Small Beer Press has posted the table of contents for Delia Sherman’s upcoming collection Young Woman in a Garden: Stories:

Here’s the book description:

Praise for Delia Sherman’s previous books:

“Multilayered, compassionate, and thought-provoking.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Fantastic in every sense of the word, Sherman’s second novel (Through a Brazen Mirror) is a skillfully crafted fairy tale that owes as much to E.T.A. Hoffman as to Charles Perrault. . . . The Porcelain Dove is no dainty vertu but a seductive, sinister bird with razored feathers.”—Publishers Week-ly

In her vivid and sly, gentle and wise, long-anticipated first collection, Delia Sherman takes seemingly insignificant moments in the lives of artists or sailors—the light out a window, the two strokes it takes to turn a small boat—and finds the ghosts haunting them, the magic surrounding them. Here are the lives that make up larger histories, here are tricksters and gardeners, faeries and musicians, all glittering and sparkling, finding beauty and hope and always unexpected, a touch of wild magic.

Delia Sherman was born in Japan and raised in New York City. Her work has appeared most recently in the anthologies Naked City, Steampunk!, and Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells. She is the author of six novels including The Porcelain Dove (a New York Times Notable Book), The Freedom Maze, and Changeling, and has received the Mythopoeic and Norton awards. She lives in New York City.

Here’s the table of contents…
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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

June is LGBT Pride Month, so we thought a Mind Meld on LGBT themes in Fantasy and SF would be perfect, and asked some authors to send some recommendations our way!

Q: LGBT themes and characters have, thankfully, enjoyed an emergence in speculative fiction the past few years, and we’d love to know who some of your favorite LGBT authors, stories, and novels are, and why?

Here’s what they said…

Delia Sherman
Delia Sherman is a fantasy writer and editor. Her novel The Porcelain Dove won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. She was born in Tokyo and brought up in New York City. She earned a PhD in Renaissance studies at Brown University and taught at Boston and North-eastern universities. She is the author of the novels Through a Brazen Mirror, The Porcelain Dove (a Mythopoeic Award winner), and Changeling. Sherman co-founded the Interstitial Arts Foundation, dedicated to promoting art that crosses genre borders. She lives in New York City with her wife and sometime collaborator, Ellen Kushner

I like reading about worlds in which society takes no stand against same-sex or even multiple partners, where the gender of a character’s sexual desire is not a central emotional issue. There aren’t many, but there are a few, including Elizabeth Lynn’s Chronicles of Tornor, and, of course, most of Melissa Scott’s books, both those written alone and those written with her partner Lisa Barnett. Ellen Kushner has explored the ways society (and the lovers themselves) can make lovers of any gender suffer in her Riverside series: Swordspoint, The Privilege of the Sword, and The Fall of the Kings. And finally, I want to mention the little-known Elemental Logic novels of Laurie J. Marks: Fire Logic, Earth Logic, and Water Logic, which take place in a society where the family units consist of multiple husbands and wives and their children. There are conflicts aplenty–mostly having to do with the military culture that has been occupying them for decades. Beautiful world-building, fascinating, thorny, very human characters.
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MIND MELD: Monarchies in Fantasy

UPDATED to include a response from Delia Sherman

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

Very often, in secondary world fantasy novels, the default political setup is to have a Monarch of some sort, often one that acts in a seemingly autocratic manner. Many times, this Monarch rules by some sort of divine right or providence.

Q: Why are kingdoms with monarchs the default political setup in many secondary fantasy world novels? What are the advantages and disadvantages of such political structures? What are some exceptions to this?
Mark Charan Newton
Mark Charon Newton is the author of the Legends of the Red Sun series. He is also a Whisky addict. Find out more about him at Markcnewton.com

When people create worlds, we only really have our own world for reference, or from which to glean conscious and subconscious influences. Kingdoms, empires, monarchs – that’s all human history has pretty much known. Even today, we’re under the illusion we have democracy, but it’s much more wishy-washy than true ancient Athenian democracy, where power was genuinely more equally distributed, and more citizens played a role in the functioning of society. Today our monarchs and empires now are largely trade-based hegemonies, imperial campaigns given the spin of delivering peace through drone bombings. We are now subject to political and financial kings and queens (well, strictly speaking, in the UK we’re still subjects to the queen, but hey).

So in one sense, that’s life. That’s all we’ve ever known.

Emphasizing this point, many fantasy writers tend to look towards history, consciously or otherwise, for inspiration. Given that, aside from moments in the ancient world, there are very few examples where there are not kingdoms and empires, it’s inevitable.

There’s a wonderful season of Shakespeare on the BBC at the moment, which is hammering the point that I think still lingers today, and that’s a fascination with those who hold ultimate power. The pressures. The mental state. The sheer audacity to rule. Holding a position of god on earth. It is the biggest stage in a nation. So what does that do to an individual? What does that do to their mind? Can they ever be truly human? Such questions continue to inspire fantasy writers today. We’re very much interested in that big stage and what it means when ordinary people connect with it in some way.

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TOC: Interfictions 2 edited by Delia Sherman & Christopher Barzak

Small Beer Press has posted the Table of Contents for their upcoming anthology Interfictions 2 edited by Delia Sherman & Christopher Barzak:

  1. “The War Between Heaven and Hell Wallpaper” by Jeffrey Ford
  2. “Beautiful Feast” by M. Rickert
  3. “Remembrance Is Something Like a House” by Will Ludwigsen
  4. “The Long and Short of Long-Term Memory” by Cecil Castellucci
  5. “The Score” by Alaya Dawn Johnson
  6. “The Two of Me” by Ray Vukcevich
  7. “The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria” by Carlos Hernandez
  8. “Shoes” by Lavie Tidhar
  9. “Interviews After the Revolution” by Brian Francis Slattery
  10. “Count Poniatowski and the Beautiful Chicken” by Elizabeth Ziemska
  11. “Black Dog: A Biography” by Peter M. Ball
  12. “Berry Moon: Laments of a Muse” by Camilla Bruce
  13. “Morton Goes to the Hospital” by Amelia Beamer
  14. “After Verona” by William Alexander
  15. “Valentines” by Shira Lipkin
  16. “(*_*?) ~~~~ (-_-) : The Warp and the Woof” by Alan DeNiro
  17. “The Marriage” by Nin Andrews
  18. “Child-Empress of Mars” by Theodora Goss
  19. “L’Ile Close” by Lionel Davoust
  20. “Afterbirth” by Stephanie Shaw
  21. “The 1211″ by David J. Schwartz

Additioanlly, the volume features Introduction: On the Pleasures of Not Belonging by Henry Jenkins and Afterwords: An Interstitial Interview by Colleen Mondor, Christopher Barzak, and Delia Sherman.

SF Tidbits for 9/4/09

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