Revolution SF: Interview, Review, and ***SQUID DRAWING CONTEST***!!!!!!!!!!

I think you can tell from the image above that you can draw a better squid than me, and that you should enter Revolution SF’s awesome “Draw a Squid, Win All Three Ambergris Novels (plus soundtracks)” Contest. Go check out the rules. Please note that these are the three trade paperbacks, and that you will get all three soundtracks–by Robert Devereux, The Church, and Murder by Death–even though it says on that page just the Finch one. So…YOU ALL DAMN WELL BETTER DRAW SQUID, BECAUSE IT’LL BE ONE OF THE MOST FUN THINGS I GET TO DO ON THE ROAD DURING THIS BOOK TOUR–JUDGING YOUR SQUIGGLES. (Even better, some of this stuff might go into a future book…)

So spread the word about the contest, and also these other nice features they’ve been kind enough to do.

The awesome Peggy Hailey’s posted a review of Finch: “I’ve studied the King Squid and followed the discourses of a disgraced historian. I’ve witnessed murders and acts of grace and redemption. I’ve deciphered stories written in code and read monographs that revealed family secrets. I’ve attended the Festival of the Freshwater Squid and survived to tell the tale.”

The splendiferous Rick Klaw’s just interviewed me for his Baker’s Dozen, mostly about Finch: “There are many things in our reality that seem fantastical and alien. Mushrooms are one of those things. They’re neither animal nor plant yet have characteristics of both, and the biology behind them is fascinating. Fungus exists just about everywhere and is essential to life on Earth. Beyond that, they’re fascinating for their potential. Some types of mushrooms can help clean polluted areas. Others have been shown to dramatically reduce cancer rates. As for how I began to use them — they just organically became part of the story of Ambergris as I was writing the first stories.”

Finch is now shipping from Amazon, so, er, if you haven’t bought it, please consider buying it–and if you’ve gotten hold of an advance copy and liked it, please please write an Amazon review, should you have the time. (Official release date for bookstores: November 3rd.

Heretic/Rebel Edition Friday (with linkylink too)

So, um, these dustjackets came in the mail for the limited Finch editions. I have to sign 350 of them and write sentences on 150 of them. I’m going to work on that today to get it out of the way, so in the meantime here’re some recent links to stuff I’m involved in. Enjoy your Friday! – Jeff

Long-Time Mystery Reader, First-Time Noir Writer guest post:
“If I have to skip town, that’s okay. I can always lie low in the next burg over, maybe even pick up some work as an unlicensed PI….”

Ray Banks on Finch:
“The hardboiled stuff could easily have slipped into pastiche, and marrying that to a larger, stranger world whilst keeping emotionally realistic is a hell of an achievement. So too is putting a relatively complex plot into a fully-realised otherworld and managing to maintain a cohesive narrative.”

Prima Storia interview conducted by Grant Stone:
“I wrote Booklife because I’ve been damaged at times by not having balance in my life. I think it’s the crucial issue for writers today: whether not they can switch from tactical responses to strategic responses. As I say in the book, sometimes saying no is the best thing for you to do. Sometimes turning off the internet and not networking is a better career move than being online 24-7. Of course, it depends on how you see writing. I see writing as an art form and a very personal means of expression.”

“Supposedly invented by Professor Archibald Campion in 1893 to prevent “the deaths of men in the conflicts of nations,” the titular Boilerplate is a robot whose exploits this lavish coffee table book documents in fun if exhaustive detail.”

More bling:

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Last Drink Bird Head…In the Flesh…

Awww. C’mon–how can you resist this insane project with 80-plus contributors including Gene Wolfe, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Peter Straub, Ellen Kushner, and others. C’mon. You know you want it...

Lamson Library’s “Illustrating VanderMeer” Exhibit

A very nice article on the exhibit that’s running from now through Nov. 23rd at Plymouth State University’s Lamson Library in New Hampshire. On the evening of the 23rd, my friend and long-time artist on various projects will participate in a reading, discussion, and Q&A from the audience, in the library cafe. Should be fun. Many thanks to Matt Cheney, and to Eric (for putting up with me over the years).

Got 30 Seconds? Got a Camcorder or Camera with Video Capability? Got Cityscapes?

If you’ve got 30 seconds, even just a camcorder of whatever quality–or a phone or camera that takes even half-way decent video–and a backdrop of a ruined part of a city or a ruined part of a city that looks fantastical, and you can shoot yourself talking on camera–just a few lines I’d send–and get it to me in the next week, please email me at vanderworld at and I’ll send the words. Clothing worn during your shoot must be devoid of brand names or other contemporary markers. Backdrops should be devoid of same, although store fronts and the like are acceptable if not neon or in other ways clearly contemporary.

Things I Like Today

(Is it a good or bad thing that Neo lets us put coasters on him?)

I also like Charles Tan’s essay on sexism/racism in anthologies, Tessa’s run-down of the Halo collaboration, and John Scalzi’s post on girl cooties. The Tan essay analyzes things from a lot of different angles and provides a space for full discussion of the issue.

I also like Daniel Maier-Katkin’s Stranger From Abroad and long cats:

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The End of Ambergris: Remembering It All, Forgetting It All

(Finch, hitting bookstores on November 3.)

The postman brought a box of Finch today. I opened them half-reluctantly for some reason, then just about died when I saw the top copies were gap-toothed: the left margin of the cover didn’t quite match up to the interior pages. Then saw these were only the first few on top, and the rest were fine. I’d had a sudden image in my head of these village-idiot-looking copies populating bookstores. But, not to worry. The majority look awesome.

In the back, there’s the classiest advert I’ve ever seen in a book:

And it looks awesome next to the Murder by Death CD (that band is just so bad-ass; don’t know another word for it).

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Bear with Me…

Just a note that with so many projects debuting this month or next, and so many other things starting up, I realize that there are probably too many entries that feel self-promotional. Thanks for your patience, I hope it isn’t becoming white noise. Unfortunately, most of this stuff is very important to my career and to my continued freelancing. Just know that starting in November you’ll have a wonderful bunch of guest bloggers posting on a wide variety of topics.

Right now, too, with the five-week endurance tour starting in only about two weeks, things are hectic and out of balance. If I haven’t replied to your email, that’s probably why. Just an incredible amount of work and writing to get done between now and the 27th. (And, frankly, if you’re interested in helping out re the tour or anything else, please drop me a line at vanderworld at

I hope you’re still enjoying the blog (are ya oh silent ones?).

P.S. Speaking of silent ones, Tessa at Silence Without has now posted her version of the Halo events dramatized downstream on this blog.

Shared Worlds Guest Writers for 2010

Shared Worlds, the two-week SF/F teen writing camp, is proud to announce that instructors for summer 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/gaming expert Will Hindmarch, and World Fantasy Award winner Jeff VanderMeer, in addition to Wofford College faculty and Jeremy Jones, lecturer and camp director. Artist Scott Eagle will also conduct a workshop during the camp. Special thanks to these generous sponsors of Shared Worlds: Wizards of the Coast LLC, Tor Books, and Realms of Fantasy magazine.

Although the full 2011 roster will be announced later, Shared Worlds is proud 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.

I’ll re-post this next week with registration details when this all goes live on the SW site, but just wanted to give blog readers a sneak preview. Also, I’m happy to announce that Ann and I, with help from a couple others, will be sponsoring a minority scholarship to the camp for 2010. More details on that next week as well. (If you’re interested in contributing to that effort, please contact me at vanderworld at