Archive for December, 2007

Amazon Interview with Stephen Gallagher

Jeff VanderMeer • December 8th, 2007 • Book Reviews

I interviewed Stephen about his new book The Kingdom of Bones. It’s an excellent thriller, which I also reviewed for Realms of Fantasy. (He also has a blog.)

Weird Tales: Cat Rambo on Early Influences

Ann VanderMeer • December 8th, 2007 • Culture

With the 85th anniversary of Weird Tales upcoming and a slew of editorial and format changes having been made to the magazine, I thought it would be interesting to guest blog on Ecstatic Days, especially since Jeff is in the process of meeting his many, many deadlines. Part of guest blogging will be to present the short essays and observations of the writers being published in upcoming issues, some of whom are new to the field and offer a genuinely fresh perspectives. Some of these posts will relate to Weird Tales and some won’t. I’m giving the writers the freedom to post about whatever interests them. I hope you enjoy these posts over the next month or so. – Ann

Writer: Cat Rambo
Weird Tales Story: Events at Fort Plentitude (issue #348, February 2008)
Writer Bio: Cat Rambo lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest. A product of Notre Dame, the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars and the relentless pursuit of popular culture, she writes stories that wander freely in the adjoining pastures of fantasy, horror, and science fiction, and occasionally jump the fence to eat the cabbages of Literature. She is the co-editor of Fantasy Magazine.

***

I was an early and fast reader, perhaps the result of an experimental program I was in during kindergarten, perhaps simply because my parents read to me a lot. At the age of eleven or twelve, though, I’d exhausted most of the books in the children’s room in the library, to the point where I’d read through the 390 (Folklore) section, as a passable substitute for fiction. My parents never restricted my reading at home (with odd results – my early views on sexuality were entirely shaped by DR. NO, which I’d found somewhere, and FIRE ON THE LAKE was my first vision of a non-Hollywoodified war. And so they prevailed on the library to grant me access to the grown-up stacks, which otherwise weren’t enterable until the age of sixteen or thereabouts.
(more…)

Ann VanderMeer and Weird Tales

Jeff VanderMeer • December 8th, 2007 • News, Uncategorized

Ann’s first issue as fiction editor of Weird Tales should be out shortly, and so from now through the middle of January, in addition to a few of my own posts, I’m going to turn this blog over to Ann and WT fiction contributors. Ann will be posting short entries from her contributors, who constitute some of the most exciting new voices in genre, along with some possible posts from established writers. And, of course, posts from Ann.

Jeff

Solaris Publishing New Steampunk Antho

Jeff VanderMeer • December 7th, 2007 • Uncategorized


Here’s the full press release. Contributors include: Daniel Abraham, Kage Baker, Stephen Baxter, Beth Bernobich, Eric Brown, Keith Brooke, Paul Di Filippo, Hal Duncan, Jeffrey Ford, Jay Lake, Margo Lanagan, James Lovegrove, Ian R. MacLeod, Michael Moorcock, James Morrow, Kim Newman, Robert Reed, Chris Roberson, Adam Roberts, Lucius Shepard, Brian Stableford, Jeff VanderMeer and Marly Youman. Nick Gevers is editing it.

Now, it’s great PR to get people excited this early for anthology coming out in fall 2008. And I love both Solaris and the editing work of Gevers. I’m also excited about writing the story that’s going in the anthology. But, at the end of the day, given that Gevers usually doesn’t take any crap stories–I certainly hope not–this is a very premature announcement from a creative standpoint. In other words, at the end of the day, some of those writers may not fulfill their commitment. Others may turn in substandard work, for whatever reason. The final line-up might conceivably be different from this one.

The Terror by Dan Simmons

Jeff VanderMeer • December 6th, 2007 • Book Reviews

Adam Roberts over at Strange Horizons likes it almost as much as I did.

The Surgeon’s Tale and Other Stories: Now Available

Jeff VanderMeer • December 6th, 2007 • News, Uncategorized

Since this cool little book is now available, out just in time for the holiday season, I thought I’d post the press release for it. At under ten bucks, it makes a perfect little gift, and if you order now we’ll personalize it and add a little holiday card if you want it shipped directly to the giftee. (Just note that in your paypal order)

THE SURGEON’S TALE AND OTHER STORIES
Cat Rambo & Jeff VanderMeer

Featuring a cover by Starchild creator James Owen
and interior art by New York artist Kris Dikeman

Once Upon a Time…
There was a surgeon with a terrible obsession
who befriended a dead girl in a strange underground city
from whence came the trolls that made the farmer’s cat mad,
and which manifested itself on the surface in the form of both
the heart of a dark and sinister enchanter
and an eccentric, damned cafe.
No one lived happily ever after,
but some of them did, indeed, live.

