Release Week: The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities and How You Can Get Involved!

Lambshead Cabinet

Today our anthology The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities: Exhibits, Oddities, Images, and Stories from Top Authors and Artists is officially on sale, although we’ve gotten reports of sightings in the wild starting the end of last week. All this week I’ll be posting original content here at Ecstatic Days, including material from contributors S.J. Chambers, Rachel Swirsky, and Caitlin R. Kiernan–as well as the story of how we found and acquired a piece by famous Czech animator Jan Svankmajer.

How You Can Help!

If you like the anthology—an LA Times recommended summer reading selection—and want to support unique ideas like hybrid fiction-art books, here are some of the things you can do to help:

Buy the book. It’s currently selling on Amazon and elsewhere for a ridiculously low price for a fully-illustrated oversized hardcover. Buy it for friends. Buy it for family.

Review the book. Blog, review site, or on a sandwich board in front of your local bookstore. Any mention, especially noting whatever you really liked about the book, helps immensely. And a limited number of additional review copies are available for review sites; email me at vanderworld at hotmail.com if interested.

Review it on Amazon. Go to the Amazon sales page for the book and tell other readers what you liked about it. A quick and easy way to help get the word out and create interest.

Make sure local booksellers carry it. The anthology seems to have a strong presence in bookstores, but you can always encourage booksellers who aren’t stocking it. You can even tell them its by some of the same people who brought them The Steampunk Bible, which has done very well.

Request it from your local library. Making sure your local library knows about the anthology not only increases library orders but allows multiple people to enjoy the book.

Spread the word through twitter and facebook. Tell people about the anthology through social media, using one of the links below. Lots of excerpts have been posted in various places—choose your favorite.

Come to the author events (more to be scheduled). We’ll be having lots of fun, including telling tales out of school, so to speak. Current schedule here. (We should have at least one prominent West Coast event to announce soon.)

NOTE: Bloggers (non-contributors) who post the link to their mention of the antho in the comments thread will be in the drawing for a free copy of the book, signed by the editors, as well as a copy of the coffee table book The Steampunk Bible, along with a few surprises…

More Info on the Anthology
I think by now, if you’ve followed this blog, you know the idea behind this unique anthology, but in case you missed it…

After the death of the famous Dr. Thackery T. Lambshead at his house in Wimpering-on-the-Brook, England, a remarkable discovery was unearthed: the remains of an astonishing cabinet of curiosities. In keeping with the bold spirit exemplified by Dr. Lambs¬head and his exploits, HarperCollins now proudly presents fully illustrated highlights from the doctor’s cabinet, including exciting stories of adventure and reproduced museum exhibits. The Cabinet anthology is a secret history of the 20th century, an art book with over 70 images, and a treasury of modern fantasy containing work by over 85 creators, including some of the genre’s most exciting names. Suitable for both YA and adult library collections.

Contributors include Holly Black, Greg Broadmore, Ted Chiang, John Coulthart, Rikki Ducornet, Amal El-Mohtar, Minister Faust, Jeffrey Ford, Lev Grossman, N.K. Jemisin, Caitlin R. Kiernan, China Mieville, Mike Mignola, Michael Moorcock, Alan Moore, Garth Nix, Naomi Novik, James A. Owen, Helen Oyeyemi, J.K. Potter, Cherie Priest, Ekaterina Sedia, Jan Svankmajer, Rachel Swirsky, Carrie Vaughn, Jake von Slatt, Tad Williams, Charles Yu, and many more. Eighty-five in total!!

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Links to Unique Content!

Here are links to some of the coverage so far, with more planned on at the Huffington Post, SF Signal, Suvudu, Fangoria, and many, many others.

Kirkus Reviews–Exclusive Mike Mignola image and Lev Grossman excerpt

Amazon’s Book Blog–Exclusive Mike Mignola image and Cherie Priest excerpt

Barnes & Noble Book Club–Rave review by Paul Goat Allen

i09—A table of contents feature with exclusive Greg Broadmore image

Weird Tales—My lovely co-editor talks about the more macabre side of the cabinet anthology, with excerpt from stories by Kiernan and Michael Cisco and Aeron Alfrey art.

Weirdletter—A view from Italy

Ecstatic Days—Right here on my blog I’ve posted an exclusive excerpt with commentary from Reza Negarestani (with China Mieville art)and a disgrunted artifacts image created by Rikki Ducornet.

Contributor Posts—Posts by contributors have included interesting glimpses into the cabinet by artist Aeron Alfrey, artist John Coulthart (with many images), writer Amal El-Mohtar, and writer Jayme Lynn Blaschke.

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* Note: I stole some of the general “help out” info from Cat Valente’s livejournal.

Secret Lives Collection: Now Available for Kindle and Nook

The latest Cheeky Frawg e-book, my Secret Lives, is now available on Amazon for Kindle and Barnes & Noble for Nook. it debuted with Weightless Books a couple of weeks ago. This is the mightily affordable version of the collection you could only buy as a $35 limited edition before.

