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

The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet
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 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, a Web site for independent bookshops. He lives in Northampton, MA.

ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steven H Silver

Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet is a small press zine begun in 1996 by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant. The original issue had a print run of only twenty-six copies. Over the next decade, the print run grew larger and larger and the 'zine's reputation grew as well, publishing the works of such major authors as Jay Lake, Devon Monk, Bruce McAllister, Benjamin Rosenblum, Carol Emshwiller, and others.

For a small magazine, that most people probably haven't heard from, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet (or LCRW, as it is fondly known) draws from a tremendous pool of talent. The magazine itself is an eclectic mix, perhaps best described as a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and a little bit of the other. Stories, non-fiction articles, reviews, cartoons, and general filler comprise each issue.

Link, Grant, and their anonymous editor at Del Rey, which published The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet deserve commendation for retaining the eclectic nature of the magazine for this larger version of the magazine, which will be many people's first exposure to the zine. The book includes some columns, many poems and stories, and the illustrated "The Well-Dressed Wolf," by Lawrence Schimel and Sara Rojo. Interspersed to fill pages are some of the oddities of LCRW, such as the listing of teas in their kitchen or a Joan Aiken checklist.

While many science fiction magazines, in the hope of appealing to the broadest possible readership, eschew politics, the authors in LCRW appear to revel in their political view, in a manner refreshing if you agree with them or infuriating if you don't. Grant supplies his views of a march (well, a slow walk) in New York in his article "Homeland Security," while Gwenda Bond provides a more satiric look at the current administration in "Dear Aunt Gwenda: Republicans and Chihuahuas Edition."

The stories themselves are wonderful examples of slipstream: they skirt the edges of science fiction and fantasy (and sometimes dive into their depths) while embracing many of the techniques espoused by those who sneer at genre fiction. This provides the reader with the best of both worlds, as Link and Grant have a variety of authors who know how to write and have the imagination to put that skill to good use.

Almost as interesting as the stories themselves are the stories' titles, which frequently rival the magazine's titles and the stories' content in their imaginativeness. K.E. Duffin provides the poem "How the Burkina Faso Bicycle Fell Apart" with a title that just begs the reader to skip all the previous stories to read it. But en route, the reader finds "The Ichthyomancer Writes his Friend With an Account of the Yeti's Birthday Party," by David J. Schwartz and "The Posthumous Voyages of Christopher Columbus," by Sunshine Ison.

Despite having critical praise heaped on it and many of its stories appearing in "Year's Best" anthologies, LCRW has flown under the radar of many people in the science fiction community, which is a shame. The stories Link and Grant have selected over the past ten years are deserving of a broader readership and, with The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet now in bookstores, they will, it is hoped, achieve that readership.

Copyright © 2007 Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is a seven-time Hugo Nominee for Best Fan Writer and the editor of the anthologies Wondrous Beginnings, Magical Beginnings, and Horrible Beginnings. He is the publisher of ISFiC Press. In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is heavily involved in convention running and publishes the fanzine Argentus.

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