Our first two books are now launched and are making their ways around the world to readers and reviewers alike. Starting a publishing endeavour during a pandemic has been challenging — certainly we would have sold more copies if we’d been able to go to the cons we’d planned to go to, or see anyone at all in person — but we’ve been delighted at the enthusiasm we’ve seen from readers and reviewers online, and from those of you who came to our online launches or engaged with us on social media. It’s felt like the kind of community-building we’d hoped for. The kind that is imperative now and in the future.
In honour of this milestone, let’s take a moment to revisit the hype! Both Stelliform 2020 titles have gotten some fantastic reviews. We’re thrilled that people are paying attention to books coming from a brand new press.
Sim Kern’s Depart, Depart!
Kern’s novella is our first book to receive a starred review from Publishers Weekly. PW called the book a “tense, entrancing debut” and the review highlights the importance of community in this short horror. “With high stakes and a solid emotional core, and a perfect balance of speculation and an all-too-real vision of climate apocalypse, Kern shows the necessity of compassion, empathy, and community in the face of crisis.”
Kern also got a shout-out from the World Fantasy finalist and author of Finna and Homesick, Nino Cipri. Cipri wrote that “Kern’s writing is fierce and fearless” and the novella is “for all of us trapped in unravelling situations, facing the seemingly intractable binary of being safe and alone, or vulnerable but together.”
Another review we loved came from Em Rowntree at The Geekiary. Rowntree focuses on an aspect of the novella that is so important: that the book both calls for social connection and is an agent for it. Rowntree writes, “It [felt] like a gift to read a scene where a trans character gets to meet his family who’ve passed away, and they offer him love. It soothed a little of the hurt in me that’s there for so many people who aren’t cisgender.” Indeed, Kern’s book is a rare healing horror novella.
Check out more reviews and blurbs here and, of course, on Goodreads.
Michael J. DeLuca’s Night Roll
This week Michael J. DeLuca’s Night Roll received a wonderful review from Locus Magazine’s Karen Burnham. Burnham, who knows Detroit well, notes that Night Roll is the “the most Detroit story I have read since Alexander Irvine’s The Narrows.” Focusing on the way the novella brings forward the city’s unique setting and character elements, Burnham writes, “Night Roll brings home a lot of things that are wonderful about that city: the incredible diversity, the community-mindedness, and the quirky culture that has arisen out of the ashes of the post-industrial city. … I’d recommend this book for anyone who’s ever thought “Detroit? Who would ever want to live in that wasteland?” Burnham highlights other elements of Night Roll that you don’t want to miss, so check out the full review here.
Publishers Weekly’s review of DeLuca’s novella notes the intermingling of style and structure when they write that “the odd, lyrical story meanders, propelled only by the force of Aileen’s determination to take control of her life … The result is a hypnotic near-future novella that will captivate literary and genre readers alike.” The full review, highlighting the novella’s fairy tale and historical connections, is here.
DeLuca received some truly fantastic blurbs as well, such as this from the World Fantasy and Campbell-nominated author Christopher Brown. Brown wrote that “Michael [J.] DeLuca’s NIGHT ROLL is one of the most vivid and captivating works of near future fiction I have read in a long time … DeLuca’s gifts for drawing out the pockets of wild nature resurgent within the concrete canyons of the city are enough to hold my attention throughout, but the fresh authenticity of voice and vulnerable but committed charisma of his characters are what keep you turning the pages of this compelling novella.”
More praise of the novella from Detroit’s Z.Z. Claybourne and Sonia Sulaiman at The Future Fire are linked here.
Leave Reviews and Stay Tuned
Have you read Stelliform’s first novellas? We’d love to hear what you thought here, on social media, or any book review site. In the meantime, we’ve announced two books for Stelliform Year 2 and we’re excited to share more environmentally-engaged fiction with you.