But Enough About Me–What’s Up With You?

Me, I’m going to be flailing around at 9pm EST in Second life for a Copper Robot interview.

I’d also like to alert you to the publication of Real Unreal: Best American Fantasy, guest edited by Kevin Brockmeier. This is the third installment of the best-of anthology Ann and I founded with help from Sean Wallace. Underland Press is doing a lovely job publishing it, and Kevin, with the help of volume 3’s series editor Matthew Cheney, has found some amazing stories. BAF is the only series with revolving guest editors, allowing readers to get a different point of view on the field every year. Volume 4’s guest editor will be the remarkable Minister Faust. If you want to support eclectic and diverse views of the field, please buy this book. It needs your support.

Meanwhile, the TOC for BAF3 is below the cut.

Even more meanwhile, I’m buried in deadlines the rest of the week and unlikely to post more, so please do entertain me with stories of what you’ve been up to. Plug stuff. Tell me harrowing anecdotes. Ask silly questions. Whatever you like.

•”Safe Passage” by Ramona Ausubel (One Story, Issue 106)
•”Uncle Chaim, Aunt Rifke, and the Angel” by Peter S. Beagle (Strange Roads)
•”Cardiology” by Ryan Boudinot (Five Chapters, 2008)
•”The Pentecostal Home for Flying Children” by Will Clarke (The Oxford American, Issue 61)
•”For a Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing” by Martin Cozza (Pindeldyboz, July 6 2008)
•”Daltharee” by Jeffrey Ford (The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy)
•”Is” by Chris Gavaler (New England Review, Volume 39, Number 2)
•”The Torturer’s Wife” by Thomas Glave (The Kenyon Review, Fall 2008)
•”Reader’s Guide” by Lisa Goldstein (F&SF, July 2008)
•”Search Continues for Elderly Man” by Laura Kasischke (F&SF, September 2008)
•”Pride and Prometheus” by John Kessel (F&SF, January 2008)
•”The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates” by Stephen King (F&SF, October/November 2008)
•”Couple of Lovers on a Red Background” by Rebecca Makkai (Brilliant Corners, Summer 2008)
•”Flying and Falling” by Kuzhali Manickavel (Shimmer, The Art Issue 2008)
•”The King of the Djinn” by David Ackert & Benjamin Rosenbaum (Realms of Fantasy, February 2008)
•”The City and the Moon” by Deborah Schwartz (The Kenyon Review, Spring 2008)
•”The Two-Headed Girl” by Paul Tremblay (Five Chapters, 2008)
•”The First Several Hundred Years Following My Death” by Shawn Vestal (Tin House 34)
•”Rabbit Catcher of Kingdom Come” by Kellie Wells (Fairy Tale Review, The White Issue)
•”Serials” by Katie Williams (American Short Fiction, Summer/Fall 2008)


  1. Rick Keeney says

    I’m a grad student in Special Education working on certification in Developmental Cognitive Disabilities and a concentration in Autism and every time in any class that cognition is discussed the conversation turns more mystical than some of the finest fantasy I have ever read. Isn’t it funny how lofty we sound when we really have no clue? Not talking so much about fantasists as about everyday people trying to assail the incomprehensible.

    good day,

  2. says

    I’ve been working on my new novel Creation Science, formatting my first novel Acts of the Apostles for smashwords, job hunting, firefighting, and sketching a book review/essay that compare’s Vandermeer’s Ambergris with William Kennedy’s Albany, New York.

  3. says

    I’m pondering my faith. I know that most people follow the same faith as their parents, and that they don’t look too far afield because their faith just feels right. On one hand, I think that can’t happen to me, because my faith feels like the right one. On the other hand, maybe I’m just like other people. Maybe I’m only a skeptical Agnostic because that’s what my parents are, that’s what I was raised with.

  4. Nemone says

    I’m on the edge of something high and i have to jump.
    I learnt to read at age 3 and it inmediately became an addiction.Can’t live without it.Several books at once, always.I started writing when i was 6, but it wasn’t until age 15 that i realized i wanted(and could) to write for someone other than my family.I wrote a novel that i wouldn’t show to anybody now.During the last few years, i’ve become bilingual, finished a degree, written many short stories in various genres, started a (better written) novel and even shown my tales around, to a few well-read people .It’s all good.All encouragement.I want to.I have to.I am a writer.I sit here trying to choose the best stories to send out to mags, do they read the whole tale? must it shock at the beginnig or can i afford to build up?what about leaving the twist for the ending?
    The truth is, there is only one real question in my head:what if they tell me i’m not good enough?this is all i want to do, what i’m built for,what i need ,what i breathe.
    But i have to jump off this ledge, because if i don’t, then i’ll never know, right?
    Ok.Deep breath.Ready? one, two…..

