Book Murderer Novel Excerpt

Jeff VanderMeer • September 3rd, 2013 • Fiction

Every once in a while, I briefly turn back to the novel I’m working on after the Southern Reach trilogy. Here’s the latest excerpt. No, the Book Murderer is not a very nice person, but then neither is the world.

The Book Murderer believed in the study of history, and this was no different when it came to writer communities, or “tribes” as they were sometimes called by the less self-reflective of the general “clan” of scribes. Historical study of writer communities revealed the full extent of their corruption. Inevitably institutions corrupted, but with a slothfulness (for the internet age) that meant the participants, steeped and marinated in their own ethical diseases, never seemed to realize what had happened to them—or cared. In online forums and elsewhere one or another Decaying Orbit would pontificate upon the health of the tribe as if just saying it was so and keeping other things unsaid would make it so. And under the cover of these Houses of Shusher, which periodically with a harrumph and a kind of shrug put on show trials with wrist slaps, an endless revolving door recycled personalities who, discredited and booted with comfy pillows out the front door, were resurrected through the back door mere months later. Sometimes with the ritual sacrifice of monies or of status still a bright flare in the internet night sky, that flare yet to slowly, lazily fall through the blogosphere to the forgetful ground. Some symbolic event allowed the normative to again be acceptable and those who had angrily decried a situation quietly or boisterously returned to the fold. Thus, over time, the basic corruption that was writing became a ten-fold corruption, whereby resurrected real thugs and thieves moved with ease amongst the writer sheep-thugs and the sheep-thieves who were so fond of bleating “tribe tribe tribe” that they contributed to their own figurative slaughter.

Wonderbook: The Images (and TOC)

Jeff VanderMeer • September 2nd, 2013 • News

Wonderbook cover

SF Signal posted the table of contents for my forthcoming release Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction today (out October 15 from Abrams Image). The listings for the main text, instructional art, and sidebar text by other writers is so extensive that going into the artwork more deeply was just impossible, so I thought I’d do that here.

In addition to Jeremy Zerfoss’s original art and diagrams (about 150 individual pieces) and author photos for sidebar essays, the following artists and photographers are represented in Wonderbook. Many have multiple pieces in Wonderbook. If someone known only for their writing is listed, I’ve put the nature of their artistic contribution in brackets. If the art was commissioned specifically for Wonderbook, I’ve put an asterisk by the name. The artists are primarily from North America and the U.K., but also France, Finland, Spain, Serbia, and Poland, among others.

Wonderbook is the world’s first fully illustrated writing books, and one of the only general writing books of use to any writer that takes its examples from fantastical rather than mainstream literary sources (although those are in there, too!). There’s an example of a page spread below, and a few more sneak peeks in this blog post. I’m not sharing much of the unique diagrams for now, though.

ART

Ninni Aalto*
Joe Abercrombie [map]
Hawk Alfredson
Aeron Alfrey
Mo Ali
Kristen Alvanson
Gregory Bossert*
Michael Cisco [diagram]*
R. S. Connett
Molly Crabapple
John Coulthart
John Crowley [writer’s journey diagram]*
Leo and Diane Dillon
Rikki Ducornet*
Scott Eagle
Stephen Fabian
J.J. Grandville
Richard A. Kirk
Stant Litore [diagram]*
Tomasz Maronski
Ian Miller
Nnedi Okorafor [art/novel structure]
Victo Ngai
Matthew Revert*
Óscar Sanmartín
Eric Schaller
Dave Senior
Ward Shelley
Ivica Stevanovic*
Ben Templesmith
Jason Thompson
Ben Tolman
Sam Van Olffen*
Charles Vess
Myrtle Von Damitz III*

PHOTOGRAPHY

Kyle Cassidy*
Patrick Eriksson
Leila Ghobril
Tessa Kum*
Angel Rodriguez
Jorge Royan
Paul D. Stewart
Henry Söderlund
Mariana Tavares*
Ann VanderMeer*
Robert K. VanderMeer*
Corrie White

Wonderbook--Ivica Stevanovic and Tolman
(Original art for Wonderbook by Ivica Stevanovic on left and Ben Tolman art on the right; also a typical non-diagram page spread)

Ann VanderMeer’s Worldcon Schedule

Jeff VanderMeer • August 30th, 2013 • News

Ann’s in San Antonio, at this year’s Worldcon. Here’s her schedule starting tomorrow.

She also has an advance copy of Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction with her, for those who might be interested in a sneak peek. (Check at Carrie Ann Baade’s booth at DragonCon this weekend as well–she has a Wonderbook display copy).

