Hailed as both the Hans Christian Andersen of America and the Aesop of the twentieth century, Jane Yolen, with her first publication, the non-fiction book about women pirates Pirates In Petticoats (1963), embarked on amazing career of four hundred books (and counting). Her impressive and acclaimed output includes children’s fiction, poetry, short stories, graphic novels, nonfiction, fantasy, and science fiction.
Among her many honors are the Christopher Medal (The Seeing Stick , How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? ), Nebula (“Sister Emily’s Lightship” , Lost Girls ), World Fantasy (Favorite Folktales From Around The World , THE EMERALD CIRCUS ), Mythopoeic (Cards Of Grief , Briar Rose , The Young Merlin Trilogy [1998, Passager, Hobby, and Merlin]), Golden Kite (The Girl Who Cried Flowers & Other Tales ), and National Jewish Book Award (The Devil’s Arithmetic ). Yolen received the World Fantasy Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Rhysling Science Fiction Poetry Grand Master Award, the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award, and Jeremiah Ludington Memorial Award.
Many of Yolen’s shorter works have been collected in numerous works including The Girl Who Cried Flowers and Other Tales (1974), The Hundredth Dove and Other Tales (1977), Dream Weaver (1979), The Whitethorn Wood and Other Magicks (1984), Storyteller (1992), Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast (1997), Sister Emily’s Lightship and Other Stories (2000), Once Upon A Time (She Said) (2005), The Last Selchie Child (2012), THE EMERALD CIRCUS (2017), HOW TO FRACTURE A FAIRY TALE (2018), and THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS (2020). Several volumes of her poetry exist including The Three Bears Rhyme Book (1987), The Originals: Animals that Time Forgot (1998), Least Things: Poems about Small Natures (2003), Before the Vote After (2017), On Gull Beach (2018),and Fly with Me: A Celebration of Birds Through Pictures, Poems, and Stories (2018, with Heidi E.Y. Stemple, Adam Stemple, and Jason Stemple). Her many other acclaimed works include Pit Dragon Chronicles (Dragon’s Blood , Heart’s Blood , A Sending of Dragons , Dragon’s Heart ), Owl Moon (1987), The Great Books of Alta (Sister Light, Sister Dark , White Jenna , The One-Armed Queen ), The Stuart Quartet (all with Robert J. Harris Queen’s Own Fool , Girl in a Cage , Prince Across the Water , The Rogues ), Ekaterinoslav: A Family’s Passage to America (2012), Finding Baba Yaga (2018), Mapping the Bones (2018), and THE LAST TSAR’S DRAGONS (2019 with Adam Stemple).
Her editorial endeavors include the anthologies Zoo 2000 (1973), Favorite Folktales from Around the World (1986), Werewolves: A Collection of Original Stories (1988 with Martin H. Greenberg), Things That Go Bump in the Night (1989 with Greenberg), 2041: Twelve Short Stories About the Future by Top Science Fiction Writers (1991), Vampires (1991 with Greenberg), Xanadu (Vol 1 1993, Vol 2 1994, Vol 3 1995), The Haunted House: A Collection of Original Stories (1995 with Greenberg), Fearless Girls, Wise Women, and Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales from Around The World (1998 with Kathleen Ragan), Gray Heroes: Elder Tales from Around the World (1999), and Mightier Than the Sword: World Folktales for Strong Boys (2003).
The prolific Yolen continues to produce acclaimed, award winning work at a prodigious pace. In 2020 alone she published 8 books: Emily Writes, Miriam at the River, On Eagle Cove, THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS, I am the Storm, Interrupting Cow, Interrupting Cow and the Chicken Crossing the Road, and Plymouth Rocks. Her first book for 2021, The Last Robot launched today on Yolen’s 82nd birthday, and her 400th book Bear Outside comes out in March. Yolen’s new Tachyon Publications book the middle grade novel ARCH OF BONE premieres in November 2021.
Because she apparently never sleeps, Yolen is also a teacher of writing and a book reviewer. She splits her time between Western Massachusetts and St. Andrew, Scotland.
All of us at Tachyon, wish the incredible Jane a happy birthday. May your mythic journeys never end.
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Marie Brennan, Ellen Datlow, Julie Dillon, Cory Doctorow, James Patrick Kelly, Alastair Reynolds, Adam Stemple, Michael Swanwick, Carrie Vaughn, and Jane Yolen will all be attending the virtual online convention Boskone 58, February 12-14.
Brought to you by the New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA), Boskone is an annual science fiction convention, the oldest in New England. NESFA is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation and both NESFA and Boskone are run and put on entirely by fan volunteers.What is Boskone?
