The Qwillery ask BIBLIOTHECA FANTASTICA authors about the power of books

When we put together the fantasist anthology, Bibliotheca Fantastica, we asked ourselves, “What’s so magical about books, anyway?” David Sklar, Gord Sellar, Michael J. DeLuca, A.C. Wise,  Garry Kilworth, S.J. Hirons, Ray Vukcevich, Tina Connolly, and Andrew S. Fuller, answered that question for us, over at The Qwillery:

Books are time travel. They’re telepathy. They’re the seance, the ansible, the summoning ritual, the oracle, the visionary dream. Reading makes another person’s ideas our own, for better or worse, as different, far away or long ago as that other person might be. The connection isn’t perfect–what magic is? But what’s lost in the translation from one mind to the page and back into another’s leaves room for the creativity that makes the next book possible, and the next. If only we could read them all. Michael J. DeLuca, author of “Other Palimpsests”

My favorite and most heartbreaking dreams are the ones where I’m in a library or old junk shop and I stumble on a book by a beloved author that I didn’t know existed. I know where this comes from–when I was little I was obsessed with the Wizard of Oz. I thought there was only one book, but then in my Scholastic flyer from school I boggled as I saw an advertisement for #2. In our local bookstore sometime later I found 3, and eventually all the L. Frank Baum ones through 14. Several years later I was in the Topeka library and the same thrilling shock ran through me as I found the ones by Ruth Plumly Thompson. Each of these moments is incised in my memory. The books themselves were magical, but the unexpected discovery that you could, in fact, go back to Oz (or Narnia, or Green Gables, or or or) was always the real magic. Tina Connolly, author of “Paperheart”

We are matter that looks at and thinks about the universe and then tells stories. How that all works and why we should make up stories are deep mysteries, but that’s what we do, and while it might not really be magic, it is wonderful. As we change in the coming ages, if we survive, the way we tell those stories might change, too. When we augment those most complicated of things, our brains, new art forms will probably arise. At some deep level, though, I think it will still be narrative, because that’s who we are. We struggle to make sense of things and then we say stuff. Some of the most interesting things we say are collected in objects called “books.” Ray Vukcevich, author of “The Go-Between”

Read the rest here.

Author Interview: Amber Polo (Bibliotheca Fantastica)

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Name: Amber Polo

Age: Old enough to know I don’t have to answer

Author of: “Egyptian Holiday”

Where are you now? Near Sedona, Arizona

Twitter: @amberpolo

Website: http://www.amberpolo.com/

Recent Publications: The Shapeshifters’ Library Book 1: ReleasedThe Shapeshifters’ Library Book 2: RetrievedRelaxing the Writer: Guidebook to the Writer’s High.

What’s the last book you finished? The Shapeshifters’ Library Book 3: Recovered (Due 2013)

The next one you can’t wait to start? A fantasy explaining the changes in the publishing world.

Tell us about the place where you wrote your story: “Egyptian Holiday” is a prequel to The Shapeshifters’ Library series. Egypt is where the journey started and Cleopatra’s librarian sister had this story to tell. Perhaps living in the desert near the red rocks makes me feel close to the Pyramids.

What is your favorite bit? 

Alex lowered her voice. “The Romans have sworn to wipe out our people and my books, every tablet and scroll.”

“As head of state I pay close attention to foreign affairs.”

“Swapping drool with werewolves is not statesmanship.”

You can buy Bibliotheca Fantastica directly from us, in a variety of formats:

Buy the epub file here, mobi (which also works on your Kindle) here, or PDF here, for only $4.99 each–instant downloads! Always DRM-free.

Or you can buy a bundle of Bibliotheca Fantastica in all three digital formats, for only $6.99 (here)

Haven’t read FISH yet? Buy FISH and Bibliotheca Fantastica in a bundle together for $8.98–$1 less than the cost of buying them separately.  Epub or mobi.

You can also order print copies of Bibliotheca Fantastica via Amazon, for $13.99. This is a 5″x8″ trade paperback, 314 pages. Best of all, the book is currently on sale for only $13.29! The Kindle version, via Amazon, is $4.99.

