Southern Reach: Jeff VanderMeer Sept.-Nov. Acceptance Tour

Jeff VanderMeer • September 7th, 2014 • News, Uncategorized

BwiErmYCQAAce4N
(Owl from the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia)

“I’m loving the Southern Reach trilogy…Creepy and fascinating.” – Stephen King

“[A] masterpiece.” – The Guardian

“An instant SF classic.” – The New Statesman

–Featured in Entertainment Weekly’s Summer Binge recommendations, along with an A- for Acceptance

Acceptance came out September 2–the concluding volume of my trilogy about the increasingly urgent search for answers about the mysterious Area X. I’ll be touring behind the novel’s release, with some expectation that copies may be available in time for the Decatur Book Festival, too. Here’s the general information so you have it early, with specifics and possible additional events to follow.

Most of these events are some combination of reading and Q&A, with anecdotes about writing the books that range from strange wilderness experiences to weird workplace experiences. With slideshow where possible. If you need more information on the series, this lovely roundup gives you maximum information.

Brooklyn

September 21, Sunday, 4pm panel with signing to follow–Brooklyn Book Festival

4:00 P.M. Fantastical Thrillers: Face Your Fears, or Else… Confronting the evils of the past, deliberately pushing into the unknown, and even stealing the moon. Join NYT bestselling author Lev Grossman (Magicians Trilogy: The Magician’s Land), Jeff VanderMeer (The Southern Reach Trilogy: Acceptance) and debut novelist Deji Olukotun (Nigerians in Space) in a conversation about traveling to the brink and back, and what redemption means in magical worlds. Moderated by Noreen Tomassi, Center for Fiction.

Manhattan

September 22, Mon., 7pm – Housing Works event with fellow NYT bestsellers Lev Grossman & Laura Beukes in New York, NY (short readings, slide show, discussion, signing)

Philadelphia

September 25, Thurs, 7:30pm–Free Library in Philadelphia, PA Reading, Q&A, and slideshow, with live owl; additional event partners Geekadelphia and The Academy of Natural Sciences

Washington D.C.

September 27, Sat., 6pm–Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington, DC (reading, discussion); I won’t be at the World Fantasy Convention in DC in November, so this is my only DC appearance.

Baltimore

September 28, Sunday, 12pm (noon)–Baltimore Book Festival reading and signing

Richmond, VA

September 30, 6:30pm–Fountain Bookstore –reading, anecdote, Q&A, and will also answer writing questions at the end based on Wonderbook

Austin, TX

October 25–26–Texas Book Festival in Austin, TX

Florida

November 14, 5pm, Inkwood Books in Tampa, FL, reading, signing.

November 15, 7pm Functionally Literate reading series (with Usman Tanveer Malik) in Orlando

November 19-21–The Center for Literature, Wonderbook workshop (cosponsored by the Miami International Book Fair) in Miami – must sign up for the workshop

November 22–Miami Book Fair International – Event TBD

Acceptance--FSG

Must Read: The Metanatural Adventures of Dr. Black by Brendan Connell

Jeff VanderMeer • September 13th, 2014 • Book Reviews

the-metanatural-adventures-of-doctor-black-jhc-brendan-connell-2156-p[ekm]301x403[ekm]

A unique book you definitely should pick up is the rather wonderfully eccentric The Metanatural Adventures of Dr. Black by Brendan Connell. One of these stories appeared in the World Fantasy Award winning Leviathan 3 anthology edited by me and Forrest Aguirre. This is a sumptuous and beautifully designed thick hardcover collecting all of Dr. Black’s many (mis)adventures along with a lot of interstitial material of the meta variety–delightfully cheerful and cheeky. Quirky, weird in a good way, with sublime writing, and often very funny. The image above doesn’t quite give you the true measure of the lovely texture and approach used for the cover. You can order here–paypal accepted.

I wrote the introduction to The Metanatural Adventures of Dr. Black and I’ve posted half of that intro below so you can get a better sense of what this book is up to…

Read the rest of this entry »

My Year in Nonfiction: With Karen Joy Fowler, Bronson Pinchot, Thomas Ligotti, Lauren Beukes, and Lev Grossman

Jeff VanderMeer • September 9th, 2014 • News, Nonfiction

istock-8674833-rainbow-trout-fish_custom-edfcc52e2460e86277f9e72f9ac14cbf6daa2423-s4-c85
(Are trout too smart to eat? Just one topic of discussion with Karen Joy Fowler for NPR.org’s science blog.)

