Hiking Lone Cone Trail: Ann’s Top Five Observations

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Recently, we hiked the Lone Cone Trail up the mountain on Meares Island, near Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. You have to hire a boat to take you over to the island—on a wave-smashing ride—and it’s a very difficult trail, with a steep incline, and many times we didn’t even think we were on a trail—you couldn’t really tell trail from non-trail. It usually takes about five hours, but it took us over six due to the truly treacherous conditions—it was one muddy, aggressively ascending, tree-blocked, gully choked amazing experience. The craziest part is having to clamber up a ravine of huge fallen tree trunks and limbs…like, literally crawling up it over top of these fallen trees. We’ve hiked mountains in Australia and California but nothing like this.

I asked Ann what she learned from the experience and these were the top five things:

1—Little trees are my friends.

2—Rocks with green moss are not my friends.

3—Not all mud is squishy.

4—I can climb over a sh*tload of solid tree trunks on an extreme incline.

5—Jeff’s feet are bigger than mine, so I can follow in his footsteps.

More about the hike under the cut…

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(Yep, that’s part of the trail…a more benign part.)

[Read more…]

Getting Up to Speed: Jackson and Locus Awards, New Work, The Weird

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Ann and I are just back from a vacation on Vancouver Island, following the Victoria Steam Expo, at which we were guests. It was an amazing trip, with lots of hiking—including an epic seven-hour journey up a mountain on an island. At one point, crawling up a ravine choked with giant logs, I think I felt as far away from the human world as I’ve ever been, and it was glorious.

Now we’re slowly getting back up to speed, and I thought I’d share some updates. As you may have seen, The Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities is a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award and Ann and I are finalists in the category of Best Editor for the Locus Award. In addition, The Weird is on Kirkus’s recent list of top May releases, and is a Barnes & Noble pick for May as well.

Expect a lot more media coverage, as well as special features on Weirdfictionreview.com, where next week we will post an incredible interview with Amos Tutuola’s son and excerpt from his work, among other cool stuff. (And don’t forget to check out the great stuff our managing editor Adam Mills’ put together the past two weeks, including a Kathe Koja interview.)

In terms of upcoming events, Ann and I will be at BEA in NYC in early June supporting The Weird, and I’ll be teaching at Stone Coast in Maine early in July, before heading over to the Shared Worlds teen writing camp. (In August, I may be taking on a new journalism secret mission that should be a lot of fun.)

As for fiction, I’ve been on kind of a tear lately. I’ve currently got a new short story, “No Breather in the World But Thee,” out and about, a reprint in both the forthcoming Fungi antho from Innsmouth Press and John Joseph Adams’ alt-worlds anthology. I also just sold a major novelette, “Komodo,” to the major new UK mag Arc, which will see print soon. Three other stories are in progress: “Death of a Mycologist,” “The Last Redoubt,” and “Madness, Mountains,” the latter a retelling of Lovecraft’s classic from the point of view of a blue collar female assistant not mentioned in the original story.

Novel-wise, I have made further progress on the Southern Reach series that began with Annihilation, the novel I completed last month. I’m now well into the next book in the series, Authority, which looks at things from the other side of the border. For those who missed my post about Annihilation, it’s about an expedition into a strange wilderness area called Area X, which 20 or 30 years before was the site of some kind of event which closed it off from the rest of the world, the invisible border only able to be breached in one place. The narrator is a biologist on the expedition. Authority is from three points of view—the main one being the new “Control” for the secret Southern Reach project, which is responsible for sending in the expeditions. The series is very personal to me, as it takes the wilderness of North Florida as it basic setting, and the characters are not the typical types.

I’m also making some progress on two other novels, Borne and The Book Murderer, while working on a couple of anthology projects with Ann. In general, Ann is doing more anthos herself while I re-focus on the fiction.

Nonfiction-wise, progress continues on the WONDERBOOK illustrated writing book project and I’ve turned in a long essay on fakes to the New Haven Review that I think will become a short book. Also expect my book reviews in the Guardian, LA Times, and B&N Review soonish.

As for our other publishing projects, expect announcements soon about Odd and Leviathan being somewhat delayed—mostly because of wanting to pay maximum attention to the feminist SF antho I posted about yesterday. Cheeky Frawg is also slowing somewhat as we transition from the publishing model we had intended to pursue—e-book only—to more of a hybrid that includes print books. We still plan to publish titles by Amos Tutuola, Karin Tidbeck, and Leena Krohn this year, for sure. We’re also clearly moving toward becoming a specialist in Finnish fiction, with some digressions into other areas—almost all of it to do with translations of some kind.

I plan to blog more often over the summer, but expect stops-and-starts, as I’m committed to my fiction at the moment. I have experienced a burst of rejuvenation like nothing I’ve ever known before.

Feminist SF Antho Kickstarter

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the kickstarter Jef Smith is running for a feminist SF antho Ann and I have agreed to edit. As the kickstarter states, we consider this antho to be a contribution to the ongoing conversation and the long and complex history of feminist literature. We plan to take suggestions, have already begun outreach through email, and also hope if time permits to have at least a limited open reading period (for reprints). Our research for The Weird has given us leads on a fair amount of international fiction and authors as well–work that didn’t necessarily fit the focus of that anthology.

We’re also aware there is no way to get this completely right, if that makes sense. But we hope to make an honest and comprehensive effort, and to use web supplements and other online resources to make the antho the focal point of attention for existing feminist anthos and the websites of individual writers of note.

Ann and I are intensely excited to re-read the work of so many writers we love and to put together something that’s of use.