Posts By: Elly Blue

Firebrands: Activists You Didn’t Learn About in School

Illustrated portraits and life stories of American heroes hailing from Chile, Canada, and everywhere in between, from the 1500s to today. Instead of the powerful rich, white folks history textbooks focus on, these pages recognize the work of grassroots organizers, revolutionaries, visionaries, anarchists, workers, and artists. Get inspired to step up and create the world you want to live in.

Bread of the Resistance

Make sourdough at home without measuring or weighing your ingredients, with the help of Tessalyn Morrison’s patient, friendly tutelage—she makes it truly easy to build up and maintain a starter, and get an excellent loaf every time. Plus lots of recipes for when you have too much sourdough or want to ferment other foods. Healthy gut bacteria, delicious food, this is the good life.

Unfuck Your Worth

Work through your feelings about money, financial freakouts, and how to achieve your goals with the indomitable bestseller Dr. Faith Harper. Figure out what your monetary baggage is all about, get angry about how capitalism makes it impossible to have a truly healthy relationship with our self-worth, and learn to align your work and budget with your values no matter what your economic status or background.

Rest in Purpose, Ruby

This is a sad one.

Ruby and Joe at Powell’s Books in January, 2019

Ruby was the medical alert dog for Microcosm founder and CEO Joe Biel from February, 2012 to June, 2020. She was a constant presence in our office and at events.

At a reading at WhyNot Fest in Minot, North Dakota

Her service dog training meant she was skilled at making herself invisible most of the time, often sleeping curled up next to Joe’s desk or under the table at a convention or a restaurant. Even so, she made friends everywhere she went, when she ventured out at Joe’s side, or to occasionally alert someone passing by that their blood sugar was dropping (she did this by poking their leg with her nose). When she walked by one of Portland’s many brunch spots, she would often go down the line of people waiting, alerting them all. One day, a couple was fighting on the street and she ran up to alert them. She wanted to help everyone. Her intelligence and loyalty were astounding. Once she had met someone, she considered them part of her pack forever, even when meeting them again years later.

Long convention hours meant lots of napping on the job.

Along with her remarkable skill at detection, she was also trained for public access, which meant she could handle herself gracefully in situations, like a grocery store, restaurant, airplane, or train, that would challenge even a well-trained pet dog. She never learned to pedal her own bike, but we celebrated her bikeyness a couple of years ago with this fanciful enamel pin.

Just another daily commute.

Thanks to her unique assistance in managing his disability, Joe was able to lead Microcosm out of the recession, growing us from a small press to a midlist publisher and wholesaler, and more important, to begin to regain his health and safely live a full, active life.

Joe, Ruby, and Elly at the Microcosm office. Photo by Laura Stanfill

Ruby loved to travel everywhere with Joe by train, plane, and bicycle. Food was her primary motivation. And she loved people; her training taught her to be standoffish when she was wearing her service dog vest, but in her off-hours she loved nothing more than a belly rub or a scratch behind the ears. And even when working, she knew when someone was talking about her and perked up with great interest.

Ruby and Joe walking in Detroit.

She passed away on Tuesday, June 23rd, just hours before her first book, Do Not Pet, arrived from the printer. She is dearly missed by all who knew and admired her.

Ruby’s trainer told us that she was the rare dog who found her purpose. In her honor, we’re continuing to center our own meaning and purpose every day. We hope that her legacy will outlive her, educating people about the amazing work of service animals in opening up the world to people with many kinds of disabilities.

In Downtown LA

Unfuck Your Year

Dr. Faith Harper’s weekly unplanner that’s also a workbook to help with your anxiety, anger, adulting, self-care, sleep, relationships, and so much more, all year round.

Seeds of Spring #1

“The Prince & the Birch Tree” is the first volume of a serialized graphic novel about Canadian Mi’kmaq teenager Naguset, who exchanges books and mix tapes with her pen pal, Chris. Her imagination sparks when he sends her a biography of the 19th century Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin. The story juxtaposes Naguset’s personal and political coming-of-age in her loving family home with Kropotkin’s rocky upbringing in a princely palace.

