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Edited by Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant

Del Rey


390p/$14.95/August 2007

The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet

Reviewed by Steven H Silver

A fiction magazine with a title like Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet is sure to contain something strange within its covers and the small zine published for the past ten years by Kelly Link and Gavin Grant doesn’t disappoint.  Excerpt, perhaps in its limited distribution and the general lack of awareness by the science fiction and fantasy community of this gem. However, its circulation has grown since 1996 when the first issue was published in a run of 26 copies. Now, with the publication of The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, the magazine should gain new readers and a broader awareness.

Link and Grant have successfully given their 390 page version of the magazine as similar a feel as possible to the original magazine, which tends to run to only 60 pages. Not only including the best, or some of the best, of the fiction they’ve run over the past ten years, the editors have also included the zine’s other content, which helps set it apart from the run of the mill science fiction magazine.

In addition to numerous stories by stylistic and imaginative luminaries such Karen Joy Fowler, Carol Emshwiller, Nalo Hopkinson, Jeffrey Ford, and Theodora Goss, the anthology contains the things that make a ‘zine a ‘zine rather than an anthology:  articles, reviews, columns, cartoons, and strange little items to fill the otherwise blank spaces that face the editors twice a year when they are doing layout. To this end, regular columns from the ‘zine, such as “The Film Column,” by William Smith or Gwenda Bond’s “Dear Aunt Gwenda” are represented along with Lawrence Schimel and Sara Rojo’s cartoons, non-fiction essays, and odd little surprise lists, informing the reader, for instance, of the names of different types of tomatoes.

The stories and poetry which form the core of the collection give a broad representation of the type of works published in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.  They run the gamut from the traditional faerie story, such as Sarah Monette’s “Three Letters from the Queen of Elfland” to the more avant garde tales like Nalo Hopkinson’s story “Tan-Tan and Dry Bone.”  All of the stories, however, seem to have an awareness of the stylistic techniques the authors are bringing to them, although this never interferes with the stories themselves. The stories and poems provide a broad spectrum of reading material and the stories are as imaginative as the title of the magazine, or the titles themselves.

Not surprisingly, Link and Grant have managed to capture the feel of the magazine they’ve published for the past decade in this book.  Their decision to include all aspects of the ‘zine rather than just stories was correct as it allows them to present the full range of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet’s quirkiness. Readers who discover Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet through The Best of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet will know exactly what to expect when they manage to track future issues of the magazine down.

Kelly Link Travels with the Snow Queen
Gavin J. GRant Scotch: An Essay Into Drink
David Findlay Unrecognizable
Ian McDowell Mehitobel was Queen of the Night
Nalo Hopkinson Tan-Tan and Dry Bone
Margaret Muirhead An Open Letter Concerning Sponsorship
Margaret Muirhead I am Glad
Margaret Muirhead Lady Shonagon's Hateful Things
Karen Joy Fowler Heartland
Ray Vukcevich What a Difference a Night Makes
William Smith The Film Column
Amy Beth Forbes A Is for Apple, An Easy Reader
Mark Rudolph My Father's Ghost
Jeffrey Ford What's Sure to Come
Geoffrey H. Goodwin Stoddy Awchaw
Theodora Goss The Rapid Advance of Sorrow
Nan Fry The Wolf's Story
Sarah Monette Three Letters from the Queen of Elfland
David Moles Tacoma-Fuji
David Erik Nelson Bay
Richard Butner How to Make a Martini
Jan Lars Jensen Happier Days
Philip Raines & Harvey Wells The Fishie
Gwenda Bond Dear Aunt Gwenda, Vol 2
William Smith The Film Column: Greaser's Palace
David J. Schwartz The Ichthyomancer Writes His Friend with an Account of the Yeti's Birthday Party
Veronica Schanoes Serpents
Gavin Grant Homeland Security
David Blair For George Romero
David Blair Vincent Price
Douglas Lain Music Lessons
James Sallis Two Stories
Karen Russell Help Wanted
Sarah Micklem "Eft" or "Epic"
John Kessel The Red Phone
Lawrence Schimel & Sara Rojo The Well-Dressed Wolf
Deborah Roggie The Mushroom Duchess
Seana Graham The Pirate's True Love
Sunshine Ison The Posthumous Voyages of Christopher Columbus
  You Could Do This Too
Sunshine Ison And If They Are Not Dead, They May Be Living Still
Name Withheld Article Withdrawn
Becca De La Rosa This is the Train the Queen Rides On
Gwenda Bond Dear Aunt Gwenda: Republicans and Chihuahuas Edition
John Brown Bright Waters
K.E. Duffin How the Burkina Faso Bicycle Fell Apart
D.M. Gordon Sliding
Cara Spindler & David Erik Nelson You Were Neither Hot Nor Cold, but Lukewarm, and So I Spit You Out 

Purchase this book in hardcover from Amazon Books.

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