Guest Post: Michael J. Seidlinger’s The Face of Any Other

Michael J. Seidlinger is the author of a number of novels, including The Laughter of Strangers, The Fun We’ve Had and The Face of Any Other. He serves as Electric Literature’s Book Reviews Editor as well as Publisher-in-Chief of Civil Coping Mechanisms, an indie press specializing in unclassifiable/innovative fiction and poetry. He can be found on Facebook, Twitter (@mjseidlinger), and at Flavorwire recently called this unique writer “a kind of 21st century David Markson. He’s prolific and talented and we should all read together to try to figure him out.” I’ve long liked Electric Lit, Civil Coping Mechanisms, and the press that published his The Face of Any Other—Lazy Fascist Press (highly recommended in general). So I thought I’d ask Seidinger here to talk about his book…or, in this case, excerpt it. – JV


When Jeff graciously offered this space to let me talk about my most recent book, The Face of Any Other, I was ecstatic—so much that I couldn’t come up with any ideas about what that guest post might be. I came up with all kinds of ridiculous ideas, from something “creative” (read – tacky) dealing with the book’s cover to writing some big behind the scenes (that would likely just go on and on and on), but ended up back where I started. With nothing else, I figured I might as well come clean, much like the unnamed main character of the novel: no personas or facsimiles. Just be myself; or, more precisely, let the book be the book. It gets weird, but that seems to happen to every single one of my books. The following excerpt takes place at the beginning of the novel, offering a candid look at the character’s skewed worldview. –Michael J Seidlinger


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Jeff VanderMeer’s Storybundle: Win a Secret Life & Area X and Promote International Fiction

All Covers Large

Over at Storybundle, they’re running a selection of our Cheeky Frawg titles, which include fiction from Finland and Nigeria. It also includes Stepan Chapman’s PKD Award-winning novel The Troika and an exclusive: my novelette Komodo as a stand-alone e-book, in expanded form.

Proceeds go to the authors, to the Helsinki 2017 WorldCon bid, and to us, the publishers. Our share will help fund more translations and support our huge forthcoming omnibus of iconic Finnish writer Leena Krohn’s short novels.

With 10 days to go, I’d like to make it even more interesting. One of the titles on offer is Secret Lives, which collects the flash fictions I wrote for readers as a thank you for buying a prior book of short stories.

Anyone who buys our Storybundle at the bonus level (all of the e-books) will be eligible for their own secret life. Three randomly chosen readers will win a flash fiction written by me that incorporates details of their lives as the starting point. Handwritten, personalized, and one-of-a-kind. No other copies will ever exist. in addition, those three winners will receive the Area X hardcover of my NYT bestselling Southern Reach trilogy, with a limited edition Southern Reach art booklet. (Anyone who has already bought the Storybundle at the bonus level will be entered in the random drawing.)

International fiction is important to us. Now you might just win some unique fiction yourself.

Please share the link. Go forth and acquire our Storybundle.

In addition to a secret life, here’s what you could win:

Southern Reach trilogy with chapbook


Book Deal Announcement: Space Oddities & Super Freaks: The Secret History of Science Fiction And Fantasy

I’m very excited to report that I’ve sold Worldwide Rights to my next coffee-table book, Space Oddities & Super Freaks: The Secret History of Science Fiction and Fantasy, to editor David Cashion at Abrams Image, in a robust deal via my agent Sally Harding (The Cooke Agency).

What is Space Oddities & Super Freaks?

The unexpurgated behind-the-scenes story of one of the world’s most popular forms of entertainment, from movie projects gone terribly wrong to mysterious rock-album SF worlds, from eccentric, flamboyant personalities to some of the most interesting art, performance, music, movies, and fiction of the 20th and 21st century…this is Space Oddities & Super Freaks.

…and not just the secret history, but also the story of the underappreciated, the eccentric, and just plain off-the-charts strange–across all forms of storytelling/media. The project will involve writers and artists from all over the world, like previous projects Wonderbook and The Steampunk User’s Manual. However, this is likely the most wide-ranging book I’ve done yet with Abrams–roving across decades and diverse points of view, involving research and a lot of interviews.

Sometimes books like this can be organized like encyclopedias. This is not that beast. This will have clear through-lines thematically and organizationally to focus on telling the most entertaining stories, and then hang other fascinating details off of that. Over 350 full-color pages and 120,000 words of text.