It’s been a long but amazing year touring behind the Southern Reach trilogy. Last week the final volume, Acceptance, came out. You can find really awesome and humbling coverage at NPR, Entertainment Weekly (multiple times!), Slate.com, The Guardian, and from just-announced Man Book Prize finalist Neel Mukherjee in The New Statesman, and too many other places to list.

Because I haven’t written any fiction this year due to touring behind the novels, I’ve turned to nonfiction. Below you’ll find links and short excerpts to a fairly eclectic mix of pieces.

In addition, here’re some of the more extensive interviews I gave this year, which often felt like I was writing essays or articles (in a good way!): for FSG Originals, Raw Story, Buzzfeed, NPR’s Bookworm, 4th Estate’s podcast, Rick Kleffel/KUSP, Locus, the Coode Street podcast, Wired.com, NPR’s Studio 360, and NPR’s To The Best of Our Knowledge. Just today Electric Literature came out with another one.

***

NPR.org’s cosmos and culture blog

Living on an Alien Planet: In Conversation with Karen Joy Fowler

VanderMeer: Dis-empathize, right. If sharks were as smart as chimpanzees — using our conventional definitions of worth — it wouldn’t make a difference, in a sense. So how far do you think “personhood” should go in terms of our thinking of animals? Is there a cut-off point? Or is it simply that we need to rearrange our entire thinking about this?

Fowler: I just think that’s such a hard question. At least, I think it’s a hard question. I can tell you where my thinking is today. But what I’m seeing is that the more we look at animal cognition, the smarter other creatures seem to be. I’m at a point now where I eat fish. I’m sure the day is fast coming when I will learn that fish are creative puzzle solvers.

Vulture (NY Mag online)

This Is the Best 5,453-Word Interview With Bronson Pinchot About Audiobooks You Will Ever Read

I once described [my novel] Authority to a friend as my attempt to show what would happen if Franz Kafka and Dilbert had a love-child that was then raised by John le Carré and Mark Z. Danielewski. How, then, to read something like that aloud? Done the wrong way, it could be a mess. Yet miraculously, when I heard Pinchot’s version, it was exactly as I’d imagined it might turn out if done right — with an understanding of the rhythms of the language and the intent behind them. I felt almost as if Pinchot peered out from between the words on the page, a position perfect for a novel haunted by so many things. So when the opportunity arose to have an in-depth conversation with Pinchot about audiobooks and the decisions you make inhabiting a text, I couldn’t resist the opportunity.

A True Detective Fan’s Guide to Thomas Ligotti

Who the hell is Thomas Ligotti? That’s the question many people were asking after a spate of articles last week speculated on plagiarism charges leveled against True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto on an H.P. Lovecraft website. The media attention spiked sales of the book at the center of the controversy — Ligotti’s nonfiction philosophy tome The Conspiracy Against the Human Race — to the point that it began to outsell Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

New York Times Book Review

Escape from LA: Edan Lepucki’s California

Perhaps the world as we know it will indeed end this way for many Americans: terrified of porcupines, longing for the sound of S.U.V.s, unable to ­distinguish between an artifact and a keepsake, helped to find temporary sanctuary by the last black man on earth. If it does, we won’t be able to say that “California” didn’t warn us.

Los Angeles Times

Sci-fi and Fantasy Authors Reveal the Truth in the Strangest Fictions (with contributions from Nnedi Okorafor, Lauren Beukes, Ann Leckie, Lev Grossman.)

Authors of speculative fiction face a completely opposite expectation, discovering that spectacle comes with the assumption that fantastical characters, dystopian story arcs, even an encounter with an alluring ghost emerged whole from the author’s imagination, without any help from anything as boring as the pesky and unreliable imp known as reality.

(Another piece that ran on the LAT website, a short essay by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, the author who wrote the novel that the blockbuster film Edge of Tomorrow was based on, started out as answers intended for this article, but worked better as a stand-alone piece.)

