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New Releases--Tomasula's IN & OZ

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Forrest Aguirre and Jeff V
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 01:44 pm:   

The Ministry of Whimsy announces the publication this fall of…

IN & OZ
by Steve Tomasula

IN & OZ is a novel of art, love, auto mechanics, and two places: the actualities of the here and now and the desire for somewhere better. Five men and women – an auto designer, photographer, musical composer, poet/sculptor and mechanic – find themselves drawn together when they begin to suspect that the thing lacking in their lives might be discovered in the other place. Against the tension between idiosyncratic art and mass-marketed taste, each works to bridge the gulf between IN & OZ by using the medium of their trades: light and darkness; sound and silence.

IN & OZ is a story as old as the Tower of Babel and as new as global markets: the story of people trying to reach beyond the limits of language and remake the world, or at least their selves.

"In IN & OZ, Steve Tomasula writes as though the English language were his own invention. I'm far from certain he's wrong about this. But if we could still imagine a surrounding in which destiny lay within creatures and stones, or recognized the unconfinements of words, we might know fiction as he does. Next to being wholly new, IN & OZ is the best there is."
--R.M. Berry, author of Leonardo's Horse: A Novel and The Dictionary of Modern Anguish: Fictions

"With IN & OZ, Tomasula crafts a fiercely intelligent and uncompromising parable on what has become of us."
--Alex Shakar, author of The Savage Girl and City in Love: The New York Metamorphoses
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 02:42 pm:   

Sounds very interesting, guys. Will the Ministry be putting an excerpt online?
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Mastadge
Posted on Friday, May 30, 2003 - 07:16 am:   

Is this the guy who wrote Vas: An Opera in Flatland?
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JV
Posted on Friday, May 30, 2003 - 08:14 am:   

Yes, it is. There will be an excerpt online eventually.

JV
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Forrest
Posted on Saturday, May 31, 2003 - 10:35 am:   

To clarify: Yes, it is interesting, and yes, it is the guy who wrote VAS: AN OPERA IN FLATLAND.

Forrest
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Jordan
Posted on Saturday, May 31, 2003 - 03:04 pm:   

Is VAS any good?
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Minister of Info
Posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 03:15 pm:   

Here's the front cover of IN&OZ. The gray is actually silver in the final, but this jpeg doesn't show that too well. We went with a design based more on typography than cover art, obviously. This isn't a trend, but since it worked nicely on AZ, we thought we'd try it on this book, too. The other reason being--in this particular case, true cover art of any kind would probably not do justice to the text.

Text description



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Robert Devereux
Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 12:33 pm:   

In & Oz arrived today. Once again, it's a very nice looking book. I look forward to reading it (it may displace several other books on my to-read shelf).
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 01:20 pm:   

Oh, good! I hope you like it.

Jeff
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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 01:51 pm:   

I read VAS and . . . well, I didn't know what to make of it, exactly, but it blew my mind. Definitely looking forward to getting my copy of IN & OZ.
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JV
Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 05:38 pm:   

IN & OZ is not as out there as VAS

Jeff
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Mastadge
Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 06:09 pm:   

I know that. Nevertheless, VAS put Tomasula on my "authors to watch" list.
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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Sunday, October 26, 2003 - 05:04 pm:   

The November Issue of Locus features a Faren Miller review of In & Oz. Haven't seen the review yet... Just a note that it will be running in November.

-jl
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I&O
Posted on Friday, December 12, 2003 - 02:00 pm:   

http://www.sfreader.com/read_review.asp?ID=377

Another review
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 08:22 am:   

How did you hook up with Tomasula? Did you approach him, or he you?

I'm curious because so far, the Ministry has struck me as publishing literary (or at least good) fantastic writing. Based on In & Oz, and Vas, I wasn't sure if he would have submitted the book to you, or try more "mainstream" publishers.

I finished reading Vas last night. I liked the design and layout, but the story wasn't as strong as In & Oz (which I enjoyed much more). Vas seemed rather disjointed (stuff about Square & Circle, then stuff about language or evolution, they didn't seem to mix very much).
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Forrest
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 08:37 am:   

He submitted the book to me unsolicited, Robert. Tomasula knows the small presses very well and, in fact, teaches a graduate-level course on the small press at Notre Dame. So he knew about us through his meanderings in the small press world.

And, while I like VAS, I like IN&OZ much more. There's an emotional punch to IN&OZ that isn't there in VAS.
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JV
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 08:40 am:   

Half of our authors approach us, half we seek out. The Ministry started out publishing mainstream literature and poetry. We always try to have one foot on either side of the divide, frankly. And IN & OZ certainly fits comfortably within the aesthetic laid out by Leviathan. In fact, it would have fit comfortably in Leviathan 4. (Forrest might or might not agree.)

Besides, our books are regularly reviewed in Review of Contemporary Fiction, among others. I'm not sure I understand the question.

JeffV
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Robert Devereux
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 09:06 am:   

My impression of the Ministry was as a publisher of the fantastic who also had "mainstream" interests as well. Perhaps that is based on reading your (Jeff and Forrest) writing. Perhaps that is based on coming to the Ministry as a fantasy fan (so I'm willing to call a lot of the works fantastic, even if somebody coming from the other side view them simply as "fiction"). I wasn't sure if others saw the Ministry as more fantasic, more mainstream, or in between.

I was mostly wondering if Tomasula had approached you as a "fantastic" publisher, as a publisher of stuff in both fields, or if you had liked his work and sought him out.

I do agree In & OZ could fit in Leviathan, and do agree with Forrest that it has an emotional punch that wasn't in VAS.
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Forrest
Posted on Thursday, December 18, 2003 - 10:35 am:   

"IN & OZ certainly fits comfortably within the aesthetic laid out by Leviathan. In fact, it would have fit comfortably in Leviathan 4. (Forrest might or might not agree.)"

Yes, that's true. Remember, Robert, that Leviathan has published some work that is clearly not fantastical, though it has a fantastical sensibility, in some ways. We're just looking for outstanding writing that isn't your "normal" fare, regardless of whether someone would consider it "fantastical" or "mainstream".

Tomasula approached us as a publisher of quirky works that don't get published elsewhere, to be honest. I wish I had his query letter handy, but it's in my files, at home right now. He was really frank, saying, in effect, "No one else would take a chance on publishing this, but I have a feeling, after having read the Ministry's unique work, that you might want to consider it. I really like the work you guys have been doing and would be glad if you'd take a look."

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