Archive for April, 2012

Victoria Steam Expo: Featuring Hugo Finalist Steampunk Bible and More!

Jeff VanderMeer • April 17th, 2012 • News

victoria expo

Just a reminder that Ann and I are guests of the Victoria Steampunk Expo this weekend, on Vancouver Island. Ann will be giving some insight into her new antho, Steampunk Revolution, and I’ll be giving some anecdotes about putting together the Steampunk Bible. You can find the full slate of guests, including the Foglios and Abney Park, on the event’s website.

Speaking of The Steampunk Bible, in addition to it being a Hugo Finalist, the book has just been named the nonfiction book of the year by Steampunk Chronicle.

Hope to see you in Victoria!

Where is Story? Story is…Everywhere

Jeff VanderMeer • April 16th, 2012 • Writing Tips

Thesis: This entry from C.W. Hart, Jr’s A Dictionary of Non-Scientific Names of Freshwater Crayfishes (Astacoidea and Parastacoidea), Including Other Words and Phrases Incorporating Crayfish Names contains all of the elements needed to inspire and create fiction. Therefore, story exists all around us, everywhere, and is inhibited only by the limitations of the imaginations that surround it.

Discuss.

***

Shrimp “(A) crevice, first a spron frey, then a shrimp, then a sprawn, and when it is large then called a crevice.” ASTACIDAE [U.K.] Randle Holme (ca. 1688), quoted by Phipson, 1883:435. [I was unable to find this quotation in Holme.]

“One of the courses was whole crevisses in a rich sauce….The guest of honor…muttered… ‘What do I do now?’ …[B]ecause I had struggled before with the same somewhat overrated delicacy…I winked at him and said, ‘Watch me.’ I picked up a shrimp between my left thumb and forefinger….” [France: Dijon] Fisher, 1943 (1954): 430 (Noble and Enough); and:

“The season for shrimps is short, and Madame Mossu paid well for all the boys and old men could find in their hundred icy streams.” [Switzerland: Chatel St Denis] Fisher, 1943 (1954):506 (I Remember Three Restaurants); and

“A light curry of shrimps or crayfish tails.” [Unspecified locality] Fisher, 1943 (1954):708 (W is for Wanton).

Fisher’s apparent lack of attention to her crayfish/shrimp food-stuffs is puzzling, considering she is (was) an important figure in gastronomy. In the first reference she speaks of ecrevisses and shrimps as if they are the same animal; in the second she is undoubtedly speaking of crayfishes that live in the streams of Switzerland; in the third she paradoxically distinguishes between shrimps and crayfishes. I suppose, like so many people, she just didn’t care. See also crawfish, crayfish and ecrevisse.

Booklifenow.com–The Relaunch!

Jeff VanderMeer • April 11th, 2012 • News

I’ve been super busy with deadlines, but I wanted to pop up briefly to encourage people to head on over to Booklifenow.com, which relaunched this week. The site, after a good 18 months of great stuff following the release of my writing book Booklife, had gotten kind of moribund, despite Jeremy L.C. Jones’ heroic contributions…and that was in no small part due to just not having the time to manage the site along with everything else. This became even more painfully obvious after Ann and I launched Weirdfictionreview.com.

So we’ve turned the site over to Morgan Dempsey and her great crew. They’ve given it a crisp new look–and I think you can look forward to great content there for some time to come. Go check it out!

Victoria Steam Expo III: Join Us on the Ferry Over, and the Festivities Thereafter!

Jeff VanderMeer • April 9th, 2012 • News

Ann and I are among the guests of honor for the Victoria Steam Exposition III in Victoria on Vancouver Island April 20-22. We’re very much looking forward to it. We’ll be coming over to Victoria via the Victoria Clipper out of Seattle, on the April 20th 8am ferry from pier 69. We’re told a lot of con attendees may also be on the ferry, and we look forward to meeting people on the way over. Let’s call it a mini pre-con on the seas if it all works out right. (ferry mini-con idea copyright: jukka and the finns)

There’s also an absinthe tasting that night you can sign up for, and we plan to be at that as well. If all goes well, we’ll be giving an entertaining behind-the-scenes look at our Steampunk-related projects over the weekend as well. But, again, we’re mostly looking forward to meeting people and saying hi, so don’t be shy.

You can find out more about the expo at this webpage. They also have a blog.

VSEIII_poster_blog

The Steampunk Bible: A 2012 Hugo Award Finalist!

Jeff VanderMeer • April 8th, 2012 • News

jeff and selena 1

S.J. Chambers and I are thrilled that our The Steampunk Bible is up for a Hugo Award in the best related work category. The book contains over 200 full-color images and about 60,000 words of text exploring all aspects of this retro-futurist impulse. We’re thrilled about the honor in large part because The Steampunk Bible represents the work of hundreds of creators, represented through images or quotes and references in the chapters. Many, many thanks to everyone who was kind enough to share their creativity and opinions with us. Special thanks to Jake von Slatt of the Steampunk Workshop, who went above and beyond, as well as Matt Staggs and Leslie Henkel (you guys know why).