- Guest of Honor: Joe Abercrombie
- Official Artist: Julie Dillon
- Special Guest: Sheree Renée Thomas
- Musical Guest: Marc Gunn
- NESFA Press Guest: Ursula Vernon
- Hal Clement Science Speaker: Mike Brotherton
- Hal Clement Science Speaker: Christian Ready
Boskone offers a massive selection of readings and panels. To find any of these authors, check out the entire schedule.
LOCUS released their annual recommended reading list. Tachyon is proud to have several selections including Nancy Kress’ SEA CHANGE, R. B. Lemberg’s THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES, and Jane Yolen’s THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS.
Other Tachyon authors and editors receiving notice include John Joseph Adams, Charlie Jane Anders, Ellen Datlow, Cory Doctorow, Kate Elliott, Richard A. Lupoff, Alastair Reynolds, Michael Swanwick, Lavie Tidhar, Ann Vandermeer, Jeff VanderMeer, Jo Walton, and Sheila Williams.
Congrats to all.
Choose your favorites by voting in the 2021 Poll & Survey. The Poll decides the winners of the Locus Awards, presented in June 2021 at the Locus Awards Weekend, and is open to all.
THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS is another strong collection from the endearing Jane Yolen. PLUS a first look at her forthcoming book ARCH OF BONE
Overall, this is another strong collection of stories by Jane Yolen. I have quite a few that I really enjoyed. I loved the strong female characters in ‘Become a Warrior’ and ‘Wilding’ who didn’t let the society define them. I also loved ‘The Fisherman’s Wife’ who defied the odds to get back the man she loves, and ‘Night Wolf’ the boy who fought his fear for monsters. ‘The Dog Boy’ was good too! True to Yolen’s style, these stories are dark and grim with a touch of magic and fantasy. In an anthology, one’s bound to have some stories that would speak to them more than others.
Yolen also shared the background and idea behind each story and poem, which I really enjoyed reading. They made me appreciate her work even more. And I absolutely adore the cover!
These stories are meant to be savored, a few at a time.
EPIC STITCHING feels much the same.
The introduction to this short story anthology is beautifully done. Jane Yolen shares a couple personal insights into this set of stories and directs everyone to take a look at the related poems (which make up the last half of this book) related to the stories themselves. Yolen truly is an endearing and lasting female SF/F author of her generation.
Definitely some real gems in here. I’m giving it five stars overall if only because the Antartica story and Dog boy are easily shining stars that make this whole anthology worth reading. None of these are poorly written (It’s Yolen and she keeps her high standard in place) or so bad that I didn’t want to finish the story. Given how difficult it can be to find good, consistent anthologies this one is easily a step above most.
On FACEBOOK, Ruth Sanderson shares two illustrations from Yolen’s forthcoming (Nov 2021) ARCH OF BONE, a companion Moby Dick.
THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS, along with all the rest of the 2020 titles, is currently 20% off with free media mail shipping on the Tachyon site.
Jane Yolen doesn’t consider herself a horror writer, not even a particularly scary one. And yet her stories bristle with the unknown, the edge of something not quite safe, the supernatural. It is not about the blood or the glint of moonlight on a knife. It’s not about the abject sadness of a matchstick girl freezing to death on Christmas eve. Yolen’s stories that are scary are so because they recognize the emotional weight of it all. No need for guts spilling out here! Yolen’s THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS retains her traditional magical beauty while she pulls back the curtain on the darkness backstage.
Jane Yolen is a master story writer. Although not all stories with resonate with every reader, there is a gem or three in The Midnight Circus for everyone. Get your ticket, join the queue, and get ready for beauty, horror, sadness and beauty.
At REDDIT r/Fantasy, The_Real_JS agrees.
So, as a rule, short stories aren’t really my thing. I generally try and read one a year just to try new and different things. This year, that just happened to coincide with my first Yolen book ever. And I have to say, there was a lot here to love. I’m coming to this review a bit late, more than a month after I finished it, and there are still stories that have stayed with, ideas that really grabbed a hold. I’ll touch on a few of them here.
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Throughout 2020, Tachyon Publications took readers on many adventures and to familiar and strange worlds with the unknown beginnings of beloved characters (OF MICE AND MINESTRONE – HAP AND LEONARD: THE EARLY YEARS by Joe R. Lansdale and THE IMMORTAL CONQUISTADOR by Carrie Vaughn), the boundaries of science (SEA CHANGE by Nancy Kress and NUCLEATION by Kimberly Unger), fantastic uncharted realities (DRIFTWOOD by Marie Brennan and THE FOUR PROFOUND WEAVES by R. B. Lemberg), werewolves and other creepy imaginings (KITTY’S MIX-TAPE by Carrie Vaughn and THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS by Jane Yolen), and inexplicable journeys (ADVENTURES OF A DWERGISH GIRL by Daniel Pinkwater).
