Archive for December, 2011

The Weird: A Great Gift for the Holidays (and coming soon to the US)

Jeff VanderMeer • December 8th, 2011 • News

The Weird cover image
(Visit Weirdfictionreview.com for tons of awesome weird content only tangentially connected to this antho.)

The massive UK edition of THE WEIRD: A COMPENDIUM OF STRANGE AND DARK STORIES, which has devoured our lives for so long, has been chugging along and appears to be a favorite holiday gift for many–now available for Kindle on Amazon.co.uk, in addition to the print version. (Table of contents of this 750,000-word, almost 1,200-page century-covering antho, with 116 stories can be found here if you’ve missed it.) Everyone from Stephen King and Angela Carter to Jamaica Kincaid and Shirley Jackson, Julio Cortazar to Kelly Link, with seven translations specially commissioned for the antho.

In addition to a hilarious shout-out at the Guardian online, a great review in the Financial Times, four stars from Time Out London, and being SF Books book of the month (you can vote for the antho in their annual poll), here are some quotes from other reviews:

“The definitive collection of weird fiction, 110 stories from the early 1900s to the present…a massive undertaking, and its success lies in its ability to lend coherence to a great number of stories that are so remarkably different and yet share a theme: the phenomenal world is merely a shadow and the numinous is an inscrutable, sometimes hostile, reality.” – The Times Literary Supplement

“[An] incredible anthology…a tremendous experience going through its 1,126 pages. There are so many delights that any reader will find something truly memorable.” – Scotland on Sunday

“A behemoth filled with stories of genre-bending strangeness.” – Easy Living

Story-by-story reviews have been started by Maureen Kincaid Speller and finished by Des Lewis. Here are also links to two interviews:

Radio 1, Ireland

GavReads

Finally, we’re happy to announce that Liza Gorinsky at Tor Books has acquired the North American rights to The Weird. The anthology will appear in a trade paperback format with a short-run of hardcovers as as an add-on, both in May 2012. The ebook will be available by February. A small contents change to the North American ebook: the Buzzati story will not be included but J. Robert Lennon’s “The Portal” from Weird Tales will be added. The print version will remain the same as the UK edition.

Here’s the cover of the North American edition:

Weird-1_B2

Sir Tessa’s Odyssey: The Ghost Ducks of Florida, The Frozen Dicks of Iceland, and Muppets?

Jeff VanderMeer • December 6th, 2011 • Culture

Our friend Sir Tessa has been conducting a kind of tour of the most desirable places in the world, which of course included our part of Florida. Thus, the indelible moment pictured above in which we all three stood mouths agape as a bald eagle at St. Mark’s Wildlife Refuge first separated a duck from the floating flock, then waited for it to surface, and skimming along the water, plunged down upon it, and drown-taloned it before flying off with it. At which point Ann uttered the immortal words, “He’s not going to eat it, is he?!” (She’s very nice, my wife.) As chronicled by Sir Tessa here.

In addition, Sir Tessa has been having muppets made, hanging out in North Carolina, and, oh yes, visiting Iceland’s famous penis museum, when she hasn’t been freezing her butt off. Go check out her ongoing adventures

tessakum buttfreeze--part 1 iceland
(Thanks JZ.)

The Journals of Doctor Mormeck–Discontinued Publicly

Jeff VanderMeer • December 5th, 2011 • Journals of Mormeck

nebulae

Immediately stop disseminating the journals.

G: This is unexpected.

For reasons of universal security.

G: But I am only implanting the ideas in the brain of a subpar specimen of a sub-standard alt-Earth reality, and the specimen only releases the information onto an equally backwater old-fashioned electronic source in a backwater of their pathetic version of a ever-net.

Nonetheless. There has been…leakage.

G: Only an infinitesimal number of sentient minds even read the entries of this subpar backwater specimen? A tiny, tiny percentage!

The issue is that most of them are also among the infinitesimal percentage of minds in that alt-Earth reality for whom the information can spark…actions we do not want and cannot anticipate.

G: Can I continue my dissemination in the other twelve realities of my experiment?

Yes. You can. For now.

G: Should I delete the information from the subpar thinker’s brain? And perhaps accidentally have the information wiped from their primitive every-net?

No, that will not be necessary. You need only make the subject of your experiment think that it would be better to consider his writings off-line and then slowly dessicate the parts of his brain that would supply the energy and imagination to continue to write down any residual information, while stimulating his pleasure centers when he is writing anything else. Just…don’t overstimulate…that might attract attention, given that he writes in what they call coffee shops.

G: And if he continues writing it from his own imagination?

That doesn’t hurt us at all. Let him gracefully bow out and if he comes up with a fabrication going forward, who cares.