From Wieghtless Books: epub and mobi, $4.99 HERE

Author Interview: David Sklar (Bibliotheca Fantastica)

Name: David Sklar

Age: Enough to know better.

Author of: “The Philosopher’s Nectar””

Where are you now? At a picnic table in a school playground. I just picked my son up from school, and I’m using his play time to answer these questions, so I can get back to editing for a client when I get home.

Twitter: In flux. For now it’s @realdavidsklar but I rarely use it. I haven’t settled on one I like yet.

Website: http://davidwriting.com

Recent Publications: My story “Lady Marmalade’s Special Place in Hell” in Scheherazade’s Façade, is the last story in the first book from Gressive Press, which explores gender—mostly the genders that can’t be summed up by male and female. I’ve also got “The Velveteen Golem” in Unidentified Funny Objects, and my poem “Sky Fishing” just came out in the spring issue of Ladybug. I’m kind of thrilled about that, because I used to subscribe to Cricket when I was a kid.

What’s the last book you finished? This may be self-serving, but the last book I read cover to cover was the contributor copy of Scheherazade’s Façade, which I’m quite happy to be a part of. I have my favorites, but there really wasn’t a bad story in the book.

The next one you can’t wait to start? A lot to choose from. Probably The Secret History of Moscow by Ekaterina Sedia, or Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor. And of course I’m looking forward to reading my contributor copy of Bibliotecha Fantastica when it arrives.

Tell us about the place where you wrote your story: A scenic overlook off of Route 78 (I think) in New Jersey. I was supposed to work on site for a client, but they didn’t need me until 11 a.m. In the meantime, I still had to drop my son off at school before 9:00, and I had this idea that wanted to be a story. So I drove most of the way to the office, and then I pulled off to the scenic overlook and wrote the first draft sitting in my car with the window open and the engine off in a small, unremarkable parking lot surrounded by trees and overgrown bushes.

What is your favorite bit?

Two words: bug porn.

Nah, not exactly. But a big part of the story is the sensuality of alien species—species that pass on information through different senses. They’re insects, so they communicate partly through smell and taste, and of course they taste things with their feet. So there’s a moment that, if they were human, would be a woman showing a man a page in a book. But because they are the creatures they are, it’s kind of like playing footsies, and kind of like a French kiss:

Zeklichek lightly brushed one of her legs across the edge of one of his. Vryll felt a tingle as the buds of their tasting feet slid together, and the flavor she carried on hers was airy, like freedom. Beneath the calcified airiness, there was the glimmer of an idea—a delineation of the boundaries between people, edged and discrete yet working together, like the facets of an eye.

Vryll’s wings flared Wow. “What was…”

“The teachings of Brackacax,” she answered. “From back when the colony was just starting.”

“Do you have more?” He caught the eagerness in his own voice.

You can buy Bibliotheca Fantastica directly from us, in a variety of formats:

Buy the epub file here, mobi (which also works on your Kindle) here, or PDF here, for only $4.99 each–instant downloads! Always DRM-free.

Or you can buy a bundle of Bibliotheca Fantastica in all three digital formats, for only $6.99 (here)

Haven’t read FISH yet? Buy FISH and Bibliotheca Fantastica in a bundle together for $8.98–$1 less than the cost of buying them separately.  Epub or mobi.

You can also order print copies of Bibliotheca Fantastica via Amazon, for $13.99. This is a 5″x8″ trade paperback, 314 pages. Best of all, the book is currently on sale for only $13.29! The Kindle version, via Amazon, is $4.99.

From Wieghtless Books: epub and mobi, $4.99 HERE

Author Interview: Megan Arkenberg (Bibliotheca Fantastica)

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Name: Megan Arkenberg

Age: 21

Author of: “The Gallery of Vespasian Marat”

Where are you now? Wisconsin.

