Two Front Teeth in the Small Press

It's probably time to start thinking about the holidays that all seem to jumble together at the end of the year, that fine time for gift-giving and celebration and debt. My needs are few, so I'm just asking for my two front teeth, but for those of you seeking something more literary, here are a few things I've noticed recently from small presses. Get your consumerist joys hereabouts:
  • Nightshade Books has published some beautiful new volumes, including The Algebraist by Ian Banks, which I hear is selling quite well, so if you're looking for a first (U.S.) edition, you'd better snap it up. At World Fantasy I also laid my eyes for the first time on new books such as Snake Agent by Liz Williams and Trujillo by Lucius Shepard, both of which have beautiful dust jackets, making them perfect for gifts. (The dust jackets, that is. Keep the books for yourself.)

  • Speaking of limited copies, I just heard from V. Vale at RE/Search that copies of J.G. Ballard: Quotes are selling well and may be getting hard to come by. I didn't realize that there is a limited, signed edition of the book available for $60 (order here); a perfect gift for your village Ballardian.

  • Prime Books is, as usual, publishing up a storm. I've heard Westermead by Scott Thomas is quite good. Having read a few of Forrest Aguirre's stories, I expect his collection Fugue XXIX is a feast for readers who like formal and stylistic invention. The best things to come from Prime recently, though, may be Fantasy Magazine and the Jabberwocky anthology/journal/thing -- the first issues of both of these endeavors are packed with the work of great writers, and Jeff Ford's story in Fantasy is definitely not to be missed (I haven't yet read the others, though Nick Mamatas has threatened to bury an icepick in my head if I don't read his story soon).

    [Update 11/10/05: I'm not good with details. The books by Scott Thomas and Forrest Aguirre are published by Raw Dog Screaming Press, though they are available from Prime, among other places.]

  • Flying home from World Fantasy, I read a few stories in Joe Hill's first collection, 20th Century Ghosts, and was impressed. I'm not a big fan of most horror fiction, because so often it seems to exist solely to be horrifying, but Hill has many more aesthetic goals than that, and stories such as "Pop Art" and "My Father's Masks" reward sustained attention. It's a shame for those of us on the bad side of the exchange rate that this book has only been published in England -- I don't usually buy books from PS Publishing for exactly this reason, but I splurged on the paperback at the convention, and was glad to do so. (Alas, it's already gotten a bit tattered in travels.) This is a book that deserves to be picked up by a major publisher in the U.S. PS has also just published Jeff Ford's Cosmology of the Wider World.

  • Devoted readers of this site are probably already familiar with the latest offerings from Small Beer Press, but I thought I'd remind people who are, like me at the moment, rather strapped for cash, but needing to get gifts, that Small Beer's Peapod Classics and Chapbooks are quite reasonably priced, and full of interesting fiction.

  • Wheatland Press has been publishing up a storm in the past couple months. Be sure to pick up a copy of Lucius Shepard's film reviews, Weapons of Mass Seduction for any film fans who dislike flim flam. TEL: Stories is also now available, as are Polyphony 5 and The Nine Muses.

  • Tachyon has just published a heap of enticing titles, including new books by James Patrick Kelly, Terry Bisson, Brian Aldiss, Carol Emshwiller, and others.

  • I'm sure you've already gotten your copy of Rabid Transit: Menagerie from the Ratbastards, so you don't need me to remind you about it. Similarly, if I don't shut up about how marvelous Lydia Millet's Oh Pure and Radiant Heart is soon, somebody will probably whack me over the head and leave me in a bomb silo.

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