Archive for August, 2007

They Blowed ‘Em Up Real Good, Ralph

Jeff VanderMeer • August 27th, 2007 • Evil Monkey

Evil Monkey: Wow.

Jeff: Wow.

Evil Monkey: I didn’t know…

Jeff: I didn’t know either…

Evil Monkey: That there were so many ways to kill a person.

Jeff: Yeah.

Evil Monkey: Reminds me of that Billy Joel song.

Jeff: What?

Evil Monkey: You know–the one where he lists all the historical-cultural things.

Jeff: We didn’t start the fire?

Evil Monkey: Yeah, that one.

Jeff: This didn’t look much like a Billy Joel video.

Evil Monkey: Yeah, it was. Kinda goes like this “We didn’t start the fire./The aliens did./And then the predators came:/Decapitation/ exploding hook through the heart/ claw through the brain/ evaporating head/ nail gun through head/ spike through chest/ finger in the lungs/ bite head off/ swinging spines for fun/ they blowed them up real good, Ralph.”

Jeff: Nobody’s gonna mistake it for a biopic on Mother Teresa, that’s for sure.

Evil Monkey: “Fang through the eye/ knife through the spleen/ blade through the pancreas / unraveling intestines/ raindrops on kittens…” Hey, wait, I’m wrong–it’s not a Billy Joel song: it’s “My Favorite Things” from Mary Poppins!

Monday Mornin’ Mad Scientist Nostalgia

Jeff VanderMeer • August 26th, 2007 • Videos

About a year ago today, we were in Helsinki, witnessing and participating in Finncon’s mad scientist laugh competition. Ah, those were the days…I tried on a laugh, as did Cheryl Morgan and Stepan Chapman, among others.

A few days before this, we’d experienced the utter relaxation that was the sauna. I shall not tell whose impossibly white posteriors sprinted down to the water from the sauna that day. But I must say it was an epic sight–much like the running of the bulls in Spain…and, just possibly, blackmail material…

Jeff

Manuscript Critiquing–From an Award-winning Writer

Jeff VanderMeer • August 26th, 2007 • News, Uncategorized

Yep, you’re going to get this news item every few months. In this case, in particular while I’m working on the Predator novel, I’d rather fill in with fiction/nonfiction critiquing than more long-term projects. I’m finishing up my last critique from the latest round of advertising, and I’m ready for more. I’m fast and reliable, and if there ever is a glitch in the timing, I always send you a couple of free books as a thank you for your patience.

My approach is pretty simple: specific mark-up on your manuscript and general comments to help you going forward on your writing beyond just the story or novel you submit to me. You get a no-nonsense, analytical critique without extraneous B.S. I can also help with market recommendations and general career advice. (And, if you have a book coming out and need a PR strategy, I can provide that as well, in addition to a detailed database of media contacts.)

(more…)

Music Review: Richard Thompson

Jeff VanderMeer • August 26th, 2007 • Music Reviews

Sometimes you get what you expect, and it still makes you “Feel So Good”. In the case of Richard Thompson, he’s well past the point where he’s going to surprise anyone. As one of the world’s greatest singer-songwriters, he’s followed an eclectic path toward non-stardom for over 35 years. Sweet Warrior isn’t going to change any of that, although it strikes me as more lively and less sludgy than Mock Tudor, his last effort.

(more…)

State o’ the Union

Jeff VanderMeer • August 26th, 2007 • Uncategorized

So, it’s now been a few months since I started blogging in the new digs and I think I’m more or less hitting my stride now. I feel very comfortable here, posting on a range of topics. You’ll continue to see mini book, movie, and music reviews, along with “culture” pieces that will range from restaurant reviews to an upcoming “Top 10 Places to Drink Beer” feature. Since we’re doing a fair amount of travel, it seems to make sense. I’ll also be podcasting my story from the spelling bee antho, talking about a “day in the life” of a freelancer, and reintroducing the five-question author “walk the plank” interviews. In addition, Evil Monkey will soon return to video life with more of his book pics–and his announcement of candidacy for a certain high and prominent office.

Please continue to send me links to weird stuff (unless it’s off of Boing Boing, because, really, what’s the point of me posting stuff from Boing Boing)–I try to use as much of it as I can.

In other news, I will be finishing up “The Goat Variations,” my first alternate history story, this next week, hopefully for an anthology.

I’m also now working on a weird piece called “Mormeck’s Surrender,” set in the same area as my fake disease in the Lambshead Guide. In addition to ramping up on Predator and finishing a good, solid draft of “Borne”.

September 1st I’m a guest of Bumbershoot in Seattle, on a panel with Nicola Griffith and Austin Grossman, moderated by Therese Littleton.

In September, we’ll have a huge, mega book sale (if you want first dibs on the list before it goes on the blog, just email me).

Jeff

The Keyhole Opera by Bruce Holland Rogers

Jeff VanderMeer • August 26th, 2007 • Book Reviews

Luis Rodrigues has translated Bruce Holland Rogers’ amazing collection The Keyhole Opera into Portuguese, for publication by Livros de Areia. I’m very honored to provide the introduction, which I’m posting below.

I’ve since read other collections by Rogers, and I think this is the one where he got the “mix” just right. I’m still dismayed that this collection got almost no attention from reviewers, even after it won the World Fantasy Award. (I’d also say that writers at almost every stage of development will learn a huge amount from reading The Keyhole Opera.)

Jeff

(more…)

Steampunk in Boston Globe

Jeff VanderMeer • August 26th, 2007 • Uncategorized

Peter Bebergal’s very cool article on Steampunk.

Peter also interviewed me and Jay Lake for the piece, but I guess those quotes didn’t fit the article.

Here’s what I told Peter…

(more…)

Football Season Approaches…

Jeff VanderMeer • August 26th, 2007 • Uncategorized

and I’d just like to say: do you remember the last time you drowned a few of your dogs in a bathtub? Or maybe just hung them from a rope until they stopped thrashing?

No? You don’t remember? Neither do I. You know why? Because none of us would ever think of doing such a thing.

If Michael Vick did these things, and sanctioned dog fighting, I don’t even care if he gambled. Him gambling is almost beside the point. He should go to jail. And he should not be allowed back into the NFL.

People making excuses for Vick have no moral or ethical character. The guy deserves whatever he gets, and should probably have a psych evaluation, too.

And if he gets off the hook because he’s a pro athlete, and the NFL reinstates him, that’s it for me and pro football. In fact, it probably should be it for me and pro football anyway. The number of times a pro athlete gets off the hook for domestic abuse or any number of other things that you or I would go to prison for…sorry. I don’t care if they can fly or jump five-story buildings…no one should get that big of a get-out-of-jail-free card.

…And that’s your Sunday morning rant–brought to you Evil Monkey-free.

Jeff

Cool Weirdness at Silence Without

Jeff VanderMeer • August 26th, 2007 • Uncategorized

Australia writer Tessa Kum has been posting really cool images at her Silence Without blog. Also, some nice book reviews below the latest stuff. Go check it out.

Jeff

“Three Days…” on Last Infinity Plus Update

Jeff VanderMeer • August 26th, 2007 • Fiction

Infinity Plus, edited by Keith Brooke, was a huge supporter of my work before I had book contracts with major publishers. Sometimes, it seemed like they were one of the only supporters.

Keith’s decided to let IP go after ten years of updates. It’s now one of the most robust–perhaps the most robust–websites for genre fiction and nonfiction on the internet.

So go check it out, including my “Three Days in a Border Town,” a finalist for the Locus Award, which was also in Jonathan Strahan’s year’s best awhile back and shortlisted for Best American Short Stories. Originally published in Polyphony.

Jeff