Archive for October, 2011

Things That Make Me Ecstatic: Twelve Planets Series with Lucy Sussex, Sue Isle, and Tansy Rayner Roberts

Jeff VanderMeer • October 20th, 2011 • Book Reviews

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Ann just got these titles in the mail from Twelfth Planet Press, the first in their new Twelve Planets series. All three are story collections.

Nightsiders by Sue Isle (intro by Marianne de Pierres) – “A teenage girl stolen from her family as a child; a troupe of street actors who affect their new culture with memories of the old; a boy born into the wrong body; and a teacher who is pushed into the role of guide tell the story of The Nightside.”

Love and Romanpunk by Tansy Rayner Roberts (intro by Helen Merrick) – “The world is in greater danger than you ever suspected. Women named Julia are stronger than they appear. Don’t let your little brother make out with silver-eyed blondes. Immortal heroes really don’t fancy teenage girls. When love dies, there’s still opera. Family is everything. Monsters are everywhere. Yes, you do have to wear the damned toga.”

Thief of Lives by Lucy Sussex (intro by Karen Joy Fowler) – “Why are certain subjects difficult to talk about? What is justice? Why does it matter? Why do writers think that other people’s lives are fair game? And what do we really know about the first chemist? Welcome to the worlds of Lucy Sussex.”

In my opinion, Twelfth Planet Press is one of the best indies in the world, and this new series is compact, sharply designed, well-thought-out, and featuring a good mix of established and newer writers. I just love it thus far—and Ann’s contributed an introduction to the next book in the series, a forthcoming title by Deborah Biancotti.

You can order these books at the Twelfth Planet Press website. But why not go one better—you can also subscribe to the series there.

Alisa Krasnostein is the mastermind behind Twelfth Planet Press, and she’s up for a World Fantasy Award this year. She fully deserves to win.

The Booker Prize, “Fantasy,” and “Mainstream”

Jeff VanderMeer • October 19th, 2011 • Writing Tips

An interesting discussion here, based on this quote from China Mieville. I understand why this is a new concept to the interviewer—referencing “those utterly fascinating texts which contain not a single impossible element, and yet which read as if they were, somehow, fantastic”—but it’s not a new concept in the larger scheme of things (nor do I think China’s presenting it as such).

As I commented:

“It’s an important point China is making, but while it may be new to the interviewer, it’s not a new concept. It’s an argument I’ve been making, along with several other writers, for decades. It’s also something John Clute has explored to some extent in his criticism, and I think literary journals like Conjunctions have also explored it. The fact is, there are fantasy novelists who read like realists and supposedly mimetic novelists whose world view and approach make them read like fabulists. The importance of stressing this similarity/difference is that it gets us away from using the terminology of commodificaition of fiction and what are often just marketing terms that reflect “accidents of birth.” If you’re a Kafkaesque writer from Eastern Europe, you’re likely to be published in the mainstream. If you’re a US writer like Michael Cisco, you’re likely to be published through genre imprints. These arbitrary issues and contexts don’t really tell us much about the works themselves, or their complexities and contradictions…which is why “genre” vs “mainstream” is so pointless.”

I recognize I may be riffing off of only part of China’s quote, but it’s the part that most interests me and is most irritating in terms of how people tend to compartmentalize literature.

I was just revisiting this, taking a piece of the fantasy lecture I’ve been delivering since the late 1990s, and expanding on it for the Inspiration chapter in the writing book I’m working on for Abrams Image:

“But, conversely, does it really matter if the imaginative impulse results in the ‘fantastical’ in the sense of ‘containing an explicit fantastical event?’ Is it something a writer should worry about definitionally or practically? No. For a certain kind of writer a sense of fantastical play will always exist on the page. This is often what we really mean by the voice of the writer. Talking bears have moved in next door. Does the reality of whether they actually have matter more than the quality of the metaphor? Perhaps not. Consider Mark Helprin’s A Winter’s Tale and his World War I novel A Soldier of the Great War. A Winter’s Tale includes a winged horse and other fantastical flourishes. A Soldier of the Great War contains no fantastical elements, and yet in its descriptions, its voice, Helprin’s animating imagination behind the story, this novel also reads as invested in the fantastical. The writer Rikki Ducornet can write as lyrically phantasmagorical a novel as Phosphor in Dreamland and an as intense yet fiercely realistic story collection as The Word Desire…and yet they exist in the same country, perhaps even come from the same area of that country. This is the power of one type of unusual imagination.”