  5. says

    I’m 2 courses away from finishing a sign language competency certificate. Feeling far too blah and sleep-deprived to go to a 2.5 hour class after work tonight though. :(

  6. says

    I’m part of a team madly interviewing people for the Australian SpecFic Snapshot – we have something like 35 interview up already and aim to have more than 80 by the end of the week, across six different blogs. The idea is to get a snapshot of who is writing, publishing, and basically doing things in the Australian specfic scene, six months or so before we host Aussiecon 4 (this year’s Worldcon).

    Here’s my most recent interview, with Lezli Robyn – it includes links to all the interviews that preceded hers, and the blogs to watch for further Snapshot interviews. http://tansyrr.com/tansywp/snapshot-2010-lezli-robyn/

  7. says

    I’m busy with some sort of reading project…oh, and reading works by this dead Chilean poet/writer. And still fearing rabid squirrels like nobody’s business. So…the usual?

  8. says

    I’m almost through with “The Granta Book of the American Long Story”. I needed a long break after “The Making of an Ashenden”. You know, the bear. *shivers*

    Google that if you aren’t familiar and you are unconcerned of spoilers.

    It is a story best read out loud in a bar, to an audience of willing drunks. Failing bars and drunks, I had to make do in my apartment, trying hard not to vomit.

  9. says

    I’m getting ready for a big plant show in Fort Worth three weeks from this coming Saturday, and I have a lecture at the All-Texas Garden Show in Arlington on February 27 and 28. Yes, I get to spend my half-birthday going into detail on the seven surefire ways that anybody can kill their Venus flytrap, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    (Along that line, I’m going to be causing the same sort of trouble at Readercon this July, so be warned. The Friday of the con, I’m getting together a caravan and driving out to Black Jungle Terrarium Supply in Farmingham, loading up on new carnivores, and bringing them back to discuss at the convention. If you and Ann are planning on hitting the convention, you’ll boogie ’til you puke.)

  10. Angela Slatter says

    I’ve been yelled at by people over the phone for the last 3 weeks – that never gets old. But next week, I will be running a short story masterclass and that will be a gravy boat of awesome.

  11. Jeff VanderMeer says

    JM–it also helps me a lot in writing the intro to my Monstrous Creatures nonfic collection. Thanks.

  12. says

    I have been all over the internet this month after doing an interview with Linda Lombardi of the Associated Press. That led to an interview by PEOPLEPets and telegraph.co.uk, a bit part on CNN’s Rick’s Rules (lame), and various other places. I believe my 15 minutes of fame are almost up but I am riding pretty high right now! I *am* the World’s Most Famous Capybara!

  13. Egg says

    Pretty book. I want it.

    What have I been doing?
    I live near DC and have been stuck in the snow.
    It’s to the point where I keep wondering when the Dr. Zhivago reinactors are going to appear.
    Keep hearing Lara’s theme in my head.

  14. says

    I’ve been…designing a CD package of contemporary Italian horror-disco (think Giorgio Moroder meets Dario Argento; not a very crowded field), designing & illustrating a Lansdale cover with a Zeppelin on it, and putting together a wraparound cover for a forthcoming issue of Alan Moore’s new magazine, Dodgem Logic. Also rediscovering all my music CDs courtesy of an insanely powerful NAD amplifier. February usually sucks; this one doesn’t.

  15. says

    I’ve almost finished reading Gene Wolfe’s Return to the Whorl – really excellent book – and now I’ve got a stupid question; what should I read next? I’ve got some books in the pipeline and Finch is one of them, however I’m not sure I’m quite ready for it yet, because when I’ve read it – no more Ambergris books to read. :-(

    The other books on my ‘to read list’ are the latest WoT-book, Neverwhere by Gaiman and The Eternal Champion (Omnibus ed.) by Michael Moorcock. Any suggestions on which order to read these?

  16. says

    I just cracked open and started Finch today, actually! Mister Jeff, I don’t understand how mushroom people are able to take pictures with their eyes, but maybe I’m not all that smart (or should just read the dang book).

    And I’m looking at a huge box of copies of my latest book Bear Quest (which you can read here: http://www.gnourg.com/bear)! It will be available in March. Further preparing for a big comic book con we do here beginning of that month too.