“A collection of unique short fictions by World Fantasy Award winner Jeff VanderMeer which have previously available been only in a signed, limited, numbered edition. These stories, praised by K.J. Bishop and Liz Williams, take the facts of real life fantasy readers and uses them as the starting point for startling, funny, and rapturous secret lives. Discover a man obsessed with a mechanical duck, a strange mascot, a person who is a portal, a priest battling a shark, and much more.The secret lives of librarians, doctors, lawyers, university students, bank tellers, sex shop clerks and dozens of others are revealed for the first time. A luminous little book meant for dipping into one secret life at a time.”

The Museum of Intangible Arts and Objects: Reza Negarestani, China Miéville, and the Gallows-horse

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(Image by China Miéville)

One of the great treats for Ann and me while working on The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiositiesanthology was not only to include fiction and art by China Miéville but also a remarkable story based on Mieville’s art by Reza Negarestani. The author of the incredibleCyclonopedia (which I wrote about here), Negarestani often blurs fiction, nonfiction, and philosophy in mind-bending ways. He’s one of those writers whose genius is that the images and ideas in his work take over your brain and alter your perception of the world. We’re forever indebted to China for introducing us to his work.

As part of the continuing celebration of the Lambshead anthology (official release date July 12), I asked for some thoughts on his story, and have posted both that and an excerpt from “The Gallows-horse” below. One of the strengths of a book like the Cabinet antho is that it can, with ease, encompass both traditional storytelling and the avant garde…

Lambshead Cabinet

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My Fungal Weapons Versus Your Dragon: Fantasy Mortal Combat

So I’m bored today. So I’m gonna ask you a question. If any fantasy/SF authors got in a battle against one another and they had to fight through proxies like weapons, allies, etc, and were able to summon up anything weapon-y from their novels, including beasties as allies, to use in that conflict…what match-ups would you find interesting, and whose weapons would help them win?

Personally, I’d like to see Pern dragons versus GRRM dragons, sand worms versus Smaug, space squid versus…something.

If everybody mentions just male authors, I’m gonna send my fungal weapons after you. And they burn.

A Sampling of Visual Birthday Wishes: I Wish to Be Feared

feared
(Like this image by Todd Vandemark? For liking it, you owe it to me to buy this.)

bleep
(Leah Thomas sent me this, after I questioned whether a bear hat she’d mentioned was plush or real. The offending word I crossed out for this version.)

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(Jeremy Zerfoss sent in this one because he’s nutso.)

Evil Monkey:
How was your birthday?

Jeff:
Good! I worked hard, I wrote, I played hard. I observed internet kerfuffle with wry amusement and horror, as usual. Ann bought me a nice dinner and got me a thoughtful gift. We watched House.

Evil Monkey:
I was out getting naked in bars.

Jeff:
Glad I missed that.

Lambshead Cabinet Anthology: Attack of the Clockroach!–Mike Mignola, Cherie Priest Exclusives!

As part of the pre-launch for our fiction-and-art antho The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities: Exhibits, Oddities, Images, and Stories from Top Authors and Artists, you can now read an exclusive excerpt from Cherie Priest’s story, with a reveal of Mike Mignola’s art. “The Clockroach” is one of my favorites from the anthology. Mignola created four originals for us and then gave us the names of writers he’d like to work with. Priest then wrote the story and in the process named the artifact pictured “The Clockroach”. The other three writers who created stories to Mignola art are Michael Moorcock, China Mieville, and Lev Grossman.

The excerpt shows the more serious side of the story to some extent, while in the book Priest’s frequent footnotes add darkly (and not so darkly) humorous context. And to show the synergy that sometimes occurs in these situations, the clockroach may appear in a Lambshead-related novel I’m working on in the near future.

More coverage of the anthology later today—and next week, a special, ultra-cool surprise to coincide with the official release date.

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Ooooh! Could that be part of the Clockroach?!

The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities: Can Artifacts Be Disgruntled?

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(Image from the “A Brief Catalog of Other Items” section of the Lambshead anthology)

HarperCollins’ link to retailers for the Lambshead Cabinet.

Today kicks off a week of blogging about the new anthology The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, edited by Ann VanderMeer and yours truly. Contributors include Holly Black, Greg Broadmore, Ted Chiang, Amal El-Mohtar, Minister Faust, Jeffrey Ford, Lev Grossman, N.K. Jemisin, Caitlin R. Kiernan, China Mieville, Mike Mignola, Michael Moorcock, Alan Moore, Garth Nix, Naomi Novik, Cherie Priest, Ekaterina Sedia, Jan Svankmajer, Rachel Swirsky, Carrie Vaughn, Jake von Slatt, Tad Williams, Charles Yu, and tons more.

A lot of our favorite writers and artists are in this book, including the dual-threat Rikki Ducornet, an amazing surrealist writer who also paints. For the Lambshead Cabinet, she gave us a cheeky image entitled “Disgruntled Artifacts”. I’ve posted it above, and you can click on it to see it much larger.

Although Rikki’s having fun with the image, it is true that artifacts can be disgruntled, in the sense that one reason we thought a “cabinet of curiosities” concept would work is that people are attached to objects. There’s often an emotional resonance in our connection—either because of who made it or who gave it to us. There’s also the question of context—artifacts taken out of context can be harmless or fraught with echoes and linkages. You cannot see a sarcophagus in a British museum, for example, without thinking about why it’s there, how it got there, and why it isn’t somewhere else.

