Archive for March, 2010

Sequel Planned to the Kosher Guide: The Goyim Guide

Jeff VanderMeer • March 31st, 2010 • News

The Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals has been so popular already, despite not officially being released until tomorrow, that we’ve already been commissioned by Tachyon to do a sequel, aimed at a more general audience.

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Finch and Coulthart’s Finch Cover (Vote!)–Up For Spinetingler Awards

Jeff VanderMeer • March 31st, 2010 • News

My novel Finch is up for the Spinetingler Award for Rising Star (4 to 8 novels published)…heh. I almost feel young again. My friend Brian Evenson’s Last Days is also up–congrats to all the nominees.

From here it’s a straightforward voting shoot-out, so I’m going to break my general rule of not lobbying for awards and suggest you go vote…for the books you like the most.

BUT I have to say–and I feel passionately about this, more passionately than about any award nomination at any point in my career–I urge you to vote for John Coulthart’s phenomenal cover for Finch, which is up in the last category. It’s up against some great covers, but, I’m sorry, it’s no contest. Coulthart is the best, and deserves the recognition for some of the best covers in recent memory.

So in that category, I urge you to vote for Coulthart, for Finch.

Clarke Awards Coverage

Jeff VanderMeer • March 31st, 2010 • Culture

I just posted a piece on the just-announced Arthur C. Clarke Award finalists at Omnivoracious, including quotes from some finalists. (Also don’t miss my interview with SJ Chambers about monster mashups.)

I hope to interview the other nominees or feature their books between now and the awards announcement.

Here are some snippets I couldn’t use in the piece.

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Evil Monkey Takes a Jaunt to the B&N Review

Jeff VanderMeer • March 29th, 2010 • Evil Monkey, News

Evil Monkey continues to conquer the world, appearing this week in an interview at the B&N Review about our Kosher Guide to Imaginary Animals. Here’s an excerpt…

The Barnes & Noble Review: Ann, you teach Bar and Bat Mitzvah classes. Do you get questions from students along the lines of “Is a Wookie kosher?”

Ann: You would be surprised at some of the questions I get from the students. I actually learn quite a bit from them. I can’t always answer their questions so it requires me to study more myself. They get a kick out of that. Also, it shows them that you are never done learning. What I like to do is to ask THEM if Wookkies are Kosher and then see what they say. I remember having a deep discussion once about Captain Underpants when we were talking about the clothing worn by the Kohanim in the Holy Temple.

Evil Monkey: I was there when they started talking about Captain Underpants. That was one of the proudest moments of my life…

Evil Monkey: Well, at least it ranked right up there.

Jeff: I hope you behaved yourself.

Evil: Oddly enough, I did.

Jeff: Then I think, in light of your new civility, you might consider putting down both the uzi and whisky bottle.

The Smell of the Weird: Sniffing Books

Jeff VanderMeer • March 26th, 2010 • Book Reviews, Photos

In going through our library and acquiring books for our reading for The Weird antho, I’ve noticed once again the smell of books, and in particular the smell of the weird. Herein I disclose Part 1 of my findings, with a relatively small sample.

Jean Ray’s Ghouls in My Grave dates from 1965, and thus there’s a full-on must surrounding this slim paperback. The cover’s foxed and there are a couple of peculiar gray stains on the binding that add to the ambiance. The scent surrounding the book like a mist is a subtle yet sharp melange of cigar smoke, mold, gravel, and something in the background I can’t quite identify no matter how long I sniff Ghouls. Dry earth? Anyway, this is a classic case of the aging of a book creating the perfect smell for its subject matter. Indeed, one might speculate from this sampling that some reading experiences will only have the appropriate tactile element after an aging process has occurred. (Taken to its furthest extreme, Kerouac would require steeping in years of cross-country buses and cars and anything by Bukowski would need to be marinated in a bar for decades.)

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There Are Ghouls in My Grave…

Jeff VanderMeer • March 24th, 2010 • News

…and I have to get the little blight-ers out. They’re insidious, and they like to trip you by stamping on your shadow.

Most likely, this space will keep blinking back at you with the exact same text until Monday, unless something news-worthy comes along. Better no posts than filler-posts. Meanwhile, as I clear out the ghouls, feel free to tell me what you’ve been up to, dear ghosts.

(Meanwhile, I will be messing about on facebook as my “down’ time.)

Tentacles! With Shelley Winters and John Huston!

Jeff VanderMeer • March 22nd, 2010 • Movie Reviews

Yesterday, while doing our taxes, we followed up Pandorum, Dune, Moon, and Alien with a movie on cable…Tentacles. From 1977, clear rip-off of Jaws.

I have a feeling that everyone else already knows about this D-movie, but we were just aghast, watching winters, Huston, and others do their best impression of stink-o-rama. In one scene a killer whale trainer embarks on a long monologue aimed at convincing the whale to fight the killer giant octopus.

Here’s more of it, for masochists…

New Book for Capclave: The Three Quests of the Wizard Sarnod

Jeff VanderMeer • March 21st, 2010 • News


(Just one of John Coulthart’s many visionary creations.)

Ann and I, along with Connie Willis, are guests of honor this year at Capclave in October, and if you register now you can also order my forthcoming book from their press, The Three Quests of the Wizard Sarnod, as well as Willis’s Fire Watch. Both are 500-copy limited editions. Proceeds help to benefit the organization that funds Capclave.

What is The Three Quests of the Wizard Sarnod? It’s an alternate version of my long story “The Final Quest of the Wizard Sarnod” in Songs of the Dying Earth, edited by Gardner Dozois and George RR Martin. I’m indebted to them for allowing this to happen, as well as indebted to the US/UK publishers for giving their approval.

How alternate is this version? It contains an additional main character and additional story thread, as well as a modified ending.

In addition, Ann will be providing an afterword that’s a tell-all about our work together and genius designer John Coulthart will be designing the cover and interior. (Drool.)

More info after the cut.

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Pandorum–Hidden Gem

Jeff VanderMeer • March 20th, 2010 • Movie Reviews

I’m not going to defend mutation science as applied to Pandorum, but I have to say: if you haven’t seen this film, you should. It’s twisty in the best way, horrific in a way that actually turns out to make sense, and although it uses tropes and ideas you’ve seen in lots of other deep space horror flicks, it is original in its way. I would call this film brilliant for its renovations. It’s not original, but as a renovation of tropes that have become cliche, it does an excellent job, and is well worth your time.

Squidpunk…It Might Just Be Go-Time?…

Jeff VanderMeer • March 20th, 2010 • News


(NOTE–This is a FAKE cover from an April Fool’s joke. Contributor list NOT actual. NOTHING is actual. Funsies. Funsies, people.)

I’m not at liberty yet to say who’s doing Squidpunk, but it’s looking more and more possible as a trade paperback. (Is it through Ministry of Whimsy? Maaaybe.)

Since this project does seem to be lurching forward once we’ve cleared some other deadlines, what’re your favorite horror or fantasy stories in some way featuring squid, octopi, cuttlefish, or cephalopods in general? From, say, the last 200 years. Just, y’know, because you’ve got nothing better to do…

(PS Finch made it through to round 2 of BSC’s book tourney–go vote against me and take me out of this silly-fest. John Finch would like some rest, thank you very much.)