Incoming: Stories Exterior and Interior

(Why do I have these? A–I’m a Halo addict, B–I have been hired by the competition to help create something called “Palo”, C–a legacy player who has grown bored with the game and loves my work is paying me to write Halo fan fic that involves Ambergris, or D–I might be writing a story for an antho.)

It’s time again for an incoming books post, but I thought I’d switch it up this time and add some idea of what’s going on outside the house, too, not just what’s coming into it…

Inside the house, Jeff Smith’s kid’s book is battling it out with John Scalzi’s new novella. This is an even contest, folks. I ain’t betting on it.

Outside the house, a Recurring Squirrel keeps leaving his leavings. Jackson, our cat, often sits right by the door inside and the squirrel stands on the welcome mat outside the door. Jackson makes little soft mipping noises while the squirrel scratches at the wood. Eventually one of them goes crazy and runs away.

Inside the house, The Passion of the Housefrau and Mark Newton’s Nights of Villjamur are not getting along at all. First, they don’t speak the same language and no interpreter will ever change that. Second, one is bright and cheery and the other is dark and serious. Third, although their dust jackets are having an affair, their binding, glue, and pages remain unmoved. (There is also the social barrier–Housefrau is a review copy, whereas Nights was freely given by the author.)

Outside the house, it has become clear that the wisteria has not only conquered the pine tree, it has also laid waste to the mimosa tree. We are only a year or two away from Total Yard Domination by the wisteria. At that point, it will begin to call us up and leave disdainful phone messages. A year after that, it will claim the guest room. Before long we will have no choice but to adopt it and name it “Fred,” or kill it.

Jack O’Connell was kind enough to send me these copies of books I had originally read from the library. It’s been long enough that their stories have faded in my mind, and I can happily and eagerly rediscover them here, now, in my encroaching senility.

Outside, the story of this creature remains to be written, as all I have right now is this photograph of its house. It looks to be made of dried mud, and have a shape much like a tiny barracks. I’m guessing either elves, or some form of insect, perhaps a wasp? Regardless, I find this barracks fascinating and shall report further at some later date.

Inside, my contributor copy of the Hartwell/Cramer Year’s Best SF 14 includes both my own “Fixing Hanover” and the Monette/Bear story “Boojum,” which appeared the pirate antho Ann and I edited. Strange, displeasing quirk, which I may seem churlish for mentioning: it would appear in every instance where Ann and I are listed as editors of anthos from 2008, our names have been reversed, like so “Jeff and Ann VanderMeer.” Is this some odd form of dyslexia? A repeated typo? There is indeed a reason why Ann’s name appears first. Nonethless, it’s a thick book and I’m happy to be in it along with Gaiman, Goonan, Reynolds, Swanwick, et al.

Outside, the rusty, rustic frog band plays on, oblivious of ephemeral things like storms, passing pissing dogs, and falling leaves. Nor do their silent mushroom friends much note these signifiers, either.

Inside, Cat Rambo’s new collection has arrived, hand-delivered by a tired Ann returning by red-eye and with red-eye from Los Angeles and Wow workshop. Of her fiction I have said, “it is often lyrical but tough-minded, unabashedly mixing traditional tropes with unconventional approaches.”

Outside, where lichen and moss once grew, strange leaves now proliferate, curling as if braced to pull up all as one to reveal branches, trunk, and tree.

Inside, this perplexing thick hardcover by a well-respected graphic novelist. It contains a dizzying mix of good-hearted cuteness and hard-edged kink that I cannot really process. I include below two examples–the sweetest page in the book and the kinkiest (redacted not to disrespect the artist but to protect youngish eyes–including my own!).


  1. says

    Master Chief travels to Ambergris to try and wipe out the Mushroom folk??? …… nah. I think the fungal bombs/weapons from Shriek would take him out pretty quick. haha!

  2. Hellbound Heart says

    ….kinda looks like a day of the triffids-type thing happening out in your yard, jeff……
    i’d love to witness the standoff between the squirrel and jackson, what a crack up!

    peace and love……

  3. JesseBird says

    I can’t make out the title that Cat Rambo collection. Between her work with you on “The Surgeons Tale” and her critique of “Twilight” on this here blog, her writing is something I look forward to reading.

    What’s it called and when will it be seeing distribution?