Mad Boys Make No Kings”
·      “Clown, Considered as a Memento Mori”
·      “Calving”
·      “Litany of the Family Bean”
·      “The Glass Mask”
·      “La Monadologie”
·      “The White Queen Speaks”
·      “A Container of Ashes”
·      “The Black Telephone”
·      “Metropolis/Babel”
·      “Bits and Pieces”
·      “Sacred”
·      “Build Your Own”
·      “Bad Fathers”
·      “Nobody Sleeps”
·    ·       “Onion Boy”
·   ·        “A Stone in My Mouth”
·      “A Black Thraw

*Initially published as Rachel Fellman