Small Beer Press, John Crowley, and Theo Fadel Resurrect 'The Chemical Wedding'

Since 2000, Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link (recent Pulitzer Prize finalist for her story collection Get in Trouble) have built the reputation of Small Beer Press as a fearless independent publisher whose roster boasts a diverse lineup of genre-defying literature. Their latest project, The Chemical Wedding, furthers this dedication to publishing for the love of the book.

Jacob McMurray's design of the limited edition case cover for The Chemical Wedding.

Grant and Link have teamed with author John Crowley (Little, Big) and illustrator Theo Fadel to publish an English-language version of Johannes Valentines Andreae's book, which was first published in 1616 and is considered by some to be the first science fiction novel. As Small Beer mentions on the Kickstarter page for this project, “We are planning on celebrating the 400th anniversary(!) of one of the most outlandish stories in Western literature in a series of extravagant limited hardcover editions …” The project was recently profiled by Publisher’s Weekly.

Goreyesque spoke to Crowley, who told us, “It's an Amazing Wonder Tale about the outer reaches of science (the science of 1616—alchemy, astrology, clockwork, magic) and it features a great hero—Christian Rosenkreutz, a self-doubting, eager, horny, good old man trying his best to do the right thing and understand the weird events he finds himself in.”

Crowley and Fadel began collaborating on the project after he stumbled upon her studio, coincidentally located in Easthampton, MA, also home to Small Beer’s offices. Fadel is a carpenter, trained architect, and artist. As Grant tells it, Crowley was looking for artwork along the lines of “Maurice Sendak or even Edward Gorey in Renaissance dress.” According to Crowley, “If this book had been illustrated in its own day, it would have had pictures in the great German Baroque wood-engraving tradition—highly detailed, comic, a little dark. That's just what Theo Fadel's pictures are like. Coming upon her work was a major upscale for this book. Wait till you see.”

An illustration by Fadel featured in The Chemical Wedding.

Small Beer decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign for The Chemical Wedding in order to be able to produce limited hardcover editions of the book. Though trade paperback and ebook editions are already scheduled for the fall, as they state, “We could not resist the chance to make a weird and beautiful artifact out of John Crowley's long-dreamed-of project…” There is a slew of reward packages available at every price level. The deadline for the project is Fri., June 3.

Click here to visit the Kickstarter page, read more details, watch the video, and back the project!

- Todd Summar

Fadel with the printing press she hand built to print the woodcut she made as an extra for the book, a mock up of the case cover.

Richard Thomas Launches Gamut Magazine

Goreyesque readers will be interested to learn of the new endeavor launched by author and editor Richard Thomas (his story “Tinkering with the Moon” appeared in Issue Two of Goreyesque). Gamut will be an online magazine of neo-noir, speculative and literary fiction. Thomas launched a Kickstarter project on Feb. 1 to fund the magazine. The Kickstarter closes on Mar. 1. At the time of this post, it’s earned over $16,000 toward its $52,000 goal and has been highlighted on Kickstarter as a “Featured Publishing Project.”

Numerous pledge rewards are still available, including subscriptions, post cards, books, and editing and critiquing services. We at Goreyesque find the project intriguing because it will feature genre-bending, hybrid stories (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry) that utilize the best of genre and literary fiction alongside darkly fantastic artwork (Goreyesque contributor Luke Spooner has provided artwork for the project).

Thomas, an award-winning author of books such as Disintegration and Breaker and editor of anthologies such as The New Black and The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers, was inspired to create Gamut to address a need he saw in the literary marketplace. “I want to support the voices that aren’t getting enough recognition,” he said. “I want to pay a great rate (twice the going professional rate) and I want to surround myself with talented authors and artists that inspire me.”

“We need more markets like this,” he continued, “publishing edgy fiction that straddles the fence between genre and literary fiction. I think we're in a golden age of dark fiction and there is a real demand for it.”

Thomas, also editor-in-chief of Dark House Press and co-editor with Chuck Palahniuk and Dennis Widmyer of the transgressive fiction anthology Burnt Tongues (a Bram Stoker finalist), has secured a wide range of contributors for the first planned year of Gamut, including Stephen Graham Jones (Mongrels, William Morrow), Benjamin Percy (The Dead Lands, Grand Central Publishing), Lucy A. Snyder (Soft Apocalypses, Raw Dog Screaming Press, Bram Stoker Award Winner, 2014) and Helen Marshall (Gifts For the One Who Comes After, ChiZine Publications, Shirley Jackson Award Winner, 2014). Gamut has also received endorsements from Palahniuk and authors Rebecca Makkai, Marcus Sakey, and others.

