As you know, it’s an uncertain time for the publishing industry, and everyone is experimenting with new models for delivering content and paying creators. In our case, we think it’s the perfect time to launch a new anthology series devoted to eclectic fiction, usually with a fantastical, magic realist, weird, or surrealist approach. You might call it…odd. At least, we are, with ODD?, “Is it odd or are you too normal,” the e-book anthology that we will be launching late this week.
Each volume of ODD? will contain reprints (some of them not available otherwise except in expensive limited editions), previously unpublished stories, and new translations of classic and hard-to-find stories. This first volume will be accompanied by a professionally produced short film featuring an original song.
The print versions will appear at the same time as the next e-book installment–i.e., ODD? Vol 1 will appear in print at the same time as the e-book of Vol 2. Every year starting in 2012, we will publish two volumes.
You can subscribe now and be assured of receiving each volume at a reduced price. It’s a chance to support a cool new project that brings you fiction from writers from around the world.
—For the 3 initial volumes in e-book form, $19.00 (regularly $21)
—For all 3 initial volumes in trade paperback form, $42 (regularly $45)
—For the next two volumes in e-book form and all three in trade paperback form, $51 (regularly $59)
—Shipping and handling within the US is included free for print volumes; outside of the US please add $25
Or, become one of our valued “Oddkins” for $65 and receive the e-book and trade paperback versions *plus* all kinds of…odd and unique extras…with the delivery of your trade paperbacks. (US only offer: Extend it now to an additional year for only $110 total.)
—Oddkins living outside of the US alas must add $30 to cover shipping.
A “Super Oddkin” at $275 receives every volume until we die or the series is discontinued (this $275 value is guaranteed with books of equal value should ODD? end early) For those outside of the US, a Super Oddkin status is $400.
—You may designate different delivery email/addresses for the print versus ebook versions if ordering both; i.e., give one version as a gift.
Send a check made out to “Jeff VanderMeer” to POB 4248, Tallahassee, FL 32315, or paypal to email@example.com - you must confirm via email before Friday of this week that you plan to take advantage of this offer.
Below the cut you’ll find a sneak peek in the form of sample lines from each story…
THE DEAD BABIES—Amos Tutuola
Now we started our journey from the Deads’ Town directly to my home town which I had left for many years. As we were going on this road, we met over a thousand deads who were just going to the Deads’ Town and if they saw us coming towards them on that road, they would branch into the bush and come back to the road at our back. Whenever they saw us, they would be making bad noise which showed us that they hated us and also were very annoyed to see alives.
THE WAR OF THE VAMPIRES—Gustave Le Rouge (New translation by David Beus and Brian Evenson)
The sea in this place was sown with reefs and sandbanks, crossed through with currents, among which I had a lot of trouble maintaining my craft; the cadavers of fish and birds floated belly up, as if the proximity of the accursed mountain could be mortal to all animate beings. A smell of carnage and of corruption rose from these desolate waves.
Weiroot, you mad man, what do you think you’re doing, sitting in the chill of the night, winking at the winking stars? Are you sending them a message? Come visit me? And what if they were to? What if in say a year or two a star fell, swept down out of the dark, trailing green fire, and smashed with an explosion of sparks and black diamond debris into the dunes surrounding your wooden plank palace? What would you do then?
THE BLOAT TOAD—Leopoldo Lugones (New translation by Larry Nolen)
One day, playing in the villa where my family lived, I stumbled upon a little toad that, instead of fleeing like its more corpulent relatives, swelled up extraordinarily under my stoning.
APARTMENT 205—Mark Samuels
Pieter Slokker awoke from a dream in which he was trapped in a dark, windowless room. It was three o’clock in the morning, and it sounded as if someone was hammering at the door of his flat.
MODERN CITIES EXIST ONLY TO BE DESTROYED—Michael Cisco (previously published in a limited edition)
Standing at the edge of the platform, X. gazes at a panel set in the dingy, bruise-colored wall on the opposite side of the tracks. The wall folds inwards a few feet to the left of the panel, forming a corner that has been invaded by an irregular patch of lacy white scale, which, at times, he thinks looks like the spray of a violent sea, frozen in mid-leap as it dashes against the rocks of the shore.