G: I kind of liked this subpar specimen. He had spirit.

Don’t we all.

G: Very well, I’ll wind down the experiment and concentrate on the other twelve subjects.

Of course, it won’t matter at all in another million years…but then nothing will.

G: You’re always so cheery.

I’ve seen too much and I work too hard…

G: Is there anything else?

No, I think that covers it. Oh—except the number of rebel angels your operation has flushed out has risen to seven.

G: Seven left then.

Yes. Only another seven. Won’t be long now. Not long at all.

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Cheeky Frawg Launches Cool New Site!

Jeff VanderMeer • December 5th, 2011 • News

Cheeky Frawg banner
(Feel free to re-post this image!)

We have launched a new website for Cheeky Frawg Books! Does it sell our ebooks? Yes! But very…cheekily. It’s an interactive and mysterious experience you won’t want to miss. Free content, hidden treasures, singing fish, the animated Myster Odd video, and, of course, the full catalogue of Cheeky Frawg ebooks, including Amal El-Mohtar’s The Honey Month and the ODD? anthology, featuring Jeffrey Ford, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Amos Tutuola, Hiromi Goto, Nalo Hopkinson, and many more. Thanks for spreading the word!

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. Forthcoming titles include the legendary The Encyclopedia of Victoriana by Jess Nevins, It Came From the North: Finnish Weird, Jagganath by Swedish sensation Karin Tidbeck and Don’t Pay Bad for Bad by iconic Nigerian writer Amos Tutuola.

Note: A percentage of direct sales of Cheeky Frawg ebooks in December will go to aid iconic fantasy editor, artist, and writer Terri Windling, who is suffering from financial woes.

Direct link to catalogue

Direct link to ODD?

HUGE THANKS to those who made this possible: Website created by Danny Fontaine; Design and images by Gregory Bossert; Book designs and the Cheeky Frawg logo by Jeremy Zerfoss.

The Hilariously Self-Serving Yet Glorious VanderMeer Holiday Fantasy/SF Gift Guide

Jeff VanderMeer • December 2nd, 2011 • News

booksoftheyear

It’s been a banner year for VanderMeer projects that look beautiful and read beautiful, so we thought we’d put together a little Totally Self-Serving Yet Glorious Gift Guide as a reminder for those of you searching around for something cool to give your friends, loved ones, or even people you hate this holiday season. Best of all, these are sumptuous gifts, but also relatively inexpensive.

THE THACKERY T. LAMBSHEAD CABINET OF CURIOSITIES
(HarperVoyager, Ann & Jeff, eds.) – Published in an oversized hardcover printed on the boards with slightly raised lettering and containing over 70 unique illustrations from the likes of Mike Mignola, John Coulthart, Greg Broadmore, Yishan-Li, Jan Svankmajer, China Mieville, and Myrtle Von Damitz III, this would be a collector’s item for the art alone. But it also contains original fiction from an absolute plethora of fantasy’s greatest writers, including: Jeffrey Ford, Holly Black, Lev Grossman, Naomi Novik, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Garth Nix, China Mieville, Amal El-Mohtar, Michael Moorcock, Alan Moore, Charles Yu, N.K. Jemisin, Helen Oyeyemi, Ted Chiang, Cherie Priest, Carrie Vaughn, and more than 50 others. It’s a treasury of modern fantasy, recently receiving raves from SF Site and Pop Matters. Also check out the io9 slideshow for more images or read Kiernan’s story from the anthology on Weirdfictionreview.com.

THE STEAMPUNK BIBLE
(Abrams Image, Jeff with S.J. Chambers) – A sumptuous hardcover with raised lettering on the boards-printed cover that evokes Jules Verne, and containing a lively mix of over 200 full-color images and text on everything from Steampunk fashion to literature, making, and more. Featured on the CBS Morning Show in November and profiled in the LA Times, this awesome coffee table book is perfect eye candy but also provides an essential overview of this retro-futuristic movement. Featuring Forevertron Park, the Steampunk Treehouse, the Island of Machines in France, a Steampunk wedding or two, Weta Workshop rayguns, and a Jake von Slatt project. It also includes short essays from Catherynne M. Valente and Jess Nevins, and interviews with Sean Orlando, Scott Westerfeld, and HUMANWINE, among others. The Bible recently made best-of holiday gift lists from MTV and the SyFy Channel and has been spotlighted in the New York Times, Wired.com, and the Wall Street Journal.

