I'm heading out on tour with my new graphic novel In Real Life, adapted by Jen Wang from my story Anda's Game -- I hope you'll come out and see us!
Read the rest
For 45 years, our friends at Last Gasp have kept the counterculture busy with books, publishing wild, weird, wonderful, and subversive works by R Crumb, Robert Wilson, Diane di Prima, Mark Ryden, Timothy Leary, and a slew of other greats; Now they need our help. Last Gasp has launched a Kickstarter to fund the printing of their next season of books, a stellar line-up of projects by the likes of Camille Rose Garcia, Ron English, the Thanatos Archive, and Mike Davis. The awards are fantastic! Read the rest
Read the rest
Read the rest
Neil Gaiman's introduction to A Slip of the Keyboard, a collection of Terry Pratchett's nonfiction essays, exposes a little-known side of the writer than many think of as a "twinkly old elf" -- the rage that is Pratchett's engine, driving him to write deceptively simple stories that decry unfairness and make virtue from bravery.
Read the rest
Robert sez, "Dungeons & Dragons, now celebrating its 40th anniversary, is about to release its new Monster Manual -- the original Monster Manual was a watershed moment in human history, part of a history that includes a 16th century bestiary, the Augsburg Book of Miracles; bestiaries reveal our profoundly human desire for an enchanted, magical world."
It's Banned Books Week, and what better way to celebrate than with a review of the first James Tiptree Award Anthology, published in 2004 by the committee who award the Tiptree each year for excellence in science fiction and fantasy that celebrates, explores and expands gender roles?
Lastly, I’d also like to give special “related to short-fiction” mention to the inclusion of “Everything But the Signature is Me” by Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree Jr.—the letter that was written after the person behind the Tiptree persona came to light. It’s friendly, jovial, and almost polished to a shine in its style of conversational discourse; it makes the whole situation of masks, gender, and outing seem gentle or trivial. Read in context with the biography of Sheldon and with other primary materials about how strongly she felt about her gender, her sexuality, and her experience with occupying the persona of a man, though… It’s an interesting counterpoint to all of that, a fascinating way of looking at how one person frames their difficult and complex relationships to the world as a gendered subject. And, more significantly, how that frame can differ depending on audience and intimacy. It’s an interesting piece, one I’d recommend giving a look alongside further reading about the enigmatic Sheldon/Tiptree.
As for the first half of this anthology: judging by my reactions, I’d say that the judges for this award and the editors of this volume are correct in noting that the pieces they’ve chosen are designed to provoke thought and conversation more than to be comfortable and easy to take in. I appreciate stories that give me a complex response, and stories that are trying to do hard work with narrative and gender. I do find myself often struck by a desire for them to go further, do more—but there’s room for all the types of stories on the narrative spectrum.
Short Fiction Spotlight: The James Tiptree Award Anthology (Part 1) [Brit Mandelo/Tor.com]
Read the rest
Rick Kleffel from the Agony Column podcast interviews Lauren Beukes -- author of Broken Monsters (see this week's review) -- in fascinating detail, "Lauren Beukes discusses Broken Monsters, The Shining Girls, the supernatural and the all-too-natural, as well as the Internet and why her latest is not a criticism thereof."
Read the rest
You don’t need to be a fan of The Jesus Lizard or even the indie-rock genre to appreciate what this iconic band accomplished. They recorded seven albums in eight years, created dynamic and inimitable music, and played 1000+ legendary live shows. Their superhuman touring schedule is captured perfectly on the first page in a photo of the band’s tour van odometer, turning over from 99,999 to 00000. The story of this influential '90s band transcends rock memorabilia or memoir, and unfolds an instructive tale of artistic triumph in the delicate balance between commerce and art.
It’s the victory of the underdog, it’s David vs. the Goliath of the major label record industry. It’s an inside look at the creative and business choices artists in any field must face as they work toward that elusive stage that defines success.
Steve Albini, famous for his work recording Nirvana’s last album, In Utero, said this of the band: “When I think of The Jesus Lizard, I think of them as the greatest band I’ve ever seen, as the best musicians I’ve ever worked with, and as the purest melding of the sublime and the profane.”
The Jesus Lizard Book was designed by vocalist and artist David Yow, with most of the content painstakingly recorded by the band’s exacting bassist, David Wm. Sims. All four band members contribute their perspective and experiences, in a loose structure starting with the band members’ backgrounds, how the band formed, each studio recording, and their astounding performance chronology. This template is peppered colorfully and playfully throughout with concert posters by the iconic Frank Kozik, recipes by singer David Yow (his Chocolate Bourbon Bread Pudding sounds delicious!) and photographs ranging from backstage polaroids to professionally shot panoramas.
The epic shot from the band’s perspective onstage at Reading Festival – one of the largest rock festivals in the world – speaks volumes of what this band built up with sheer tenacity, inventive musicianship – and a sense of humor which draws the reader playfully into their world.
Anchoring the book throughout are well-written, vivid and poignant anecdotes and tributes from those whose lives they touched, and who touched theirs. Characters like Steve Albini, Mike Watt, JG Thirlwell, Hank Williams III, Frank Kozik, and Gang of Four’s Andy Gill all provide a full spectrum take on the band’s history.
The range of different perspectives from all four band members on the same record is telling of the creative process and compromises that abound in collaborative art. For example, bassist David Wm. Sims strongly touts Shot as the best album he’s ever played on, but the Steve Albini-engineered Goat is ubiquitously considered their masterpiece. But as a reader, you don’t need to hear the songs to appreciate the story – and Book delivers the band right to your coffee table loud and clear.
The Jesus Lizard Book
by The Jesus Lizard
2014, 176 pages, 13.4 x 8.4 x 1.2 inches
Ella Frances Sanders illustrates words held to be untranslatable, to English equivalents, from their native languages.Read the rest