The Weird: All In

So we’re just a week away from turning in the final stories for our weird antho from Atlantic’s Corvus imprint: 750,000 words, covering 100 years. We’re all-in at this point. And I mean that in every possible way. I’ve gained ten pounds the last four months despite my best efforts, drank too much, spent too much time on the computer, been irritable and cranky, and suffered more anxiety than ever before on a project. Gone from incredibly highs to plummeting lows, and back again. Had the stuffing punched out of us and gotten back up and always found work-arounds and ways to get where we wanted to go. (Shout-out to Gio Clairval, our secret weapon, best ally, the spy who knew just enough languages to make a lot more possible.)

Ann’s had it worse because she’s had to deal with permissions crapola while working a day job and running Weird Tales. This is the untold stories of projects that become obsessional, that you believe in too much, especially ones that should take two years but you have to complete in five months. They kind of cripple you, deform your life in the short-run; you need recovery from them, you need people to be proactively kind for awhile. Not just the overload to the brain of reading so much for so long (and yet such a short time, considering), but then the constant pressure of going after permissions, dealing with so many different agents, estates, writers, and other Entities. Not to mention keeping the details straight, which, even with a spreadsheet, is daunting on something this size. (And at the end of the day, despite all of the obstacles, we’ll have acquired all but five of the stories we wanted, as we predicted, and thus reach our word count by attrition not by adding on.)

I said to someone that teaching Shared Worlds and Clarion after our deadlines would be a vacation, a kind of blessing, and I meant it. I don’t believe we have ever gone through such an intense experience. Now we just have to hope it was worth it. Chances are we’ll forget all the blood, sweat, and tears by the time it comes out. Chances are we’ll both shed a tear when the book’s in our hands.

Out in November. Hand-made. Lovingly prepared. Cunningly fought for. If we pull this off, it will be the greatest tactical and strategic victory for any project we’ve ever been associated with, the back story alone worth recounting as a kind of surreal adventure. I don’t know if we’ll ever top it. Just glad to have had such a brilliant reader and editor as Ann as a partner on it.

I’d like my life back, please.


  1. says

    Good work. Now take the next morning off and see if the US-Slovenia match will be an even more of a defensive struggle than tonight’s Game 7 was in the NBA Finals. You know you want to watch ungracile football as a reward for your efforts ;)

  2. says

    Same here, even if it wrecks my sleeping and workouts! Might write the third installment before I crash in a couple of hours, but I have another essay I want to post first on Dialogue and the Novel.

  3. says

    Congratulations guys – can’t wait to hold a copy in my hot little hands. I’m sure all the effort you’ve put in will be more than worth it.

  4. says

    You’re welcome! I can’t wait to hold the finished product in my hands!

    Oh, here’s the latest World Cup of Fiction entries. You might enjoy the asides in there for some of the countries. I do have my biases, after all, and anyone who believes I’m an Anglophile ought to be gutted alive.

  5. says

    You can put me down as another person who appreciates all the hard work Ann and yourself are doing and cannot wait to own a copy.

    (Also, I tried to reply to the email to say thanks but it kept bouncing, so uh, thanks!)

  6. Jan says

    The book sounds awesome, can’t wait to read it. It seems that this year will be good for anthos. And bad for my poor wallet. When will we see the final TOC?

  7. says

    Congratulations, Jeff & Ann. I’m really, really looking forward to this antho. Thanks for putting up yer dukes when the asshats made their appearances.

  8. jeff vandermeer says

    Thanks! Paul…er, that’s weird. Shouldn’t bounce. vanderworld at if all else fails.

  9. says

    Yeah, apparently it is a dynamic IP address and earthlink doesn’t like that or something, it is all a bit over my head. I think I might know away to get around, but if not I’ll use the hotmail address.

  10. says

    Congratulations to both of you for completing this gargantuan endeavor. We’re all looking forward to the end result!

  11. Jason Uresti says

    That you both finished this huge task is wonderful. That you finished it in such a short time frame is a superb testament to your work ethic and talents. It’s also a little frightening to think about the effort and focus it took. Merely reading that much material would run my tank to empty.

    I salute, and if ever the opportunity presents itself, I will buy you a pint

  12. says

    [Nice to hear from you too]

    In honour of your efforts I thought I’d suggest the Australian Weird/sf/and-just-plain-insane World Cup team (rather than the usual suspects): Damian Broderick, Peter Carey, Terry Dowling, Sean Williams, Gerald Murnane, Patricia Wrightson, Beverly Farmer, Robyn Davidson (because its insane to take a string of camels across the desert on your own when you’ve never seen one before – and then go on to become Salman Rushdie’s girlfriend), Janet Frame (because Australians are always claiming Kiwis as our own), and M. Barnard Eldershaw – who were really 2 women – so that makes a team.

  13. says

    Ann and Jeff! Huzzah and Congrats! While it may have taken the breath out of you, it is going to be a heck of a thing! I’ve said it many a time, but I can’t wait to read this beast. : )

  14. says

    Cheers and hearty congrats on this book. I am working out just so I can be in shape to lift it. And here’s hoping we get a night of overlap at Shared Worlds where I can buy you a drink as part of your well-earned vacation. ‘Cause, seriously: Cheers.