Gamut will include mostly original fiction and fiction reprints, but also columns, non-fiction, art, flash fiction, poetry and maybe even a serial memoir or novella,” said Thomas, expanding on what subscribers could expect.

“To begin with, I’ll be publishing solicited material but I open up Gamut to submissions later in 2016. When that happens, I’ll consider fantasy, science fiction, horror, neo-noir, crime, mystery, thrillers, magical realism, transgressive fiction, Southern gothic, literary fiction and poetry —I want to read anything done with innovation, heart and emotion.”

Thomas has some exciting plans for Gamut if the Kickstarter surpasses its $52,000 goal. Stretch goals include a scholarship at the $53,000 mark to help low-res MFA students and other authors, publication of a memoir showcasing one woman’s fifteen-year experience as a professional exotic dancer, Stripped: A Memoir, at $56,500, and a print anthology of the best of Gamut’s first year of fiction at $83,660.

Goreyesque spoke with Thomas recently about the impetus to launch the magazine now. “It’s something I’d been thinking of doing for years,” he said. “The math of print, design and postage always came up short, so doing it online now, and with a vehicle such as Kickstarter finally seemed to make sense.” He added that another factor was that some major markets have closed and others no longer accept unsolicited submissions.

In regards to what kind of material he’ll be looking for when Gamut opens to submissions, he said, “I definitely want people to come in with their own weirdness, their own voice, but we aren’t embracing anything 'classic' as far as fantasy, science fiction, horror, etc. If you’re read my writing, or the anthologies I’ve edited, not to mention the titles I’ve published at Dark House Press, then you have a good sense of what I want. Dark, intense, innovative fiction—that sweet spot between genre and lit.”

Thomas wants Goreyesque readers and contributors to know “that we’re family! The biggest difference is that Gamut is less about humor and more about the tragic. But it doesn’t have to always be violent and filled with death. Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train—it’s a flashlight, showing the way out of the darkness.”

—Todd Summar

Goreyesque Events Lurking Around the Bend

Goreyesque will host two upcoming events in the Chicago area. See below. Visit our Events page for more details.

  • Release event for Joe Meno's new novel Marvel and a Wonder, Sept. 10, 7 p.m., at The Book Cellar in Chicago
  • Curious Tales: A Goreyesque Halloween Reading, Oct. 24, 7 p.m, at The Book Cellar in Chicago


Submit your work for the Summer 2015 issue!

We are pleased to announce that the Summer 2015 issue of Goreyesque will be released mid-June (exact date TBD).

We are eager to read your short stories, poems, artwork, or other creations; please submit by our deadline - June 1, 2015.

Submit all work to:

Check our Submissions page for more details.

For even more tips on submitting, read this interview.

Considering Submitting? Read this first!

Goreyesque is continually delighted by all the submissions we receive. We encourage artists of all stripes to keep sending us your Goreyesque best. But what are we looking for, exactly? For a few tips, check out this except from a Duotrope interview with Editor-in-Chief Todd Summar:

