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.
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.
We’re delighted to announce Stelliform Press’ acquisition of a novella by Octavia Cade, The Impossible Resurrection of Grief. Octavia Cade is a New Zealand writer with a PhD in science communication. She attended Clarion West 2016, has won three Sir Julius Vogel awards for speculative fiction, and is a Bram Stoker nominee. She was the 2020 writer in residence at Massey University, where she wrote this novella. Cade’s previous publications include stories in Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, Apex Magazine, and Clarkesworld. Her first novel, The Stone Wētā, was published this year by Paper Road Press.
This science fiction novella has a complex and troubling emotional core. The third novella from Stelliform Press, The Impossible Resurrection of Grief features a world in which climate change disruptions fray the emotional threads of humanity and raise questions about the many extinctions in which humans have played a part.
Read more about The Impossible Resurrection of Grief below:
With the collapse of ecosystems and the extinction of species comes the Grief: an unstoppable melancholia that ends in suicide. When Ruby’s friend, mourning the loss of the Great Barrier Reef, succumbs to the Grief, the letters she leaves behind reveal the hidden world of the resurrected dead. The Tasmanian tiger, brought back from extinction in an isolated facility, is only the first… but rebirth is not always biological, and it comes with a price. As a scientist, Ruby resists the Grief by focusing her research on resilient jellyfish, but she can’t avoid choosing which side she’s on. How can she fight against the dead and the forces behind them when doing so risks her home, her life, and the entire biosphere?
Sign up with Eventbrite
Michael J. DeLuca’s cli-fi fantasy novella, NIGHT ROLL, will be released on October 15th and we’re celebrating the novella’s beautifully dream-like ride through near-future Detroit — a ride through the challenges of motherhood in the time of climate change displacements and the gifts of building new communities.
This online event has free, ebook, and paperback ticket tiers because we want EVERYONE to come and engage in this important conversation. We also have fabulous door-prizes to give away. More information about the event is on the launch Eventbrite page.
Night Roll Launch Prizes
We have three prizes to give away at the end of the event: two fiction and non-fiction book packs, and a poster pack. Below, Michael J. DeLuca describes the books and posters included in the launch prizes and why he chose them.
Prize Pack 1: The Brothers Jetstream by ZZ Claybourne & Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown
The Brothers Jetstream
THE BROTHERS JETSTREAM: LEVIATHAN is an effervescent, mind-bending fireball of a book by a guy who is a force, (possibly The Force?), for Black speculative fiction in Detroit. Zig Claybourne is an inspiration and an example to me for what literary community-building looks like. I dare you to walk away from a conversation with him and not feel energized to write. His new book, AFRO PUFFS ARE THE ANTENNAE OF THE UNIVERSE, isn’t out til December or I’d be giving that away instead.
EMERGENT STRATEGY by adrienne maree brown is a spiritual, philosophical, practical, personal instruction manual for surviving and resisting climate catastrophe and entrenched hate. I can think of no better book to be reading at this moment, including mine.
Prize Pack 2: Velocities by Kathe Koja & The Next American Revolution by Grace Lee Boggs
VELOCITIES is Kathe Koja’s second short fiction collection; the title story has a ghost and many wrecked bicycles! Her work is darkly fantastic and often surreal, defies traditional categorization and has a dedicated cult following. Lots to aspire to there. And her punk ethic and persistent sense of humor in the face of all the deeply troubling environmental injustice that has made Detroit what it is definitely influenced the vision of the city I’m trying to evoke with NIGHT ROLL.
The Next American Revolution
THE NEXT AMERICAN REVOLUTION is the book that inspired NIGHT ROLL. It’s got urban community gardening, it’s got activist organizing, it’s got utopian vision. The audacity of hope, the persistence, the patience and resilience in this book are astonishing. Grace Lee Boggs was an activist, intellectual, philosopher, educator and fifty year veteran of the civil rights movement; adrienne maree brown was a protégé of hers. She died in 2015, but I was lucky enough to attend a screening of the documentary based on this book with the filmmakers and another of her protégés, Sharon K. Howell. The documentary is also great; it has beautiful images of Detroit and you should seek that out too.
Prize Pack 3: Detroit City Cycling Map Poster and Print by Jeff Powers
We’re also giving away a poster print of the original Detroit city cycling map from 1896 and a limited-run broadside (pictured here), “A Tree with Strong Roots Weathers the Storm”, by my neighbor and local artist Jeff Powers.
Sign up for the launch at Eventbrite. We hope to see you there!
