Yale Writers’ Conference and New Canaan Library Event June 19: Jeff VanderMeer, Terence Hawkins, and Louis Bayard

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(Believe me, after the marathon of writing the three Southern Reach novels, I look a lot more Area X’d than this now…)

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

This week Ann and I will be teaching at the Yale Writers’ Conference. There are semi-public readings at the campus B&N that are mostly for the students and faculty. But for anyone in the area who’s interested, I’ll be doing this event:

Join us on Thursday, June 19 at 7:00 p.m. for a program with a trio of authors fresh from the Yale Writers’ Conference: Terence Hawkins, conference director and author of American Neolithic; and instructors Louis Bayard, author Roosevelt’s Beast; and Jeff VanderMeer, author of Wonderbook, The Illustrated Guide To Creating Imaginative Fiction. In addition to speaking about Wonderbook, Jeff will read from and discuss his latest book, Annihilation.

I’ll probably give some teasers about Acceptance, too.

I always love doing events with writers I’m just encountering, and in this case two with such intriguing novels out. Here’s some more information on both…

Terence Hawkins’ American Neolithic is America is a Police State Lite. Drones patrol the skies. The Patriot Amendments have gutted civil liberties. The Homeland Police and Patriot Tribunal have exclusive jurisdiction over all legal actions implicating national security. And then Neanderthals enter the story. Political satire, courtroom thriller, and speculative fiction, American Neolithic is also a story of loyalty, betrayal, and redemption.

Louis Bayard’s Roosevelt’s Dream. A reimagining of Teddy and Kermit Roosevelt’s ill-fated 1914 Amazon expedition—a psychological twist on the smart historical thriller that first put Louis Bayard on the map. A story of the impossible things that become possible when when the mind plays tricks on itself and when old family secrets refuse to stay buried.

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Southern Reach Trilogy Featured on NPR’s To The Best of Our Knowledge with Gaiman, Le Guin, and More

I had a great time last month recording this interview for To The Best of Our Knowledge with host and executive producer Steve Paulson. He asked great questions and it was just a very energizing and fun experience.

They’ve also posted the Extended Interview on the site. The short version will be broadcast this weekend as part of an hour on weird fiction that also includes interviews with Neil Gaiman and Ursula K. Le Guin, among others.

I was also really happy that they had me record another three-minute bit on a favorite book, and in this case I picked Alfred Kubin’s amazing The Other Side. I don’t know when that will run.

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News: Editing The Big Book of Science Fiction for Vintage

Ann VanderMeer and I will be editing The Big Book of Science Fiction for Vintage. Here’s the official announcement:

Hugo Award winner Ann VanderMeer’s and NYT bestselling Jeff VanderMeer’s THE BIG BOOK OF SCIENCE FICTION, an oversized, 800-page, time capsule of the last hundred years of the sci fi canon to Tim O’Connell at Vintage, by Sally Harding at The Cooke Agency (NA).

Most of our work will be research–a lot of reading. But we will also have an open reading period for reprints. You’ll be able to submit links or electronic manuscripts of your own work or recommendations of rare or often overlooked stories you think deserve our attention. Clearly if we’re covering a century, we won’t be just focusing on the contemporary scene.

As ever, we’re committed to including work from a diverse array of sources. And, as with prior large-scale anthology projects like The Weird and The Time Traveler’s Almanac, we will go fairly far afield. Expect a book that gives you the classics but also material that will surprise you.

It may be a few months before we set up the submission process, but we’ll make sure it’s widely publicized.

The Southern Reach Trilogy: Stephen King and Vernon Reid Loving It; N.K. Jemisin Reviews It in the New York Times Book Review

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(To see the comments, click here.)

It’s been a busy week and I haven’t had time to post anything until now, but imagine my surprise Sunday afternoon when several friends told me Stephen King had tweeted that he was loving the Southern Reach trilogy, calling it “Creepy and fascinating.”

This was just a couple of days after I had my mind blown when Vernon Reid, founder of the band Living Color, tweeted that he’d finished Annihilation and Authority and loved them, writing, “”Truly visionary, epic, the best SF since Perdido Street Station…VanderMeer has done something extraordinary in the Southern Reach. Wild. Bizarre. Romantic. Evocative of Gibson, Lovecraft, Kafka. Thank you for creating something original in a world that’s referencing itself to death. It is refreshing.”

Honestly, consider my month and year made. And this was on top of N.K. Jemisin giving a great review to Authority in the New York Times Book Review’s summer reading issue.

In other news, I’ve just finished up some last tiny tweaks to the third novel, Acceptance, and also will post a tour schedule for the rest of the year. It includes awesome events with the likes of Charles Yu, Lev Grossman, and Lauren Beukes, among others.