All these amazing, acclaimed titles are currently 20% off!
(And as always, free Media Mail shipping on U. S. orders)
And watch for these exciting titles, coming your way in 2021!
Tachyon tidbits featuring Elly Bangs, David Ebenbach, Jane Yolen, Peter S. Beagle, Richard Lupoff, and Brian Aldiss
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The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles and authors from around the web.
This sounds crazy! I love the Mad Max comparison, and it’s got a road trip kind of vibe to it. Can’t wait!
This sounds like it has a bunch of elements I love in my fiction, and the quirky cover and title definitely get me excited to check this out!
Yolen is often dubbed “the Hans Christian Andersen of America,” but that should not be misunderstood. Her work is not Andersen Americanized: sanitized, watered-down, Disney-fied. It is true to the real tradition of Andersen: mesmerizing, haunting, and often not for the faint of heart. This collection teems with Yolen’s weird, folkloric verve. Her menagerie of stories is distilled from a cauldron of fairytales, legends, and history, featuring everything from selkies to shapeshifters; witches, weavers, and warriors; and angels murderous to ravenous. Her foreword and endnotes offer additional context for the work, creating a satisfying — if often unsettling — reading experience.
Overall this made me want to go and read Beagle’s other books. It is beautifully written and magical in a gentle way. Beagle does an amazing job with description and with creating very human characters that are easy to care about.
As for the comics-oriented material in Xero, that was the product more of impulse than planning. I’d been out of the army for a while, and Pat had just got her college degree. We were starting to move through the science fiction world in New York, and a number of our friends were publishing fanzines. This looked like fun, and we decided to create one of our own. We didn’t have many connections to call upon for material, so we wound up creating most of the first issue ourselves.
I remember Pat writing two fine pieces. One was a book review of Brood of the Witch Queen, a fantasy novel by Sax Rohmer. The other was a survey of the career and works of Mervyn Peake, author of the Gormenghast novels. Our only outside contribution was a review of the film of Psycho, based on the novel by Robert Bloch. The reviewer was Harlan Ellison.
At which point I felt that I needed to write something, too. I had a certain nostalgic feeling about the comic books I’d enjoyed so much in my childhood — especially the adventures of Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family. So I wrote a memoir of my days as a fan of Captain Marvel. Called the essay “The Big Red Cheese” after a term applied to Captain Marvel by his arch-foe, Dr. Thaddeus Bodog Sivana.
Xero 1 had a circulation of less than one hundred copies, but we received enthusiastic letters of comment, and many readers offered to write memoirs of their own, about their favorite comics. Human Torch, Sub-Mariner, Captain America, Bulletman, Spy Smasher, Tarzan, the inhabitants of The Lost World . . . Eventually this series grew into two volumes, All in Color for a Dime and The Comic-Book Book. My friend Don Thomson co-edited these books with me, and we had planned on a third volume, to be called The Best Comics Ever, but Don’s untimely death prevented our completing the project.
Documentary photographer Wendy Aldiss is running a KICKSTARTER campaign for My Father’s Things, the photo essay that began the day after the influential Brian Aldiss died.
The pictures create a portrait of the person and prompts thoughts of our own possessions, what we keep and what we dispose of.
Possessions are a universal theme. Separated from their surroundings these objects lead us to contemplate the intrinsic value of design and the singular virtues of everyday things, and to consider the importance that we attach to our own material possessions, and what will become of them after our passing. For those who have already had to deal with the disposal of a relative’s things it will resonate with their own experience.
My Dad (he was my Dad as well as my father) was Brian Aldiss, one of the most important voices in science fiction, writer, poet and artist, and so some of the photos in the book reflect this; not least his awards, early science fiction magazines and many, many books. Plenty there for Science Fiction fans to enjoy. There is also all the everyday stuff of life; playing cards, soap, family snaps and tea bags.
Tachyon tidbits featuring Daniel Pinkwater, Jane Yolen, Adam Stemple, Jill Roberts, David G. Hartwell, Jacob Weisman, Cory Doctorow, and Joe R. Lansdale
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The latest reviews and mentions of Tachyon titles and authors from around the web.
The comically absurd ending is an enjoyable wrap-up to this fast-paced, unexpected adventure that combines history, folklore, and nonsensical fun.
THE SWORD & SORCERY ANTHOLOGY, edited by David G Hartwell and Jacob Weisman. Has the classics by Robert E Howard, Michael Moorcock, and CL Moore, as well as newer writers, like Caitlyn Kiernan, George RR Martin, and Gene Wolfe.
For TOR.COM, Cory Doctorow pens Beyond Cyberpunk: The Intersection of Technology and Science Fiction.
