Archive for June, 2008

Meme: Global Blogosphere Amnesty Week (for Apologies)

Jeff VanderMeer • June 24th, 2008 • Uncategorized

Matt Staggs has an excellent post here about the need for sincerity and transparency in this era of the internet and social media. One of his major points is: “Make any necessary apologies. Yes, mom was right. A sincere apology is the best tool that you have in your crisis communication toolbox.”

I think we’ve really come to see apologies as a sign of weakness, when they’re actually a sign of strength. So, here’s an idea. Although Matt’s talking about the immediate response to a specific screw-up or mistake, let’s make this more general. I don’t really have the authority to do this–who does?–but I’m hereby declaring this week, through Sunday, Global Blogosphere Amnesty Week (for Apologies). Which is to say, if you have something to apologize for, whether serious or funny, I hope that under the cover of this meme you can do it without much recrimination. (Er, assuming you aren’t apologizing for putting babies on spikes.)

Have I got regrets I’d like to apologize for you? You bet, so I’ll start with just three:

(1) I apologize for ever having responded to any negative reviews except in the context of correcting errors of fact. And hope to restrain myself in future.
(2) I apologize to Strange Horizons reviews editor Niall Harrison for being waaay too bitchy and critical of SH reviews in comment threads.
(3) I apologize to Ann for any time I’ve unnecessarily stretched the limits of her godlike patience.

There. That wasn’t too hard. Now you try, on your own blawg. (It’s only a week long because we will otherwise all throw up a little in our mouths from all the goodwill.)

Meg Gardiner Interview on Amazon

Jeff VanderMeer • June 24th, 2008 • Book Reviews

I just posted my comprehensive interview with Meg Gardiner, whose China Lake found a US publisher after Stephen King raved about the book in Entertainment Weekly. I found Gardiner a sharp and interesting interview subject.

Excerpt: Cults divide the world into Good–them–and Evil–the rest of us. To those in their blessed little band they offer love, salvation, and paradise. They promise members a unique role at the center of great cosmic events. Some promise followers a front row seat for Armageddon. Sometimes they just take people’s money and hollow out their spirits. But cults feed on us-versus-them thinking. They may believe they’re embattled, and nurture a raging sense of grievance. This makes them prone to conspiracy theories. They can become paranoid, and start to believe that great forces are not just persecuting them, but massing to strike. And at that point they can spiral into violence, self-destruction, or terrorism.

Praise for Steampunk–and Other Anthos to Check Out

Jeff VanderMeer • June 24th, 2008 • Book Reviews, Uncategorized

The Fix has a very positive review of our Steampunk anthology running today. As this review and others have noted, there’s a pleasing aspect to both Steampunk and The New Weird that you don’t find in most fiction anthos. In that we thought hard about how each anthology should “look” structurally and we then worked like the dickens to implement that structure without making it into a straitjacket. (The Windling/Datlow-edited The Coyote Road is another excellent example of providing necessary context and structure in an intelligent way.)

BUT, if you’ve already picked up Steampunk and The New Weird, here are two “mirroring” anthologies that might also please you: The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases (definitely in a pseudo-Victorian/Steampunk mode) and Leviathan 3: Some Were Made Wise By the Book, Some Insane.

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Books Received–June 24

Jeff VanderMeer • June 24th, 2008 • Book Reviews

As well as these super-cool items:

The Church’s CD of Shriek Music: Awesome

Jeff VanderMeer • June 23rd, 2008 • Book Reviews, Music Reviews, News, Uncategorized


(The cover of the Shriek limited, art by Ben Templesmith, design by John Coulthart; extras include The Church’s Shriek CD, a DVD of the Shriek movie, and some other surprises; possibly, Ambergris stamps.)

I’ve got a mile-wide grin on my face right now. I just received the 45-minute CD of music The Church recorded as a soundtrack to my Shriek novel. It will accompany the limited edition of Shriek forthcoming from Wyrm Publishing.

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The Onion’s Nerds of Summer: New Weird, Nova Swing, and More

Jeff VanderMeer • June 23rd, 2008 • Uncategorized

The Onion’s blog recently posted a list of nerdish summer reading, including The New Weird.

My Favorite Fantasists in the Short Story Form

Jeff VanderMeer • June 23rd, 2008 • Book Reviews, Culture, Uncategorized


(Cover art to the amazing Tin House: Fantastic Women volume, guest-edited by Rick Moody)

In thinking about reading for Best American Fantasy, two things really stood out for me: (1) the Tin House: Fantastic Women volume was the most spectacular single issue I read, holding up and in fact becoming more luminous and deep with each re-read and (2) most of the short fiction I’ve read recently that I’ve been most passionate about has come from female writers.

So I thought I’d post a list of the newish or under-appreciated short fiction writers I’m most excited about these days, who just happen to be women (with a few notes). These are writers who exclusively or sometimes write fantasy in all of its various and diverse forms. For me, this is where the true energy in non-realistic short fiction is coming from–and hopefully for many of them, soon, in novel form, too.

I’ve tried not to include obvious choices like Kelly Link, Kathe Koja, Karen Joy Fowler, M. Rickert, Theodora Goss, Ekaterina Sedia, Rikki Ducornet, Catherynne M. Valente, Margo Lanagan, Elizabeth Hand, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Elizabeth Bear, or Kage Baker, all of whom are familiar favorites to most readers. My list does not include writers known primarily for their novels. I’m also sure there are a few I’m leaving out, so please forgive me. Regardless, I highly recommend you check out all of these writers and buy the Tin House volume. It’s great all the way through.

Jeff

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Escaping The Prisoner’s Island

Jeff VanderMeer • June 22nd, 2008 • Uncategorized

Very funny post about how various writers would escape the island featured in the British TV show The Prisoner.

Jeff VanderMeer would disappear underground in the caves around the village, and he would be the only one to escape the carnage from the old ones beneath.

Actually, since I need some uninterrupted writing time, I probably wouldn’t try to escape for a couple of years–and then I’d only need to make sure my manuscript escaped.

Enter the Octopus Redux

Jeff VanderMeer • June 22nd, 2008 • Culture

Check out the latest from Enter the Octopus, the blog of Matt Staggs, whose links posts have already become the stuff of legend.

An interview with Andrew Cooper, who just made his first fiction sale.

A review of Chabon’s A Gentleman of the Road

And, of course, the links Inferno-blitzkrieg that is…Matt’s Bookosphere

Just Call Me “Dream-Killer VanderMeer”

Jeff VanderMeer • June 22nd, 2008 • Book Reviews, Culture

Every once in awhile my Amazon feature on Joe Nigg’s How to Raise and Keep a Dragon still gets a comment from a kid, like this one:

I have NO IDEA of how to get the FULL address of where the Mushussu dragons are sold. I don’t know the cost either.My mom, though, is willing to pay for a live one. PLEASE TELL ME AS MUTCH AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN ABOUT IT!!!! P.S. I LOVE dragons!

So I’ve finally had to reaffirm that dragons are imaginary in a comment of my own. Sigh. Well, I guess with global warming and world famine on the way, it’s time for kids everywhere to be disillusioned in preparation…