The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities: Micro Submissions!

Note: Deadline of Sept. 7th. See below the cut for more information.


(Not the cover–just the cover of the original proposal.)

Cabinets of curiosities (also known as Wunderkammer, Cabinets of Wonder, or Wonder-rooms) were encyclopedic collections of types of objects whose categorical boundaries were various. Modern terminology would categorize the objects included as belonging to natural history (sometimes faked), geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious or historical relics, works of art (including cabinet paintings) and antiquities. — From Wikipedia

The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, edited by Ann and me, will be published by HarperCollins in 2011. Plans are for an oversized laminated-boards format.

A loose sequel to The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases—among other honors, a Hugo Award and World Fantasy Award finalist—this new anthology ramps up both the art and the storytelling, with full-page art, the delights of eccentric front and end matter, “exhibit” descriptions, and a core formed of full-on short stories. (The book will be dedicated to Kage Baker, who contributed to the first volume.)

Contributors will include Mike Mignola, Greg Broadmore, China Mieville, Holly Black, Naomi Novik, Minister Faust, Alan Moore, Cherie Priest, Michael Moorcock, Tad Williams, Jake Von Slatt, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jeffrey Ford, Gio Clairval, Garth Nix, Stepan Chapman, Michael Cisco, Will Hindmarch, Ekaterina Sedia, Reza Negarestani, Lev Grossman, Ted Chiang, Carrie Vaughn, Kelly Barnhill, Mur Lafferty, Helen Oyeyemi, and several more. John Coulthart will be doing a lot of art for, with additional work by Jake von Slatt, Eric Orchard, Yishan Lee, Eric Schaller, and others.

Unfortunately, the specific nature of the fiction being commissioned doesn’t allow us to have a standard open reading period.

HOWEVER, we are having an open reading period, starting today, for a micro-fiction section in the back of the anthology, which will consist of a list, with descriptions, of items from Dr. Lambshead cabinet that are not described in the stories. Here are the rules.

(1) Entries should take this form:

ITEM NAME. Description. – Your Name

For example:

TESLA’S SHINBONE. Preserved in amber, this electricity-producing relic from the famous eccentric scientist was first acquired by Dr. Lambshead in 1945 while on a trip to London. Etc. Etc. Etc. – Jeff VanderMeer

(2) Entries must be no longer than 100 to 150 words, and posted in the comments section of this post. They do not have to mention Dr. Lambshead specifically. They should be PG13, tops.

(3) You must include your email address in the appropriate comment field when you post so we can contact you if we would like to publish your entry.

(4) Steer clear of creatures in bottles and obvious Steampunk devices, as existing fiction for the anthology already covers these elements thoroughly. We can’t divulge all of the items being written about in the stories proper, but some overlap is acceptable.

(5) A high level of writing and imagination is expected for these entries, and we also expect that they will be properly grammar/spell-checked before being submitted. In short, perform all of the quality control you would do if submitting an actual story to an anthology. Both humorous and serious entries are welcome.

(6) We will choose a percentage of the entries to appear in the anthology. HarperCollins has agreed to provide a contributor’s copy as payment for each chosen entry.

(7) Dr. Lambshead is a character owned by the VanderMeers. You may not use his persona outside of the context of this submission process. However, if we don’t use your entry, you are of course free to do with it what you will, so long as it doesn’t reference Dr. Lambshead.

(8) We reserve the right to acquire as many or as few entries as we feel work for the book. Limit one entry per writer.

DEADLINE: September 7, 2010. If we want to use your piece, you will hear from us by September 15. If you have questions, please post them in the comments of the previous post on this blog to keep this thread relatively free of anything but submissions.

Here is more information about Dr. Lambshead’s cabinet.

After the death of Dr. Thackery T. Lambshead in 2003 at his house in Wimpering-on-the-Brook, England, a long process of discovery followed for those assigned by his estate. For one thing, the great man’s house was in a catastrophic state of disarray, with letters to heads of state mixed in with grocery lists, major medical awards propping up tables or sticking enigmatically out of the many kitty litter boxes, and several thousand personal diaries shoved into random spaces in a library as shambolic as it was complete. Because of this disarray, it took caretakers until last year to unearth perhaps the most stunning find: a basement space lost under a collapsed floor, in which were found the remains of a remarkable cabinet of curiosities, much of it unfortunately ravaged by a fire or similar catastrophe.

Containing artifacts, curios, and keepsakes collected over Dr. Lambshead’s many, many decades, the remains of the cabinet of curiosities took months to unearth, document, and catalog. Several of the pieces related to anecdotes and stories in the doctor’s personal diaries. Others, when shown to the doctor’s friends, elicited further stories. In many cases, a partial catalog of items triggered valuable recollections and, working with trained artists, illustrations of items that were recovered in a damaged stage, or that simply no longer exist.

Thus, in keeping with the bold spirit exemplified by Dr. Lambshead and his exploits, we are now proud to present highlights from the doctor’s cabinet, reconstructed not only through visual representations but also through exciting stories of intrigue and adventure.

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