(The awesome Taylor F. Lockwood, fungi expert extraordinaire, from the e-card he sent over the holidays that I don’t think I ever responded to, alas. Check out his latest photos of bioluminescent mushrooms–I think from his latest trip to Brazil.)
I often joke that one of my writer defense mechanisms, if cornered at a con party (being shy) or about to be mugged (being prudent), is to expel all of my internal organs like a sea cucumber and flee in the resulting confusion and disgust.
Relatedly, I havenâ€™t expelled the contents of my â€œLinks to Blog Aboutâ€ folder in quite awhile–like, months, so here goes. Unlike the scenario below, it should in fact be an enjoyable experience. If you pick through it, as I work back through Time, I’m sure you’ll find something of interest.
>>>Topical! Current! Important! Drawing—eReaders for Carl Brandon Society. One dollar tickets. You buy them, the Carl Brandon Society pulls five at random as winners of eReaders loaded with stories and poems by writers including N. K. Jemisin, Nisi Shawl, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Terence Taylor, Ted Chiang, Shweta Narayan, Chesya Burke, Moondancer Drake, Saladin Ahmed, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz and more. The proceeds from the drawing benefit the Butler Scholarship, a fund that sends two emerging writers of color to the Clarion writers workshops annually. (Ann and I can tell you personally how valuable those scholarships are, having taught at Clarion San Diego this past year.)
>>>Glory for Toni Jerrman, editor of Finnish magazine TÃ¤htivaeltaja (among our favorites, even though we canâ€™t read itâ€”the layout is kinetic, beautiful, perfectly positioned between punk and genre), who has won the Rakkaudesta kirjaan Prize, which comes with a cash prize of 5,000 euros. Weâ€™ve known Toni for awhile now, and not only is he a class act, but heâ€™s a nice guy and a great talent. The judges of the prize agree: â€œ[Toni] has selflessly and in a long-standing manner worked to promote science fiction, fantasy and horror literature for more than 25 years. Because of his determination and enthusiasm, these literary genres, which have not always enjoyed uncritical admiration and have traditionally only been accepted by marginal groups, are now well-known among the reading public. As the editor-in-chief of TÃ¤htivaeltaja magazine, newspaper critic, radio journalist and lecturer, Jerrman has worked to present the history of the genre and promoted the books of high-quality writers that have previously been unknown in Finland.â€ Congrats, Toni! (Note: earlier this year, Hal Duncan’s Vellum won the TÃ¤htivaeltaja-award for the best SF book published in Finland.)
>>>Karen Rider guest blogged over at Booklifenow as a working parent who is also a writer. She has been using my strategy guide Booklife to help prioritize and in other ways to maximize her time and effort. Check out Booklifenow for recent features, too, on the Altered Fluid writing group and a whole lot more, most of the content generated by that work horse Jeremy L. C. Jones (thanks, Jeremy.)
Turns out Bookmarks Magazine listed my novel Finch as one of their top 50 best reads, from books reviewed in 2010.
>>>From Bar to Bar has been publishing some of the more creative author interviews youâ€™re likely to find anywhere. Check it outâ€”and note that next up are Ekaterina Sedia, Charles, and moi. (Iâ€™m bringing the Mord, so watch outâ€”it will indeed get dangerousâ€¦)
>>>Despite this trailer worrying me a little bit, the new Predators movie, just out on video, has not even the tiniest bit of influence from my Predator novel in it. Indeed, Predators is a pretty banal and mediocre flick that neither Ann nor I recommend. Lawrence Fishburne was the best part of it, but heâ€™s not in it for long. And was it just us or did the setting seem to get cheaper and cheaper looking as the film went along? Anyway, blah. Not worth your time.
>>>Fascinating interview here , including awesome book cover graphics, with Franz Rottensteiner, who has written and edited many books in the fields of science fiction and fantasy, especially about European fiction.
Jha links to all kinds of current stuff, including tons of (gasp) Steampunk posts.
>>>Dustin Monk emailed me a very considerate personal micro-submission for Lambshead, based on my story Errata: â€œTwo Pearl-Handled Revolvers â€“ 5-chamber handguns; single action; polished; no sign of rusting. The guns were discovered next to the decaying corpse of a penguin with apparent gunshot wound to the head in a rundown condo near Lake Baikal, Siberia, by a travel journalist friend of Dr. Lambshead. The travel journalist included a note with the guns; it reads, ‘both revolvers have been fired twiceâ€¦awful smell in the freezerâ€¦canâ€™t lookâ€¦several copies and errata of magazine Argosyâ€¦scribbled notes by disappeared midlist writer Jeff Vandermeer in a black bookâ€¦final page, written in all caps â€˜WHERE IS MY EPIPHANY, JAMES OWEN?’ The travel journalist ended his note with a post-script, as follows: ‘Ed says there’s a lot of vodka in this condo, Thack. I may never leave.’ â€¦should readâ€¦’So much vodka in this condo, Thack, and a shaman named Ed who wants to show me the Book. I may never leave.’”