People with established careers are terrible sources of advice on how to break into their chosen field. When I was a baby writer, I attended numerous panels about getting established, where writers a generation or two older than me explained how to charm John W Campbell into buying a story for Astounding Stories. This was not useful advice. Not only had Campbell died six days before I was born, but he was also a fascist.
I have two careers, one in tech and the other in SF, a peanut-butter-and-chocolate combo that’s got a long history in the field, and I am often asked how to break into both fields. I know an awful lot about how to sell a story to Gardner Dozois, who stopped editing Asimov’s sixteen years ago and died two years ago, but I know nothing about pitching contemporary SF editors.
Likewise: I know an awful lot about breaking into the tech industry circa 1990: first, be born in 1971. Next, be raised in a house with a succession of primitive computers and modems. Enter the field in the midst of a massive investment bubble that creates jobs faster than they can be filled, when credentials are irrelevant.
Another advantage we had in the 1990s tech industry: cyberpunk. Cyberpunk, a literary genre that ruled sf for about two decades, was primarily written by people who knew very little about the inner workings of computers, and who were often barely able to use them.
In THE NEW YORK TIMES, Tina Jordan’s Texas selection in “50 States, 50 Scares” comes unsurprisingly from Joe R. Lansdale.
Ah, October — crisp nights, apple-picking, leaf-peeping, Halloween. To celebrate the spookiest season, we’ve made a list of the scariest novel set in every state.
Joe R. Lansdale, “The Drive-In”
A crowded drive-in movie marathon turns into a B-movie horror-fest all its own, splattering the patrons in a blood-and-gore nightmare.
Wicked and creative, Jane Yolen’s THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS is a satisfying and, at times, an unsettling read
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For WASHINGTON INDEPENDENT REVIEW OF BOOKS, Tara Campbell enjoys the collection.
Yolen is often dubbed “the Hans Christian Andersen of America,” but that should not be misunderstood. Her work is not Andersen Americanized: sanitized, watered-down, Disney-fied. It is true to the real tradition of Andersen: mesmerizing, haunting, and often not for the faint of heart.
This collection teems with Yolen’s weird, folkloric verve. Her menagerie of stories is distilled from a cauldron of fairytales, legends, and history, featuring everything from selkies to shapeshifters; witches, weavers, and warriors; and angels murderous to ravenous. Her foreword and endnotes offer additional context for the work, creating a satisfying — if often unsettling — reading experience.
Jacob Olson at REALMS & ROBOTS agrees.
Of her most recent collection of stories, THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS, I can say that her storytelling ability remains stronger than ever. It’s a wonderful collection of little tales that both enchant and teach valuable lessons with each conclusion.
Overall, I’m as impressed with THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS as I expected to be. Seeing a writer continue to perfect their form is always exciting, and with Yolen, you know you’ll be thrust into worlds known and unknown, leaving the pages a little wiser and a bit further removed from the humdrum happenings of real life.
ENFNTS TERRIBLES recommends the book.
THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS is a collection of dark, haunting tales. These sixteen short stories, each accompanied by a poem, are all very different from each other, for instance, in one story the South Pole becomes hell on earth, in another, The Red Sea becomes deadly due to a plague of evil angels. Some stories are scarier than others, but all are wicked and creative.
As does ADJECTIVE+NOUN.
One thing that really brought this collection of stories to life was the commentary at the end from Jane Yolen about when each story was published or written, with a poem as accompaniment. I almost wish these snippets had been included after each story, however, while the details were still fresh in my mind. Nevertheless, they were enjoyable, and it was fun to learn the inspiration behind each story.
Fans of Jane Yolen’s work will likely find plenty to enjoy in this anthology, and I’d also recommend it to fans of horror, fairytales or folklore.
CAPTAIN’S QUARTERS praises the work.
I have always loved reading Jane Yolen’s novels but as I have gotten older I have loved her short stories just as much. I have read all four of the Tachyon Publications of Jane Yolen’s works and I love them. This fifth one deals with dark themes though the book is set up along the lines of her previous collection, THE EMERALD CIRCUS, which dealt with fairytales.
This collection has 16 varied tales. Like any collection, I liked some better than others. I also very much enjoyed Yolen’s “Story Notes and Poems” at the end of the book which gives background on the short stories in the collection.
BEAS AND BOOKS feels much the same.
I recommend this if you love reading short stories, especially, fairytales and folklore but I warn you, it gets dark.
Through INSTAGRAM, Theodora Goss, who penned the introduction to THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS, expresses her thoughts on the book.
It was such an honor to write the introduction for Jane Yolen’s THE MIDNIGHT CIRCUS. Do pick up this book . . . It’s filled with Jane’s dark magic (she also has bright magic, sharp magic, dinosaur magic, all sorts of magic). 🙂 Just out from Tachyon!