Here’s Ann’s particulars:

Friday, August 30
- 12:00-12:30 Signing at Tachyon Table in Dealer’s room
- 3:00-4:00 Creating Anthologies – How do you create a good anthology? With Ellen Datlow (M), Ann VanderMeer, John Joseph Adams, David G. Hartwell, James Gunn
- 4:00-5:00 Canon Formation: How Do We Decide What Becomes a “Classic”? – Canon formation takes place through awards short lists, juries, critical essays, and anthologies. What conscious processes inform these decisions, and how do canons form over time? With Karen Burnham (M), Ann VanderMeer, Jacob Weisman, Damien Broderick

Saturday, August 31
- 4:00-5:00 Alice Sheldon and Susan Wood: Can They Still Inspire Us? – Feminism caught fire in the SF community in the 1970s. The Tiptree Award, Broad Universe, Japan’s Sense of Gender Award. Do you feel the heat? With Liz Gorinsky (M), Mari Kotani, Ann VanderMeer, Pat Murphy, Catherynne M. Valente

Sunday, Sept 1
- 1:00 – 2:00 Intersection of Science, Space Exploration, and Speculative Fiction – with Astronaut Cady Coleman, Ann VanderMeer, John Chu, Marco Palmieri
- 3:00-4:00 Into Darkness: Horror and Dark Fantasy – Who’s doing great work with horror and dark fantasy right now? Where are the best places to find and read these works? With Lee Harris (M), John Joseph Adams, Greg Ketter, Julia Rios, Ann VanderMeer

The Southern Reach Trilogy: FSG Cover Reveal for Annihilation (with animation!)

Jeff VanderMeer • August 28th, 2013 • News

annihilation animation

Farrar, Straus and Giroux has revealed the cover for the first novel in my Southern Reach trilogy: Annihilation. Along with a description of the novel AND an animated version of the cover…Go check it out! And post a comment if you like it.

Helsinki’s 2015 Worldcon Bid and a Cornucopia of Finnish Speculative Fiction (free e-book)

Jeff VanderMeer • August 27th, 2013 • Culture, News

helsinkiworldcon_banner_2013 copy

We here at Cheeky Frawg had no idea that Helsinki would be vying to host the 2015 Worldcon when we started to acquire books by Finnish writers for our line, supported by generous grants from FILI, the Finnish Literature Exchange. We just knew that there as a rather amazing amount of talent in Finland when it came to speculative fiction, weird fiction, fantasy, SF—whatever you want to call it. And that this talent was backed up by a very strong and knowledgeable SF/F community.

But we now find the release of our books (in October) coinciding in part with Helsinki’s bid, and we’d just like to say how strongly we support that bid—in part because their home grown talent is so great. You’ll note the names on the image above, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. And one reason we think a Helsinki Worldcon makes so much sense is the number of really interesting writers you’ll discover—as interesting in person as on the page.

In fact, in celebration of that bid, we’d like to offer, for free, an ebook of Finnish writer Leena Krohn’s World Fantasy Award finalist Tainaron, one of our favorite short novels of all time. Just through today, midnight Eastern Standard Time. Just email me at [email protected] with the subject line Free E-book and specify mobi (Kindle) or epub and I’ll send it to you. I’ll send them out in batches, so don’t worry if you don’t hear right away. All requests will be filled by tomorrow afternoon, tops.

Not only are we releasing Krohn’s Datura in October, but next year we are putting out a 900-page omnibus of Krohn’s collected novels in English, along with some short fiction and commissioned essays.

The Care and Feeding of the Structures We Build

Jeff VanderMeer • August 25th, 2013 • Culture

Assuming for the sake of argument (because it doesn’t need to be this way in reality) that we must delineate fiction as realistic or non-realistic (read, “fantastical” if you like or surreal or magically real or magically delicious if you really must)… then thinking for a moment from the point of view of someone passionate about nonrealistic fiction…Imagine for a moment any and all organizations or institutions or awards systems that exist in the service of such literature…Wouldn’t you want these organizations and institutions and awards systems to have true interest in true diversity of this kind of fiction?—for example, the same passion for it wherever it might be found around the world and with an appreciation for and delight in how it differs and where it is the same—and to be willing to learn different ways of reading and to become attuned to and aware of different traditions of literature?

