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Small and Independent Press Highlights

An eclectic assortment of recent, current, and forthcoming books from small and independent presses that've caught our attention, and we don't want to escape yours. Sometimes these are releases from major publishing houses that don't produce many books in our genre.
Contact the staff ASAP if you are interested in one of these titles as they often sell out quickly.

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The Spider Tapestries: Seven Strange Stories Cover Image
By Mike Allen, Nicole Kornher-Stace (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780988912465
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mythic Delirium Books - March 1st, 2016

Publishers Weekly

Elegant language and surrealistic themes defy genre and moral expectations in the weird and transgressive stories found in this collection. Assassins of old gods become their beloved emissaries in “She Who Runs.” Technological body modification leads to a political conspiracy in the nightmarish dystopia of “Still Life with Skull,” and a mad goddess’s frantic dancing powers an entire cosmos in “Sleepless, Burning Life.” Echoes of Dunsany’s myth making crash against nihilistic visionaries struggling for self and sanity, and often the only salvation is escaping into the imagination, encompassed in the hallucinogenic spider venom of the tragic titular story. Once consumed, it allows an underground race to “spend a precious eternity inside the vistas of minds,” a powerful metaphor for humanity and imaginative fiction. Poet Allen’s (Unseaming) pairing of individualistic suffering and cosmic hugeness evokes a lyrical friction between dread and wonder. (Mar.)

Library Journal

The seven stories in this slim collection range from dark fantasy to sf to horror—sometimes all within one tale. There are enough spiders here to make an arachnophobe go into hysterics, but they are not the only ones spinning webs. Goddesses, aliens, and genetic splicers all pull on strings. Gems include "Sleepless, Burning Life," about a woman in love with a goddess, and "Twa Sisters" with a man hiding secrets in his brain. Especially vivid in its blending of imagery and narrative is "Stolen Souls," in which a former cop tries to reconnect the stolen pieces of his lover's consciousness. VERDICT As he did with his previous collection Unseaming, poet Allen weaves intriguing connections among his tales, applying dizzying, sensual images. Poets often make excellent writers of the short form owing to their ability to use few words to evoke an emotion or paint a picture; this volume displays that skill.—KC

Unbound Cover Image
By Shawn Speakman (Editor), Todd Lockwood (Cover Design by), Stacie Pitt (Illustrator)
Unavailable to Order
ISBN: 9780984713691
Availability: Special Order
Published: Grim Oak Press - December 1st, 2015

Not bound, as a book. Free.

Like Unfettered before it, the contributing writers of Unbound were allowed to submit the tales they wished fans of genre to read—without the constraints of a theme. It is an anthology filled with some spectacularly new and wonderful stories, each one as diverse as its creator.

Here is the Unbound line-up:

Joe Abercrombie
Kristen Britain
Terry Brooks
Jim Butcher
Rachel Caine
Harry Connolly
Delilah S. Dawson
David Anthony Durham
Jason M. Hough
Mary Robinette Kowal
Mark Lawrence
Brian McClellan
John Marco
Tim Marquitz
Seanan McGuire
Peter Orullian
Kat Richardson
Anthony Ryan
Shawn Speakman
Brian Staveley
Michael J. Sullivan
Sam Sykes
Mazarkis Williams

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Xenowealth: A Collection Cover Image
ISBN: 9780692553268
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tobias S. Buckell - October 9th, 2015

High concept, adventurous science fiction stories featuring the beloved characters and settings from Tobias S. Buckell's popular Xenowealth novels.

Enjoy this fast-paced ride through a universe that has been many years in the making, accessible to both fans of Buckell's Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin and Sly Mongoose novels as well as first time readers. Xenowealth: A Collection includes stories like:

-The Fish Merchant: a glimpse at what first contact might be like from the perspective of those who will be battered by the fallout and geopolitical posturing. First published in one of science fiction's largest magazines and translated into multiple languages.

-Resistance: what happens when we hand over all our decision-making to algorithms and artificial intelligence? Can we let them vote for us? Should we?

-Necahual: an invading empire finds that not all is as it seems when it lands and gets a lesson about what both past and current occupation means.

-and including Ratcatcher, an all-new Xenowealth story written just for this collection.

