Strangeness in the Mail…and Elsewhere

Jeff VanderMeer • May 19th, 2009 @ 7:17 pm • Book Reviews


(This was on some booktv show for like 10 minutes before it changed. No wonder people think books on TV be borin’.)

Cat sitter walks in the door. “Um, there’s got to be a story behind those.” Points to the giant blow-up penguin and the huge dragon head. Me: “We’ve got a friend in Australia….sent us penguin…penguin wars…then bought dragon head…at daughter’s place but now we have it. Er, at night people outside think they’re humans.” A kind of suspicious, confused look from cat sitter…but that’s not what I want to talk about today. (Nor do I want to talk about Bib-stalk making my cheeks turn red.)

No, some slightly weird books done come in the door. Like, for example, this one:

It looks like a bone, but it must be a book. ‘Cause I review books, not bones. Caitlin R. Kiernan can do both, I believe, but not me. And how did they get my home address? That’s a little weird…

More weirdness, but a good kind, in the form of a new Rachel Pollack book–but strange in that it was sent from a press in the Czech Republic!

A little investigative work reveals, voila!, that it’s the same people who did this book, which I believe I blogged about after our trip to Prague. Mystery solved.

Then this came. I don’t know what to make of this. The images are both commercial and disturbing. The text is weird, but I’m not sure it’s in a good way.

Do I applaud depictions of same-sex relationships even when the drawings kinda blow?

But then there’s stuff like this that’s kinda cool.

I rolled my eyes at this proto-emo moment. Yes, the pain–of finding out the narrative is just a little bit too twee under all of the agony. “The heartbeats could be heard in each and every one of them crying for help.”

Good, bad, ugly? You tell me. Is it meaningful? Is it symbolic? This is such a crazy, crazy book. “The doll wanted to run away from that horrific scene, but as she got deeper into that dark labyrinth she found several rooms where young terrified girls sold their bodies to the shadows of their captors.”

Oh yeah, and this little item from a virtual unknown came from Subter.

9 Responses to “Strangeness in the Mail…and Elsewhere”

  1. Alex Carnegie says:

    Not entirely sure about the US art for ‘The City & The City’ (if that’s indeed what it is) – it’s a bit more vivid but perhaps not as tasteful or appropriate as that of the UK edition. Makes it look like just another Detective/Crime novel, albeit one a little weirder than usual. Can’t get anymore basic in your iconography than a gun and a magnifying glass! “That says gritty AND mysterious!”

    Re. “at night people outside think they’re humans.” – made me think of Home Alone.
    Burglar #1: “Geez Larry, not that house… I don’t wanna get eaten by the giant penguin or fried by that dragon there, c’mon!”
    Burglar #2: “Shut it, ya big lug”

    Could pass the penguin off as “something I brought back from a skiing trip to The Mountains of Madness”

  2. jeff vandermeer says:

    it’s the limited from sub press.

  3. Adam says:

    I totally dig the cover art for the City and the City. It reminds me of Finch only not as cool. Finch has my favorite book cover ever.

  4. Ennis Drake says:

    I thought my parents were the only people in the entire @#$%#$^#%$^# multiverse who employed cat-sitters!

    And, yes, that’s what I’m focusing on in this post.

    You just send the cats down to me, Vandermeer. I’ll worship them appropriately.

  5. Larry says:

    Alex,

    I’ll have you know that I’m a complete innocent in all this ;)

  6. Hellbound Heart says:

    just wondering, do you have a dog to give your doggie chewy bone to? you must wait with baited breath for the postman to deliver the latest batch of curiosities to your door…
    have a great evening….

  7. Matt Peckham says:

    I’m with Alex. UK cover art, all the way. Not that I really give two clicks about jacket embellishment…unless it’s in the hand of the author, that is.

  8. Michael says:

    Can’t wait to wrap my head around the latest Mieville book. :)

  9. karen jones says:

    What is your opinion? Personally, I dislike the stereotype that women dont know as much about scratching, records, and beatmatching as guys do, since it is a male ego driven field. I think that female DJs can be just as good and even better than men at djing. What do you think?

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