Essential Oils to Destroy the Patriarchy

With a hefty dose of irreverent self-satire, Eryn O’Neal shares the essential oil recipes that she uses to treat her own patriarchal woes, so that you can too. A tincture of clary sage may not dismantle the patriarchy singlehandedly, but it’ll help you get enough sleep so you can keep working on destroying the power dynamics that are dragging us all down.

Books for the New Bicycle Revolution

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the streets are suddenly free of traffic, and a lot of folks are rediscovering bicycling—you can tell by looking out the window, or at our order queue.

Books and zines about bicycling (and stickers… oh, the bike stickers!) have long been Microcosm’s bread and butter. The interest never goes away, but it’s been way up lately. Here’s a list of (almost) all of the bike books and zines we publish, and you can find everything bikey in our catalog here.

And here’s short list of our recommendations for people who are just getting with riding or wondering how we can sustain relatively car-free streets post-pandemic.

The Chainbreaker Bike Book is our classic manual, now in its third edition. Learn to repair your bike (especially if it’s an older bike), and get inspired by the rich history of DIY bicycle culture.
Adonia Lugo’s instant classic, Bicycle/Race, is a must-read for any aspiring or experienced bicycle advocate who wonders how we can work towards safe, inclusive transportation in a deeply unequitable system?
Everyday Bicycling is your guide to getting started as a transportation cyclist, including tips on carrying everything from lumber to kids to cupcakes.
Bikenomics is the definitive economic argument for investing in bicycle transportation at a personal and civic level. This is the one to give to your city councillor or business district development group, or just hone your own arguments for why bike-friendly streets make sense for everyone.
The perspectives in True Trans Bike Rebel about bicycling and walking from transgender and nonbinary authors and artists range from delightful to thought-provoking; all worthwhile reading for anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider in the cycling world.

In issue #4 of the Bicycle Culture Rising zine, read about how Kittie Knox, a teenage cyclist in the late 1800s, changed bike culture forever.

We are currently Kickstarting our newest volume of feminist bicycle science fiction: Trans-Galactic Bike Ride!

Call for Submissions: Bicycles & Broomsticks

Now funding on Kickstarter: Bikes in Space #7: Trans-Galactic Bike Ride

We are accepting submissions now for the witchcraft-themed ninth volume of the Bikes in Space series of feminist bicycle science fiction anthologies, scheduled to come out at the beginning of 2022.

Working title: Bicycles & Broomsticks

Please submit your original short fiction that combines themes of witchcraft and bicycling, through a feminist lens. Both witchiness and bicycles must be inherent to accepted stories—ie, if you swapped these elements out for detectives and toasters, the stories would not work. The witchcraft can be informed by actual Paganism or another tradition, or be more along the lines of Kiki’s Delivery Service or Sabrina the Teenage Witch, or something entirely new. Creative, subversive, feminist magic is key.

Stories should have a feminist perspective, even if feminism and identity are not overt topics. We especially welcome submissions from queer, trans, disabled, and BIPOC authors and welcome stories that portray more diverse perspectives than are found in mainstream sff.

All fantastical genres welcome: science fiction, fantasy, mythology, speculative fiction, climate punk, slipstream, supernatural horror, fractured fairy tales, or anything in between or beyond. No fanfic, poetry, or erotica for this series. Black and white comics and illustrations are also welcome. If you’re not sure what works, you may find it helpful to familiarize yourself with other books in the series.

Word count: a 1,000 – 6,000 word range is typical, but make your story the length it needs to be, and if it’s right for the anthology, we’ll work it out in editorial.

Format: Google doc or Word preferred; PDF or text documents are also fine. If submitting an illustration, please get in touch about format and dimensions before you start working on it.

Payment: A portion of profits after expenses from the Kickstarter project used to fund the book is split between contributors; payments are not less than $30 each. Contributors also receive copies of the book.

Deadline: September 1, 2020

Please send your submissions and any questions to elly at microcosm publishing dot com

Now funding on Kickstarter: Bikes in Space #7: Trans-Galactic Bike Ride