Table of Contents

The Fish Merchant (first published in SCIENCE FICTION AGE) 
Manumission (first published in BAEN'S UNIVERSE) 
Resistance (first published in anthology SEEDS OF CHANGE) 
A Cold Heart (first published in anthology UPGRADED) 
The Loa (new to this collection) 
Necahual(first published in CLARKESWORLD MAGAZINE) 
Placa del Fuego (first published in CLARKESWORLD MAGAZINE) 
The Rydr Express (first published in anthology THE NEW HERO II) 
Ratcatcher (new to this collection!) 
How the Xenowealth Came to Be

Push Comes to Shove Cover Image
Unavailable to Order
ISBN: 9780692628881
Availability: Special Order
Published: Large Hadron Press - February 8th, 2016

Now you too can discover the writer that’s been one of Lee Child’s favorites for 15 years. Here’s what’s included: “Push Comes to Shove,” in which professional wrestling turns all too real. Selected for the Best American Mystery Stories series. “Bad for His Image,” where a gangster and a philatelist forge an improbable bond over a stamp, a dog, and a dame. “A Match Made in Hell,” the Devil’s explanation of how you really get into heaven. “Daughters,” in which a vigilante and and his Mossad-trained offspring team up to find a murderer. “Sanitation Sends a Man,” the story of a garbageman who comes out of retirement to save the universe. “Where You Eat,” where a disk jockey gets advice for the lovelorn from a birdbrain. “A Good Day’s Work,” a tale of murder and intrigue intruding upon the quiet life at Leisure World. You also get the novella "Push," an expansion of “Push Comes to Shove,” with more wrestlers, more criminal activity, and more rock’em sock’em action. Featuring a cover by esteemed cover artist Jeroen ten Berge.

The Do-Right Cover Image
Unavailable to Order
ISBN: 9781941026199
Availability: Special Order
Published: Cinco Puntos Press - October 27th, 2015

1959. Delpha Wade killed a man who was raping her. Wanted to kill the other one too, but he got away. Now, after fourteen years in prison, she's out. It's 1973, and nobody's rushing to hire a parolee. Persistence and smarts land her a secretarial job with Tom Phelan, an ex-roughneck turned neophyte private eye. Together these two pry into the dark corners of Beaumont, a blue-collar, Cajun-influenced town dominated by Big Oil. A mysterious client plots mayhem against a small petrochemical company-why? Searching for a teenage boy, Phelan uncovers the weird lair of a serial killer. And Delpha on a weekend outing looks into the eyes of her rapist, the one who got away. The novel's conclusion is classic noir, full of surprise, excitement, and karmic justice. Sandlin's elegant prose, twisting through the dark thickets of human passion, allows Delpha to open her heart again to friendship, compassion, and sexuality. 

Lisa Sandlin's story "Phelan's First Case" was anthologized in "Lone Star Noir "and was later re-anthologized in Akashic's Best of the Noir series, "USA Noir." "The Do-Right "is her first full-length mystery. Lisa was born in Beaumont, currently lives and teaches in Omaha, Nebraska, and summers in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Reality by Other Means: The Best Short Fiction of James Morrow Cover Image
Unavailable to Order
ISBN: 9780819575944
Availability: Special Order
Published: Wesleyan University Press - November 3rd, 2015


Morrow's stellar best-of collection leads off with "Bigfoot and the Bodhisattva," about a yeti who seeks spiritual enlightenment from the 15th Dalai Lama but who instead becomes ensnared in the irrationalities of religious dogma. The collection concludes with the ingenious alternate history story "The Raft of the Titanic," in which the survivors of the Titanic save themselves by constructing an island-sized raft and setting up a more progressive society on it than the one they've left behind. The 15 stories in between are similarly imaginative gems in which Morrow cocks a satirical eye at serious and salient subjects such as warmongering ("Arms and the Woman"), right-to-life doctrines ("Auspicious Eggs"), global ecology ("Daughter Earth"), religious orthodoxy ("Bible Stories for Adults, No 31: The Covenant"), and liberal politics ("The Cat's Pajamas"). Morrow (Galapagos Regained) is a master of reductio ad absurdum, and his puckish sense of humor keeps stories light and buoyant that might otherwise have turned cranky and polemical. This book reveals him to be one of the wittiest writers of contemporary speculative fiction." -- Publishers Weekly

Knocking on Heaven's Door: A Novel Cover Image
Unavailable to Order
ISBN: 9781631580680
Availability: Special Order
Published: Yucca - January 12th, 2016