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Summer Reading Lists: Southern Reach Influences, Tove Jansson, Rachel Carson, and More

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(Google honoring Rachel Carson, born on this day in 1907)

For your summer reading consideration…first off the HuffPo list of ten influences on the Southern Reach trilogy, including Under the Sea-Wind by Rachel Carson:

This was the famous naturalist’s first book, and it contains her observations of several coastal environments in the 1930s. Taken just as an intricately detailed account, Under the Sea-Wind has a mesmerizing rhythm that places the reader under a spell. But not only does this book fascinate with its documenting of the lives of animals and the environment around them, it describes pre-World War II landscapes that today do not exist in quite this complexity. This chronicle is thus also an important account of our natural history.

I also contributed to a Conde Nast Traveler list of summer reading, along with David Sedaris and several others. I chose Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book as my classic summer read. Go check out the other recs.

My novel Authority made this New York Post list of the 29 best summer books, along with work by Emma Straub, Haruki Murakami, and more.

Authority’s also on this Tampa Bay Times best-of summer list, along with intriguing titles by Emma Donaghue and John Waters.

GQ’s list of May recommendations includes…um, you know, Authority, but also some *other* books that might be of interest.

If you’re looking for some rock-solid trade paperback fiction, the latest New York Times’ bestseller list includes quite a few interesting titles, including David Eggers’ The Circle. In a first for me, Authority also pops up on the list.

I should also point out this Coode Street podcast if you want some summer listening, in which Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan have a conversation with me. I think it turned out really well. Other recent episodes feature the likes of Joe Abercrombie. (I also highly recommend any of Bookworm’s interviews, except the one they did with this bastard.)

And, if you have a question through early June, I’m answering them over at Goodreads–at least one a day.

Finally, FSG Originals has a roundup of some of the great press for my novel, for those who are interested.

Goodreads’ Ask the Author: Q&A Featuring the Southern Reach, Atwood, Allende, and a Host of Others

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(Check out the FSG site for Authority with interactive map here.)

Goodreads has all the info on their site, but basically they’ve launched a new section where you can ask authors questions directly. What amounts to the beta launch includes a plethora of writers, including yours truly. You can see what questions I’ve answered and ask me a question yourself. Below find the links for the other participants.

I’ll be answering two or three questions a day through early June, at the very least. Although I’m laser-focused on the Southern Reach trilogy, feel free to ask me anything you like. I’ve already asked my own questions of Robin Sloan, Margaret Atwood, and Isabel Allende. (Click on images to enlarge.)

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Spanish-Language Annihilation–from Destino!

On the heels of the news that Authority has made the NYT bestseller list, the Spanish edition of Annihilation is being released–today, in fact! I’ve previously blogged about how much I love these editions from Destino. The care and work they’ve put into the Southern Reach series–the enthusiasm and the smarts–has me really energized!

Destino has a great page for the Southern Reach here, including a cool video, and you can find them on twitter, too: @_Southernreach

The OF Blog has already weighed in on the translation, calling it “terrific.”

There have been a lot of pre-pub mentions and reviews in Spanish media, and soon I hope to collect and link to them. I’ll also be posting an interview with the artist responsible for those great covers: Pablo Delcan. In the meantime, here are some highlights from the US publication of Annihilation in case you missed them. Annihilation was an Amazon and GQ pick, among many others, and blurbed by Warren Ellis, Kelly Link, and Karen Joy Fowler, among others.

–“Binge-reading,” front page of the NYT

–Cover iterations, NYT slideshow

–The Power of Nature, USA Today interview

–Music Notes, at Largehearted Boy

–Reviews by the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, NPR.org, The Globe & Mail, The Guardian, and Salon.com (Laura Miller)

–Radio interviews with Bookworm and Studio 360, as well as a Wired.com podcast and print interview with Buzzfeed.

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Authority News: Bookworm, City Lights, NYT Bestseller List, Entertainment Weekly’s Must List, Teasers, and More

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(Me with Eric J. Lawrence and Michael Silverblatt in back.)

–Read the first chapter of Authority here.

–Interactive map and other Authority goodies here.

Authority, the second Southern Reach novel, has gotten off to a good start–I’m told it’s made the next New York Times bestseller list!! This on the heels of Annihilation topping Locus Magazine’s trade paper bestseller list for May.

In addition, Bookworm broadcast their interview with me, conducted while I was in California for the LAT Festival of Books. Michael Silverblatt’s program has been a favorite of mine for a while–check out these great interviews with Will Self and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, for example. This time around Eric J. Lawrence, who does a music program out of the same radio station, sat in and contributed to the conversation. I had a lot of fun, and both hosts were very kind as we talked for about 20 minutes before doing the interview, about a variety of fascinating topics–I kinda wish that bit had been recorded too. For one thing, they got me past this kind of wince I’d developed expecting the genre-vs-mainstream question. I was also quite touched that Silverblatt had brought into the studio every book of mine he’d been sent, stretching back to the 1990s.

I also annotated this excerpt from Authority for PoetryGenius–I’m rather happy with how this turned out, with “found objects” I added. Hope you’ll check it out.

So on top of all of that, you can imagine how surreal I found this: Entertainment Weekly picking Authority for their Must List along with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Steve Carell–this after their enthusiastic review in the magazine itself and a shout-out to Annihilation on their site’s Shelf Life feature.

