Wish Carol Emshwiller Happy Birthday!

Today is the day! 

Carol Emshwiller on The Bat Segundo Show

Ed Champion has just posted a marvelous new interview he did with Carol Emshwiller for his Bat Segundo Show podcast. It's really delightful. Here are some text excerpts, but I highly recommend listening to the show itself:
Correspondent: In the introduction for The Collected Stories, which has been collected all in one book and published just in time for your birthday, you allude to there being five different phases of your writing life. What was interesting to me was that you mentioned the fourth phase, which was just after your husband had passed away, and you say that you were writing stories and these Western novels because you wanted to have a family. Your kids had gone away and all that. I was curious why the family on page meant more or needed to be there in addition to the real people in your life.

Emshwiller: Well, my family wasn’t there. (laughs) That’s the point! You know, the kids had all gone off. And I didn’t have any kids anymore near me. And then I didn’t have a husband anymore. And I was by myself. And what I did was — well, it’s sort of a long story. The very first thing, to get into that cowboy stuff, my daughter had a wonderful idea. She said, “Why don’t you go to this dude ranch that I know of?” Right? And I said, “I don’t even like horses anymore!” And I didn’t want to go. And I just fought her and fought her. And she said, “You gotta do something. You gotta go some place you never went before. Do something you never did before.” And she pushed me up there. And then, in two days, I was just back to horses and farm life and cows and everything. They had everything up there. Pigs and chickens. Everything.

Correspondent: Why the aversion to horses?

Emshwiller: What?

Correspondent: Why the aversion to horses?

Emshwiller: Oh, before, you mean?

Correspondent: Yeah.

Emshwiller: Well, when I was a twelve-year-old girl, I was into horses. And if I had a dollar, which I didn’t have very often, I would go and ride. Which was not every often. And after that, I grew up.
Listen to the show! It also includes an interview with Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts!

A Birthday Gift to Carol Emshwiller from Kessel & Kelly

John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly's upcoming anthology from Tachyon Publications, Kafkaesque, will include Carol Emshwiller's short story "Report to the Men's Club".

But I have also be given permission to reveal one more element of the book today -- its dedication, which will read:

To Carol Emshwiller
on the occasion of her ninetieth birthday

A Birthday Greeting from China Miéville

photo by Beth Gwinn

China Miéville is the author of Perdido Street Station, Iron Council, Un Lun Dun, The City & The City, and many other books. He has won the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Locus, Arthur C. Clarke, and British Fantasy Awards. 

The organiser of this giant birthday card informs me that blurblike squee is permitted. Which, w00t. Because, not that such gush is adequate, but what is, or could be? Carol Emshwiller! Seriously! How effing awesome is Carol Emshwiller? All the, is how. All the awesome. It's a privilege to read her, and a delight to offer birthday greetings. In awe, CM.

Slideshow: Emshwiller Family Photos

Eve Emshwiller scanned this delightful set of family photos. Many thanks to her and her family for sharing!

UPDATED now to include photos contributed by Susan Emshwiller.

all rights to photographs reserved -- please ask for permission before reprinting

New York is the City of Emshwiller in April!

NYC is the Empire of Emshwiller!

The city of New York will be celebrating Carol Emshwiller's 90th birthday with two gigantic, out-of-this-world celebrations:

Tuesday, April 12, The New York Review of Science Fiction Readings will be devoted to a fête (festival! celebration! paaaaarrrrrty!) of all things Emshwillericious. This is the actual birthday, so much singing is to be expected. Details:
NYRSF Readings
The SoHo Gallery for Digital Art
138 Sullivan Street
Doors open at 6:30 PM
Program begins at 7:00
Admission Free
$7 donation suggested

Monday, April 18, the Wold Newton Reading Series will offer an interview of Carol Emshwiller by Matthew Cheney, the person currently typing this. He would tell you more details if his mind were not still struggling to assimilate the information (he keeps pinching himself, saying, "I'm going to get to talk to Carol Emshwiller!") The organizers of the event have called Matt a "science fiction scholar", which is probably just meant to remind him to do something other than just sit up there and say, "By the way, I love your work. Have I already told you that? I love your work. I mean, I really love your work. I know I've probably said it before, but I love your work..."

There will also be magic by a person who uses the utterly practical sobriquet Magic Brian.

April 18, 2011, 7.30pm
WORD Bookstore in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
126 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222

These two events offer readers the chance to thank Carol Emshwiller for continuing to provide the sorts of stories that sustain us, challenge us, and enlighten us. Come join in the celebration!

Gavin Grant on the Many Wonders of Carol Emshwiller

Gavin Grant of Small Beer Press wrote the following for the 2007 World Fantasy Convention Program Book. Carol Emshwiller's novel The Mount and collection Report to the Men's Club were originally published by Small Beer, and her first novel, Carmen Dog, was the debut novel of their Peapod Classics line of reprints.

Working with Carol Emshwiller is one of the most unexpected and wonderful benefits of the foolishness that is our dance through the world of independent publishing.

Carol is everything that I could hope author to be: brilliant, hard working, gracious, polite, deeply knowledgeable and informed within and without her field, determined, willing to compromise, absolutely single-minded, intelligent, a teacher, and always open to learning. She is an inspiration—not only for her writing, in which she takes on the most trenchant problems of the day in politics, gender (and genre) relationships, and the ambiguities of everyday life—but also in her uncompromising dedication to others. For many years she has taught and taken part in workshops where she has shown her generosity and ability to see other writers’ visions of their stories. All the while, her own enthusiasm and commitment to writing burn ever brighter. Her latest novel, The Secret City, is a beautiful play on many of her favorite themes: innocence, how to live—alone or with others, and the simple and complex difficulties of communication.

These are salad days for fans of Carol’s work. In the last five years she has published three novels, The Mount (2002), Mister Boots (2005), and The Secret City (2007), as well as two collections, Report to the Men's Club and Other Stories (2002) and I Live with You (2005). And in that time she has been awarded the Philip K. Dick Award for The Mount, two Nebula Awards for short stories, “Creature” and “I Live with You” (both F&SF, 2002 and 2006), and a World Fantasy Life Achievement Award.

In other words: if you like science fiction and fantasy and you haven’t read her, perhaps now is the time?

Carol hasn’t been resting on her laurels. Her most recent publication (that I know of, she’s hard to keep track of) is “At Sixes and Sevens” in the October/November Asimov’s. She says she is too impatient to send stories out to magazine with long reading times, so I feel we are very lucky to have one of her stories, “Sanctuary,” for LCRW.

This covers only Carol’s recent years. I first remember reading her work when I read a Women’s Press edition of Carmen Dog in the UK and by the time I met her in the 1990s in New York, she was already in her seventies. (And she is still more energetic than most people I know.)

Other writers and friends will need to fill in her earlier years. I am very happy to have spent some time with Carol (although as yet I have not gone hill climbing with her!) and I hope that everyone who attends this convention will be able to spend at least a couple of minutes with her.