>>>The mighty Yoshio Kobayashi wrote to tell me that my story â€œFixing Hanoverâ€ will be in a special Steampunk edition of Hayakawa’s SF Magazine. Good. My anti-Steampunk story keeps anti-colonizing.
>>>Sir Tessa sent me these awesome photos from Argentina, some of which may be deployed forâ€¦stuffâ€¦projectsâ€¦things. Stop pushing me! Youâ€™ll just have to wait and see.
>>>Simon Sellars (back in February of this year!) sent me links to interviews with the crazed, debauched monsters that run the delightfully perverse Savoy Press: Michael Butterworth and David Britton (divided into two parts, like a common magic trick).
>>>Ann Kjellberg (also back in February!) sent me this email, along with the link to her new journal: â€œI’ve worked at the New York Review since the 80s, and before that at Farrar, Straus & Giroux and the journal of the Swedish Academy, Artes. I am also the literary executor of the poet Joseph Brodsky and have published two editions of his work in translation. I felt the need and the opportunity for a serious and not medicinal literary journal. I hope you’ll have a look and want to order a copy and perhaps consider signing up for the various connective ways of being involved. The first issue includes new work by Seamus Heaney, Padgett Powell, Lydia Davis, Les Murray, Paul Muldoon, Tim Parks, Derek Walcott, Glyn Maxwell, Durs GrÃ¼nbein, Robin Robertson, Mary Jo Salter, Robert Wrigley, Karl Kirchwey, and William Wadsworth, as well as several people you probably have not heard of. I would welcome your attention and I hope you will like it.â€
>>>J.K. Stephens (back in January!) sent me a photo of his compleat VanderCollection (whoa!):
>>>Jim Hall, yes weâ€™ll be on Cultpop TV, just as soon as we finish these deadlines; email soonish.
>>>Matt Staggs (also back in January!) informed me that when I posted three youtube videos in one blog entry, synched to comment on one another, I was ahead of my time, youtube having finally caught up.
(Su Lynn Cheahâ€”thanks for the thanks for the holiday card [December 2009!] and sorry I never got back to you!)
>>>This guy emailed to say he suspected I might be the next Michael Swanwick. I never responded. Sorry.
>>>Mother Jones believes fungi can cure small pox. Unfortunately, it leaves you with Large Pox, because fungi are perverse that way. Oh, yeah, and S.J. Chambers sent me a photo of stuff in her front yard:
>>>Finally, thereâ€™s a Portuguese version of the Lambshead fake disease guide, with additional contributions from Portuguese writers, including these diseases emailed me by Luis Rodrigues, a great friend and translator. Here are the translated titles:
* Fulminant alomorphia, aka Metamorphosis (lots of references to Ovid and Kafka, naturally)
* Meme cancer
* Cerberitis, aka Kerberitoa Exigua
* Lovecraft’s Disease, aka Fish Plague, aka Piscis Pestis
* Newborn silico-lacteous enteropathy, aka Rubbery Milk Syndrome, aka Valentino’s Disease
* Agnostic Spondylosis of the Geographic Membrane, aka Travelling Sneeze Flu
* Felix Influenza, aka Happiness Flu
* Lexical Hypersensitivity, aka Lexiconis Sensus Acerrimus
* Hippopotamus perperam animadvertu (the delusion of being always in the presence of hippos)
* Insideout, aka Organismus inversionem
* Legisreia (dictatorship as a disease)
* Omnianthropocogniscite (narcissistic paranoia, the desire to be known by all)
* Y Pandemic
* ABS (Absolute Blame Syndrome, the delusion that you’re to blame for everything that happens)
* Slan’s Syndrome, aka Convivial speculophilia syndrome (this one’s Rodriguesâ€™s—it’s the science fiction fandom as a disease)
* Superman Syndrome, aka Superius Superio
>>>Luis also sent me photos of this book that I never postedâ€¦and thatâ€™s it. I think Iâ€™ve expelled all of my internal organs. Keep the links and emails coming, now that Iâ€™m caught upâ€¦