My Novella “The Cage”–Now Available at PodCastle as a Podcast

PodCastle has just posted the podcast reading of my novella “The Cage,” originally published in City of Saints and Madmen and reprinted in at least one year’s best. The story can also be found in The Weird.

I first had the idea for “The Cage” at a bar mitzvah party. I saw a strange-looking cage wedged high up in a corner of a ledge in the banquet area. It didn’t seem to fit. I worried that detail in my mind for quite awhile, not sure what it meant. Then one day we were traveling back from some event on the Florida coast and we passed by the University of Tampa, which is housed in part in an old former hotel. It was after hours, and we walked around that place, which was eerie and somewhat like The Shining hotel in both the decor and the way the silence was watchful. And behind glass, in an exhibit: another cage. At which point, something was sparked in my imagination and I suddenly had the core of the idea for the story.

Shriek: We Are Lost–The Church Soundtrack

My 2006 novel Shriek: An Afterword had a soundtrack by the Australian band The Church, and now three of the tracks are on YouTube. I really love what they did with the novel, and the Bannerville one…well, Steve Kilbey did a great job conveying the emotion of that scene—he’s reading from the novel directly. You can buy the CD direct from The Church here.

I’ve got some hardcovers of the novel I need to get out of the house—we’re getting rid of some clutter—so email me at [email protected] if you want one signed with an illustration. $6 plus $3 shipping anywhere in the US. Anywhere else, query first. This is still the novel I’m most proud of, and the one I keep getting emails about. In fact, one couple told me part of their marriage vows came from Shriek.


An epic yet personal look at several decades of life, love, and death in the imaginary city of Ambergris–previously chronicled in Jeff VanderMeer’s acclaimed City of Saints & Madmen–Shriek: An Afterword relates the scandalous, heartbreaking, and horrifying secret history of two squabbling siblings and their confidantes, protectors, and enemies.

Narrated with flamboyant intensity and under increasingly urgent conditions by ex-society figure Janice Shriek, this afterword presents a vivid gallery of characters and events, emphasizing the adventures of Janice’s brother Duncan, a historian obsessed with a doomed love affair and a secret that may kill or transform him; a war between rival publishing houses that will change Ambergris forever; and the gray caps, a marginalized people armed with advanced fungal technologies who have been waiting underground for their chance to mold the future of the city.

Part academic treatise, part tell-all biography, after this introduction to the Family Shriek, you’ll never look at history in quite the same way again.

Functional Nerds Podcast About Odd?, Lambshead Cabinet, The Weird, and More!

Ann and I did a podcast about Odd?, the Lambshead Cabinet, and The Weird for Functional Nerds. I babbled on a bit, but it still turned out good. We talk about process, labels, doing so many projects, transmedia, etc.

The Weird

The Ultra Casual VanderMeer Books Received Podcast (early July 2009): Hansen, Niven, Baker, and More

Right, so to give these books received posts a little more firepower, I’m going to start podcasting my initial thoughts about the books–basically providing context and reading a paragraph from each. I’m talking about them in the same order in which the images appear below. Yep, soon this will all be the rage. Probably already is all the rage somewhere I haven’t seen it yet. And, yep, this is the first rough stab at this; everything will get better as I continue to do these: the audio quality, the quality of discourse, the quality of the readings, and making the podcast itself more self-contained. I might even just go to video, but that takes a lot longer to put together. So, for now, we’ll try this experimental retro idea of you puttin’ the images and the audio together in your mind by yer lonesome…

1 – Best SF/F magazine evah: Taltivaeltaja

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Tap Tap. This Thing On? Podcast of Finch, Chapter One (with cell phone)

Yep, this is the rough, first take. Cough cough. Blork. Eeet always gets better. I will be podcasting the entire novel in November.

Shared Worlds Podcast Interview at Agony Column

(Taken from The Guardian’s feature on Shared Worlds and fantastical cities–thanks, Alison Flood, for picking up the story.)

Rick Kleffel at the Agony Column just ran a podcast interview with me about the Shared World camp that pretty much gives you an overview of what it is and how it works. Great questions from Rick, one of the hardest-working people I know.

Thanks to everyone who ran the Shared Worlds story yesterday, including: Omnivoracious, Warren Ellis, io9, the LA Times blog, Boing Boing,, Maud Newton, Revolution SF, Bibliophile Stalker, Simon Drax, Walker of Worlds, and especially SF Signal for partnering with us on this feature. I know there are others, but this is what’s coming up on my Google right now.

I really appreciate it. It’s a great cause, and getting the word out helps build momentum and lets more teens and their parents know the camp exists as an option. Thanks also to awesome sponsors TOR Books, Wizards of the Coast LLC, and Realms of Fantasy. Errata Novelette (with squirrel)

(Taken from, by Jonathan Twingley.)

I am writing this sitting in the waterlogged lobby of a rotting, half-finished condominium complex. I am surrounded by cavorting freshwater seals and have two pearl-handled revolvers in my lap, a bottle of vodka in my right hand, a human body in the freezer in the kitchens behind me, and a rather large displaced rockhopper penguin staring me in the face. – from “The Errata” has just posted my novelette “Errata”. I refuse to tell you what is true and what is not. In lieu of truth, I offer you instead two squirrels, one podcasting the first couple paragraphs of the story (to contrast with my own podcast on Tor’s site) and the other reciting some famous tongue-twisters). Thus, you may enjoy the story and the squirrel, or hate the story and enjoy the squirrel, but in all cases still take pleasure from the experience. (If you do like the story, please do add a comment to the story thread.)

Thanks to Ekaterina Sedia for Russian pronunciations, but she is only responsible for the correct ones, as I had to record part of the story before I received her email. And a huge thank you and lots of love to all of the authors who let me excerpt their Argosy stories–and especially to James Owen, and also to Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Liz Gorinsky.

Now, without further ado, squirrels talking:

Squirrel reading from “Errata”

Squirrel reading tongue-twisters. (And a few answers to common questions.)

Star Ship Sofa Podcasts “Secret Life”

The title story of my Golden Gryphon collection Secret Life has now been rendered aural by Star Ship Sofa as part of their latest program. This is one of my most popular stories, and I’m off to listen to it now, as should you!

Weird Continues: Shark God Versus Octopus God Podcast

StarShipSofa has an awesome podcast of my f–ed up riff on Fijian folktales. The page with intro is here and the direct link is here. I think it sounds great! Grant Stone does a wonderful job of reading it. I’ve always wanted to make a hamster-provocateur say the word “Dakuwaqa” over and over again.

Grant’s voice for the shark god sounds exactly as I imagined him–as a kind of small-time hood.

A long time ago, when Dakuwaqa the Shark God was young and not so wise, he made all who lived in or near the sea fear him. They feared him for his knives that posed as teeth. They feared him for his relentlessness. They feared him for his speed. They feared him because the bloodlust was buried so deep in him that he loved to fight.

Dakuwaqa could take many shapes, but he enjoyed the shape of shark the best in those early days. It fit him. It fit his aspirations.

Interviews and Readings

You can listen to me ramble on and on about stuff in not one but three podcast interviews.

For readings and other audio, visit the Shriek website.