The Surgeon’s Tale & Other Stories is the first book by exciting new talent Cat Rambo, in collaboration with World Fantasy Award winner Jeff VanderMeer. John Barth has described Cat Rambo’s writings as “works of urban mythopoeia”–her stories take place in a universe where chickens aid the lovelorn, Death is just another face on the train, and a rodent’s wooing can affect an entire underground city. Rambo’s stories have been appearing for the last few years in Subterranean Magazine, Clarkesworld, and Strange Horizons, with work forthcoming in Weird Tales and Asimov’s SF Magazine. She also recently became co-editor of the highly-praised Fantasy magazine.

Enter a world of rat suitors, severed arms, and Fungi Et Fruits de Mer, served up with prose both appetizing and uncanny. Dark Fantasy has never been quite so decadent. (And including the infamous Lovecraft Cafe collaboration between Jeff, D.F. Lewis, and M.F. Korn.)

TWO FREE LANCERS PRESS
Seattle, Washington / Tallahassee, Florida
100 pages – ISBN: 978-0-8095-7268-7 – $9.99
For more information on the authors, visit: http://www.kittywumpus.net and http://www.jeffvandermeer.com

Also available through Amazon.com.

The Stone Gods

Jeff VanderMeer • December 6th, 2007 • Book Reviews

I’m just starting The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson, but I’m really impressed with this opening. I mean, this is a SF book I want to read from the get go:

This new world weights a yatto-gam. But everything is trial-size; tread-on-me tiny or blurred-out-of-focus huge. There are leaves that have grown as big as cities, and there are birds that nest in cockleshells. On the white sand there are long-toed clawprints deep as nightmares, and there are rock pools in hand-hollows finned by invisible fish.

Trees like skyscrapers, and housing as many. Grass the height of hedges, nuts the swell of pumpkins. Sardines that would take two men to land them. Eggs, pale-blue-shelled, each the weight of a breaking universe.

And, underneath, mushrooms soft and small as a mouse ear. A crack like a cut, and inside a million million microbes wondering what to do next. Spores that wait for the wind and never look back.

Moss that is concentrating on being green.

Merry Octopi-mas

Jeff VanderMeer • December 5th, 2007 • Culture

Okay, so you already saw it on Boing Boing, but if I’d been on the ball you’d have seen it here first.

The Golden Dreydl

Jeff VanderMeer • December 5th, 2007 • Book Reviews

What would today be without a Dreydl reference? Check out my Amazon interview with Ellen Kushner, author of The Golden Dreydl.

Jeff

The Brutish Quality of “Usefulness”

Jeff VanderMeer • December 5th, 2007 • Uncategorized

I was just listening to NPR as I ate lunch and they had on a guy who has written a book on migration, and how climate change and habitat loss have affected migratory animals. At one point, he describes how he went out at night with other volunteers to help some endangered salamanders cross a busy road. The interviewer asked a question that basically presumed that this was a crazy thing to do that reinforced stereotypes about environmentalists. The assumption is that “ordinary” people don’t see any value in any creature if it isn’t directly useful to us. I thought the writer’s response was measured, considering I would have said, “In what reality is it morally or ethically responsible to condemn an entire species to extinction because we want to drive really fast along a road?” I mean, that’s bat-shit crazy. It is *insane* to basically say, “If we’re going to be at all inconvenienced, that species can go.” Millions of birds killed by cell phone towers. Idiots in Florida complaining because national forest is being made off-limits to vehicles because endangered species are literally being run over into extinction. More idiots who want the manatees taken off the endangered species list basically just because we want to drive our boats a lot faster.

To me, this is the insane, kooky talk. Not the guy who volunteers to help an endangered species. I’m not someone who goes out with PETA to demonstrate. I’m fairly moderate on a lot of topics, but this fixation on “usefulness” is deadly. It’s deadly when applied to the ecosphere, it’s deadly when applied to the arts. It’s the kind of thing that at times makes me think we really are nothing more than suicidal apes.

Jeff