There are plenty of reasons for us to project “disgruntled” onto artifacts, though. Sometimes an artifact is in the wrong context to begin with—for example, “The Clockroach” in our book, story by Cherie Priest and image by Mike Mignola. That was never going to end well.

On the other hand, recontextualizations can “cook” certain types of for lack of a better term, “disgruntilization”. Russian painter Vladimir Gvozdev’s depictions of mechanical animals, two of which are included in the Lambshead Cabinet, repurpose the example of a German mechanic who lived in Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century. says Gvozdev, “After Germany’s defeat in the First World War, the mechanic went mad and was held in a lunatic asylum for life. There he began inventing vergeltungswaffe, a German term for ‘vengeance weapons.’ I never saw his blueprints, but I liked the story so much that I tried to make via my blueprints a sort of portrait of the inventor himself—to create a little museum out of the mind of that German mechanic.” The results are hybrids that take the sting out of the original idea without being any less interesting.

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(Gvozdev’s art has appeared in our Steampunk Reloaded anthology and The Steampunk Bible, in addition to the Lambshead Cabinet.)

It’s My Birthday Already! (Somewhere)…And: All I Want for My Birthday Is…

Let’s get this out of the way first…my birthday is July 7…and honestly I don’t want nuthin’ from nobody…except one little thing. If you want to get something for me—buy The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities fiction and art anthology for yourself…and for some friends. It’s available for a sick steep discount on Amazon at the moment. You can skim downriver on this blog to see more info on the antho, or look at this amazing contributor list: Holly Black, Greg Broadmore, Ted Chiang, John Coulthart, Rikki Ducornet, Amal El-Mohtar, Minister Faust, Jeffrey Ford, Lev Grossman, N.K. Jemisin, Caitlin R. Kiernan, China Mieville, Mike Mignola, Michael Moorcock, Alan Moore, Garth Nix, Naomi Novik, Helen Oyeyemi, J.K. Potter, Cherie Priest, Ekaterina Sedia, Jan Svankmajer, Rachel Swirsky, Carrie Vaughn, Jake von Slatt, Tad Williams, Charles Yu, and more!

…now that I’ve dispensed with that essential information—yes, it’s true, I’ve hit the ripe old age of 43. I’m one year dumber, creakier, crankier, less productive, and all of the other things that happen when your body begins to decide it’s a slide downhill…except it doesn’t really feel like that.

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The Cabinet of Curiosities 2011 Summer Tour: Ann & Jeff VanderMeer

AnnJeffVanderMeer

We’re going on the road! Below find the details on our summer appearances. Expect fun, fun, and more fun…

The Book

“The narrative scope and stellar assemblage of writers and illustrators…makes this a book that will be absolutely cherished by fantasy, science fiction, and steampunk afficionados alike.” – Paul Goat Allen, B&N Book Club, on The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities

Hugo Award winner Ann VanderMeer and World Fantasy Award winner Jeff VanderMeer will be touring this summer and fall promoting The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, a unique blend of fiction and images. Debuting in early July, the Cabinet of Curiosities just made the LA Times summer recommended reading list and includes amazing new fiction and art by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, Alan Moore, China Mieville, Lev Grossman, Holly Black, Naomi Novik, and more. Also featuring The Steampunk Bible, a coffee table book about the popular subgenre (cowritten with Selena Chambers), has received raves around the world, including on Wired.com and is featured at the British Museum.

The Events

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(Poster by Jeremy Zerfoss.)
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Are You a Librarian Who Blogs? Would You Like a Signed Cabinet of Curiosities?

We love librarians—for one thing they always know how to have a good time, for another we always learn something when we hang out with them at ALA or other conferences.

So we’re making a special offer for librarians in the United States only (for now): if you’re a librarian and you blog about YA and/or adult books—either for a national or regional library website, or have a following on your personal blog—we’d like to send you a free copy of The Thackery Cabinet of Curiosities, signed by both of us editor-types. Offer good for the first ten to respond. Preferably, send us an email at vanderworld at hotmail.com with the URL of the relevant website, although you can post below too as a back-up if you like. All you have to do in return is promise you’ll try to blog about the book if you like it.

The cabinet, released soon, is an LA Times recommended summer reading selection that features over 60 pieces of art as well as all-new fiction. Contributors include Holly Black, Greg Broadmore, Ted Chiang, John Coulthart, Rikki Ducornet, Amal El-Mohtar, Minister Faust, Jeffrey Ford, Lev Grossman, N.K. Jemisin, Caitlin R. Kiernan, China Mieville, Mike Mignola, Michael Moorcock, Alan Moore, Garth Nix, Naomi Novik, James A. Owen, Helen Oyeyemi, J.K. Potter, Cherie Priest, Ekaterina Sedia, Jan Svankmajer, Rachel Swirsky, Carrie Vaughn, Jake von Slatt, Tad Williams, Charles Yu, and many more.