Sim Kern’s DEPART, DEPART! is on the Otherwise Award Honor List!

We’re thrilled to share that Sim Kern’s DEPART, DEPART! is on the Otherwise Award (formerly the Tiptree Award) Honor List with many incredible books and stories. Congrats to Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki on his Otherwise win for “Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon” a novella included in the Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora anthology (which we reviewed here).

2020 Otherwise Award Honor List poster

The Otherwise Award Honor List

The Otherwise Award Honor List is a great place to find pioneering works of speculative fiction addressing gender issues. Be sure to check out the following titles:

  • R.B. Lemberg, The Four Profound Weaves
  • Anya Johanna DeNiro, City of a Thousand Feelings
  • Maggie Tokuda-Hall, The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea
  • Sim Kern, Depart, Depart!
  • Chana Porter, The Seep
  • Isabel Fall, “Helicopter Story”
  • Amy Griswold, “Custom Options Available”
  • Maria Romasco Moore, “The Moon Room”

Read more about the Otherwise Award winner and Honor List on the Otherwise Award site.

Award Nominations for both 2020 Titles

We were especially thrilled to learn of DEPART, DEPART!’s finalist status for the Otherwise Award because this means that both our 2020 titles are now award nominated. In March we announced that Michael J. DeLuca’s NIGHT ROLL was a Crawford Award Finalist. As a new small press, it is absolutely indicative of the quality and importance of these stories, as well as the work we put into our titles, that they have both been recognized by important awards in speculative fiction.

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2021 Open Submissions Call: A Quick Chat with Book Cover Artist Rachel Lobbenberg

We’re open for general submissions as of September 1st and now excitedly diving into the wonderful speculative stories you’re sending us. Following our video series introducing writers the press, we’re sharing a short interview with Rachel Lobbenberg, the artist for the Impossible Resurrection of Grief cover, and the typographer for After the Dragons.

Poster featuring a photo of book cover artist Rachel Lobbenberg with pictures of the book covers she worked on: Octavia Cade's THE IMPOSSIBLE RESURRECTION OF GRIEF and Cynthia Zhang's AFTER THE DRAGONS.

What is your artistic background? What kind of art do you do for your job? What kind of art do you do for fun?

I have a combined Fine Art and Digital Media degree, and have been working as a designer and art director in the corporate marketing world for more than a decade; however, I am a newbie to the book publishing world – this is my first book cover design job. I’m enjoying the process and quite happy with the results so far!

What was your process for the cover for The Impossible Resurrection of Grief?

When Selena Middleton, the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Stelliform Press, reached out to me, she already had a specific vision on the book cover design. After I learned about the story, the vision I created aligned with Selena’s. We agreed that the cover had to be dark, dramatic, yet vibrant. It had to have a punch to it like the book’s title.

For the cover design, I used a spotlight to feature these exotic and amazing animals [the thylacines] that are involved in the story, and juxtaposed them with a dark and yet rich in texture funereal background to convey the vibe of the story. Inspired by the Romanticism movement, I added some vibrant and jewel like plants to form a pyramidal composition, to create a dramatic, mysterious and vivid visual effect.

Tell us about the typography you did for After the Dragons.

The book has a majestic dragon in the center of the artwork, and I want the typography to bring out its liveliness. So I designed the title to intertwine with the dragon, with just enough subtlety to complement its subject and not too much to take away from the brilliant artwork.

I am very happy with the results for both covers, and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to create more interesting book cover artwork.

Earthstar Fungus Logo
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2021 Open Submissions Call: Intro Videos Series

We’re open for general submissions as of September 1st. We’re still a fairly new press with two years of publications (four books) under our belt. But submitting a novel, novella, or short story collection that you may have been working on for years can be daunting. We want to give you more information about the press so that writers can feel confident in submitting their stories.

We’ve created a series of videos about the press including, an intro to the press’ origin and mission, what kinds of stories we’re looking for, our team and our process, and some testimonials from our authors. We’ll follow this up with a brief text interview with Rachel Lobbenberg, our book cover artist.

Video 1: A Brief Intro to the Press

Video 2: What Kind of Stories Are We Looking For?

Video 3: Our Team and Our Process

Video 4: Author Experience

Curious about our book cover design process?

Follow the link to read a short interview with book cover artist Rachel Lobbenberg, to did art and typography for The Impossible Resurrection of Grief and After the Dragons respectively.

After the Dragons Launch Video is Live

On August 19th we officially launched Cynthia Zhang’s After the Dragons, a tender queer urban fantasy. We were very lucky to have Elinam Agbo and Misha Grifka read poetry to open the event. Elinam read “On Your Way to SS Swedru,” a gorgeous poem about what we take with us when we leave our beloved homelands (and, by extension, the Earth). Misha read two poems ⁠— “drip” and “we expect sweet things to come from the ground” ⁠— both grappling with the practical challenges of deteriorating ecosystems, social systems, and the tenderness that remains despite these things.

Kari Maaren sang two hilariously true ukelele tunes, both challenging fantasy tropes. “Chosen One” and “Your Sexy Werewolf” provided some levity before we heard a reading by author of the hour, Cynthia Zhang. The launch then wrapped up with a Q&A and a prize giveaway.

The launch video is now online, with subtitles provided for those who need or want them. If you want to be notified of future launches, sign up for Stelliform Press’s newsletter here. If After the Dragons sounds like a book you can’t miss, go here to purchase a signed copy printed on recycled paper.

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Upcoming: Cynthia Zhang’s AFTER THE DRAGONS Book Launch

On August 19th we’re launching Cynthia Zhang’s After the Dragons, the book that Mary Robinette Kowal called a “beautiful jewel-box of a novel” and Booklist described as “introspective fantasy [with] enormous heart and astonishing depth.” Readers are excited about this soft fantasy and we’re excited to host an online launch party in its honour!

On a pastel sunset background, this poster contains a photo of the book cover, pictures of Cynthia Zhang, Elinam Agbo, Misha Grifka, and Kari Maaren. The text reads: Cynthia Zhang's After the Dragons Book Launch. On August 19th, 8pm ET, come to a fun online evening of poetry, music, discussion, and dragons as Stelliform Press launches Cynthia Zhang's debut queer fantasy novel. Plus join us on Reddit's r/fantasy for a post-launch AMA! Go to Eventbrite for more info and to sign up:

On August 19th, 8pm ET, come to a fun online evening of poetry, music, discussion, and dragons as Stelliform Press launches Cynthia Zhang’s debut queer fantasy novel. Plus join us on Reddit’s r/fantasy for a post-launch AMA! Go to Eventbrite for more info and to sign up.

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