Book Review: The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet

Reprints the finest fiction, essays, poetry, and other oddities from the zine's first decade

The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet

The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet

edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant
Del Rey, 416 pp., $14.95 (paper)

Fanzines emerged out of the 1930s science-fiction fan culture, eventually propagating among such active fandoms as music, role-playing games, and comics. Zines played a pivotal role in the development of new talent often publishing the best and brightest before they were well-known: Ray Bradbury, Greil Marcus, Robert Crumb, and Bruce Sterling, among others. The advent of the Internet ushered in the webzine, seemingly dooming the traditional zine, but experimental, postmodern science-fiction fanzines like Electric Velocipede and Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet keep the print form alive and pertinent. The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet reprints the finest fiction, essays, poetry, and other oddities from the zine's first decade.

The first two pieces, written separately by co-editors Kelly Link – "Travels With the Snow Queen," a nonlinear tale of forbidden love – and Gavin J. Grant – his insightful nonfiction exploration "Scotch: An Essay Into a Drink" – quickly establish the tenor both in quality and content for this stunning anthology. Excellent and unconventional pieces abound: Margaret Muirhead's profound Swiftian parody "An Open Letter Concerning Sponsorship"; Sarah Monette's tortured romance "Three Letters From the Queen of Elfland"; Jan Lars Jensen's frightening study of the dangers of television nostalgia, "Happier Days"; Gwenda Bond's twisted Dear Abby columns, "Dear Aunt Gwenda"; and David J. Schwartz's comical letter "The Icthyomancer Writes His Friends With an Account of the Yeti's Birthday Party," to name a few. Interspersed within the stories, the editors sprinkle trivial tidbits about literature, movies, music, and other strangeness.

The compositions appear in order of original publication, creating an odd, uneven flow to the book. Later in the collection, as the editing duo became more comfortable with their craft and their writers, the contributions get stronger. Showcasing a selection of the top new and exciting writers working today, The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet presents a wondrous playground for lovers of experimental and avant-garde literature. If this is the 21st century zine, the form can be taken off the endangered list.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Book Reviews
<i>Presidio</i> by Randy Kennedy
Presidio by Randy Kennedy
For his debut novel, Kennedy creates a road story that portrays the harsh West Texas terrain beautifully and fills it with sympathetic characters.

Jay Trachtenberg, Sept. 14, 2018

Hunting the Golden State Killer in <i>I'll Be Gone in the Dark</i>
Hunting the Golden State Killer in I'll Be Gone in the Dark
How Michelle McNamara tracked a killer before her untimely death

Jonelle Seitz, July 20, 2018

More by Rick Klaw
DVD Watch
Batman: Gotham Knight
Six animated visions of the Caped Crusader, as envisioned by six unique animé directors and six different writers

July 18, 2008

Also New in Graphic Novels
Also New in Graphic Novels

July 11, 2008


The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Kelly Link, Gavin J. Grant, Del Rey

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle