So I was just gearing up to write my next novel, which I was going to call King Squid, Esq., when I look up from all of my deadlines to notice that there’s this other novel out there called Kraken by this Mieville guy.

WTF? My novel was all about a squid cult hiding in a museum in a kind-of London setting and this guy named “Philly” Barrow, and all of the bizarre things that happen to him because of that situation. This Mieville joker’s novel seems, on the face of it, to be similar. Only difference being, I’ve actually swum with squid. Repeatedly. In an actual squid suit.

Now my agent says there’s no way to sell it–I’m going to have to change everything in it related to squid to fungi instead. Tentative new title will be Lord Mushroom, Inc. It’s going to take at least another year to sort this all out. And I’ve got to figure out how to make intelligent mushrooms swim.


  1. says

    I think your next novel ought to be a travelogue starring Grod and Fred the Weed. But that’s just me.

  2. says

    Somewhere in Texas, Mike is still wondering what it is with you people and squids.

    Just remember Jeff, if you ever find the rather intimidating China Mieville heading in your direction, if you ask him when the next Bas-Lag novel is going to be out enough times, his head will implode.

  3. says

    I suspect you are easily intimidated.

    I suspect you are right about Mike. Although it was he brought that linkage to the foreground in his introduction. Thus the smear campaign began.

    As a small footnote to all of this, China contributed an entry to the King Squid bibliography in City of Saints, under the title or author name “Nauty Lis” or something like that.

  4. says

    Now my agent says there’s no way to sell it–I’m going to have to change everything in it related to squid to fungi instead. Tentative new title will be Lord Mushroom, Inc.

    I regard this post in the nature of a contract.

  5. says

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh noes….I guess I’ll have to stop work on the loose sequel to “The Situation,” which involves a city-wide battle between two huge Godzilla-sized organisms and a very odd love story. And my story about how Komodo dragon poison glands are actually portals to other dimensions will have to wait, too.

    I will get right on intelligent mushrooms as flotation devices. :)

  6. says

    LOL. If I ever finish it, it’s going to be the most devastating, crazy, emotional thing I’ve ever done. Hmmm. Sounds like a mess. Mebbee I’ll write about wyrd bunniEs instead.

  7. says

    And that will be the first line: “There will be no ‘instead’. This is in the nature of a contract. Which is how I met the bunniEs and inhaled the spores.”

  8. says

    In a footnote to Mecha-Clute’s 2050 Encyclopedia of Fantasy: “One could say the same of the moment in the querulous pseudo-career of Jeff VanderMeer when, for reasons unknown to us due to the great Internet Purge of 2025, he began to write about the ‘pseudo-bunnies of the Fifth Dimension and their sentient mushroom cohorts.’ However, if not for the religion based on the first book, he might still have survived this insolent decision.”

  9. says

    I believe CM’s next novel has been announced as ‘The Fungal Suzerain’. Something about proletarian revolution among the saprophyte inhabitants of a floating city made of whale barf.

  10. Michael says

    Yes, but how much of this Kracken novel is written in the narrative annotated bibliography form? ; )

  11. says

    But you’re an American, you have your own home-grown, far more powerful tentacled creature of evil to draw on: the Vampire Squid of Wall Street (aka Goldman Sachs). I didn’t make this up, this is not something born of a fevered antipodean brain reeling in Lovecraftian horror from the global depredations of the last surviving superpower, I got this from a bona fide take-overs lawyer in Melbourne – GS are well-known in the US with this name. And I think it even pre-exists the GFC.

    You can put your vampire squid up against Mieville’s puny Kraken any day and you’ll win. GS did – all the way to bank. And the UK’s economy is still broken (Australia only survived because we hid under a rock the whole time).

    I loved FInch, I loved that baroqueness. Now I want to see it taken to new depths with squid. Go for it!