GOLDEN GRYPHON PRESS

GOLDEN GRYPHON PRESS

Introduction by Boyd White

Golden Gryphon Press is arguably the most under appreciated, undervalued, and under collected independent specialty press of the last 50 years. In a 2003 interview with Golden Gryphon Press editors Gary Turner and Marty Halperin for SF Site, Nick Gevers referred to Golden Gryphon Press as "one of the most important independent publishers in the SF/fantasy field." Active from 1997 to 2010, Golden Gryphon Press issued 62 titles, primarily books of short stories, including two World-Fantasy-Award- winning collections, Jeffery Ford's The Fantasy Writer's Assistant and Other Stories (2002) and M. Rickert's Map of Dreams (2006). Stories from Golden Gryphon Press books routinely appeared in annual "best of" anthologies including David G. Hartwell's Year's Best SF, Gardner Dozier's The Year's Best Science Fiction, Stephen Jones' The Best New Horror, and Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. In several instances, Golden Gryphon Press books are the only hardcover titles by certain authors that collect their most notable Hugo- and Nebula-Award-winning shorter fiction, including Shelia Finch's “Reading the Bones,” James Patrick Kelly's "Think Like a Dinosaur," Geoffrey A. Landis' "A Walk in the Sun," Kristine Kathyrn Rusch's "Millenium Babies," and Charles Stross' "The Concrete Jungle."

 

James Turner founded Golden Gryphon Press in 1997 after April Derleth dismissed him from Arkham House over creative differences. While highly successful in terms of sales and rejuvenating Arkham House's reputation as an important specialty press, Turner's tenure as editor was controversial because he began to publish short story collections by up-and-coming science fiction and fantasy authors instead of continuing to just reprint vintage horror fiction from the pulp era and earlier. Under Turner's management, Arkham House issued a number of significant works of speculative fiction, such as Michael Bishop's Blooded on Arachne (1982), Greg Bear's The Wind from a Burning Woman (1983), Joanna Russ' The Zanzibar Cat (1983), Bruce Sterling's Crystal Express (1989), James Tiptree, Jr.'s Her Smoke Rose Up Forever (1990), and Nancy Kress' The Aliens of Earth (1993). Turner also published several now classic collections by contemporary practitioners of the weird tale, authors whose work straddled the boundary between horror and science fiction, such as Michael Shea's Polyphemus (1987) and Lucius Shepard's The Jaguar Hunter (1987).

 

Turner brought his keen editorial acumen and taste for literary speculative fiction to bear on Golden Gryphon Press, establishing its reputation quickly with the first four books he published—James Patrick Kelly's Think Like a Dinosaur and Other Stories (1997), R. Garcia y. Robertson's The Moon Maid and Other Fantastic Adventures (1998) Turner's own Eternal Lovecraft: The Persistence of H. P. Lovecraft in Popular Culture (1998), and Robert Reed's The Dragons of Springplace (1999). When James Turner succumbed to cancer in March of 1999, his brother Gary took over Golden Gryphon with the intention of only bringing to completion a few outstanding projects that Turner had already started, which included Tony Daniel's The Robot’s Twilight Companion (1999) and Neal Barrett, Jr.'s Perpetuity Blues and Other Stories (2000). Turner was posthumously awarded the World Fantasy Special Award: Professional for his work with Golden Gryphon Press in November of 1999, and Gary, now joined by Marty Halpern, continued to publish books by the kinds of writers his brother had championed and admired, including key collections by Kage Baker, George Alec Effinger, Joe R. Lansdale, Pamela Sargent, Jeff Vandermeer, Harold Waldrop, and Ian Watson.

 

Books issued by Golden Gryphon Press were uniformly praised by contemporary reviewers and readers for their excellent content, high production values, and striking designs, but while some writers, like Lansdale, Stross, and Vandermeer have developed quite a following among readers and collectors because of their novels, the majority of authors published by Golden Gryphon Press remain undeservedly obscure and ignored despite the superior quality of their writing because they were less prolific than their more successful fellow writers or preferred to write short stories rather than novels. The Golden Gryphon Press catalogue constitutes a significant contribution to contemporary speculative fiction, and for the discerning reader and collector, they are true bargains well worth seeking out.