On a hotter and more volatile earth in the twenty-third century, humans like Clare and Jon live in utopia, hunting and gathering in small tribal bands, engaged in daily art and ritual, reunited with old friends like the shaggy mammoth and giant ground sloth. Even better, they still have solar- powered laptops and can communicate with each other around the world. The understanding of physics has also advanced. When scientists first cloned extinct species from the Pleistocene, they discovered that many of them were telepathicthat consciousness travels in waves. For most people, animism has become the preferred religion, a panpsychism compatible with the laws of a fractal holographic universe. As Clare tells one of her students, the return to an older, Paleolithic lifestyle is one of humanity's greatest achievements. 
It's too bad that utopia had to come at such a cost: a genetically engineered super-virus that wiped out most of earth's human population. Humanity was shaken by that event, and humanity vowed to change. Now, on the 150th anniversary of that catastrophe, a small group of men and womenas well as a smarter-than-average dire wolf and saber-toothed catare suddenly faced with decisions in which the stakes are higher than ever before. Will earth repeat the cycle of unbridled hubris? Or is humanity's destiny even stranger than that?

Occupied Earth: Stories of Aliens, Resistance and Survival at All Costs Cover Image
By Richard Brewer (Editor), Gary Phillips (Editor)
ISBN: 9781940610528
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Polis Books - October 13th, 2015

For years, writers and filmmakers have speculated about the possibility of the Earth being invaded by aliens from another planet. But what if the aliens have been watching us, infiltrating us via human collaborators, or even surgically altering themselves to look human? "Occupied Earth" i a groundbreaking anthology that explores the idea of what the world would look like years after its conquest. 20 years after a successful invasion by the Makh-Ra, humanity still exists, only they have become subservient to a new race of occupiers who now govern the devastated planet. But, as much at things continue with some sense of normalcy, something has happened in the Mahk-Ra's empire. Earth, once considered a strategic beachhead of major importance to the Empire, has been downgraded in its value. Things are starting to degrade. Our planet is the last place any self-respecting Mahk-Ra officer wants to be assigned. Yet, despite everything, life continues. These stories bring us face to face with annihilation -- and show how we can pull ourselves back from the brink. Featuring Rachel Howzell Hall, Lisa Morton, Matthew V. Clemens, Howard Hendrix, Nathan Walpow and more, OCCUPIED EARTH is coming. Stay safe. Stay strong. Survive at all costs.

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Futuredaze 2: Reprise Cover Image
By Erin Underwood (Editor), Nancy Holder (Editor)
Unavailable to Order
ISBN: 9780985893422
Availability: Special Order
Published: Underwords - August 12th, 2014

Futuredaze 2: Reprise includes fifteen of the best and most brilliant young adult science fiction stories, written by the hottest SF and YA authors, gathered for the first time in one anthology. Wild-west steampunk, true love with the alien next door, a confab with Mr. Darcy's avatar, musical fluted girls, and Dorothy in alt-China--this is not your mom and dad's science fiction. Grab a friend and go for launch to worlds of wonder that reveal who we are and what we want to become through our decisions, relationships, and the chances we take on our futures--across all universes! 

Featuring stories from Paolo Bacigalupi, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Neil Gaiman, Kat Howard, Hugh Howey, N. K. Jemisin, James Patrick Kelly, Ken Liu, Malinda Lo, Beth Revis, Will Shetterly, Scott Westerfeld, Connie Willis, and Jane Yolen.

Geek Theater Cover Image
By Erin Underwood (Editor), Jen Gunnels (Editor)
Unavailable to Order
ISBN: 9780985893460
Availability: Special Order
Published: Underwords - November 4th, 2014

Geek Theater showcases 15 science fiction and fantasy stage plays by some of today's top authors and award-winning playwrights and is the first anthology that truly delves into the world of speculative fiction theater. Until recently, modern science fiction and fantasy stage plays have largely gone unnoticed despite the proliferation of plays and performances by theater companies around the world. These plays are an important part of the science fiction and fantasy cannon as they represent a unique intersection of authors and playwrights producing work at a time when these genres are flourishing.

The Science of Herself (Outspoken Authors) Cover Image
Unavailable to Order
ISBN: 9781604868258
Availability: Special Order
Published: PM Press - November 1st, 2013

Featuring: our Outspoken Interview in which Fowler prophesies California's fate, reveals the role of bad movies in good marriages, and intimates that girls just want to have fun (which means make trouble).

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Audition for Murder Cover Image
ISBN: 9781932325218
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mystery Company - October 1st, 2012

From publisher Jim Huang: Intelligent and endearing, they're the books that readers walk into independent bookstore hoping to discover. Maggie Ryan has an amazing ability to make folks around her better people. Owen Keane is driven to answer life's larger questions, seeking answers through methods he's learned from the detective stories he cherishes. Maggie succeeds more than she fails. Owen fails more than he succeeds. (Or does he?) Both Faherty and Carlson leave you with lots to think about. Their elegant whodunits and fascinating characters also leave you feeling good about the genre itself.

