Lots has been happening on the bookstore front since last issue. We now have a proper bookstore which is gradually filling up with interesting material. Right now it is fairly limited, but I am busy talking to a number of small presses about offering their books. I talked quite a bit about my philosophy for the store on my blog, in particular the donations system. There’s a whole brave new world of publishing being opened up by the advent of ebooks. It will be fascinating to see what comes of it, but whatever happens we do need to find ways in which writers can make money from what they do.
So what do we have in the store?
Obviously there is Dark Spires. While the paper books are selling reasonably well in the UK, I didn’t expect to get orders from overseas. The postage adds significantly to the price. But you can buy ebook editions, and at current exchange rates it is under US$5. Of course you can buy the book anywhere in the world. There’s no DRM, and no region restrictions. I expect this to apply to everything we sell.
In addition you can buy ebook editions of Salon Futura and Clarkesworld. Yes, these are available for free on their respective web sites, but the ebook editions are very cheap, and if you buy them it helps Neil and I keep our magazines going. I expect to be adding other magazines soon.
New for December I’m delighted to announce that we have started to stock some ebooks published by Lethe Press. Lethe is an American-based small press specializing in books of interest to the LGBT community. Many of their books are science fiction and fantasy, and they also publish Icarus, “The Magazine of Gay Speculative Fiction.”
First up in our list of books from Lethe is Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories, a collection by Sandra McDonald. Many of you will remember the fabulous “periodic table” promotional video that McDonald created for the book, celebrating other female science fiction writers. You may also have read some of her recent short fiction, such as “Seven Sexy Cowboy Robots” at Strange Horizons, or “Beach Blanket Spaceship” at Clarkesworld. If you like those examples of McDonald’s style of humorous, inventive, LGBT-themed fiction them you will love Diana Comet as well.
A much older book is Meslissa Scott’s Shadow Man. This is one of those books that always comes up when people talk about gender-themed science fiction. Set at a time when humanity has developed five distinct genders, the novel explores themes of gender and sexual identity. The book won the 1996 Lambda Award in the Science Fiction and Fantasy category (tied with Nicola Griffith’s equally superb Slow River).
Back with short fiction, we have So Fey: Queer Fairy Fictions. This is an anthology with the tongue-in-cheek theme of fairy stories with LGBT themes. Contributors include Rick Bowes, Sarah Monette, Holly Black, Laurie J. Marks, Christopher Barzack, Delia Sherman, Melissa Scott and Eugie Foster. The book is edited by Lethe’s founder, Steve Berman.
Finally we have Second Thoughts: More Queer and Weird Stories, a collection of stories by Steve Berman himself. The title pretty much explains what it is all about, except for the “second” bit which refers to the fact that this is Steve’s second collection.