The writing book is still in rough draft form, but it’s forcing me to close in on more precise terminology and an expansion of the idea, so we’ll see where it ends up in a couple of months…

ODD? Contest at SF Signal

Jeff VanderMeer • October 13th, 2011 • Uncategorized

SF Signal is hosting a contest for ODD?, our new antho, that will be judged by Jeff Ford.

ODD?’s Subscriber, Oddkin, Super Oddkin Search Continues!

Jeff VanderMeer • October 12th, 2011 • News, Uncategorized

Thus far, the response to our call for subscribers, Oddkins, and Super Oddkins for our new ODD? anthology series has been great! In fact, it’s been good enough that we’re extending our special discounts, listed below, through October 21. We have a real chance to provide stability for this series now, at its inception—thanks so much for your support of unique and exciting fiction.

You can also help us by embedded or linking to the video above and to this post so others can take advantage of this offer.

In other news, ODD will help to bolster content and discussion on our forthcoming weirdfictionreview.com site and check out the cool Greg Bossert backdrop for the forthcoming Cheeky Frawg/ODD website, coming soon:

OddGarretPano

—Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

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Each volume of ODD? will contain surreal, weird, fantastical, strange 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 features, among others, Amos Tutuola, Nalo Hopkinson, Jeffrey Ford, Rikki Ducornet, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Hiromi Goto, Stacey Levine, and Jeffrey Thomas—with new translations by Gio Clairval, Larry Nolen, and Brian Evenson of such classic writers as Gustave Le Rouge, Leopoldo Lugones, and Karl Hans Strobl as well as a brand-new story by Leena Krohn! (Full table of contents here.)

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 written or edited by us 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 protected] - you must confirm via email before October 22 that you plan to take advantage of this offer.

ODD_01_v06_e03072011

ODD?! Odd Anthology, Odd Video, Odd Subscriptions

Jeff VanderMeer • October 11th, 2011 • News


(Myster Odd based on a character created by Jeremy Zerfoss. Music by Danny Fontaine; lyrics by Jeff VanderMeer and Danny Fontaine.)

WHAT IS ODD?

Announcing the release of the unique new fiction anthology ODD?, which asks the question “Is it odd, or are you too normal?” A mix of originals, new translations, and reprints (many of them hard-to-find) that qualify as “strange fiction”, some of it surreal, some horrific, some fantastical, and all of it…odd. (Unless it’s just because you’re too normal.)

—Featuring, among others, Amos Tutuola, Nalo Hopkinson, Jeffrey Ford, Rikki Ducornet, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Hiromi Goto, Stacey Levine, and Jeffrey Thomas—with new translations by Gio Clairval, Larry Nolen, and Brian Evenson of such classic writers as Gustave Le Rouge, Leopoldo Lugones, and Karl Hans Strobl as well as a brand-new story by Leena Krohn! (Full table of contents below the cut.)

—Brought to you by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, the team behind such anthos as The New Weird, Steampunk Reloaded, Last Drink Bird Head, The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, and the Best American Fantasy series.

WHERE CAN I BUY IT?

In addition to Amazon in Germany, France, and the UK, you can buy ODD? at:
Amazon.com
B&N
Weightless Books
Wizard’s Tower

ODD_01_v06_e03072011

WHERE CAN I SUBSCRIBE?

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

(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.)

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 written or edited by us 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 protected] - you must confirm via email before October 22 that you plan to take advantage of this offer.

WHAT’S WITH THE COOL VIDEO?!

The video featured above is a unique short film by Greg Bossert celebrating ODD? Bossert, based just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. has done research and design for feature films—including the Neil Gaiman/Roger Avary adaptation of Beowulf and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland—and worked on creating visuals and sounds for independent films, including the One Minute Weird Tales video series. His stories have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction and ESLI Magazine. Find out more at Sudden Sound and his website.

WHAT THE HECK IS A CHEEKY FRAWG?