Insomnia Takes Over the World: Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun

Writing about sleeplessness and dreams is ambitious. Cramming so many viewpoint characters into a relatively short novel is also ambitious. Like a half-formed dream, the novel aspires to encompass both the detached compassion of Ben Marcus’ “Flame Alphabet” and some atonal mix of Bret Easton Ellis and Stephen King-style Americana.

An Epic Fantasy of Brotherly Bonds: The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil

Yet Weil’s earnest, deep commitment to a portrait of brothers in crisis means that these issues recede into the backdrop. There’s pathos and tension in how Yarik becomes trapped in his relationship with Bazarov. There’s breathtaking brilliance in Weil’s portrayal of Dima as an outcast estranged from society, especially in one astonishing scene in which Dima walks around in a reverie of dissolution.

The Guardian

Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson: Book Review

Early in the story, Pete observes that “We’re all animals. Just dancing bears in tutus and monkeys with cigarettes. Painted up and stuffed into clown cars.” Henderson is committed to showing us unhappy and unstable people existing at the edges of any safety net. But they’re also people struggling to find a kind of truth, and they’re portrayed with compassion and humanity, in a voice that crackles and lurches with the intensity of a Tom Waits song. Here, at the beginning of his career, Henderson has come within shouting distance of writing a great American novel.

Huffington Post

The Nature of Reading: 10 Influences on the Southern Reach

The series might be a mix of science fiction and conspiracy/spy fiction, but the underlying concepts come out of an intense awareness of our natural landscapes and of our current predicament with regard to global warming. I wanted for any details about the natural world in my series to be based on direct observation, rather than received second- or third-hand. For the real research involved, I have been grateful for ideas encountered in a number of texts, most of them directly rooted in some aspect of the natural world. Here are the top 10.

Bookanista

My Wilderness Year

My R&R right after was to plunge right into what we’d been talking about: the wilderness. I drove up the coast to Morro Bay and spent a couple of days at the Blue Sail Inn. Morro Bay, dominated by a giant rock in the harbor, is a great base from which to explore the coast – walk along the beaches, hike the seaside cliffs, and go up into the foothills leading into the mountains.

Largehearted Boy

Music Influences on the Southern Reach Trilogy

Much of this music documents a measure of the beautiful strangeness of our world and juxtaposes against that backdrop the lives of people who are flawed, sometimes struggling, but always trying. Most of them just want to do the right thing, even if they keep doing the wrong thing. Some of this is momentous and stirring and desperate. Much of it is also by turns mysterious, absurd, funny, or wonderfully creepy. Hopefully the novels are too.

The Southern Reach: Acceptance Acknowledgments

Jeff VanderMeer • September 2nd, 2014 • News

DSCN2688
(Some of the bunnies from Authority…)

Since this is Acceptance’s release day, I’m posting the acknowledgments from the back of the novel below. It’s been a somewhat ridiculously herculean undertaking, and a lot of people have helped along the way. Thanks again to all of you. You can find more information on some of the books mentioned below in this HuffPo feature I wrote a few months back. Finally, a few additional thanks that should’ve gone in the book, to: Scott Eagle, Ed Morris, Melanie Meadors, Nikki Guerlain, Kari Wolfe, Adam Morgan, and to all of the reviewers, who have been very kind both in their appraisal of the trilogy but also in not sharing spoilers (which would’ve been very easy).

***

Many thanks to my patient and brilliant editor, Sean McDonald, who made it possible for me to write the second two books knowing someone really truly had my back. Thanks to everyone at FSG for making the experience of publishing this trilogy so wonderful: Taylor Sperry, Charlotte Strick, Devon Mazonne, Amber Hoover, Izabela Wojciechowska, and Lenni Wolff. Thanks as well to Alyson Sinclair for her excellent work on the publicity side and to Eric Nyquist for great cover art.

Thanks again to my stalwart agent, Sally Harding, and the Cooke Agency. I’m also indebted to my publishers in Canada, the U.K., and in other countries for showing such imagination and energy in publishing the Southern Reach trilogy. Blackstone Audio has also been a delight to work with, and in particular Ryan Bradley.

Additional thanks to first readers Clubber Ace, Greg Bossert, Eric Schaller, Matthew Cheney, Tessa Kum, Berit Ellingsen, Alistair Rennie, Brian Evenson, Karin Tidbeck, Ashley Davis, and Craig L. Gitney. Additional thanks to Kati Schardl, Mark Mustian, Denise Roberts, and the Fermentation Lounge.