This week we held our first book launch for Stelliform’s first book, Sim Kern’s Depart, Depart! The event was an intimate session via Zoom and guests had a chance to ask questions and chat with Kern about their novella and the role of climate fiction in the midst of climate crisis. Five attendees won a sticker pack and ebook prize, and one lucky winner nabbed the “Queer Climate Apocalypse Survival Kit” — a prize we detailed here.
Sim Kern’s Launch Video Available Online
Kern’s Book Launch was recorded and is now posted on their YouTube channel. The full video is embedded below.
Coming Up: Michael J. DeLuca’s NIGHT ROLL Book Launch
Stelliform’s second book, Michael J. DeLuca’s Night Roll will be released on October 15 and we’re planning a launch event for that day. More announcements are rolling out in the coming days and weeks, so stay tuned!
Despite the fact that another hurricane is headed toward Houston, we’re having a launch for Sim Kern’s DEPART, DEPART!, a book about a hurricane that destroys Houston. Yes, it is too on-the-nose, but this is the reality of contemporary climate fiction. We are telling these stories in the spaces between climate crisis events.
More details about the online event are on our Eventbrite page, including how to secure either a free ticket, a ticket + ebook, or a ticket + signed paperback of DEPART, DEPART!
But we’re most excited to show you the main prize for the event, which you are entered to win simply by showing up on Thursday September 24 at 7pm EST/6pm CST on Zoom.
Main Prize: The Queer Climate Apocalypse Survival Kit
With any of our tickets and your online attendance at the launch event, you’re entered to win either 1 of 5 ebook + DEPART, DEPART! sticker pack prizes, or the main prize — $100 worth of climate change and queer related art, zines and other goodies from Gulf Coast artists. Read on for more info on the pieces included in the Kit.
IT WAS NICE WHILE IT LASTED Print + HOLDOUTS comic, Book #1
Art and comic by Sarah Welch and @MysticMultiples — a Houston artist duo and self-publishing imprint specializing in risograph comics, zines, and prints. Much of their work focuses on climate effects along the Gulf Coast.
POX ON THE PATRIARCHY Print, GLORY HAND tote, sticker, & X2 SNAKE HEAD Enamel Pin
These items are from @antlerantler aka María-Elisa Heg who is a curator, cartoonist, and organizer living and working in Houston since 2005. She is currently a Curatorial Fellow at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.
Sparkly TRANS PRIDE mini-painting, RAINBOW patch, and PAINTED LADIES Correspondence Cards
Painting, patch, and cards are from @lisachowart . Lisa is an artist, illustrator, designer and story maker living in Houston, Texas. Her work strives to connect with young viewers through humor, whimsy and a ton of sass.
RESIST DYSTOPIA Poster
This poster is by @ganzeer. Ganzeer, who gained an international following for his artwork during the 2011 Egyptian revolution, has debuted more than 40 art shows all over the world. This image comes from his graphic novel, The Solar Grid.
ANGELIC SEAL Fashion Face Mask
This face mask is by @RubbberNecking. Linda Mota is a Houston-based artists whose work reflect her own body issues and dreams that used to be aggressive growing up.
PEP TALK ZINE!
Zine by @saracress. “A collection of poems to get you through another day.” Sara Cress is a writer in Houston. She writes poetry inspired by the news for a project called Breaking Poems, which can be found at http://BreakingPoems.com or on http://Facebook.com/BreakingPoems.
Texas Edibles Print
This print is from the Center for Imaginative Cartography & Research. The CICR is a Houston-based creative studio and Risograph press run by Emily Halbardier and Erik Sultzer. Find them at http://thecforicandr.info and on instagram: https://instagram.com/thecforicandr/.
XICANA VEGAN issue #1 & BLM Floral Sticker
Suzy González is an artist, zinester, curator, and educator based in San Antonio, TX. Xicana Vegan is a zine working towards dismantling systems of power and making amazing food while doing it! Find her at: https://linktr.ee/SuzyGonzalez.
FUTURE LOOKS BRIGHT, IT’S BLINDING Poem-Print
The poem-print is by S. Rodriguez, a Texas based artist, curator, and organizer. Their work most often explores the nature of bodies, physical, digital, and linguistic. Unfortunately the print was slightly damaged in shipping. Find them on Insta: https://www.instagram.com/blve.azvl/.
Untitled Photo Print by Ryan Francisco
Ryan Francisco is a Houston based photographer. With her body of work, she invites viewers to seek their own hidden connections within her photographs. Find Ryan on Insta: https://instagram.com/rfranciscophoto/… and the web: http://rfranciscophoto.com.
Join Us on September 24 to Officially Launch DEPART, DEPART!
We’ll be chatting about climate fiction and giving away these cool prizes. Don’t miss it! Click through to the Telling Climate Stories in a Climate Crisis on Eventbrite to get your tickets. See you soon!