Archive for February, 2008

New Weird Contest Winner Nadine Wilson: Santa Land!

Jeff VanderMeer • February 17th, 2008 • Culture, Uncategorized

Nadine provided this hilarious New Weird contest winner…

I don’t know if this qualifies as weird or not, but it was certainly surreal to me. Last summer two of my friends took their families on vacation together to the mountains, whereupon one of said friends promptly went into labor, three or four months prematurely (with twins, no less). *That* story turned out fine in the end, but it precipitated me taking a night off work and going to the mountains, unscheduled, to help my other friend with the herd of kids, while K’s husband spent most of his time at the hospital with her.

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New Weird Contest Winner Divers Hands: The Pied Piper of the Parking Garage

Jeff VanderMeer • February 17th, 2008 • Culture, Uncategorized

I don’t sleep much. Never have. Call it insomnia, call it madness, call it years of amphetamine abuse. End result: I sleep very little. Which is why I walk at night. More in the winter than the summer to be honest. This is mostly because I like to be left alone to think and talk to myself while I walk, and – no matter how clear a night is in the winter – most people won’t bother braving the cold to enjoy it.

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New Weird Contest Winner Lane Bowen: A Tale of Pigs, Hatchets, and Babies

Jeff VanderMeer • February 17th, 2008 • Culture, Uncategorized

Congrats to Lane Bowen provided this winning entry in the NW contest…

Once a blank faced toddler, naked but for a diaper, threw a hatchet at me. Luckily he had the strength of your average two year old, so even tossing with both hands, the ax didn’t do much but stick in the mud a foot or so in front of him.

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Why Poetry Gets a Bad Rap

Jeff VanderMeer • February 17th, 2008 • Culture

Listening to NPR right now and this poet comes on, to the accompaniment of what I can only describe as soap opera or soft porn music, and reads a science fiction poem that includes the line:

His sax is opening like a hole in space.

Now, when you hear this at first, your first thought is that it’s not “sax” but “sack” or “sacks,” which somehow I like better.

Gone Baby Gone

Jeff VanderMeer • February 17th, 2008 • Movie Reviews

Ann and I saw this film directed by Ben Affleck earlier this week; it’s just been released on DVD. Gone Baby Gone, which has gotten a lot of praise, concerns the disappearance of a child and the complications that result. The first half of the film, with its rising tension and rising stakes, is not only riveting but beautiful to look at: great cinematography, often of the worst parts of Boston. However, the event on which the movie hinges–an exchange gone wrong, with a doll floating in a lake (an image that returns several times)–begins a downward slide for Gone Baby Gone. Into plot holes and unbelievability. Without giving away too much, we never bought why the thug named Cheese would be part of the exchange. We didn’t really buy into the reasons why another character enters a bar dressed in a disguise to fake a robbery. We knew immediately when the police captain appears, played by A Certain Famous Actor, that this wasn’t just a cameo. And we honestly just didn’t care in the end. The book the movie is based on was written by a well-known crime author, Lehane, and we had similar problems with the last movie we saw based on a book by him (Mystic River). Good set-up, only decent ending. I’m beginning to think it’s something about the author and not the filmmakers.

A Few Thoughts on Two Current Trends

Jeff VanderMeer • February 16th, 2008 • Culture, Writing Tips

Genre writers posting their yearly income or the amount of their advances: This strikes me as a kind of bizarre thing to do. I certainly don’t object to anyone doing so–it’s their comfort level with how much they choose to reveal–but it’s not something you really see in most professions, and not much outside of SF/F, where it seems to have become kind of the trendy thing. But, the amount of your advance really tells me nothing about the quality of your book. Some of the crappiest novels I’ve ever read got huge advances.

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Things You Might Not Know…But Do Now

Jeff VanderMeer • February 16th, 2008 • Uncategorized

Brian Evenson, my friend and creative writing director at Brown University, has written an Aliens novel.

Kameron Hurley, another friend and all around great person, has sold her novels to Juliet Ulman at Bantam.

Kater, one of the students at Clarion this past summer, has a great blog that should have been in my post about blogs that make me happy. There’s something about Kater’s worldview that is entertaining and fascinating.

Matt Staggs is a really nice, cool guy.

I jokingly told Colleen Lindsay I had 250 potential clients for her in her new role as literary agent, thinking she’d find that funny because she’s overwhelmed with queries…and because she’s a glutton for punishment, she was actually disappointed, so make my lie a reality–go forth and query her.

The Night Shade messageboards are back up, including my archive of strangeness. I haven’t posted there in awhile, but you’ll find a whole virtual antho on my messageboard, stuff about strange jobs, and tons of other weirdness.

The New Weird contest ends tomorrow night at midnight EST.

Predator Opera I’m Working On

Jeff VanderMeer • February 16th, 2008 • Uncategorized

I should mention I’m also working on a Predator opera that’ll open in San Francisco. Not sure how long the run will be. Here’s an excerpt.

Jeff

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The New Weird–Library Journal Review

Jeff VanderMeer • February 15th, 2008 • Uncategorized

…a new vision of both fantasy and sf, a startling blend of visceral imagery and fresh evocative prose that marked the evolution of imaginative fiction into a form that drew from fantasy, sf, and horror to create something indefinably new….From Miéville’s expansion on his world of New Crobuzon focusing on the deliberately mutilated creatures called the Remade (“Jack”) to Clive Barker’s horrifically stunning portrayal of two cities in literal battle (“In the Cities, the Hills”) the tales live up to their assigned category. Other contributing authors include Michael Moorcock, Sarah Monette, K.J. Bishop, and M. John Harrison. Highly recommended for all libraries interested in the latest in sf and fantasy as well as modern horror.

Predator Novel Cover

Jeff VanderMeer • February 15th, 2008 • News

Here it be, art by Stephen Youll. I’m really excited about it. This is a little darker as a jpeg than the cover actually is, just FYI.

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