Website: www.meganarkenberg.blogspot.com

Recent Publications: “A Love Song Concerning His Vineyard” in the June 2013 Asimov’s; “Désiré” in Crossed Genres 2.0 Issue #1; “Songs at a Crossroads” (poetry) in the March 2013 Ideomancer; “Summer, Watching Angels Fall” (poetry) in Plunge Magazine Issue #1.

What’s the last book you finished? I’m revving up for grad school by consuming massive amounts of critical theory. In addition to trekking steadily through The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, I just wrapped up Carolyn Dinshaw’s How Soon is Now?, Carla Freccero’s Queer/Early/Modern, and Deleuze and Guattari’s “Rhizome” more or less simultaneously. In fiction, I’m savoring the stories in Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling’s Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells. Veronica Schanoes’ “Phosphorus” is especially haunting. Ellen Kushner and Caroline Stevermer’s “The Vital Importance of the Superficial” was charming – as the title suggests, it has more than a little of the flavor of an Oscar Wilde play.

The next one you can’t wait to start? Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan’s So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction & Fanta​sy has been on the top of my to-read list for a while now.

Tell us about the place where you wrote your story: Appropriately enough, I wrote “The Gallery of Vespasian Marat” in my college library! I have a favorite alcove on the mezzanine level of the reading room; the window lets in plenty of light, the sounds from other students are sufficiently muffled by layers of books, and everything smells like paper and binding glue. Unlike most of my work, this story was finished in a single sitting – part of my first, and so far only, attempt at a short-fiction version of NaNoWriMo.

What is your favorite bit?

This section, which sets up (and excuses!) the story’s mise en abyme arrangement, was actually added during the line-edit stage:

The monograph, titled A Survey of the Gallery Portrait of Vespasian Marat by Zephyr Townsend, was issued as a handsome, calf-bound, lemon-yellow volume by FosterNeela and Daughters, Publishers; but the edition has not sold well, owing to its great length (in excess of twelve hundred pages) and a propensity of the yellow binding to produce psychotic rages in its readers. Out of respect for the time and psychological welfare of the Board, a brief summary of Yacob’s findings pertinent to the current discussion follows.

You can buy Bibliotheca Fantastica directly from us, in a variety of formats:

Buy the epub file here, mobi (which also works on your Kindle) here, or PDF here, for only $4.99 each–instant downloads! Always DRM-free.

Or you can buy a bundle of Bibliotheca Fantastica in all three digital formats, for only $6.99 (here)

Haven’t read FISH yet? Buy FISH and Bibliotheca Fantastica in a bundle together for $8.98–$1 less than the cost of buying them separately.  Epub or mobi.

You can also order print copies of Bibliotheca Fantastica via Amazon, for $13.99. This is a 5″x8″ trade paperback, 314 pages. Best of all, the book is currently on sale for only $13.29! The Kindle version, via Amazon, is $4.99.

From Wieghtless Books: epub and mobi, $4.99 HERE

Author Interview: Trevor Shikaze (Bibliotheca Fantastica)

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Name: Trevor Shikaze

Age: However old I feel! Today, a spry 84.

Author of: “The Fox and His Book”

Where are you now? Hurtling through the galaxies.

Recent Publications: Keep watching the skies. Also keep watching Megan Arkenberg’s nifty Mirror Dance e-zine (My story, “Old Rootling“, is now online). In fact, bop on over there right now. You will be FANTASATED.

What’s the last book you finished? But whatever I say here won’t be true because by the time interested parties read this, I will have finished other ones.

The next one you can’t wait to start? I’m gonna go with Moby Dick because I’ve never read it and I’ve always meant to. If this pattern continues, then Moby Dick will always be a true answer for as long as this interview stays up on the Internet, which I assume will be forever. Also the Bible.

Tell us about the place where you wrote your story: I write in a corner.

What is your favorite bit? I cut it out!

You can buy Bibliotheca Fantastica directly from us, in a variety of formats:

Buy the epub file here, mobi (which also works on your Kindle) here, or PDF here, for only $4.99 each–instant downloads! Always DRM-free.

