Evil Monkey’s New Religion–What Should Evil Tackle Next?

I’m in full-on inspiration mode on the writing book, so no time to blog today…so instead, a repost of the last Evil Monkey, and, for the first time, a question for the audience: What would you like to see Evil and alt-Jeff talk about next? You can post your reply anonymously. I don’t care.

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What I Mean By Work; What Do You Mean?

(Mormeck notes: brimming, overstuffed, ready to rock ‘n’ roll.)

It’s been relatively silent here at VanderBlawg Central as I ramp up on projects after finally having seen the last of THE WEIRD and turned the SHARED WORLDS teen writing book over to the designer. Over at Cheeky Frawg, we’re finalizing work on Amal El-Mohtar’s The Honey Month (late Sept) and proofreading the ODD? anthology (Oct 1, with print release in December). We’re also in the planning stages for several new anthologies and getting ready to dive into final edits on our BESTIARY anthology.

I’ve also gotten back into The Journals of Doctor Mormeck, and should be posting new entries starting tomorrow.

In other news, I’m also now working on my creative writing book for Abrams Image, the one with 150 full-color images being designed by John Coulthart (with much of the art also by him). Below you’ll see part of the initial draft for the Beginnings chapter. I’m really excited about this one, and it’s going really well. The hope is to create a visual language for teaching creative writing, in the context of fantastical fiction.

Also, we’re having work done on a Cheeky Frawg website and beginning to organize the weirdfictionreview.com site, for launch in October. This in addition to making progress on the draft of my novel Borne and several other projects. Hard work, but largely fun, too.

That’s what I’m up to. What are you up to?

(Writing book draft! Yeah!)

Liking Characters: Not Necessary

Good post here by T.N. Tobias about likeable/unlikeable characters. I commented there, with this:

I would add that HH is trying in writing to make himself seem likeable and that Nabokov further does the seemingly impossible in the novel by making Lolita a real person despite HH’s distortion, which is an act of deep characterization. I don’t need or entirely want likeable characters, nor do I need them to share my belief systems. I do not need them to be an echo chamber and I am suspicious of readers who do need this because I think such readers tend to misread books—sometimes very badly misreading books…Readers who place value judgments on writers based on their characters—generally a huge mistake—are also more likely to be the ones who require likeable characters as well.

Books for Sale! Lambshead Cabinet, Steampunk Bible, and More!

Want a signed copy of The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities or The Steampunk Bible? With the help of a bookseller we now have a limited number of the Bible available and slightly more of Lambshead. For the Bible, I’ll throw in a drawing of an airship.

I also have the Murder by Death Soundtrack for my novel Finch, which I’ll happily inscribe with secret gray cap meanderings. I still have some first edition trade paperbacks of the US edition of Finch.

For United States readers only:

—$22 each for the Bible and Lambshead. Plus $5 shipping for one, $8 shipping if ordering both books.

–$14 for the US edition of Finch plus $4 shipping.

—$7 for the MBD soundtrack including shipping; only $5 if you order a book with it.

If you order one of all of these items, shipping is $10.

For larger orders, query at [email protected] Paypal to [email protected] with address info and how you want them personalized. Checks also okay.

For foreign orders or for the complete list of our books for sale, including non-VanderMeer titles, query at [email protected] We’re in the opening stages of a cull, as the books are beginning to overwhelm the house…

Nnedi Okorafor Profile on Shared Worlds Site

Jeremy L.C. Jones has posted a longish profile of World Fantasy Award finalist Nnedi Okorafor on the Shared Worlds teen writing camp site—including some observations about her visit as the Amazon.com visiting writer this year. Go check it out.

In a few days we will announce our full line-up for 2012.

What Are Your Favorite SF/Fantasy Story or Novel Beginnings?

I’m currently working on a creative writing book for Abrams and writing the Beginnings chapter. I’ve got my own ideas about some of the best story or novel openings in the history of SF/Fantasy, but I’m curious about yours—and to make sure I don’t miss anything great.