In thinking about and writing these books I’ve been grateful for ideas encountered in the Semiotexte series; the works of Rachel Carson and Jean Baudrillard; Taschen’s The Book of Miracles; Philip Hoare’s The Sea Inside; David Toomey’s Weird Life; Iris Murdoch’s novel The Sea, The Sea; the works of Tove Jansson (especially The Summer Book and Moominland Midwinter); Tainaron, by Leena Krohn; the nature poetry of Pattiann Rogers; The Derrick Jensen Reader, edited by Lierre Keith; Richard Jefferies’s After London; and Elinor De Wire’s Guardians of the Light.

Finally, The Seasons of Apalachicola Bay, by John B. Spohrer, Jr., was like a revelation to me while writing Acceptance— a heartfelt, gorgeous, and wise book that kept me grounded in the places that made the Southern Reach trilogy personal for me.

Other research meant visiting, revisiting, or remembering landscapes that spoke to me in a way useful for the fiction: St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Apalachicola, rural Florida and Georgia, Botanical Beach Provincial Park on Vancouver Island, the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Vancouver Island, the coast of Northern California, and the Fiji Islands, which gave me a certain starfish.

I should also like to thank the many wonderful and creative booksellers I’ve met while on tour this year— you’ve been inspiring and energizing— as well as the enthusiastic readers willing to follow me on this somewhat strange journey. I really appreciate it.

Finally, I’m humbled and my heart made glad by my wife, Ann VanderMeer, who was my partner in all of this. She encouraged me, listened to me, helped me work out knots in drafts in progress, took other work off of my desk, went well beyond the call of duty or anything in the marriage vows to allow me the time and space to write these novels. It wouldn’t have been possible without her.

The Southern Reach Trilogy: Acceptance Release Week!

Jeff VanderMeer • September 1st, 2014 • News

This is the release week for my novel Acceptance, the last installment in the NYT bestselling Southern Reach trilogy. The novel received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews as well as a rave in The Guardian and an A- from Entertainment Weekly–which also put the series on their Binges for Summer list. Stephen King said of the trilogy “I’m loving the Southern Reach trilogy…Creepy and fascinating.”

You can read an excerpt here, and also find an interactive map there among other content. That page also has a whole list of bookseller links if you scroll down.

Also do not forget the amazing audiobook, narrated brilliantly ! I can’t recommend it enough.

Here’s more about the novel:

It is winter in Area X, the mysterious wilderness that has defied explanation for thirty years, rebuffing expedition after expedition, refusing to reveal its secrets. As Area X expands, the agency tasked with investigating and overseeing it—the Southern Reach—has collapsed in on itself in confusion. Now one last, desperate team crosses the border, determined to reach a remote island that may hold the answers they’ve been seeking. If they fail, the outer world is in peril.

Meanwhile, Acceptance tunnels ever deeper into the circumstances surrounding the creation of Area X—what initiated this unnatural upheaval? Among the many who have tried, who has gotten close to understanding Area X—and who may have been corrupted by it? In this last installment of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, the mysteries of Area X may be solved, but their consequences and implications are no less profound—or terrifying.

How You Can Help!

If you like my fiction and want to support Acceptance and The Southern Reach trilogy, here are some of the things you can do to help.

–Walk into your local independent bookstore and buy a copy. Indie booksellers have hand-sold thousands of copies of this trilogy and I can’t thank them enough.

—Buy Acceptance now from your preferred online bookseller, and recommend your preferred sales link to friends on social media. You can find direct sales links here if you scroll down. Online sellers have been hugely enthusiastic about the trilogy and deserve your support as well.

—Review the book. Blog, review site, or on social media. Any mention, especially noting whatever you really liked about the book, helps immensely.

—Review it on sales site you bought it from. Tell other readers what you liked about it. A quick and easy way to help get the word out and create interest. Online reviews at B&N, Amazon, and elsewhere do help.

—Buy the discounted Annihilation Kindle or Epub version and spread the word. Both Amazon and B&N (will update to discount shortly) are discounting the first novel’s ebook to $2.99. This is a great way for readers new to the series to sample it.

