Small Wonders: The Power Of Independent Publishers And Invertebrate Creatures
Over the course of the past decade, authors and readers alike have been heard to utter a collective groan of dismay as the once elite publishing industry continues to resemble the multiplex tripe factory of Hollywood, churning out one cookie cutter product after another.
This situation would be funny (considering the supreme cultural snobbery most New York-based editors feel for their moviemaking brethren on the opposite coast) were it not for the fact that each new conglomeration in publishing has a chilling effect on both the quantity and quality of new books released.
This law of diminishing returns is frightful in its implications. With every major publisher looking to balance out its annual loss leaders with one big Potter-esque mega-hit, it’s inevitable that midlist authors are all but ignored. What chance do aspiring voices have in this environment, particularly those who seek to produce works of bold innovation?
Though the situation looks bleak, there is one very bright silver lining. The recent emergence of independent publishers has brought to light many excellent books that would have otherwise languished in obscurity. A prime example of this happy trend is Borderlands Press. Since 19989, publisher (and prolific award-winning author in his own right) Thomas F. Monteleone has been putting out deluxe limited edition releases of works by some of the biggest names in genre and horror fiction. Starting in 2007, Monteleone decided it was time to broaden his horizons with a new line of trade paperback originals.
Having already released Virgin by esteemed horror scribe F. Paul Wilson earlier in the year, Borderlands is now offering a wildly original collection of three new stories in one volume. Fables From the Mud by Erik Quisling is already being hailed as an instant cult classic that will rank along with “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” and the collected works of Shel Silverstein.
Applying robust humor and a decidedly philosophical approach to some of life’s greatest mysteries, Quisling introduces us to three extraordinary invertebrate heroes: the Angry Clam, Glen the Ant, and Julius Gunther Weems the Warrior Worm. Page by page, Fables From the Mud dazzles readers with the gripping stories of these three small wonders. Though at first glance it may appear to have the simplicity of a children’s book, be forewarned this is one tome that packs a king-sized wallop.
Hilarious and thought-provoking by turns, Fables is sure to challenge even the heartiest of readers. It is a book to cherish long after you’ve finished it for the first (of many) times.
Meanwhile, Thomas Monteleone continues to push ahead with his ambitious trade paperback line. In late October, Borderlands Press releases his own novel, Serpentine, and January of 2008 will see the release of Crimson Orgy, the much-anticipated debut novel by Austin Williams. As long as Monteleone and other trailblazing publishers of his ilk keep promoting quality fiction from talented new voices, book lovers across America can feel confident there will always be something interesting to read outside the narrow parameters of what the elite publishing industry deems “commercial.”