Heading off for World Fantasy and Last Drink, Leaving You With: Cult Detectives, Booklife(now), Will Hindmarch Poster Power, Speed Weed Comes Clean…

(Not exactly the imposing bird head I wanted, but it’ll have to do. In addition to giving out the first annual Last Drink Bird Head Awards at the party at WFC Thursday night, we’ll be giving away a limited edition of Finch *and* five copies of the Shared Worlds student chapbook designed by John Coulthart–something you can’t get anywhere else–plus probably a couple of other goodies. We’ll accomplish this by throwing this bird into the crowd; you catch it, you win…simple.)

We’re heading off to World Fantasy tomorrow, and hope to see lots of old and new friends there. I’ve posted my schedule before, but remember these in particular: the Last Drink Bird Head party at 8pm Thurs night, Ann and Stephen’s Weird Tales party late Saturday night, and, erm, if you come to my reading at 4pm on Saturday, you’ll get the low-down on why I’m renouncing squid, as well as a reading from Finch that confirms the passing of the torch from squid to fungi. After WFC, it’s the book tour, full details here.

Meanwhile, take a gander at this big-ass reproduction of the Booklife cover on GeekDad, and check out Booklifenow for posts on strengths and weaknesses and book tour ruminations, with more posted tomorrow.

Also, hey–did you know that Speed Weed came clean? Now you do (check Tor later this month for a post by Ann and me on “Can Dirigibles Saunter?”) and that Tom P has a new novel out? And that Will Hindmarch is crazy talented doing these poster thingees for the tour:

Meanwhile, multi-tasking fool that I am, I have been guest blogging on the blog of Portland Oregon’s awesome Powell’s Bookstore, where I’ll be reading on November 7th at 4pm (Cedar Hills location). My first piece went up yesterday, about cult detectives, and why they’re like mushrooms. Tomorrow, probably in the evening, an excerpt from Booklife with commentary, and November 2nd they’ll post some thoughts about the insanely hilarious craziness of this book tour.

I’ll check in before the guest bloggers start Nov. 4 (definitely check this space Nov. 3 for the Finch stuff!), but for now I leave you with evidence that progress is being made on the Finch Insurgency Campaign, in yet another undisclosed location far off in the wide world…

Murder by Death on Creating the Finch Soundtrack

I’ve interviewed Murder by Death for Omnivoracious, asking them about their reading habits, touring, and their work on the Finch soundtrack–which you can sample in the sidebar of this blog. My favorite part of the interview might be this bit:

Adam: …The fun part was trying to think how a mushroom sounds. Since we didn’t use lyrics, we had to communicate all the ideas through music and the feel of song. We decided a vintage Fender Rhodes had the best overall tone for “mushroom”.

(I’ll be checking in at Omni from time to time during my book tour to report on my adventures.)

Direct link to the soundtrack online.

Halo Antho Contributor List

Note: Here’s an account of the collab, in case you missed it.

Below the cut you’ll find the full list of contributors, including myself and Tessa Kum, who collaborated on the 35k novella “The Mona Lisa” for the anthology. In one mistake that makes me kind of sick to my stomach, the title page for the story in the actual book has our names reversed with me coming first. Small thing? I don’t think so, since the reversal of alphabetical order implies that I am the primary author on the story. Which isn’t true. It started as Tessa’s 15k draft, which had the whole plot laid out, and then was fifty-fifty from there. I also wasn’t comfortable when Subterranean Press put my name before Cat Rambo’s on “The Surgeon’s Tale” a couple of years back and I’m now resolved to make sure this damn well never happens again on any future collaboration even if I have to be obnoxious about it. Meanwhile, apparently it’ll be corrected on future editions. Point is: Tessa did the heavy lifting to begin with, and it’s a damn fine collaboration. I hope you enjoy it, and I’m looking forward to the other stories.

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Shared Worlds Teen Writing Camp: Registration Now Open

Please spread the link to this blog post with information about a program that’s near and dear to our hearts, and that we think can contribute to a healthy and diverse future for the field of SF/F. Soon we will also have information about the minority scholarship we’re setting up. – Ann & Jeff

Registration is now open for the 2010 teen science fiction/fantasy writing camp Shared Worlds. Shared Worlds is a unique two-week inter-disciplinary experience on beautiful Wofford campus in Spartanburg, South Carolina. (It’s also fun!) A number of scholarships will be made available. The official sponsors of the camp include Tor Books, Wizards of the Coast LLC, and Realms of Fantasy. SF Signal and io9 have also provided support.

Instructors for 2010 will include Spiderwick Chronicles creator Holly Black, critically acclaimed YA and adult authors Kathe Koja and Marly Youmans, Nebula Award winner Michael Bishop, writer and gaming expert Will Hindmarch, and World Fantasy Award winner Jeff VanderMeer, plus Wofford College’s own Dr. Christine Dinkins, philosophy professor, and Jeremy Jones, lecturer and camp director. Artist Scott Eagle will also conduct a workshop during the camp. Although the full 2011 roster will be announced later, Shared Worlds is pleased to note that Philip K. Dick Award finalist Minister Faust and Nnedi Okorafor, winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature for her novel Zahrah the Windseeker, have both accepted invitations to attend as visiting writers.