—Request it from your local library. Making sure your local library knows about Acceptance, and the prior two novels (Annihilation and Authority), which noto nly increases library orders but allows multiple people to enjoy the book.

—Spread the word through twitter and facebook. Tell people about the novel through social media, using your favorite link about the book.

acceptance_600

The Southern Reach Trilogy at the Decatur Book Festival: This Sunday!

Jeff VanderMeer • August 29th, 2014 • News

Southern Reach--looping backdrop [Compatibility Mode] - Microsoft PowerPoint_2014-08-29_09-25-51
(Sneak peek at the slideshow for Sunday’s event)

“I’m loving the Southern Reach trilogy…Creepy and fascinating.” – Stephen King

“A masterpiece.” – The Guardian, on Acceptance

I’ll be appearing Sunday, August 31, 1:15 at the Decatur Recreation Center Gym, with my wife, Ann, for a Decatur Book Festival event. Afterwards, I’ll be signing books. Acceptance *will* be available there, two days early.

Touching on ecological themes and set in a transformed South, the Southern Reach trilogy chronicles the attempts of a secret government agency to discovery the mystery behind Area X, a pristine wilderness suddenly closed off from the rest of civilization by a strange event 30 years before. Award-winning editor Ann VanderMeer will interview Jeff VanderMeer after a brief reading from the third novel in the series, Acceptance. A Southern Reach slideshow will feature the real-life wilderness places that inspired the trilogy and show off the amazing variety of cover designs for the foreign language editions. (As featured in Entertainment Weekly).

UK Book Tour: The Important Part, the Books Acquired!

Jeff VanderMeer • August 28th, 2014 • Book Reviews

I’ll do a blog post about two weeks spent on the road in the UK doing book and book-like events. But for now, the important thing: The report on the books bought while over there! I think you’ll find some intriguing titles here…

DSCN2633

–The new Murakami novel is written in a plain style probably reflecting the kind of everyman main character. I’m about seventy pages in and enjoying it for the unfolding story rather than any particular element of the prose.

–Philippe Claudel’s The Investigation I discovered at the very dangerous bookstore at the Edinburgh book festival, and the cover alone was enough to make me buy the novel. But the Kafkaesque situation of an Investigator sent to a provincial town to report on a series of mysterious deaths at The Firm certainly didn’t hurt!

–Antwerp by Robert Bolaño, discovered in a discount bookstore on the fringe of Dublin’s Temple Bar. It’s got the concision of prose poetry and that dreamy quality, too. The last Bolaño to be acquired.

–David Vann’s Caribou Island was pretty exceptional, so I didn’t hesitate to pick up his Legend of a Suicide at Mr. B’s Book Emporium in Bath. The novel’s about a man still struggling with the death of his father, but as with all of Vann’s work the unique qualities are in his characterization, situations, and prose more than the over-arching story being told.

–Picked up at the Blackwell’s in Edinburgh, Murakami’s Hard-Boiled Wonderland and End of the World is one of two novels by this likely Nobel Prize winner I haven’t yet read. Blackwell’s in Edinburgh, btw, is a wonderful place to shop, with a collection of books in part curated by the awesome Ellie Wixon.

–My wife Ann selected The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson, also at Blackwell’s. A ruthless secret service. A woman run over by a drunken engineer. All of it apparently hilarious. (Speaking of novels with Girl in the title, Ann read The Girl With All the Gifts and liked it, although she said it started strong and got a bit weak by the end.)

DSCN2626

–Our friend Neil Williamson bought Kirsty Logan’s short story collection The Rental Heart for us, and, man, am I glad he did. I’m about half-way through and I love the stories. Quirky, sometimes fantastical. Strong, strong stuff–definitely seek it out.

–Since the Southern Reach trilogy started to come out, many readers have been recommending Jim Crace to me, so I finally picked up a couple of his early titles while on the road.

–Pascal Garnier is a dark, dark writer of gritty pseudo-noir and creepy kind of Decadent but realistic tales of down-and-out and downright strange people. Reminds me a little bit of the work of Derek Raymond, although in a slightly different register. All of these were picked up at Mr. B’s Book Emporium, recommended by the staff and by Peter Sutton and his wife Claire, who were our gracious hosts while in that part of the country. Mr B’s is a rather remarkable bookstore that I highly recommend. Lovely people work there, too.