Working with Abrams Image has always been wonderful, and teaming up against with editor David Cashion and everyone else at Abrams is going to be great. My wife Ann will be involved with creating this book as well.

(Image below by John Jennings: a two-page spread from current Abrams project The Steampunk User’s Manual.)



Cheeky Frawg StoryBundle: For International Fiction and Helsinki’s WorldCon Bid

All Covers Large

Over at StoryBundle, you can now acquire nine titles from our Cheeky Frawg books for a very low price–unless you’re moved to pay more. You’ll be supporting not just our press, which specializes in international fiction and what you might call cult classics. You’ll also be supporting the Helsinki 2017 WorldCon bid. We’re donating a minimum of half of the publisher proceeds to that effort.

What are you going to get?

–The Philip K. Dick Award winning The Troika by Stepan Chapman

–Finnish fiction by Leena Krohn and Jyrki Vainonen

–The International Horror Guild Award winning novel The Divinity Student

–A collection of rare and out of print stories by iconic Nigerian writer Amos Tutuola

–Our Odd? anthology, which includes fiction by Nalo Hopkinson, Rikki Ducornet, Amos Tutuola, Brian Evenson, and more.

–Two selections of mine, a collection of micro fictions, Secret Lives, and also a NEW e-book, Komodo, a novelette that won’t be available in stand-alone e-book form otherwise until late in December.

We hope you’ll want to support our efforts–please share the link! And as a bonus–here’s the promotional video for ODD?

The Southern Reach Story: Continued Through Annotations at


It’s been a great couple of weeks for the Southern Reach trilogy. The Area X hardcover is officially out and the series has made the year’s best lists for the Huffington Post, Bookriot, Amazon, Kirkus, and a host of others. FSG also has a great splash page for the hardcover that includes this rather wonderful flipbook of links and articles related to the novels. I’m also doing a Reddit AMA at 3pm today EST.

This week, we’re also teaming up with for a contest that could lead to you winning a cool Southern Reach full-color chapbook or even the hardcover itself, signed and personalized. Details here.

The contest accompanies my annotations for the beginning of Acceptance. Although I’ve annotated Southern Reach text at before, this time there’s a difference!

I’ve gone a little metafictional this time, a little bit “found object,” too. What will you uncover?

–Brief entries from Whitby Allen’s personal journal.

–Transcripts of interviews and other “evidence” pertaining to the Southern Reach and Area.

–Reports from the Séance & Science Brigade.

–Southern Reach images, some of which you may not have seen before.

–Excerpts/fragments from Southern Reach science division lead Mike Cheney’s shambolic novel-in-progress “Control,” in which he tries to make sense of the new director of the Southern Reach…although I think he’s really trying to make sense of his own experiences.

But that’s not all! I invited Tom Abba from the U.K. to create a “shadow page” of annotations that depict what might’ve happened to Southern Reach staff left behind at the end of Authority. Can you find the shadow page? Peruse my annotations and you might just stumble upon it. (Abba is a director of ‘Circumstance’, which develops methods to link physical books to codependent digital content.)

Finally, author Nicholas Rombes will be adding annotations later this week. Rombes is the author of Ramones from the 33 1/3 series and the just-released (and highly recommended) novel The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing. He will be addressing the found footage from various expeditions.

Of course, you can join in the experience by signing up at and adding your own annotations.

Go check it out–and don’t forget about the contest.

(Thanks to Chris Urie for bunny photo.)


From Miami to New York in 24 Hours: Southern Reach to Steampunk User’s Manual


This is going to be an exciting weekend. I’m currently at the Miami International Book Fair, with an Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy event on Saturday at 3pm, presenting along with Daniel Suarez and Geoff Nicholson. Details here.

Then, I’ll be getting on a plane to New York City and only 23 hours later, at 2pm, I’ll be appearing at the Barnes & Noble in Tribeca (97 Warren Street) with my coauthor Desirina Boskovich for a Steampunk User’s Manual event. Special guests include Diana Pho, Thomas Willeford, and many more. Details here.

Afterwards, there will be a party–from 5-8 at Madame X (94 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012). Meet and chat with authors and contributors + a cash bar.

So, from south to north, Area X to Area Steampunk, in less than a full day. Come join me for the fun in both locations. This is the end of my year-long tour. Come see what a VanderMeer looks like after spending 5 months out of the year on the road!


