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Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet No. 6

Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet No. 6
Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet
Copies are available by mail from:
Small Beer Press,
176 Prospect Avenue,
Northampton, MA 01060

From their website:
"We recommend you read Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet before submitting. You can procure a copy from us or from assorted book shops.

"We accept fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and black and white art. The fiction we publish most of tends toward the speculative. This does not mean only quietly desperate stories. We will consider items that fall out with regular categories. We do not publish gore, sword and sorcery or pornography. We can discuss these terms if you like. There are places for them all; this is not one of them."

Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet

Past Feature Reviews
A review by David Soyka

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Now here's a cool little publication that you're not likely to get a hold of at a "Borders and Noble" superchain. So unless you live near a speciality store such as Dreamhaven in Minneapolis or Avenue Victor Hugo Bookshop in Boston, you're going to have to subscribe to what this self-mocking zine says is "supposed to be published twice a year," and is actually subtitled "An Occasional Outburst." You could do worse things with 10 bucks than to get four issues of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet (don't ask me what it means) from publisher Small Beer Press.

In Issue Number Six editor Gavin J. Grant offers a mixture of off-beat short stories, book and music reviews (it helps to get a positive review that Grant and I share similar musical interests), as well as such oddities as Dan Cashman's attempt at humour, "Food Vs. Realitocity: A Diatribe," and material reprinted from the April 1897 Ladies Home Journal. Some of the latter, such as an apparently legitimate message from the Boston Police Commissioner concerning the possibility of protests at a biotechnology conference, seem more intended to meet a printer's page count than supply meaningful content.

This is a zine, though, so we're not talking slick production, and the obvious filler can be forgiven. I know little about the world of zines, and mistakenly assumed they had migrated mostly to the Internet, (Lady Churchill's does maintain a Web presence at http://www.lcrw.net/), a notion a zine listing in this issue disabused me of. I rather like the idea that there is still a place in the accelerating transition to electronic-based publication for real print (even if it doesn't graphically rise much higher in quality than what in pre-PC days used to be put together with an electric typewriter and a copy machine) aimed at a quirky niche without being overly narcissistic, juvenile, or unprofessional (meaning no typos or poor grammar).

Indeed, the fiction, as well as the interview with Nalo Hopkinson, could easily appear in a fully professional magazine. As it happens, Karen Jay Fowler's "Heartland" was originally published in Interzone. This is another one of Fowler's marvellous reinventions of mythology and popular culture, in this case the Wizard of Oz, to comment on the ennui of the modern era. Kelly Link treads similar ground in "The Glass Slipper," which, yes, you guessed, is a retelling of Cinderella. This can be potentially dangerous territory, but Link, who is also listed on the masthead as "Amanuensis and Armtwister," carries it off in an admirably "Fowler-like" way. (Small Beer also recently published a Kelly Link chapbook called 4 Stories, reviewed here by Rich Horton.)

Also interesting is the essay "Ocean" by Lucy Snyder, herself a zine publisher, though in the "e" sense, of Dark Planet. Rounding out the "names" in this issue, James Sallis offers a literary parable that has something to do with "the problem of conscience," but which I didn't quite get.

In any event, I don't know what Grant does for a day job, but here's hoping his publishing labour of love continues to provide some sort of sustenance, both creatively and monetarily.

Copyright © 2000 David Soyka

David Soyka is a former journalist and college teacher who writes the occasional short story and freelance article. He makes a living writing corporate marketing communications, which is a kind of fiction without the art.


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