DSCN2628

–Off the Map by Alastair Bonnett, picked up by Ann at the Edinburgh Book Festival bookstore, is an astonishing book. I’m about half-way through this collection of essays about lost spaces, invisible cities, forgotten islands, and feral places. Just stunning. The author is incredibly compelling in the tales he tells, and his central thesis about how the human imagination needs places off the map. Even just the bit about the US Navy sending out military vessels to expunge an imaginary island is surreal and fascinating. Other books on this theme have been published, but this is my favorite thus far. A 2014 release.

–It was my pleasure to blurb The Moon King, a first novel by Neil Williamson, and also a pleasure to receive a copy from him while in Glasgow. It’s a lovely hardcover edition.

–Owls by Mike Toms is one in a series of naturalist volumes by the imprint William Collins and it’s a fascinating book. A guide to owls, very comprehensive and well-structured. I picked it up in a lovely Waterstones store near Covent Garden.

DSCN2629

–I’ve heard good things about Ali Smith and this collection, Shire, with images by Sarah Wood, just begged to be bought. Stylish, nicely designed. I bought it at Topping & Company in Bath, along with the other books in that row. Topping, like Mr. B’s, is a rather amazing bookstore and I was delighted to be able to drop by and talk to their staff.

–Robin Sloan has a prequel to his famous Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, and it’s rather smartly designed too, so I couldn’t not pick it up.

–I hadn’t encountered Bloomsbury Classics before, in these miniature editions. A tiny collection of Will Self fiction? Sign me up! Now I’m in danger of wanting the entire series.

–To my abiding shame, I had fallen behind on my Margaret Atwood reading and hadn’t yet gotten around to reading her MaddAddam trilogy, although I’ve read most everything else. Then I encountered these amazing trade paperback versions in Blackwell’s and I just had to have them. I read Oryx & Crake on the plane home and thought it was brilliant and sad and awful and tragic and wonderful and all of those things that a great novel should be.

DSCN2630

–I know absolutely nothing about Eduardo Belgrano Rawson or his book Washing Dishes in Hotel Paradise but when I saw the following quote on the back of the book I had to buy it: “Suddenly he spotted Borges waiting to cross the road…” Another Mr B’s purchase.

–Another Pascal Garnier, The Panda Theory, which I also read on the plane back. I loved the first three-fourths and then felt it fell apart. But I loved that three-fourths enough to recommend the novel. Some amazing turns of phrase and observations about the human condition.

–The Slynx by Tatyana Tolstaya is just barking mad in the best possible way, a future dystopia that reads in part like fairy tale, full of towering feats of the imagination. An untamed whirlwind of a novel–and that’s just the first ten pages! Can’t wait to dive into more of it. Thanks again to Mr. B’s for this recommendation.

–The Murakami with the, ahem, stickers inside. (Yes, it is being sent to you, Mr. DB, very soon.)

DSCN2639

–Fat Years by Chan Koonchung was an impulse buy by Ann that looks very interesting. About a month that goes missing in the near future. Another Mr. B’s rec.

–Lee Rourke’s Vulgar Things was gifted to me by The Fourth Estate while I was signing over at HarperCollins UK’s central offices. The novel just looked fascinating. A quixotic week on an island after the death of a relative of the main character. With some linguistic trickeration, among other things.

–I couldn’t resist The Exploits of Moominpapa by Tove Jansson in a beautiful hardcover, found in the Moomin Shop in Covent Garden, London.

–Technically, I received the Bolano Last Interview book from Melville right before I left, but I read it on the plane over to the UK. Really a great book about a brilliant writer’s work. Well worth checking out.

–Independence An Argument for Home Rule I bought not just because I support Scotland achieving home rule, but also because I cannot resist, ever, any book that has art from Alasdair Gray on the cover.

–Ann finally picked up The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, a novel we’ve both wanted to read for a long time…but I think you all know what it’s about, so I won’t tarry here…

DSCN2632

–Two John Wyndham novels, Trouble with Lichen and The Day of the Triffids, bookend this photo. Again, readers have told me to check these out ever since the Southern Reach novels started being published in February. Ann picked them up in a cool used bookstore on the edge of the Trinity College area in Dublin.