Don't Read This Book: 13 Forbidden Tales from the Mad City Cover Image
By Chuck Wendig (Editor), Stephen Blackmoore (Contribution by), Harry Connolly (Contribution by)
Unavailable to Order
ISBN: 9781613170120
Availability: Special Order
Published: Evil Hat Productions, LLC - March 26th, 2013

Down a lonely alleyway, under a starless sky, lies a city that never was, yet is: the Mad City, where nightmares walk the streets, and a good night's sleep can get you killed. Here, then, is a book from that place.Within these recovered pages are the tales of the Awake, insomniacs who've walked those perilous streets, bringing a bit of the power of dream with them to fight back the night - always at a terrible cost. For many, it will not end well. For a few, they might just become heroes - or at least find their way back home. For you, a choice. Turn away. Don't read this book. And maybe you'll continue to rest easy. Or open the cover and enter a world unlike any you've ever dared to imagine! Don't Read This Book introduces 13 forbidden tales from the Mad City and the world of the Don't Rest Your Head RPG.

The Devil's Bait Cover Image
Unavailable to Order
ISBN: 9781936573059
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Malevolent Books - April 20th, 2012

Jessie Dawn Cutler is a relationship banker in Manhattan, a woman climbing the rungs of the high-finance ladder on her way to the top. Morgan Byrd is an aging mercenary soldier, suffering a crisis of conscience as profound as his bank account is low. When Jessie learns that her biggest client is a criminal and a killer--protected from inside and outside the bank--she becomes his next target. It'll take all every resource she has, and the most unlikely of allies, if she hopes to survive.

About the Author Jeffrey J. Mariotte is the award-winning author of more than forty-five novels, including the border horror trilogy Missing White Girl, River Runs Red, and Cold Black Hearts, The Slab, the Dark Vengeance teen horror quartet, and others. He also writes comic books, including the long-running horror/Western comic book series Desperadoes. 

Impossible Monsters Cover Image
By Kasey Lansdale (Editor)
Unavailable to Order
ISBN: 9781596065055
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Subterranean Press - July 31st, 2013

  • Length: 208 pages

Dust jacket by Timothy Truman

The Lansdale name is legendary in the horror field. Now acclaimed musician and actress Kasey Lansdale follows in her father’s footsteps, making her editing debut with this anthology of monstrously innovative stories. The twelve creatures that stalk the pages of Impossible Monsters spring from the twisted imaginations of a dozen of today’s most noted authors.

International superstar Neil Gaiman is a storyteller’s storyteller, and with “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” he weaves an atmospheric tale that ensures readers will never hear a simple bedtime story the same way again.

In “The Glitter of the Crowns,” New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris, the creator of the Sookie Stackhouse series, turns her attention from vampires to werewolves—but appearances may be deceiving where monsters are concerned.

Mystery legend Anne Perry offers “Monster,” a story that takes the reader from an antiquarian bookstore in Cambridge to the blue seas of the Mediterranean and leaves the reader guessing until the very last page in true whodunit style.

And, of course, this anthology wouldn’t be complete without a contribution from beloved, award-winning author Joe R. Lansdale, who offers the latest adventure of supernatural sleuth Dana Roberts in “The Case of the Angry Traveler.”

Including stories by the likes of Al Sarrantonio and David Schow, among others, this collection of tales delivers on its promise. Because these monsters are never what the reader expects…

Limited: 250 numbered copies, bound in leather, signed by all contributors
Trade: Fully cloth bound hardcover copies

Table of Contents:

  • David J. Schow—Blue Amber
  • Neil Gaiman—Click-Clack the Rattlelebag
  • Cody Goodfellow—Cavity Creeps
  • Charlaine Harris—The Glitter of the Crowns
  • Tim Bryant—Doll’s Eyes
  • Neal Barrett, Jr.—Bloaters
  • Chet Williamson—Detritus
  • Anne Perry—Monster
  • Al Sarrantonio—Orange Lake
  • Selina Rosen—Nathan
  • Bradley Denton—Blood Moccasins
  • Joe R. Lansdale—The Case of the Angry Traveler (A Dana Roberts Novella)

From Publishers Weekly:
“Eschewing romantic vampires and shambling zombies, this collection presents monsters that do not merely kill, but suddenly and incomprehensibly consume, destroy, and reduce their victims to mere bones… Readers who stay up late wondering if there really is something out there will find these stories to be perfect nightmare fodder.”