PS Publishing has announced the Table of Contents for The Company He Keeps (aka Postscripts #22/#23), the bumper anthology (31 stories, 150,000 words) that's edited by Peter Crowther and Nick Gevers and due out this summer:
THE COMPANY HE KEEPS -- Lucius Shepard
THE HUMAN ELEMENT -- Eric Brown
BULLY -- Jack Ketchum
MOVING DAY – Robert Edric
NE CADANT IN OBSCURUM -- David Hoing
THE HOLLOW FRAMEWORK FOR THE COTTON MAN -- Catherine J. Gardner
NEVER ALWAYS COMES -- Joel Lane
THE MAN WHO SCARED LOVECRAFT -- Don Webb
THE MEN AT THE MOUND -- Jonathan Thomas
HARVESTING THE MOON -- Ursula Pflug
ONE HUNDRED SENTENCES ABOUT THE CITY OF THE FUTURE: A JEREMIAD -- Alex Irvine
MARCO THE MAGNIFICENT -- P.D. Cacek
ALICE BLEEDING -- Rio Youers
DREAMSPACE -- Quentin S. Crisp
THE FISHES SPEAK -- Michaela Roessner
ONLY ONE GHOST -- John Grant
OSMOTIC PRESSURE -- Jack Deighton
THE RESCUE -- Holly Phillips
SIGNS ALONG THE ROAD -- Richard Parks
THE DESICCATED MAN -- Chris Beckett
THE FIGURE IN MOTION -- Steve Rasnic Tem
SINNERS, SAINTS, DRAGONS, AND HAINTS, IN THE CITY BENEATH THE STILL WATERS -- N.K. Jemisin
ARE YOU SANNATA3159? -- Vandana Singh
THE TIME TRAVELLER’S BREAKDOWN -- Gregory Norminton
THE FOREVER FOREST -- Rhys Hughes
PILLAR OF SALT -- Robert Swartwood
THE FARMER’S WIFE -- James Cooper
DRIVE-IN -- Peter Hardy
ADAM IN AMBER -- Gary Fry
PAGES FROM AN INVISIBLE BOOK -- Darrell Schweitzer
OF HEARTS AND MONKEYS -- Nick Wood
The cover illustration is to be by J.K. Potter, a fave artist of mine; I'll aim to post it once it becomes available. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about being a part of this book.
I've sold my recently completed novella The Lonely Hunter (the one whose working title was The 5000 Spirits) to Pete Crowther and Nick Gevers at PS Publishing for standalone publication in 2011.
I'm absolutely hopping with delight about this, since I can't imagine there could ever be a better home for the piece -- which I love inordinately. It's a sort of slipstream/interstitial story, slightly displaced into the future although not science fiction, a fantasy-of-perception about literary creativity and loneliness and alienation and obsession, and maybe it's a murder mystery as well. Such items, especially when 25,000 words long, are, ahem, a hard sell to the genre magazines . . . It's an enormous credit to Pete and Nick that they've created somewhere that's as welcoming to the unclassifiable as it is to more obviously genre material. And they're a joy to work with.
At the same time, of course, there's always that sense of slight panic I have on making a sale to PS or The Anthology Once Named Postscripts. PS Publishing's standards are so goddam high, and their stable of authors so imposing and terrific, that I feel quite intimidated: come 2011, my humble offering is going to be judged by all the world in that context. Ulp. On the other hand, PS's publication last winter of The City in These Pages (see icon) didn't bring too many brickbats my way, so . . . yeah, maybe I'll survive the experience.
I've just heard from hutch0 that three of the stories I published last year have received Hon Menshes in Gardner Dozois's Best New Science Fiction 26. The three are
"Will the Real Veronica LeBarr Please Stand Down?", published in Postscripts #16 ed Peter Crowther and Nick Gevers
"All the Little Gods We Are", published in Clockwork Phoenix, ed Mike Allen (time_shark)
The City in These Pages, published solo by PS Publishing
Since I think it's the case that I published only four stories last year, I feel I've achieved a fairly high batting average . . . especially since I'd been under the impression that The City in These Pages was published in January '09. (The copyright date reads '08, but I think the book may not have been physically published until '09.)