So: opening sentence or sentences to a story or novel that you found particularly effective? Please include the quote and also tell us why you found it effective.

I’ll assume you don’t mind being quoted in the book if you comment.

The Situation, Art by Eric Orchard: Closer to Completion


For those of you wondering whatever happened to the Situation comic commissioned by Tor.com and based on my novelette of the same name…it’s inching closer to completion. Eric Orchard has finished revisions to some images and speech bubbles, and it’s gone on to the letterer. So we expect it will be ready fairly soon, and should go live on Tor.com by the end of the year or early next year, at the latest.

Here are a few screen captures from the almost-final PDF, without text of course.

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Book Midden Friday

2011-09-05 13.13.26

One cool thing about the drive home from DragonCon this past weekend was stopping to visit with a friend of ours who has acquired a used bookstore. As you can see from the photo above that means he has the (to us) amazingly pleasurable job of going through the inventory not already on the shelves. Lucky bastard!

Here are a few of the books we picked up. We’ve been focusing on anthologies and collections to flesh out our selection of short stories. At the moment, I think we have close to 1,500 anthos and story collections in the house.

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Black Clock #14 Available–Featuring Borne, My New Novel

I’m really thrilled that a fairly self-contained portion of the beginning of my novel-in-progress Borne is appearing in the just-released latest issue of Steve Erickson’s awesome magazine Black Clock. I’m even more thrilled to find out the loose theme: “Both in its contributors and subject matter, this new Black Clock finds women on the verge: of revelation, euphoria, madness and history.” And further thrilled to see that my friend the dynamic and awesome Katherine Min is included in this issue. I’m also very much looking forward to reading the work of the other contributors, including Sarah Vap, Jazmin Aminian Jordan, Geoff Dyer, Marisa Crawford, Kate Wolf, Rick Moody, Scott Bradfield, Samantha Cohen, and more.

You can buy the magazine here, and I highly recommend that you do. (Also, Borne the novel won’t be finished until December, and might not be published for another year, so…)

Below you’ll find a short teaser from the section of Borne running in Black Clock. It’s set in a somewhat Kafkaesque ruined, nameless city after a partial Collapse. An anonymous Company still creates bioneered creatures and sends them to places not yet Collapsed. Mord, a giant bear who used to be human, terrorizes the city. The main character came from far away—in my mind she’s Fijian, but that isn’t specified on the page.

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Decatur Book Festival: Needed a VanderMeer Book Signed?

We had a busy weekend, bouncing back and forth between DragonCon and the Decatur Book Festival. DragonCon was fun although chaotic and hectic, and the Decatur Book Festival was an absolute delight. One of the best-run, best-thought-out book festivals we’ve encountered. Great staff, great organization, imaginative panels, engaged readers attending, and they took good care of us. We’d go back in a heartbeat—might even just drive up to take it in as a reader, too.

However, one consequence of the double-booking—something that happens fairly regularly with Decatur/DragonCon–we were unable to attend the autograph session following Ann and my participation on the Pairs with Pens panel, as I had to rush across town for my DragonCon reading.

As a result, we left some readers in the lurch, something that has never happened in twenty years of signing books. We’re abjectly sorry for this turn of events and would like to say that if you were seeking our signatures on books at the Decatur Book Festival, please send us said books to POB 4248, Tallahassee, FL 32315 with instructions on how you want them personalized and we’ll absorb the shipping costs to send them back to you. In addition, I know we hurriedly signed but did not personalize a few books as we got into the taxi. If you want these fully personalized to you, you can send them as well.

Further, if you want additional copies of the Lambshead Cabinet or Steampunk Bible sent to friends or family, we’ll give them to you at cover price, shipping free. Just email us at vanderworld at hotmail.com for this offer.

Again, we highly recommend the Decatur Book Festival—a wonderful event.