Jeff VanderMeer Reddit AMA on December 2nd, 2014 at 3pm EST

If you didn’t get the chance to drop by one of my Southern Reach tour stops, you can instead come to Reddit and ask me questions on December 2nd at 3pm Eastern Time. I’ll be doing an AMA (short for Ask Me Anything, Reddit’s version of a Q&A) in Reddit’s /r/iama subreddit. Watch out for Area X impostors though — my Reddit username is /u/JeffVanderMeer. The format will be open so you can ask me any questions about Southern Reach, the Steampunk User’s Manual, my anthologies, or which would I rather fight: 100 owl-sized horses or one horse-sized owl. So sign up for Reddit now and stop by on December 2nd to ask me some questions!

Publication Day: Area X Hardcover Omnibus from FSG Originals


Today is the official publication date for Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy. For this hardcover collecting Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance, FSG has come up with yet another amazing, stunning cover design–the title page is pretty wonderful, too.

On the Farrar, Straus and Giroux site you can

–Read an exclusive “debriefing” conducted by my editor Sean McDonald

Visit the great splash page for the book, with all sorts of extra information.

–Access a great flipbook of articles, essays, and reviews connected to the Southern Reach novels. The flipbook really deserves your attention. It’s beautiful.

In other news, Library Journal put the trilogy on their year’s best list, while Kirkus and Amazon both had Annihilation on their top 100 books of the year. Annihilation has also made it to the final round of the Goodreads Choice Awards.

There are also a lot of features about the series this week.

–Suvudu’s posted an interview and also features the title page from the hardcover.

– is running Southern Reach content all week. The kick-off interview includes an exclusive excerpt from a new Southern Reach story. They also ran features by Seb Doubinsky and Scott Nicolay.

–Electric Lit has my explanation of a mouse-washing scene in Acceptance, along with an excerpt and amazing exclusive images by Matthew Revert.

–Over at HarperCollins’ SF festival I talk Cronenberg, SF films, and the Southern Reach.

–My Bookish Ways has run my “Tidal Pool Rules” post, complete with annotations by a real marine biologist.

–Time Out NY ran an interview with me about the Southern Reach.

–Jason Sanford is kind enough to recommend the trilogy.

–Largehearted Boy has my thoughts on several Southern Reach playlists.

–Eric Nyquist is also selling prints of his amazing art for the FSG trade paperback editions.

Not to mention, in the past couple of weeks, my essay on weird fiction at the Atlantic and an “in conversation” piece between me and the wonderful designer and writer Peter Mendelsund, over at Boing Boing.

If you like the Southern Reach trilogy and want to support this new edition, please recommend it to family and friends, write a review on your favorite book seller’s website, and/or tell your library to order it.

Thanks so much for your support! This trilogy started out as a dark horse, an underdog, and it’s become a juggernaut–all because of you. Word of mouth has been astounding and I feel very blessed and humbled by just how many people have gotten into this series.

The Southern Reach Trilogy Comes to Tampa, Orlando, and Miami

Nyquist covers

This weekend I’m traveling around Florida, preaching The Southern Reach Trilogy in the place it all began. If you want a primer on the NYT-bestselling series, check out both this conversation I had with top designer Peter Mendelsund on Boing Boing and this great page for the hardcover omnibus version over at FSG. The film rights to the trilogy have been acquired by Scott Rudin Productions and Paramount Pictures, with Alex Garland of Shine and Dredd fame set to direct. Along the way the trilogy made multiple best-of lists and been blurbed by Stephen King, Warren Ellis, and Kelly Link, among others.

First, I’m in Tampa at Inkwood Books, 5pm, tomorrow (Friday. Nov. 14), where I’ll talk a bit about the series, do a reading, take questions, and sign books. Creative Loafing Tampa has recommended the event to its readers and provided a nice review of the final book in the trilogy.

Then, Saturday at 7pm (Nov. 15), you can join me and special guest and rising star Usman Tanveer Malik at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center. Malik will read from a great short story and I’ll talk a bit about the Southern Reach, read, and then participate in a Q&A hosted by Functionally Literate. Functionally Literate is a great, relatively new organization in Orlando devoted to hosting lively literary events. They’re supported this time around by Bookit, which will provide copies for sale of both the trade paperback Southern Reach novels and the hardcover omnibus.

The Orlando Weekly has an interview with me about the Southern Reach and I appeared on the Functionally Literate radio show, which you can listen to here. Malik also appeared on the show, for this episode.

Finally, I’m also appearing at the Miami International Book Fair, on Saturday, November 22, at 3pm. Check your program for details, and I’ll post more about it next week.