Or you can buy a bundle of Bibliotheca Fantastica in all three digital formats, for only $6.99 (here)

Haven’t read FISH yet? Buy FISH and Bibliotheca Fantastica in a bundle together for $8.98–$1 less than the cost of buying them separately.  Epub or mobi.

You can also order print copies of Bibliotheca Fantastica via Amazon, for $13.99. This is a 5″x8″ trade paperback, 314 pages. Best of all, the book is currently on sale for only $13.29! The Kindle version, via Amazon, is $4.99.

From Wieghtless Books: epub and mobi, $4.99 HERE

More FISH: New Interview and Review

First, the review. Says Guy Gonzalez:

For such a broad, somewhat random theme — “What secrets belong only to a fish?” — editors Cuinn and Taylor have curated an impressively cohesive anthology, offering a diverse variety of fables, allegories, and good old fashioned short stories that surprise, delight, and, in a few cases, inspire. Among my favorites were Polenth Blake’s “Thwarting the Fiends;” Camille Alexa’s “The Skin of Her Skin;” Paul A. Dixon’s “One Let Go;” Sam Fleming’s “What the Water Gave Her;” Bear Weiter’s “The Talking Fish of Shangri-La;” and, Tracie McBride’s “The Touch of Taniwha.” My absolute favorite, though, was Suzanne Palmer’s “Lanternfish In the Overworld;” its perfect tone and ending should really have made it the final story in the collection, so save it for last. Recommended.

Next, Charles Tan, the Bibliophile Stalker, has interviewed editor Carrie Cuinn for SF Signal. They talked about the evolution of FISH, the challenges of running a small press, and more.

From the interview:

CT: Why do you think we need stories like these? If you weren’t editing Fish (i.e. another publisher was soliciting from you), what’s the appeal for you of contributing to this themed anthology?

CC: We always need stories like these. Life is hard. It’s rarely what we expected it to be, and there’s so much dark and gloom. We can’t get rid of it, so I don’t try to pretend it isn’t there. Instead, I look for what’s beautiful in between the bad things, or alongside sadness or grief. Delightful, surprising, moments are always there, whether we see them or not, but life is easier when we take the time to look. There is always something or someone to love, if you let life creep in. The stories in Fish are just like that: sad, dark, and scary, with surprising moments of beauty, joy, and life.

I know what story I would have written, if I were contributing to a project like this. It would be different from anything we did publish, but similar in feeling to Blake and Fleming’s work. I would have wanted to show that flashing underside, the brightness in a dark sea. It would have been about my son, and the things I lost when I got to know him.

And the things I gained.

Read the rest here.

Interview: Ken Liu (FISH)

Name: Ken Liu

Age: 36

Author of: “How Do You Know If a Fish Is Happy?”

Current Geographic Location: Massachusetts, near Boston.

Original Hometown, if different: Lanzhou, China

Twitter: @kyliu99

Website: http://kenliu.name

Recent publications:

  • “A Brief History of the Trans-Pacific Tunnel” — The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2013.
  • Good Hunting” — Strange Horizons, October 2012.
  • “The Waves” — Asimov’s Science Fiction, December 2012 (Nebula nominee)
  • The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species” — Lightspeed, Issue 27, August 7, 2012 (Nebula nominee)
  • All the Flavors” — GigaNotoSaurus, February 2012 (Nebula nominee)

Which zodiac sign where you born under? Ophiuchus / Dragon

If a magic fish granted you one wish, what would it be? FTL travel.

What inspired your story? I’ve always wanted to write a story based on the legend that a carp jumping over the Dragon’s Gate will become a dragon. A sci-fi setting seemed perfect.

Did you listen to music while writing it? No. I can’t listen to music and write at the same time.

How many rewrites did you do before submitting? One. A very extensive one.

What is your favorite bit?

“I believe that Freddy is my friend, and that makes all the difference.”

Want to read the rest?

Get the ePub (for nook and other readers) here and mobi (perfect for your Kindle) here. Only $4.99 each, instant downloads.

You can also get FISH as an ebook through Barnes & NobleAmazon, or Kobo.