85 Weirdest Storytellers Announced

The latest Weird Tales magazine is now available for order online and also should be hitting newsstands soon. It’s the 85th anniversary issue and includes pieces on each of the 85 weirdest storytellers listed here. As well as great fiction (new and brilliant Elric novella from Moorcock and much more) and my interview with China Mieville. Ann’s pretty stoked about this issue.

Book Received–March 25

One book received, ELOM, and that appears to be enough, as it’s described as Clan of the Cave Bear meets Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I would describe it, no matter how well written it might be, as probably Not For Me. Press release reads in part “What if alien abductions really do exist. What if they’ve been happening throughout mankind’s entire history? Why did they happen so long ago, and who was responsible?” In describing ELOM, the author, a former politician, says, “My book’s saying, wait a minute, we really don’t know where we came from, why we’re here. I’m not saying that [all the religions] aren’t right, I’m just saying, ‘well, maybe it’s this way. What if?'”

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Author Photos, the Arms-Crossed-Power-Pose Gender Imbalance, and Your Favorites

(Cat Sparks, Aurealis Award-winning author and editor. Recent fiction in Paper Cities and Clockwork Phoenix.)

(Catherynne M. Valente, World Fantasy Award finalist and Tiptree winner.)

(Cat Rambo, co-editor of Fantasy Magazine, and with fiction in Weird Tales and Asimov’s.)

The three awesome Cats I know and love, all striking arms-crossed power poses and kicking ass exclusively for this blog, something you don’t see much in female author headshots. This kind of thing is a lot more common:

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Books Received–March 24

Some really interesting stuff here. I’m most excited about the Jack O’Connell–a really underrated writer–which I’m reviewing for a venue to be revealed later, but also the Millar looks very cool, as do the Park and the Nasir. Actually, it all looks tempting, really.

I also received the latest Apex, which includes an interview with me about Shriek, conducted by Hal Duncan. The magazine has really gotten a lot more sleek and graceful design-wise. Nice cover, too. Here’s a photo of it framed by the cool original art frame for the Surgeon’s Tale, sent to me today by James Owen:

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The New Weird on The Fix and Not Free SF Reader

The terse, pithy, haiku-like feel of Not Free SF Reader’s capsule reviews always crack me up (in a good way), but also glad to see this view of Alistair Rennie’s story, which had taken some potshots in Locus and on SF Site (neither reviewer analyzing the story, just dismissing it out of hand): “Most of this stuff is fantasy or horror, and often both. Alistair Rennie being the classic example here of gross, grotesque horror-fantasy. This story is apparently new to the collection, so well done. I’d definitely like to see more of this.” Check out the full review.

Also, note this great Fix review, which says about Rennie’s story: “The Gutter Sees the Light That Never Shines” by Alistair Rennie closes the Evidence section on a high note. The stench of the killer known as the Gutter is close, hovering over our nostrils. Rennie does a fine job balancing gore with humor, provided by a duo of lesbian killers, The Sisters of No Mercy (a tip of the hat to the cyberpunks, I reckon?). A twisted tale with a clever ending.

Subtext…On the Surface!

The Keeper of the Snails is reading The Art of Subtext. Check out her posts about it.

The first chapter is called The Art Of Staging. ‘Staging’ according to Baxter is when objects and actions are used to create a pathway to the character’s inner life. It is this aspect of a novel which distinguishes popular genre from the more literary. In popular romances (e.g. a novel by Danielle Steel) the location, material wealth, physical attributes and who is paired off with whom is important. In the popular thriller (e.g. by Tom Clancy) it is the military hardware, and the hierarchy of power that are important. In both the characters are secondary; but in more literary fiction they are central to the plot. In more literary novels the character is shown by what is unsaid – the showing rather than telling – and presumably the more that is shown and the less that is said, the more literary the novel (and subsequently, perhaps, the less it will be read).

Genre novels, he says, shut down imagination and therefore are ideal reading material for the anxious traveller because it reduces the ability to speculate. Literary novels on the other hand promote the imagination, and in order to do this a character who is hyper-vigilant ie fully attentive, has poor understanding and is emotionally bewildered is ideal as a protagonist.

VanderMeers to Write an Art Column as io9 Continues to Take Over the World

Starting in mid-April, Ann and I will be doing an art column twice a month for io9. The emphasis will be on SF and science-fantasy/urban art. We’re pretty excited about this, in part because of the subject and in part because we like the people at io9 a lot.

I gave Ann every opportunity to get out of it. “Aren’t you sick of me enough already, what with the anthos and everything else?” Ann: “Yes, but I don’t have to be in the same room with you to do this column.” Me: “Fair enough!”

This will be our first collaborative column.