SLOW COLD CHICK—Nalo Hopkinson
There was an egg huddling in one of the little cups inside the fridge door. Where had that come from? Exactly what she needed. She was reaching eagerly for it when a stench from deep inside the fridge slid into her nostrils, a poisonous, vinegary tang.
A HARD TRUTH ABOUT WASTE MANAGEMENT—Sumanth Prabhaker
They cheered when the toilet shook and made a wet belching sound after sucking down the afternoon’s trash, and a small gray animal popped out from the toilet and landed on the bathmat. The animal shivered as the family cheered it on. It shook its leathery skin and curled around the graham cracker leg of the son’s chair.
STINKY GIRL—Hiromi Goto
Father’s ghost often looks much like a cabbage, rolling around the gritty floor of our trailer, and even though Mother cannot see him, she has booted his head many times, when she punctuates her sayings with savage kicks to what she can only see as empty air. It doesn’t hurt him, of course, but it does seem uncomfortable.
This time the barrier takes shape as a small brass amphora stippled with a few specks of verdigris. A red shirt connects the upper pair of hands to the lower…He spreads the fingers of his left hand. Raises them. The fingers expand, merging with another set of fingers that comes down to meet them at the tips. The game ends here for the time being. The operation was brief, painless. Yet he knows he will have to wait a while longer. It has ended badly, not in the way he would have expected it to end. He must begin again later at still another barrier.
If you believe the stoners in Washington, there really are trolls in the Seattle steam-tunnels.
AUNTS—Karin Tidbeck (original to this anthology)
Great-Aunt could no longer expand, which was as it should be.
THE FORK—Jeffrey Thomas
The light snow of metallic scabs sprinkled down from the machines of the sky.
THE VOLATILIZED CEILING OF BARON MUNODI—Rikki Ducornet
The museums of Europe keep curious portraits illustrating the assumption that the body gives the soul its shape. Da Vinci imagined a woman with a monkey’s face, Rubens human lions, Delia Porta a man with the profile of a ram. I myself am albino; I look like an angel and so inspire acute passions. Long¬ing for a purifying fire, men would defile me, or, taking plea¬sure, be absolved of sin. If I have never shared their fevers, it is because a woman has stolen my heart.
THE NIGHT OF THE NORMAL DISTRIBUTION CURVE—Leena Krohn (Translation by Anna Volmari and J. Robert Tupasela; first publication in any language)
That morning she was behaving somewhat unusually. When she finally closed the window, switched off the radio, and picked the dead leaf off the table, she froze and stared at something on the tablecloth.
UNMAKING—Amanda le Bas de Plumetôt (original to this anthology)
I wasn’t comfortable before. My throat was hoarse and sore because I yelled at them. They deserved it. I screamed at them and swore and cursed when I felt the smooth weight of the sedative leaning down on me, pressing into my lungs. They had no right. I’d been entitled to that meal and sedative wasn’t supposed to be part of it. I’d have kept eating. The rest of the lamb, potatoes roasted golden and crisp so that they shattered when I bit into them, all hot and brittle and salt. There was soft cheese and plums and pears and peaches. I’d have kept eating, eaten beyond the sanity of balance, eaten until my gut split and I died in the pain and wonder of too much of everything.
THE HEAD—Karl Hans Strobl (New translation by Gio Clairval)
The room was completely dark . . . all curtains pulled . . . not a flicker of light from the street, and quite still. My friend, myself and the stranger held each other’s hands in a spasmodic, quivering grasp. Utter terror lingered about us, within us . . .And then . . . a white, skeletal, luminescent hand pierced the darkness, moving toward us, and began writing with the pencil set on the table around which we were seated. We could not see what the hand was writing, and still we felt the words inside us . . . as they were written…
A CHILD’S GUIDE TO THE HOLLOW HILLS—Caitlín R. Kiernan
Beneath the low leaf-litter clouds, under endless dry monsoons of insect pupae, strangling rains of millipede droppings and noxious fungal spores, in this muddy, thin land pressed between soil and bedrock foundations, the fairie girl awakens in the bed of the Queen of Decay.
In those days, my every muscle was willing; the meat was all ready, well ground, as if chewed; I churned wild circles, miles of bloody brown sausage accumulating beneath my wheels; perhaps I lagged; I was worried, filled with shame; but wasn’t my work earnest?