Interviews have appeared at Raw Story, BuzzFeed, Bookmunch, Tor.com, My Bookish Ways, and LitReactor. I’ve tried to put a lot of care into my responses, and I hope you enjoy them. Radio/podcasts have included Studio 360 and Rick Kleffel’s awesome Agony Column.

In addition to Authority making several best-of-month lists, I’ve also been blessed with some truly great reviews, including those by Michael Matheson, the Raging Bibliophile, Nisi Shawl at The Seattle Times, The Times (UK), Pete Sutton, Rick Kleffel at The Agony Column, My Bookish Ways, Bookmunch, and Geekadelphia. Also, this piece about What Writers Can Learn from Authority.

There’s a lot more coverage coming, a cool new project I’m involved with that’ll be announced next week, and also an interview on To the Best of Our Knowledge, among other things.

I also just want to say–I really appreciate your support for these trippy, weird novels. It means a lot. If you enjoy them, please keep recommending them to friends, neighbors, and even enemies and frenemies.

Finally, here are some out-of-context paragraphs from Authority for your enjoyment. You can hear me read them out-loud on this City Lights podcast, along with an exclusive excerpt from Acceptance, the third novel, out in September, and, of course, a reading from Annihilation.

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The Southern Reach Goes Retro with Covers by Matthew Revert

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(Click for larger view.)

With Authority, the middle book of the Southern Reach, launching this month, I thought it was a good time to reveal these “Go Retro” covers for the Southern Reach trilogy. Designed by the extraordinary Matthew Revert, they don’t appear as the covers for any of the actual editions of the novels, but one can hope. I’m a big fan of Revert’s design style and these covers came about as the result of a conversation we had about cover design after he did some work for my Wonderbook last year. Besides, it kinda fits if you read this review of Authority or this Big Idea feature. Yeah, there’s a fair amount of seventies and early eighties influence in these books, repurposed and assimilated. For an excerpt from the novel, check out the first chapter at io9 and this excerpt at PoetryGenius featuring image-heavy annotations from yours truly.

I like the idea of these editions being found by readers in some dusty ill-lit corner of a used bookstore in the early 1970s. An unexpected find, like the ones that led me in the 1980s to find authors like Edward Whittemore and Frederic Prokosch. I still haunt used bookstores looking for those kinds of unexpected discoveries, and I still make finds that I treasure to this day.

To do these covers justice, I’ve created my own new book descriptions modeled on back cover copy from several 1970s mass market paperbacks in my library. Granted, they’re teetering between serious and satirical…

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ANNIHILATION: A mysterious wilderness in which the animals are changing! A tunnel into the earth, not on any map! An expedition divided against itself! In an adventure unlike any other, will the old ruined lighthouse guide them to safety or wreck them on the rocks? Come visit Area X with the biologist on the twelfth expedition. Nothing is at it seems, and nowhere is safe…

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AUTHORITY: Beware the rabbit–especially when there are two thousand of them tasks with clandestine special ops. Heir to a spy dynasty, John Rodriquez will pass through the looking glass and down the rabbit hole when he takes over as director of the super-secret Southern Reach agency. Charged with discovering the mystery behind Area X, Rodriguez is running out of time and the clues just keep multiplying like the rabbits in the Southern Reach’s bizarre experiments. Reality is a fractured mirror in this game of parsing truth from untruth.

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ACCEPTANCE: In the triumphant conclusion to the Southern Reach trilogy, a desperate new expedition crosses the border into Area X seeking the truth. But will Area X oblige them? This mind-blowing climax is haunted by demons and shadows–and owls. Travel into the past with a lighthouse keeper and explore the history of the Southern Reach secret agency. Bear witness to horrors and miracles. Who will be chosen? Who will fall…and what will rise? Only the owl knows.

Spanish Edition of Annihilation: Pablo Delcan Art, Video, Skyping with Madrid

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(Shot of bloggers/reviewers kind enough to chat with me via Skype from Madrid)

One thing I’m really excited about later this month is the release of the Spanish-language edition of Annihilation, from Planeta de Libros imprint Destino. The editors there, and everyone associated with the project, have been great to work with–and they have exciting ideas about how to market and promote the trilogy. It just feels like a great fit.

Earlier this past week, I Skyped with interested bloggers/reviewers who were kind enough to gather at a Madrid bookstore to talk about Annihilation. They asked some great questions, including one that stymied me: What animal from Annihilation would I like to be! It was a lot of fun, and I appreciated them taking time to discuss the novels.

As you can see, they’ve done an amazing job with the look-and-feel of the Southern Reach trilogy. They’ve also set up a Southern Reach twitter feed at @_Southernreach (note the underscore) and a great web page here.

Here’s the advance reader copy of Annihilation, presented in a modified slipcase with Jeremy Zerfoss’s map of Area X and other goodies. Below you’ll also find the full set of covers by Pablo Delcan–please check out his site. He’s a genius, in my opinion. Just such great work. (You can click on any image in this post for a larger version.)

If you read in Spanish, please check out the series. The Spanish editions have been created with love, attention to detail, and a lot of hard work.

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