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?
A: Our publication provides a forum for work that celebrates Edward Gorey’s influence across all genres, featuring up-and-coming artists and writers alongside seasoned professionals. It is an anthology that combines fiction, nonfiction, and poetry with illustration and other forms of art in an ongoing literary journal style format. Though we focus on Gorey's influence, the umbrella encompasses a vast range of styles and formats. Most publications promote only a few of these elements.
Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
A: Be familiar with Edward Gorey's work and aesthetic, first of all. Keep in mind that he did not focus primarily on the macabre and the horror-based, but rather the quirky and darkly humorous side of every day life. With that in mind, we accept work that spans a broad spectrum of genre, style, tone, and format. Our guidelines are intentionally loose. Use Gorey's work as inspiration, as a jumping-off point, to produce your own original creations. One more thing: please avoid submitting Gashlycrumb Tinies-inspired alphabet stories and poems. We've reached capacity with those.
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: The ideal submission would be a story, poem, piece of artwork or multimedia short that would take Edward Gorey's work as a kernel of inspiration and expand it and twist it into something entirely different and new. Think about what Tim Burton or Lemony Snicket did in their work. They were inspired by Gorey, but they used that inspiration to craft their own distinct visual and narrative styles. The ideal submission would accomplish this, and feel as if it was created specifically for our journal.
Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?
A: They often seem to not have a full understanding of Edward Gorey's work, assuming that he only wrote and illustrated grim and morbid tales. To be sure, there is a bit of that in his repertoire, but we are not looking for pieces that are flat-out horror or gross-out material. We want something a bit more nuanced. We have unfortunately had to reject some excellent writing and artwork because the pieces were just not "Goreyesque" enough.
Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?
A: We want a brief biographical summary (no more than 50 words) about any publication experience they may have, any relevant education, or anything that tells us why they were drawn to submit to our journal. The work will speak for itself, but we do like to learn a bit about who we are hearing from.
Q: How much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?
A: We do our best to read everything we receive in its entirety. Our editorial staff operates by democratic process, placing votes on each piece, and if a piece is rejected, we almost always discuss the reasoning. As writers ourselves, we understand the frustrations of the submission process, and we do our best to give each piece the consideration we would like to see for our own work.
Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?
A: As we receive stories and artwork in our inbox, each of the Goreyesque editors reviews each piece, shares feedback, and places votes. One of my duties is to keep us on track to make sure we reach our deadlines for each issue. We split up tasks of responding to submissions and editing pieces that will ultimately appear on the website. As Editor-in-Chief, I also spend my time on promotional activities (planning social media strategies, coordinating special events, etc.) and talking to authors, publishers, and other publications with whom I would like us to work. We operate on a tiny to non-existent budget, so I have to be creative with ways to spread the word about Goreyesque, entice quality talent, and increase readership. All of the editors, including me, are graduate students at Columbia College Chicago, so we must balance these duties with our ongoing schoolwork.
Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?
A: As an online-only literary journal, it is essential that Goreyesque embraces modern technologies. We use Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and email to spread news about the journal and its related events. We interact with other editors and journals who also maintain online presences. We have engaged in interviews and podcasts which we are then able to post to our website, retweet, and share via Facebook. I feel very strongly that all of these elements are critical to the survival of literary journals, especially in an age when print runs, while still important in their own right, have dwindled. Having said that, we hope to one day produce a printed component of Goreyesque, but until then, modern technologies are our friends.


The Masters Review DEADline Approaching, Anthology Edited by Lev Grossman Now Available

Our friends at The Masters Review have been promoting an October Short Fiction contest, which is perfect for all who love Goreyesque. In their words, "we’re holding a contest for the best short story that embodies the hair-raising, spine-chilling, disturbing, and scary nature of October."

But hurry! The deadline is October 15, 2014. Check out the page for more info.


In other Masters Review news, The Masters Review Volume III anthology, with stories selected by Lev Grossman (The Magicians) is now available to purchase

Every year The Masters Review opens submissions to MA, MFA, and PhD creative writing programs to produce The Masters Review anthology, a collection of the best short stories written by students in graduate-level creative writing programs. 

We applaud the folks at The Masters Review for providing students with this rare opportunity to gain exposure for their work. Curated by some of literature's most notable authors, and featuring a diversity of style and talent, the anthology introduces the world to ten new voices each year. 


Goreyesque Announces Next Issue, Quarterly Schedule

We at Goreyesque are pleased to announce that, no, we have not perished in an unfortunate accident with a tumbling piece of masonry. Instead, we have been resting after a successful reading event in April, the conclusion of the Edward Gorey exhibitions at LUMA, and our own personal summertime follies which are too sinister and ghastly to commit to print (a lot of napping, actually).

We have regrouped and reorganized to bring you two important announcements!

Our Summer 2014 Issue will be released on Thursday, July 31. Be sure to return before that time for more details about the issue.

Goreyesque will now be released on a quarterly schedule, approximately four times per year. Our goal is to pack each issue with more content and more diverse types of work.

Our Fall 2014 Issue will be Halloween-themed, and we have big plans revolving around its release. To be considered for the issue, send your Goreyesque best to: goreysubmissions at gmail dot com. Please note our Submission Guidelines before doing so. 

Editor-in-Chief Todd Summar recently answered several questions for Duotrope about the journal, our guidelines and process, and what we look for in submissions. Check it out!

More to come soon ... 


Goreyesque Reading Event Recap

On Tuesday, April 29, the editors of Goreyesque hosted a reading event at the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) in Chicago, where the companion exhibitions Elegant Enigmas: the Art of Edward Gorey and G is for Gorey – C is for Chicago: The Collection of Thomas Michalak can be seen until June 15, along with an installation by Chicago artist Kenneth Gerleve, called Summerland: A Ghost Story.