“We feel this is the only writing camp of its kind available to teens,” says Shared Worlds assistant director Jeff VanderMeer. “Not only do they learn the skills necessary to build their unique fantasy or SF worlds, which will hold them in good stead in any career they decide to pursue, but they also get expert creative writing instruction and lots of practice developing their ideas collaboratively as a member of a world-building team. As an added benefit, we take the time to conduct one-on-one sessions with each student so we have a better understanding of not only their writing but what they want to get out of the camp.”

The 2010 summer camp will be held from July 18 through July 31.

Recent highlights from the website :

* Students can register now for the 2010 camp.

* The Shared Worlds chapbook, designed by renowned designer John Coulthart and featuring a selection of student writings, can now be viewed online.

* The complete wikis for the worlds created in 2009 are now available. Students create the wikis during the two-weeks of camp.

Doxus Olum

Seeking Steampunks for Fun and…Archiving

(Victoriana Invention poster by John Coulthart)

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this project before–it’s going to be a gorgeous, wonderful book. (If you’ve seen the recent Boilerplate, you know what Abrams Image can do.) Many thanks to the multi-talented S.J. Chambers for coming onboard as Archivist. It’s a major, mammoth project.

Noted Archivist Seeks Steampunks to Index

World Fantasy Award winner Jeff VanderMeer’s The Steampunk Bible, published by Abrams Image, will provide a comprehensive and lavish overview of all aspects of Steampunk, in text and pictures. Research for this momentous and globe-spanning project includes the compilation of a comprehensive Archive of, and Index to, everything and everyone Steampunk and Steampunk-Related. This Archive will be made public online, and you also might be contacted about appearing in the book.

If you would like a website or blog link, book or brick-and-mortar establishment, to be considered for the archive, please send the relevant information to Master Archivist S.J. Chambers (steampunkbible at gmail.com) or to The Steampunk Bible, c/o Jeff VanderMeer, POB 4248, Tallahassee, FL 32315 USA. Make sure to include a short paragraph describing your submission and your complete contact information. Although the Master Archivist’s extensive list of ongoing clockwork projects makes it impossible to guarantee a reply, you may be sure she will give each missive intense scrutiny. As part of a Larger Study, please consider including Your Personal Definition of Steampunk with your email message or snail mail parcel. Rest assured, the Master Archivist and her minions are also out in the World, actively seeking Steampunks for the greater glory of the Archive.

The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals, Almost Complete

Just turning in corrections on the first book Ann and I have written together: The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals.

Ninety-six pages of awesome in beautiful 5 x 7 hardcover form:

—Preface by Joseph Nigg, How to Raise and Keep a Dragon
—Introduction by Ann
—Thirty plus descriptions of fantastical creatures with running commentary between Ann and Evil Monkey
—A hilarious and sometimes raucous discussion of fantastical animal recipes between Ann and Food Network star Duff Goldman (Ace of Cakes)
—Cover and interior by genius designer John Coulthart

Need I say more? Out in February, hopefully in time for Purim.

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The Organizational Elements of a Book Tour

(What’s this all about? Check out Booklifenow Monday afternoon.)

Time’s sped up and is roaring forward. Only about three days until we leave for the World Fantasy Convention, after which I embark on a five-week book tour you might’ve heard about once or twice on this here blawg thing.

A long and complex book tour has more people involved than just the author. In addition to all of the venue contacts and others on the ground at the locations, as well as the good folks at Underland and Tachyon, there are the people at VanderCentral who’ve been masochistic enough to be conscripted sign up for the experience.

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Centipede Press’ Amazing Hodgson, with Visionary Art by Fabian

(Click the four outward arrows for full-screen glory)

Centipede Press…words fail me. I’ve never seen a publisher, outside of the brazen brilliance of Savoy, tackle such stunning projects—and whereas Savoy works within a set format of regular-sized hardcovers collecting uncompromising, edgy outsiders that William Burroughs would laud, Centipede Press often creates oversized hardcovers of the more outsider horror writers. (The two presses are like cousins with a subset of similar interests.)

These projects by Centipede Press are, to me, insane in the best possible way. They seem, from the outside anyway, to require staggering resources and time to create, and they are always made with an eye to detail and a sophisticated aesthetic that doesn’t shy away from the pulp origins of the material.

Now Centipede Press has come out with a book fully the equal of the Lovecraft art volume from last year, this time collecting the work of William Hope Hodgson in a slipcased oversized hardcover featuring the art of Stephen Fabian. Every element of this book has been chosen with care, all possible options weighed before execution. From the full-page bleeds of Fabian’s visionary art to the lovely half-translucent page that balances the marvelous title page art by Ian Miller, from the choice of type to the introduction by Sam Moskowitz, this edition of Hodgson may never be matched.

See the slideshow above for some highlights–and feel free to share it. Honestly, if you’re a collector you need this book. Wow.

Sun Tzu

…would advise that if you’re about to enter into a long and difficult war, it is unwise to divert resources and energy toward actions that although they may be correct and the right thing to do may distract both from the potency and planning of the the acquiring of your main objective. In this context, it is more honorable for the common good, if your war is necessary, to do away with the distraction to ensure victory and to protect your troops.

Which is another way of saying…any kerfuffle witnessed here tonight should now be resolved and I have learned a valuable lesson as to the limits of my energy and my resources.

But I’d also imagine Sun Tzu had a long, long memory.


You all knew it was coming. I’ve been too much of a curmudgeon for too many years for people not to eventually start blaming me. And so it goes. The first step toward atonement is to accept it.

Take 1.



Coming Soon.

Despite unseemly kerfuffles by rude and ridiculous people.