–In Bath, Tom Abba was kind enough to gift us with an amazing hand-made book with two chapbooks saddle-stapled to the interior of the amazingly supple single piece of worked wood that folds across both as a kind of hard dustjacket. It’s difficult to describe the intricacies of this project, so I’ll just guide you over here for more information. Just a stunning piece of conceptual art and also concrete book-making.

–Having just been brutally disappointed by Edward St. Aubyn’s lackluster Lost For Words (tip: if you’re going to do book culture satire, go for the jugular vein unless you want to up in some lukewarm purgatory of not-interesting-enough), it’s brave of me (yay me?) to dip back into another satire, but this title by Filippo Bologna looked very interesting. Another Blackwell’s purchase, Bologna’s The Parrots concerns three men preparing to do battle over a prestigious literary prize.

–Finally, another Philippe Claudel title, Brodeck’s Report. I’m a sucker for novels about reports, apparently. A stranger is murdered. The title character then files a report. Honestly, I think this will be great. Your mileage may vary depending on your love of reports in fiction….

Wonderbook Workshop at the Center for Literature in Miami

Jeff VanderMeer • August 12th, 2014 • News

Wonderbook

Before participating in the Miami Book Fair, I’ll be leading a workshop at the Center for Literature at Miami Dade College–November 19-21. Here’s information on the workshop. You can sign up here. Space is limited.

Wonderbook has been taught at Brown, the Yale Writers’ Conference, University of California, San Diego (Clarion), and many others. It is currently a finalist for the Hugo Award.

***

How do you balance the practical and the imaginative in your writing and revision? How can you merge the organic, subconscious elements of your fiction with the need to be analytical? Learn the answers as you critique manuscripts with and receive instruction from Jeff VanderMeer, author of the award-winning Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, the world’s first fully illustrated fiction-writing guide.

Exercises (some as take-aways) will include finding the autobiographical in the fantastical, use of freedom and constraint to energize even the most traditional approaches, and analysis of successful but atypical scenes as the jumping-off point for discussion of characterization, setting, and the numinous. VanderMeer’s critiques will provide you with detailed specific feedback on your story but also general analysis that will help you with all of your fiction. This workshop is suitable for-and welcomes-all modes and styles of fiction. Join what promises to be a diverse group of beginning and intermediate writers for a workshop that is fun, energizing, and uniquely illuminating.

Jeff VanderMeer’s most recent fiction is the NYT-bestselling Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance), released in 2014. This highly-praised series lauded by the likes of Stephen King, Karen Joy Fowler, and Robin Sloan has been acquired by publishers in 16 other countries.

His Wonderbook, the world’s first fully illustrated, full-color creative writing guide, has won multiple awards, been featured prominently in national media, and is taught at many universities. VanderMeer has edited or coedited over a dozen iconic fiction anthologies, has taught at, among others, the Yale Writers’ Conference and the University of California at San Diego, lectured at MIT and the Library of Congress, and serves as the co-director of Shared Worlds, a unique teen writing camp located at Wofford College. Previous novels include the Ambergris Cycle, with nonfiction titles including Booklife: Strategies & Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer and the essay collection Monstrous Creatures. Through an imprint VanderMeer founded he publishes award-winning fiction in translation, primarily from Finland and Sweden. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife, the noted editor Ann VanderMeer.

Acceptance Southern Reach U.S. Book Tour: Mark Your Calendars

Jeff VanderMeer • August 10th, 2014 • News

barn_owl1
(Barn owl)

“I’m loving the Southern Reach trilogy…Creepy and fascinating.” – Stephen King

Acceptance officially comes out September 2–the concluding volume of my trilogy about the increasingly urgent search for answers about the mysterious Area X. I’ll be touring behind the novel’s release, with some expectation that copies may be available in time for the Decatur Book Festival, too. Here’s the general information so you have it early, with specifics and possible additional events to follow.

Most of these events are some combination of reading and Q&A, with anecdotes about writing the books that range from strange wilderness experiences to weird workplace experiences. With slideshow where possible. If you need more information on the series, this lovely roundup gives you maximum information.

