Archive for May, 2009

Helsinki Escalates Penguin Wars

Jeff VanderMeer • May 4th, 2009 • Culture


(Sick of penguin wars? Well, I’m not.)

Trusted spy correspondent Juha Tupasela provides valuable intel on an escalation I was unaware of:

“Your influence continues to be seen here in the far north, now in the form of heavily armed penguins (you will of course recall the plague of mushroom infiltrators I told you about earlier this year). It looks like the penguin wars that you’ve been publicizing over the past months have spilt over into Helsinki in the form of posters advertising a heavy metal festival. I can’t explain it, but somehow you seem to have tapped into Helsinki’s vibe, or Helsinki has tapped into your vibe. Either way, this connection promises interesting times ahead for the city. I’m sorry for the poor quality of the photo, it was taken in the middle of morning rush hour on the metro. I’ll try to get a better one later this week.”

It’s kind of Juha to blame me for the penguin thing, but it’s actually the fault of native species.

I will await further intel. But, as usual, me ‘n’ Helsinki–we’re good buds.

Clowns: They’re Not Just for Breakfast Any More!

Jeff VanderMeer • May 3rd, 2009 • Uncategorized

Matt Cheney has posted an interesting review of The Pilo Family Circus by Will Elliott. I know Ann thinks highly of this book. I’m afraid I have a problem with clowns in fiction that’s similar to my problem with Westerns: I tend not to be drawn to them. It’s not so much an antipathy as an indifference. Now, put a clown in a wider context, like a huge circus in which they have a small role–I’m fine. Put them front-and-center…not so much. I fully admit this is a fault in me, but, there it is…

It does, however, make me wonder what a reprint antho of clown fiction would like? Are there enough iconic clown stories to make an antho?

A Special Michael Bishop Story on StarShipSofa

Jeff VanderMeer • May 3rd, 2009 • Culture

Received from StarShipSofa:

StarShipSofa narrates Vinegar Peace, a SF story wrote by Michael Bishop for his son Jamie Bishop who died two years ago at the Virginia Tech shooting.

Michael Bishop says:

I wrote “Vinegar Peace” — in August of 2007 — because I had to. Our 35-year-old son, Jamie, died on the morning of April 16, 2007, as one of thirty-two victims of a disturbed shooter on the campus of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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Moving Dragon Head…Again

Jeff VanderMeer • May 2nd, 2009 • Culture, Photos


(Do Erin and Ann look happy about moving the dragon head? Um, no.)

So it was dragon head movin’ time again, since Erin’s moving to Amsterdam with grandson Riley. Some of you may remember the original dragon head posts (part 1 and part 2), in which we bought it in St. Augustine and managed somehow, despite being shoved up in our car’s front seats, to drive it back three hours to our house. The dragon head was rescued from a temporary “Destination China” exhibit somewhere in Orlando–at least that’s what the St. Augustine antiques dealer told us.

Now it was time to find a way to get it from Erin’s house to ours…

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Ephemera for Wastelands, Jessup, Moorcock

Jeff VanderMeer • May 2nd, 2009 • Nonfiction

A couple excerpts below from various introductory or outro materials recently written or published.


(sample cover by Templesmith–now, that’s a Mord!)

Wasteland: The Apocalyptic Edition Volume 1 by Antony Johnston and Christopher Mitten (covers by Templesmith), out in July.

From the intro: “Sometimes Big Ideas come out of deceptively small beginnings. In the first issue of Wasteland, a wanderer named Michael comes out of the desert into a small settlement. It’s a century after the Big Wet has destroyed the world as we know it. Michael wants to sell the flotsam and jetsam he’s picked up during his travels, including an enigmatic machine. He’s a survivor with hidden powers, but he meets his match in the person of the healer Abi, among the best female characters in comics. Not only will Abi not let him alone, she won’t even let him bleed out in peace….What happens next is similar to what happens in Stephen King’s iconic Dark Tower series: the world created by Antony Johnston opens up in continually unexpected and complex ways.” Really love this series. There’s even a soundtrack!

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The Best of Michael Moorcock, the Best of Kirby, and, er, Wicked Plants

Jeff VanderMeer • May 1st, 2009 • Book Reviews

UPDATE: Review in the Guardian, which reads in part, “The author’s compassion for his fellow humans comes through in every story, from the wrenching study of a mad rock star’s long-suffering girlfriend in ‘The Opium General’ to a gentle vignette of sword and sorcery hero Elric in ‘A Portrait in Ivory’. A long-overdue retrospective.”

The cover, and interior detail, from Tachyon’s The Best of Michael Moorcock, edited by John Davey with assistance from Ann and me. As I discuss in the afterword, it’s nearly impossible to do a 150,000-word best-of for Mike’s short fiction, but we were helped out by Del Rey’s Elric series. It seemed ridiculous to reproduce much Elric material, given that series. So think of this as the best of Moorcock mostly minus Elric–but including a lot of his best mainstream and non-series material–that makes a nice volume to sit alongside the Del Rey volumes. I really love much of the less fantastical stuff, too. Only thing I would’ve wanted to include is “Casablanca,” but it was way too long, and not truly part of the core World War III cycle, since it’s a prequel. John Coulthart did the brilliant interior design.

A couple additional really cool books below…

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Secret Lives–Give Me My Boxing?

Jeff VanderMeer • May 1st, 2009 • Uncategorized

Just a note that I have some Secret Lives left for sale. The details of the offer are here. (All orders received have gone out, btw.) If I sell three more, I can justify ordering the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton pay-per-view fight this weekend, and I know that would make Charles Tan very, very happy. Er, and I’ll contribute ten percent of what comes in to the Nature Conservancy so I satisfy my selfish and my better halves…

Can this guy stop the Pac-Man? C’mon, underneath the indifference, you know you care…

Best American Fantasy–Offering Review Copies

Jeff VanderMeer • May 1st, 2009 • Uncategorized

We’ve got some extra copies of Best American Fantasy 2008. If you’re a blogger or reviewer interested in reading and covering this title, send me an email at vanderworld at hotmail.com and I’ll see what I can do to hook you up. Please include your address and the media outlet/blog you represent in your initial query to save some time.

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