For example, too, no less passion for the magically real or the magically delicious if found in mainstream lit journals rather than in genre publications (able to recognize it even in the “wrong” context, not rendered invisible merely by the company kept)…or that in aggregate understand and approve of and actively support the elation of, for example, a reader in one language finding the amazing fantastical stories of some neglected writer in another language, glimpsed in the form of just a couple of tales or even a fragment of translation—this reader whose elation is not really even about the treasure itself but how it suggests the outline of something greater that is still excruciatingly only half-seen, texts time-traveling from the past to the present that help to form a more complete picture and a more complete conversation…

Wouldn’t you want institutions and organizations and award systems that while they recognize and appreciate the center of things also have a sense of stewardship for those most experimental examples of the form that need help to find an audience and that through their adventurousness allow other brave, but not as brave, souls to travel farther than they might? Institutions and organizations and award systems that have the wisdom to bypass tired binary arguments about high and low art, genre and mainstream, that largely ignore territorialism and ideology while correcting for the kind of territorialism and ideology that negate a level playing field and make us all, in a way, more selfish. In short, wouldn’t you want organizations and institutions and award systems that possess in the very syntax of their bylaws the same roving curiosity and passion that make of us as individuals vast and generous and joyful and omnivorous readers?

Dradin, In Love: To Be Staged May 22-25 at the Granary in Cork, Ireland

Jeff VanderMeer • May 7th, 2013 • News

Dradin, in Love - Poster Large

Bob Kelly and his cohorts at Tribe have wanted to do a stage production of “Dradin, In Love,” from City of Saints & Madmen, my book set in the imaginary metropolis of Ambergris, for awhile—and now they’re doing it! May 22-25 of this month at The Granary in Cork, Ireland. They’ve trained with a very physical theater group, so it should be an interesting production.

I’ll have more information and inside looks at the production next week, but for now here’s a link to the description on The Granary’s website and also, below, one of their more esoteric (and fun) fliers for the event, incorporating text from City of Saints.

I can also share that they’ll be using my story “The Exchange” as an interlude between acts.

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Publishing Is Full of Creative, Interesting People

Jeff VanderMeer • May 4th, 2013 • News

I just thought I’d say that: Publishing is full of creative, interesting people. For an industry that’s supposedly dying–something I don’t believe–I certainly have met some of the most interesting and dynamic individuals over the last few days. Invigorating and inspiring.

In other news, German rights to the Southern Reach series have sold, with more to follow. The note about the series from the German editor is one of the best I’ve ever received–hopefully might share a bit of it later if he doesn’t mind. (I’m motoring along on Authority, the second novel in that series.)

I’m also happy to say I’ll have news on a stage production of my novella “Dradin, In Love,” set in Ambergris, in a few days. It’s sprouted up as quickly as a mushroom, which seems appropriate.

Right. Back down the rabbit hole.

New Foreign Rights Sales for the Southern Reach Trilogy (and digging out and digging in)

Jeff VanderMeer • April 28th, 2013 • News

So, there has been more good news for the Southern Reach series (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance) on the foreign rights front. The Spanish rights have sold to the absolutely first-rate publisher Seix Barral and the Dutch rights have sold to the equally high-class De Bezige Bij. Just as good: Andrea Cannobio at Einaudi took the Italian rights. They all publish some of my favorite authors.

Some more information on the deals mentioned in a prior blog post. The trilogy went to Nicholas Pearson at Fourth Estate, in a six-figure pre-empt; to Iris Tupholme at Harper Canada, in another six-figure pre-empt, to Intrinseca in Brazil, in a pre-empt as well.

Hungarian rights have also sold, but I’m waiting for details before posting about that, and a few other deals will come through in the next week or two. I’m just…well, stunned, appreciative, over-the-moon–these are just powerhouse publishers.

I’ll also have more information on the publication schedule for the Southern Reach trilogy through FSG in the U.S. and, hopefully, some updates on the progress on the possible movies.

I’m currently digging in to finish off the second and third novels in the trilogy. But I’m also hoping in the coming weeks to blog more–and not updates but actual posts about craft, along with some reviews of books read recently. I’m off of social media until November, and only on the internet very rarely now. One nice thing about being off the internet for long stretches is you find your attention span comes back to you, and I’m having a great time diving into some very long, very convoluted, and very satisfying novels.

More soonish.

P.S. Karen Joy Fowler asked for a wild animal encounter–I gave her this post about seeing a Florida panther. It kind of fits with the Southern Reach series, since the landscape, transformed, is really the North Florida trails I’ve hiked for the past 15 years.

Off the Internet for Awhile

Jeff VanderMeer • April 23rd, 2013 • News

From April 24 through December 1, I will have limited internet access and only be checking my email sporadically, so I can work on my novels. If you have a query related to book rights, please contact my agent Sally Harding at the Cooke Agency. If you have a question regarding event bookings or an urgent matter that cannot wait, please email my wife, Ann VanderMeer, or use the contact form here on my blog.

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