THE WEIRD: A COMPENDIUM OF STRANGE AND DARK STORIES (Atlantic/Corvus, Ann & Jeff) – How can you go wrong with 750,000-words of reprinted weird/uncanny fiction covering one hundred years and taking up almost 1,200 pages in an oversized trade paperback? (The two-column format actually reads beautifully.) Authors featured include Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Alfred Kubin, Tanith Lee, Brian Evenson, Stephen Graham Jones, Leonora Carrington, Mervyn Peake, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Kelly Link, Haruki Murakami, Ben Okri, Jamaica Kincaid, Jean Ray, Michael Chabon, Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, Octavia E. Butler, Thomas Ligotti, Angela Carter, Daphne du Maurier, Robert Bloch, and many more–116 stories in all (full TOC here). Sporting a foreweird by Michael Moorcock and afterweird by China Mieville. As featured on the Irish radio show Arena, in the Guardian Online, the Scotsman, and more. (Available for US/Canada readers through the Book Depository.)

ODD? (Cheeky Frawg, Ann & Jeff) – A kind of e-book companion to The Weird, ODD? this new anthology series is devoted to eclectic fiction, usually with a fantastical, horrific, magic realist, or surrealist approach. As the subtitle of “Is it odd or are you too normal?” suggests, “odd” is a truly subjective evaluation. One person’s “what the heck?!” is another person’s “eh—saw that yesterday.” Each volume 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. Authors in volume 1 include Caitlin R. Kiernan, Jeffrey Ford, Hiromi Goto, Nalo Hopkinson, translations by Gio Clairval, Brian Evenson, and Larry Nolen, Swedish sensation Karin Tidbeck, and many more. Oh, it’s odd all right. You can buy it from the usual suspects, or click here for subscription and Oddkin information, as well as the full table of contents.

Also:

THE KOSHER GUIDE TO IMAGINARY ANIMALS
(Tachyon/Cheeky Frawg) – A perfect little gift book also available as an ebook, from 2010. You know you want it. It’s silly, it’s insane, it’s beautiful. More info on the website, including reviews.

three small books

And, from the author, limited edition, numbered and signed copies of both Secret Lives, a series of humorous short fictions by Jeff, and The Three Quests of the Wizard Sarnod, a lovely little hardcover designed by the amazing John Coulthart, containing the extended version of Jeff’s Jack Vance Dying Earth story. Inquire at vanderworld at hotmail.com for details and indicate what country is being shipped to. These copies come fully personalized with an illustration from Jeff, as so desired, and can be gift wrapped and sent directly as presents. (And a limited number of copies of Jeff’s novel Finch complete with the Murder by Death Finch CD are available, too.)

Next week: We unveil our new Cheeky Frawg site, with a full range of selections for the aficionado of the electronic form, free electronic holiday wrapping, and more…In the meantime, you can peruse our page with buying links here.

Chamblin’s Book Mine: Book Haul, Horror Room, Anthologies

Jeff VanderMeer • December 1st, 2011 • Culture


(My video of Chamblin’s, with voice-over text from my Ambergris stories.)

We made another pilgrimage to Chamblin’s Book Mine in Jacksonville, Florida, this past weekend, this time with Sir Tessa accompanying us. The place is larger than last time—it has to be the equal of Powell’s, and larger than any other used bookstore in the US, for sure. The video above should help attest to that.

We focused on trading books in for a selection of anthologies and author collections to further our research for future projects. This also helped alleviate the burden of books in the house. Chamblin’s cash for books percentage isn’t all that great, but in terms of trade credit, it meant we could acquire everything set out below the break without spending a penny.

I must say, though, their general anthology section hasn’t been touched in years. The amount of dust on our hands by the time we’d finished browsing through them…took a lot of washing off. This truly is a book mine, and even just the mystery section is as big as a normal bookstore. There are also some amusing juxtapositions of rooms, given the way Chamblin’s has gradually annexed additional space around the initial building. Thus this photo, with Men’s Studies sharing some prime real estate…

horror room

(more…)

The American Book Center: The Weird and Ann VanderMeer in Amsterdam, Dec 8

Jeff VanderMeer • December 1st, 2011 • News

Weird with Ann

My wife Ann VanderMeer, co-editor of The Weird, our 750,000-word, nearly 1,200-page anthology of weird fiction covering 100 years, will be in Amsterdam soon and is doing an event at the American Book Center. It’s Thursday, December 8, starting at 18:30. My understanding is that she’ll be saying a few words about The Weird, answering questions, and signing books. If you’re in the city that week, consider stopping by. This is the only European event for the book, and there’s more information at the ABC site.

And don’t forget—we’ve posted this week’s content on Weirdfictionreview.com, including an essay by China Mieville, fiction by Caitlin R. Kiernan, and more!

In other news, SF Book News has chosen The Weird as their book of the month for December. Also, it’s available for Kindle now to non-North American readers.