  17. says

    Hey Jeff,

    I’m just into the final shuffling together of my philosophy MPhil on Authentic Ethics, trying to get my professional website/journal put together as suggested in Booklife, working on a review of The Situation to go there, and reading The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories by Gene Wolfe for my attempt to read 150 books this year (it is my 19th book so far).

  18. says

    Hm… you invited plugs, so…

    I’m two weeks late for Bull Spec #1, and even if I send my files to the printer today (I won’t) it would be another 10 days at least. But I put a cover together which doesn’t horrify me and I have some stories I’m happy with and proud to publish, including one never-before-published local author which is fun. I’ve been happily dealing with local bookstores and getting more “Yesses” than “Maybes” on carrying the magazine. And when I thought transcribing video interviews was time-consuming and mind-numbing, I was right. But perhaps not quite as time-consuming and mind-numbing as editing those transcriptions into sensible interviews and then laying those interviews out onto magazine pages. But it’s been great to get some early feedback on some of the interviews, for example Timothy Deal from Shroud Publishing seemed pretty happy with my interview of D. Harlan Wilson:


    “D. sent me a copy of the interview. It’s compressive, intelligent, and enlightening.”

    Sweet! I’m overbudget and late, stressed out a bit and tired. It’s great. Design is absolutely not an area I have any skill or talent in, but it will be “something” to say “Bull Spec is edited, designed, and published by (my name here)” when it’s done. And I’m already looking forward to issue #2, when I’ll get to talk to John Kessel (NCSU MFA professor, “Pride and Prometheus” author, editor, etc.) and I already have a couple stories booked for it.

    Unfortunately on the writing side of things, I’ve just not been able to put any time together. Between a “real job” and a 2-kid family and the “other” job editing, it is stealing from too many pies to write. I did seal myself into my office for a couple of hours to try to finish a story, but having written about 0 words in 2010, I wrote myself into a corner of “the land of no fun.” Ah well. It doesn’t look good for writing in 2010 for me. I don’t think I fully understood the commitment when I committed to launching even a “hobby” magazine, but I’m committed and if that means other optional things go by the wayside, well, that’s where I am: taking notes on story ideas and hoping that maybe, some day, I’ll get back to them.

    I’m looking forward to the steampunk anthology most of all of Jeff V’s current projects, I think. I’ve got my fingers crossed for some submissions from a couple folks I know, which would take that to another level.

  19. says

    And I forgot the “fun” part. I received my first bit of “official” Bull Spec mail (along with a PO Box jammed/stuffed full of SPAM addressed to the previous box holder…) from Paul Riddell at his Texas Triffid Ranch — some flyers and a nice little lapel button pin. When I Googled to find more about his book “Greasing the Pan” one of the first hits was Jeff’s review of it on Omnivoracious:


    And finding out that it made Jeff’s “best of” for 2009:


    Anyway, receiving that fun bit of mail encourages me to join Mr. Riddell in (paraphrased) “resurrecting the old zine tradition of sending interesting random items to each other.” Now all I need are some interesting random items… Unfortunately, Jeff gathered every scrap of available interesting item, coast-to-coast, on his Finch/Booklife tour, so there’s nothing left for us scavengers.

  20. says

    Sent a new manuscript off to Howard. Goofing off for most of February before starting to novel again. Watching the game, having a Bud. Except not a Bud, probably Blue Moon actually.

  21. says

    Actually, I have nothing interesting under the category of “up with” but I DID want to say how absolutely pleased I am to see Thomas Glave’s name in the TOC as he is brilliant and marvelous and one of my favorite human beings on earth. I already knew I was buying the book, but now I think I’ll get two. Just cuz.

  22. Ian says

    I just moved from Chicago to NYC to be with my girl friend. I’m a line cook- basically a ‘cybernetic’ extension of the chef, because they haven’t yet designed a machine to do what I can do. Well, at least not as cheaply. I start work tomorrow, but in the mean time I’ve been enjoying New York without spending a lot of money. The first thing I did was get a library card, naturally, and I’m about three quarters of the way through ‘The House of Storms’ by Ian R. Mcleod. I write, like everybody else, but I’m still in the ‘crazy vision without much substance’ stage.

    Love the blog!

  23. says

    hi! i’m doing paperwork, proofreading texts, formulating the principles behind compositions for my first solo album which is sort of a novel of ideas turned music (and my MA degree project) which is well on its way and has a mixing deadline for the end of march. listening to jeff’s talk at MIT on the ipod provides welcome brainfood in between. it’s interesting how literature and interviews/talks by writers provide more ideas on experimental electronic music that other music…