Check out the full ballot via my report for Omnivoracious–congrats to all. You’ll be able to vote soon, and we hope you’ll consider voting for The Steampunk Bible.

Below you’ll find the grand finale of my and SJ’s celebration last night (Ann took the photos).

jeff and selena 2

jeff and selena 3

Steampunk Revolution – Announcing the TOC

Ann VanderMeer • April 4th, 2012 • News

I am pleased and very excited to announce the final TOC for my new upcoming anthology – Steampunk Revolution. This book is forthcoming from Tachyon Publications later this year. This anthology is the next logical step, the evolution of this thought-provoking and still wildly popular genre. We’re rebooting the steam-driven past in order to start the revolution now.

—Ann VanderMeer

Here’s a sneak peek at the cover:

 

And full TOC in alphabetic order:

Fiction

“Smoke City” by Christopher Barzak

“On Wooden Wings” by Paolo Chikiamco

“To Follow the Waves” by Amal El-Mohtar

“The Seventh Expression of the Robot General” by Jeffrey Ford

“Sir Ranulph Wykeham-Rackham” by Lev Grossman

“Beside Calais” by Samantha Henderson

“Ascencion” by Leow Hui Min Annabeth

“The Effluent Engine” by N.K. Jemison

“Goggles (c.1910)” by Caitlin R. Kiernan (original)

“The Heart is the Matter” by Malissa Kent (original)

“Urban Drift” by Andrew Knighton

“Arbeitskraft” by Nick Mamatas

“An Exhortation to Young Writers” by David Erik Nelson, Morgan Johnson, and Fritz Swanson

“Peace in Our Time” by Garth Nix

“Possession” by Ben Peek

“Clockroach” by Cherie Priest (new expanded version)

“Salvage” by Margaret Ronald

“Nowhere Fast” by Christopher Rowe

“A Handful of Rice” by Vandana Singh (original novelette)

“White Fungus” by Bruce Sterling

“Beatrice” by Karin Tidbeck (first time in English)

“Abraham Stoker’s Journal” by Lavie Tidhar

“Mother is a Machine” by Catherynne M. Valente

“Study, for Solo Piano” by Genevieve Valentine

“Fixing Hanover” by Jeff VanderMeer

“Harry and Marlowe and the Talisman of the Cult of Egil” by Carrie Vaughn

“Captain Bells & the Sovereign State of Discordia” by J.Y. Yang

 

Nonfiction

“Towards a Steampunk Without Steam” by Amal El-Mohtar (new expanded version)

“From Airships of Imagination to Feet on the Ground” by Jaymee Goh (original)

“Steampunk Shapes Our Future” by Margaret Kiljoy (original)

“The (R)Evolution of Steampunk” by Austin Sirkin (original)

Books Being Read: The Eclectic List, for Your Perusal

Jeff VanderMeer • April 4th, 2012 • Culture

It’s been a busy week of deadlines and I’ve been more active on facebook than here, but I’ve wanted to post some photos of the books I’m reading or have set aside to read, because I think all of these titles are fairly fascinating. Some of them are perfect for dipping into, like the nature titles. The Tim Robinson books are magnificent in that regard—the finest I have ever read. Others like the Nabokov and the Perec are re-reads: books that certainly deserve and reward the effort. Dalkey Archive Press continues to bring us great translated works, and you can see a Michael Cisco title peeking out there. The Vanishers also looks quite intriguing. Rondo I’ve started and it’s very promising. Click through the links to check out more about all of them.

What book piles are you currently working your way through?

IMG_1009

Fiction from Georgia edited by Elizabeth Heighway

Walaschek’s Dream by Giovanni Orelli

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

Transparency by Marek Bienczyk

Dadaoism: An Anthology edited by Justin Isis and Quentin S. Crisp

Lectures on Russian Literature by Vladimir Nabokov

Celebrant by Michael Cisco

A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar

Engines of Desire by Livia Llewellyn

IMG_1011

Rondo by Kazimierz Brandys

The Towers of Trebizond by Rose MacAulay

Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage by Tim Robinson

Stones of Aran: Labyrinth by Tim Robinson

Ice Trilogy by Vladimir Sorokin

Life: A User’s Manual by Georges Perec

IMG_1016

Dra- by Stacey Levine

The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson

Walking the Wrack Line: On Tidal Shifts and What Remains by Barbara Hurd

Stirring the Mud: On Swamps, Bogs, and Human Imagination by Barbara Hurd

Entering the Stone: On Caves and Feeling through the Dark by Barbara Hurd

Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction edited by Brit Mandelo

The Vanishers by Heidi Julavits