The event received a wonderful turnout, and the work of the featured readers was well-received. The evening included:

Tina Jens - "One Night at the Villa Dementia" (poem, written with Martin Mundt)

Danielle Wilcox - "Little Sister" (short story)

Adam McOmber - "The Other Sofa" (short story)

Julianne Clifton - "The Fates Go Fishing" (short story)

Pete Anderson - "The Afternoon Party" (poem)

Grace Hertenstein - "The New Arrival" (short story)

Joe Meno - "The Use of Medicine" (short story)

Thank you to all who attended, and to LUMA, who donated the gallery space for the event and copies of the exhibition catalogue for all the readers. Below are photos from the event (taken by Howard Simmons and Danielle Wilcox).




Issue Three to Feature Chicago Writers and Artists

The Goreyesque team is excited to present Issue Three, online Friday, April 25, which will feature work by writers and artists from Chicago, Edward Gorey's hometown. 

Many of these talented ladies and gentlemen will appear at the Goreyesque reading event at the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) on Tuesday, April 29. If you are in town, you must join us!

Issue Three will feature:



Danielle Wilcox - "Little Sister"

Sam Weller - "Conjuring Danny Squires"

Ben Tanzer - "Freddie's Dead"

Alex Jaros - "In The Darkness"

Scott Eagan - "Requiem"

Juli Clifton - "The Fates Go Fishing"

Mort Castle - "Hey, Sarge and Regis Toomey"



Tina Jens and Martin Mundt - "One Night at the Villa Dementia"



Borja Cabada

Janet Lefley

Kira Padilla

Summer Porter


"Goreyesque: A Tribute to Edward Gorey" Reading Event in Chicago

"Goreyesque: A Tribute to Edward Gorey" Reading Event in Chicago

Goreyesque will feature stories, poems, essays, and artwork from creators around the world. Established professionals and aspiring novices will appear side-by-side in this forum. The catalyst for it all is the return of Edward Gorey's artwork to his hometown of Chicago at the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA), beginning February 15. The editorial team of Goreyesque, along with the folks at LUMA, will host a Reading Event, open to the public, on Tuesday, April 29 at 6:00 p.m.

All stories, poems, and essays submitted before April 14 will be considered for the public reading. Please keep in mind: you must be willing to read, and in Chicago on April 29, to be considered. Special guest judges: Sam Weller, author of The Bradbury Chronicles, and Mort Castle, author of Bram Stoker award-winning New Moon on the Water. Both served as co-editors of Stoker award-winning Shadow Show: All New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury

Those chosen to read will receive the exhibition catalogue Elegant Enigmas: The Art of Edward Gorey.

Read More

And the Readers Are ...

Congratulations to writers Juli Clifton, Grace Hertenstein, and Danielle Wilcox! They have been selected by our guest judges Mort Castle and Sam Weller to read at the Apr. 29th event at the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) in Chicago. Tina Jens and Pete Anderson will also read their poetry selections at the event. These contributors will be featured in Issue 3, alongside several other excellent writers and artists, coming soon.

Author Sam Weller Joins Goreyesque Reading Event

Author Sam Weller (The Bradbury Chronicles) will join the Goreyesque event at the Loyola Museum of Art (LUMA) as a featured reader. Weller joins authors Joe Meno (Office Girl), who wrote "The Use of Medicine," featured in Issue One, and Adam McOmber (The White Forest), whose story "The Other Sofa" appeared in Issue Two.

Additional readers will be chosen to participate from the submissions received before April 4. More details will be forthcoming soon.


Event Information:

Goreyesque: A Tribute to Edward Gorey
Tuesday, April 29, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. (Reading will take place approx. 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.; Guests will be invited to view the exhibition 7:00 - 8:00 p.m.)
Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA) (click for map)
820 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611

Authors Joe Meno and Adam McOmber to be Featured Readers at LUMA Event

Author Joe Meno (Office Girl), who wrote "The Use of Medicine," featured in Issue One of Goreyesque, will read at our event on Tues., Apr. 29 at 6:00 p.m. at the Loyola Museum of Art (LUMA). (View more details about the event here.)

Joining him is author Adam McOmber (The White Forest), whose story "The Other Sofa" will appear in Issue Two of Goreyesque, released on Fri., Mar. 28.

Writers whose fiction or poetry (submitted before Apr. 4) is selected for the event will be invited to read their work as well. Please return for more details in the coming weeks.

New Homepage Image

We have a new homepage image. This cut paper illustration of Edward Gorey is the work of Chicago artist Kenneth Gerleve, who is creating an installation in conjunction with the Gorey exhibitions at the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA). Inspired by Gorey's sensibilities and dark humor, Gerleve's Summerland: A Ghost Story will appear in the space adjacent to the gallery containing Gorey's work. Gerleve is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago's Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts MFA program.

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