Cheeky Frawg specializes in quality, self-aware e-books. We hand-craft every e-book on a letterpress using only the best, most perfectly formed 00000s and 111111s. Our e-binding is hand-rolled by former Cuban cigar makers, our interiors are lovingly formatted by Neil Clarke, and our covers, unique back covers, and wallpapers are designed by the Las Vegas Madman, artist Jeremy Zerfoss. Cheeky Frawg is a joint production of Ann and jeff VanderMeer. Join us on facebook!

(more…)

ODD?–Sneak Peek! Become an Oddkin or Super-Oddkin!

Jeff VanderMeer • October 9th, 2011 • News

ODD_01_v06_e03072011

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 protected] - 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…

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Carrie Vaughn and Cherie Priest Interviews: Kicking Butt, Punting Fauns, Telling All

Jeff VanderMeer • October 6th, 2011 • Culture

Just a note that Omnivoracious has run two of my recent interviews–one with the wonderful Carrie Vaughn and one with the wonderful Cherie Priest. I think you’ll enjoy both of them.

Evil Monkey and Territories

Jeff VanderMeer • October 6th, 2011 • Evil Monkey

Jeff:
What do you call someone who defends territory the size of a postage stamp?

Evil Monkey:
A mouse? No! A flea!

Jeff:
What about someone who attacks to acquire territory that size?

Evil Monkey:
Another mouse! No, a flea!

Jeff:
Maybe it looks large to them.

Evil Monkey:
A postage stamp is pretty important to a letter.

Jeff:
A letter is sent to one person.

Evil Monkey:
Not these days.

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Cheeky Frawg Presents…Amal El-Mohtar’s The Honey Month

Jeff VanderMeer • October 4th, 2011 • News

Honey Month

Ann and I are proud to announce our latest release, and the first of many Cheeky Frawg titles not by us: Amal El-Mohtar’s The Honey Month! We’ve added it to the temporary Cheeky Frawg website (new site coming soon), and updated the information on our other books.

You can buy The Honey Month at:

Weightless Books
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Barnes & Noble

For the print version visit the publisher’s website.

Amal El-Mohtar’s The Honey Month, with an introduction by Danielle Sucher, ranks among the year’s most exquisite treasures. This beautiful volume of short fictions and poems takes as its inspiration the author’s tasting of 28 different kinds of honey, one per day. Each tasting leads to a different literary creation, each entry beginning with a description of the honey in terms that will be familiar to wine connoisseurs: “Day 3–Sag Harbor, NY, Early Spring Honey,” which has a color “pale and clear as snowmelt” and the smell “cool sugar crystals,” but also brings to mind “a stingless jellyfish I once held in my hand in Oman.” The taste? “…like the end of winter…[when] you can still see clumps of snow on the ground and the air is heavy with damp…” The differences between the types of honey allow El-Mohtar to move back and forth between the poetic and the more casually contemporary, with the experiment of the tasting as the unifying structure. A perfect gift, a hidden treasure, a delight for the senses.

Amal El-Mohtar is an Ottawa-born child of the Mediterranean, currently pursuing a PhD in English literature at the Cornwall campus of the University of Exeter. She has been nominated for the Nebula award, and is a two-time winner of the Rhysling award for Best Short Poem. Her work has appeared in a range of publications both online and in print, including Weird Tales, Strange Horizons, Shimmer, Cabinet des Fées, Sybil’s Garage, Mythic Delirium, and Ideomancer, as well as in the anthologies Welcome to Bordertown and The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. She also co-edits Goblin Fruit, an online quarterly dedicated to fantastical poetry, with Jessica P. Wick.

cheekyfrawg

The Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities: The Tell-All Slideshow

Jeff VanderMeer • October 2nd, 2011 • News

io9 has kindly posted our slideshow with text describing some of the back-stories behind the Lambshead Cabinet anthology. Go check it out! Please spread the joy.

Here’s an excerpt:

“On our first visit to Prague, we wanted to meet the famous Czech filmmaker Jan Svankmajer, known for his stop-gap animation version of “Alice in Wonderland,” among others. We managed to track the filmmaker down to his closed Gambra gallery, but even with repeated banging on the door he would not come out. So we shoved a copy of one of our anthologies, with a note and email address, inside of a cracked window pane. We realized later that this might not be as legitimate and trust-invoking method of communication as we had thought at the time. (Here’s one of us posing in front of the gallery.)”