August 29–31–Decatur Book Festival in Decatur, GA

September 21–Brooklyn Book Festival

September 22 – Housing Works (with Lev Grossman & Laura Beukes) in New York, NY

September 25, 7:30pm–Free Library in Philadelphia, PA (with live owl; additional event partners Geekadelphia and The Academy of Natural Sciences)

September 27, 6pm–Politics & Prose bookstore in Washington, DC

September 28–Baltimore Book Festival

September 30–Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, VA

October 25–26–Texas Book Festival in Austin, TX

November 15, Functionally Literate reading series (with Usman Tanveer Malik) in Orlando

November 19-21–The Center for Literature, Wonderbook workshop (cosponsored by the Miami International Book Fair) in Miami – must sign up for the workshop

November 22–Miami Book Fair International

Acceptance--FSG

Southern Reach U.K. Book Tour: London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, Bristol, Bath

Jeff VanderMeer • August 8th, 2014 • News

The Southern Reach U.K. book tour is locked in place. You’ll find the details below. Ann VanderMeer, the noted editor/anthologist and my wife, will be along for the entire tour and has her own list of events at WorldCon. We’re also doing some events together. Please note: Some bookstores will have the third novel in the Southern Reach trilogy, Acceptance, early and available for my signings. We’re excited about meeting old friends and making new ones. Don’t be shy at WorldCon, the Edinburgh festival, or Eurocon in Dublin!

LONDON

Thurs, Aug. 14, 4-5pm: Forbidden Planet reading & signing – I’ll talk a little bit about the Southern Reach trilogy and read from Acceptance, before signing books. Ann will be with me, so if you buy any of our anthologies you can get both of our signatures.

WORLDCON (ExCeL, London Dockland)

See the full list of panels Ann and I are on, below the cut. Here are the two non-panel events of interest.

Fri, Aug. 15, 7pm: Reading—I’ll tell some weird workplace tales, read from Authority and preview Acceptance; someone will win a free book and since it won’t go a full hour, I’m happy to sign people’s books afterwards. (London Suite 1, ExCeL)

Sat, Aug. 16, 6pm: Literary Beer—Sign up or drop by, not sure of the rules, and we’ll shoot the breeze for an hour. Wonderbook artist Jeremy Zerfoss might drop in. (The Bar, ExCeL)

EDINBURGH

Tues, Aug. 19, 8:30pm: Edinburgh International Book Festival event: Fantasy That’s Terrifyingly Believable…”He’s already an HBO scriptwriter who writes novels for teenagers. Now Edinburgh-based Charlie Fletcher has added adult fiction to his CV with The Oversight, a fabulous Gothic fantasy. The astonishing Annihilation is the first in Jeff VanderMeer’s ambitious Southern Reach trilogy of eco sci-fi novels, featuring the eerie Area X, and which will surely turn him into an international literary star. Chaired by Stuart Kelly.” (Tickets required.)

GLASGOW

Thurs, Aug. 21, 7pm: Glasgow Waterstones (Argyle Street). A talk with brief readings: Ann and Jeff VanderMeer with Neil Williamson, Amal El-Mohtar, and Hal Duncan. Tickets free; call to reserve. (This location will have Acceptance for sale for the event!)

DUBLIN

Sat, Aug. 23, 5-8pm: Eurocon, DoubleTree by Hilton, Dublin Burlington Road convention centre. Join Ann and me in the hotel bar to shoot the breeze. Note: You probably have to be a Eurocon member to attend. Hodges Figgs bookstore will be selling my books at the convention and I’ll be doing a segment on RTE Arena, an Irish radio program.

BRISTOL

Mon, Aug. 25, 7pm, at the Landsdown (8 Clifton Road): An evening with Ann & Jeff VanderMeer. Small Stories have teamed up with Bristol Festival of Literature, Wizards Tower Press & BristolCon to bring you an evening with husband and wife publishing powerhouses Ann & Jeff VanderMeer. Ann & Jeff will be in conversation with Cheryl Morgan and will be answering those questions you’ve always wanted to ask an award winning editor and author. There will also be a chance to get your books signed. (Q&A, brief reading, performance; free, but tickets required)

BATH

Tues, 7pm, Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights (14/15 John Street): In conversation with Jeff VanderMeer, including brief reading. Free, but a ticketed event.

BuW2o5hCEAA9qF4

Read the rest of this entry »