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The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet
edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant
Del Rey, 416 pages

Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant
Kelly Link's work includes appearances in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, the 'zine Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet and the collection A Wolf at the Door (edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling). She won the World Fantasy Award for her story "The Specialist's Hat" and the James Tiptree Jr. Award for "Travels with the Snow Queen."

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet
SF Site Review: The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Seventeenth Annual Collection
SF Site Review: Trampoline
SF Site Review: 4 Stories
Jelly Ink
Small Beer Press

Gavin J. Grant is the publisher of Small Beer Press and, since 1996, editor and publisher of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, a twice-yearly small press zine. Originally from Scotland, Gavin moved to the USA in 1991. He worked in bookshops in Los Angeles and Boston, and while in Brooklyn, worked for BookSense.com, a Web site for independent bookshops. He lives in Northampton, MA.

ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Greg L. Johnson

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The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet Zines have been around almost as long as there has been fandom in science fiction. The compulsion to print your own thoughts and throw them out into the world seems to be strong among SF fans, and anyone who has read a zine knows these publications can be a unique mix of stories and commentary, both serious and silly, ranging in quality from amateur to highly polished. Many writers have made their start in the zines, and occasionally a publication itself has risen out of the ranks, broken out of the world of insiders publishing their ish and into the notice of the wider world, establishing itself with a level of quality that equals the pros and changing its perceived status from fanzine to full-fledged magazine. Such is the case with Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet.

So when the wider world picks up The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, what are they going to find? Stories which, for the most part, fall in between the cracks and boundaries of literary genres, poetry, and odds and ends including song lists, recipes, and several references to chocolate. Highlights include Jeffrey Ford's "What's Sure To Come," a tale of growing up in an urban neighborhood with horse races and dreams, "Bay," David Erik Nelson's tale of a haunted dog, and Karen Joy Fowler's "Heartland," which puts a more interesting twist on The Wizard of Oz in the space of a few pages than the producers of Tin Man managed in a six hour mini-series.

Not everything in the volume is of the same quality, several of the selections read like quick observations, good for a bit of wry amusement but lacking in long-term impression. This is not a collection to pick up and read in order from beginning to end. Instead, it's better read by opening randomly and reading whatever you find, whether it's a poem, story, or just a rumination on the oddness of life in the twenty-first century.

In both its style and content, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet will remind many readers of 2006's Feeling Very Strange, the collection of "slipstream" stories edited by James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel. Several of the same writers are included in each book, and there's a common attitude towards mixing and crossing literary boundaries and definitions. What sets Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet apart is the poetry and seemingly extraneous material which finds its way in-between and after the fully-conceived stories. As previously mentioned, this is a legacy of the magazines beginnings as a zine, written and published for the love of it by dedicated fans who, in this case, also happen to be very talented writers.

But the contents and the way they are presented harken back to an earlier age of publishing, when every printer turned out pamphlets full of observations, advice, off-beat facts, and whatever else the author felt like including. Throw in a few weather predictions and a guide to when to plant and harvest your crops and Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant might well have titled their zine Poor Lady Churchill's Rosebud Almanac instead.

Copyright © 2008 by Greg L. Johnson

Reviewer Greg L Johnson suspects that editorial meetings for Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet are as much about having fun as they are about working hard. His reviews also appear in the The New York Review of Science Fiction.


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