Sheree R. Thomas's new book, new CSZ issue, Locus review, and more.
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The Monthly Aqueduct

We're back with our latest publishing news and some summer reading inspiration for you. Not least, the much-anticipated Sleeping Under the Tree of Life, Sheree Renée Thomas's new collection of poetry and short fiction, has just been released. The new issue of The Cascadia Subduction Zone is also out, so scroll down for content details and other links, including Faren Miller's Locus review of Andrea Hairston's new novel, and an array of roundtables, interviews, and more.

Out now: Sleeping Under the Tree of Life,
by Sheree Renée Thomas

Cover image of Sleeping Under the Tree of Life$10.00 (paperback)
$5.95 (ebook)
Buy now

We are pleased to announce the release of Sleeping Under the Tree of Life, a collection of poetry and stories by Sheree Renée Thomas, as the fiftieth volume in Aqueduct's Conversation Pieces series. Sleeping Under the Tree of Life evokes the realm of ancestral knowledge with a deep respect for the natural world, a love of language, and an invitation—for survival, and asks: Who survives without being transformed? Beneath luminous layers of imagery and mythology, science and nature, fantasy and the recounting of history, is the grace and tenderness of a poet's heart, the unwavering gaze of an oracle's vision, and the dreamlike whimsy of a storyteller's mind. Hope, love, and hard truths spring from these pages of a writer whose imagination conjures an unforgettable journey. Readers enter these poems and stories the way some souls enter church, a quiet garden, or a stand of trees—for rest, for the blessing of silence and reverie, for beauty if not redemption.

"The lyrical gifts of Thomas, editor of the celebrated Dark Matter anthologies, are on full display in this collection of poetry and short fiction.... She invokes the rhythms of African-American ring shouts and the dense, humid atmosphere of the American South. Her stories include reinventions of mythology, such as Medusa and Arachne ambushing the goddess Athena in revenge in "Arachne & Medusa Jump Athena," and haunting modern folktales about women with their roots in rivers (in "River, Clap Your Hands") and swamp trees (in "Tree of the Forest Seven Bells"), with references to recent natural disasters and human-created pollution. Thomas's skill with poetry and prose is remarkable, and even the shortest poems in this volume contain ideas and images that will linger in the reader's mind."
  —Publishers Weekly, starred review, July 2016

"Sheree R. Thomas is a hoodoo conjure women. Sleeping Under the Tree of Life is a book of story and poem incantations. Thomas calls on the ancestors, the spirits, and our natural Mississippi mud/ blood history to talk to the future. She tasks, thrills, and twists our minds. Her word magic feels so good in my mouth, I have to jump up and speak her blues, jazz, and warrior woman sass out loud! Sleeping Under the Tree of Life is a book to read again and again and again!" —Andrea Hairston, author of Redwood and Wildfire and Will Do Magic for Small Change

The Cascadia Subduction Zone, Vol. 6, 3

Cover image of The Cascadia Subduction Zone$ 3.00 (digital)
$ 5.00 (print)

The new issue of The Cascadia Subduction Zone is out! This issue opens with an essay by Karen Lord, "Unbought and Unbossed: Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea, and Amaryllis Collymore." The issue also includes poetry by Tonya Liburd and T.D. Walker, a Grandmother Magma column by Jewelle Gomez on Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, and reviews of six new books. This quarter's featured artist is Susan diRende (who is also the author of Unpronounceable, a new novella in Aqueduct's Conversation Pieces series). If you're not already a subscriber, you can become one here.

Will Do Magic for Small Change, reviewed on Locus

Cover image of Will Do Magic for Small ChangeIn this month's issue of Locus, Faren Miller reviews Andrea Hairston's latest novel, set in the same universe as her award-winning Redwood and Wildfire.

"The glossary at the back of Andrea Hairston’s Will Do Magic For Small Change includes words and phrases from African and Native American tribes, plus a smattering of European (mostly German). Hairston deftly weaves all this and more into two powerful linked tales: the primary one, set in Pittsburgh, PA, combines mainstream sen­sibilities with elements of the fantastic, while the other – officially known as The Chronicles of the Great Wanderer – is the SFnal/mythic diary of a shapeshifting entity from another dimension who takes human form in West Africa in 1892."

Visit our website for a printed or digital copy of Will Do Magic for Small Change.
Forthcoming novella featured in translated fiction special

Lola Robles's short novel Monteverde: Memoirs of an Interstellar Linguist, translated from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel and forthcoming from us, was mentioned by Rachel Cordasco in her article "Speculative Fiction in Translation: 15 Works to Watch Out For in 2016." It sure is a fine list — we'd all better start making room on our shelves!
Interview with
Lawrence Schimel

Rachel Cordasco, founder of the Speculative Fiction in Translation website, interviewed Lawrence Schimel, prolific author, editor, and translator of various speculative fiction writers in Spanish, including the Argentinian author Teresa P. Mira de Echeverría and the Spaniards Domingo Santos and Lola Robles. Schimel's translation of Robles's novella Monteverde: Memoirs of an Interstellar Linguist is forthcoming from us this fall.
Fireside Report on Black Spec Fic
Fireside Fiction Company has just released a special report revealing the (to some) shocking extent of anti-Black bias in speculative fiction magazine publishing, according to data gathered and analyzed for 2015.

Cecily Kane summarizes: "even in the unlikely event that only around 2% of all stories in all submission piles across the field are written by black authors, given that the chances of that possibility being random is likewise 0%, we need to examine the real problem: systemic racism. Speculative short fiction publishing is rife with antiblackness, and white speculative fiction writers and publishers need to stop pretending otherwise."

The report is backed by an available spreadsheet and accompanied by an editorial by Brian J. White, an interview with N.K. Jemisin, and several essays by authors including Nisi Shawl, Mikki Kendall, and Troy Wiggins.More than half of all speculative fiction publications did not publish a single original story by a black author in 2015.
Two Roundtables: Kirkus Reviews and Strange Horizons

Earlier this month, publishing director Timmi Duchamp took part in the roundtable "How Small Press Publishers Shape the Field of Science Fiction and Fantasy," moderated by John DeNardo for Kirkus Reviews. Timmi opened the conversation with the reasons behind the foundation of Aqueduct Press:

"After several years of seeing one fine author after another being dropped by the major commercial presses, I realized that the field was being deprived of interesting work by experienced, "midlist" authors, suggesting that original, challenging fiction might be a harder sell to many publishers than repeats of what was currently selling well. I had long since noted that a few quality small presses were attempting to address the problem. And in the summer of 2003, I became convinced that I had the resources needed to become one of those small presses."
And as part of their ongoing month-long queer special, this week's Strange Horizons issue features "Our Queer Roundtable," moderated by Vanessa Rose Phin and joined by editors and authors including our very own Aqueductistas Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward, co-authors of Writing the Other in our Conversation Pieces series. The roundtable touched upon the history of queer identities, inclusivity, the representation of asexuality, and family beyond the "normal," among other subjects.

Editor Rose Fox says, of the term queer: "I want to challenge heterocentricity, challenge heterosexism, challenge stereotypes, challenge binaries of all kinds, challenge restrictive concepts of family, challenge our language and attitudes around being "closeted" or "stealth" or "out" (and the intense pressure for outness even when it is demonstrably not safe for many people). I want to queer shit up. That’s what being queer means to me—accepting that my literal existence turns the dominant paradigm on its ear, and grabbing that and running with it."
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