Also, to my very great delight, Gardner mentions my novel Leaving Fortusa, published by norilanabooks, in his introductory Summation of the year's sf.
And we have no beer in the house . . .
The fourth story, by the way, was "Always More than You Know", published by Des Lewis in his anthology Cone Zero. I'm not sure whether or not Gardner would have seen this book, which could easily -- coming from an exceptionally small UK outlet (it's just taken me several minutes to track down an appropriate URL for the link) -- have flown below his radar. A pity if so, because it's an excellent antho . . . yes, even despite my presence.
Over the past few weeks Rich Horton (ecbatan) has been publishing on his The Elephant Forgets LJ blog his annual roundup reviews of short fiction. A couple of my own offerings have recently come under his eyeglass.
Of my Ed McBain-homage novella The City in These Pages (PS Publishing) he said:
John Grant's "The City in These Pages" is a sort of McBain style police procedural, with some fascinating main characters, that I thought got a bit out of hand with its philosophical conclusion, but that was fun to read on the way.
I'm very pleased with the "got a bit out of hand with its philosophical conclusion" remark because this was the general intention: that the final stages of the piece be (to use the technical term) a bit mind-buggering.
And my story in Mike Allen's (time_shark) anthology Clockwork Phoenix (Norilana Books), "All the Little Gods We Are", got a nice mention too:
The best stories included Vandana Singh's "Oblivion: A Journey", which uses Indian mythology in service of a Science Fiction story of epic duration, as the protagonist pursues revenge against an AI; John Grant's "All the Little Gods We Are", about a man regretting his lost opportunity to be with the woman he truly loves; Catherynne M. Valente's "The City of Blind Delight", a wildly weird story about a mysterious train traveling to mysterious cities; and Leah Bobet's "Bell, Book, and Candle", about a trio of people summoned over time again and again for dark purposes. Other nice work came from Tanith Lee and Laird Barron.
All in all, then, it's another of those insufferability moments here at Snarl Towers, especially since Horton earlier -- on Christmas Day, no less! -- gave my "Will the Real Veronica LeBarr Please Stand Down?" (in Postscripts, Autumn 2008) a very kind thumbs-up. pds_lit is doing her best to keep the derisive upchucking relatively quiet.
The first sale of 2009 and to what is probably my favourite venue: I've just heard from Peter Crowther and Nick Gevers that they'd like to buy my slipstream short story "Only One Ghost" for Postscripts. In a way it's very fitting that this should be so, because the germ of the notion for the story first began slowly to form behind my piggy little eyes a year or so ago while, at Pete's request, I was writing the Foreword for Zoran Zivkovic's PS-published novel The Last Book -- likewise a bookish fantasy.
I'm personally extremely fond of "Only One Ghost"; it's among those rare stories that managed to succeed, very quietly, in doing exactly what I wanted it to do (and in only 3500 words, which is short for me). As for Pam, it's one of her true all-time faves of mine. So, everything considered, there's a deal of singing and dancing going on around here at the moment.
My contributor copies of Postscripts #16 have yet to reach me; the folks at PS Publishing, to their enormous credit, lash out a not-so-small fortune on air mail parcel post for author copies, but these still take a little while to reach the US. My fingers are a-twitching to get hold of the issue, because it contains my noir story "Will the Real Veronica LeBarr Please Stand Down?" -- a story that I love beyond all belief or reason. Added to which, of course, is that it's always an honour to have a story in Postscripts.
Whatever, the indefatigable Charles Tan has reviewed the issue on his Bibliophile Stalker blog. Here are the significant bits of his review:
There are ten stories in this issue and I enjoyed most of them [. . .] I'll focus on my top three. Opening this issue of Postscripts is John Grant's "Will the Real Veronica LeBarr Please Stand Down?" Using his charlatan skills to perform literary legerdemain, Grant creates a compelling character-driven story with multiple twists and turns. What makes it work is that this isn't an easy story to pull off yet the author manages to convince the reader without showing us all his tricks. [. . .] If you want well-written fiction with touches of the horrific, then Postscripts #16 is a good example of how to do it right. [. . .]
So, congrats to editors Pete Crowther and Nick Gevers on what sounds like yet another fine issue!