LAST DRINK BIRD HEAD FOR CHARITY: Party, Pre-Orders, Awards, and More

So, here’re details and the spiel about Last Drink Bird Head, but it’s a spiel for a good cause, so please read–and please spread this link through your own blogs. We’d love to sell out this hardcover edition well before publication and give ProLiteracy a nice check for the holidays. Thanks! (Also note that this is the first new project from my Ministry of Whimsy Press, marking a return from its hiatus.) – Jeff

What Is Last Drink Bird Head?

That’s the catalyst editors Ann and Jeff VanderMeer provided to over 80 writers in creating this unique anthology. The result? Last Drink Bird Head is a blues musician, a performance artist, a type of alcohol, a town in Texas, and even a song sung by girl scouts in Antarctica. Contributors include Peter Straub, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Brian Evenson, Henry Kaiser, Gene Wolfe, Hal Duncan, Jeffrey Ford, Rikki Ducornet, Holly Phillips, Stephen R. Donaldson, K.J. Bishop, Michael Swanwick, Ellen Kushner, Daniel Abraham, Jay Lake, Liz Williams, Tanith Lee, Sarah Monette, Conrad Williams, and Marly Youmans. (See the ordering page for a full list of contributors.)

Pre-Ordering Makes You Feel Good Inside

Ministry of Whimsy, through Wyrm Publishing, has made the Last Drink Bird Head flash fiction anthology available for preorder at a $5 discount. All proceeds go to ProLiteracy, an organization that “champions the power of literacy to improve the lives of adults and their families, communities, and societies. We envision a world in which everyone can read, write, compute, and use technology to lead healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives.” Please note that if you plan to attend the World Fantasy Convention, you can preorder now and pick up your book at the Last Drink Bird Head Party (details on the party below). While we will be selling the book at the party, we cannot accept paypal or credit card orders there, so if you plan to pay using one of those methods, preordering is your best option. Just note that you want to receive the book at World Fantasy and we will have it there for you.

Last Drink Bird Head Party at the World Fantasy Convention in San Jose, October 29th

Thursday evening’s opening festivities at the convention will feature THE LAST DRINK BIRD HEAD PARTY, beginning at 8:00 PM, and open to all (room number to be announced). Join Guests of Honor Ann & Jeff VanderMeer in celebrating the release of Jeff’s new novel Finch, the last in the Ambergris Cycle, his writing book Booklife, and especially Last Drink Bird Head. Copies will be for sale at the event, and over 20 contributors will be at the party to sign Last Drink Bird Head! All proceeds on Last Drink go to, and 10% of all proceeds on Finch and Booklife will go to the 2009 World Fantasy Convention’s designated charity, Variety Childrens’ Charity of Northern California. Highlights will include Ann and Jeff giving out the 1st Annual Last Drink Bird Head awards, plenty of food and drink, and the chance to win a limited edition of Finch. Have fun and help some good causes at the same time. (Note: our primary purpose is to HAVE FUN and celebrate book releases. Even just blogging about the party and the antho would be a lovely contribution.)

The First Annual Last Drink Bird Head Awards

During the party, Ann and Jeff will give out the first Last Drink Bird Head Awards, which they hope will become an annual event at World Fantasy. A panel of judges convened in Switzerland to decide on the winners using a complex series of criteria (more information at the party). Winners receive a LDBH trophy, a lovely certificate, and, probably, chocolate.

A Sneak Peek at the Anthology

Scott Eagle provided the distinctive cover art, Jacob McMurray of Payseur & Schmidt contributed the cover design for the dustjacket, and John Coulthart contributed the interior design as well as the stamp imprint for the boards. Here are a few details from the interior, along with snippets of text from some of the entries.

“Viewed from the side he looked normal but from the front it was clear his head was less than an inch wide across, as if he’d been slammed from both sides by a steam-hammer.” – Steve Aylett

“Last Drink Bird Head didn’t fit in at school. When the others were candles, she was lemons. When doors closed she was on the wrong side. She hated the flavour of milk and cellophane. When she jumped rope she was a merry-go-round horse with an orange face.” – K.J. Bishop

“Last Drink Bird Head lifts her iron beak from the dry-dust lakebed that lies white as parchment under the waning moon. She lifts her head, the long chain rattling, and looks at the moon; the moon looks back at the pitted earth and sees nothing but an iron figure bowing amidst a frozen iron crowd. She bows, lone and lonely, and the chain rasps down, its rattling sigh the only sound besides the dry-joint groans of Last Drink Bird Head herself. She bows, she bows.” – Holly Phillips

(By Derek Ford–credit appears in the finalized version)

“’We can build another raft,’ Curve Handle Shiny Cone says. Cone has been hunting for crabs on the other side of the big gray rock, ignoring the splashes of the encroaching tide. Tiny False Log Cabin is huddled over the fire, poking the coals. Endlessly correcting, in search of the perfect flame. Last Drink Bird Head is lying on his back, his gritty forearm shielding his eyes.” – Richard Butner

(Details showing how the page corners form a flip book. Coulthart created six positions for the image.)

“…certainly, far stranger things have been suggested regarding both his life and his works. And given the particulars of his short career, his involvement in the occult, and his penchant for cryptic affectations, it does not seem—to this author—so outlandish to ascribe to Albert Perrault a morbid sort of prescience or to believe that his presentation of Last Drink Bird Head upon the eve of his fatal motorcycle accident on the rue Cuvier was a carefully orchestrated move, designed to preserve his mystique ad finem. Indeed, it almost seems outlandish to believe otherwise…” – Caitlin R. Kiernan

36 comments on “LAST DRINK BIRD HEAD FOR CHARITY: Party, Pre-Orders, Awards, and More

  1. BTW–huge shout-out to Neil Clarke at Wyrm Publishing/Clarkesworld. He’s the one taking the financial risk and he’s the one who’s been supportive and great through the whole process.

  2. Sorry I can’t be there, Jeff. Have fun.

  3. Marianne Hightman says:

    Thank you for the option to order such a fabulous work at a discounted price- and such a good cause.
    One note of alert: on this site you have the book launching/awards Nov 29 in San Jose, on the order form you have Oct 29 in San Jose- are there two parties?

  4. Ack! Mah brain is full of too many dates. It’s October 29th, and I’ve changed it. Thanks for the catch!

  5. Kater says:

    Can one also preorder _Finch_ and pick it up at the party?

  6. Larry says:

    I’ll place my pre-order shortly and blog about it later this evening.

  7. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Kater–let me find out.

  8. Thanks Jeff. It’s a real pleasure to be able to do projects like this.

    By the way, if anyone wants to order copies of Shriek for pickup at the party, I’d be happy to make the arrangements.

  9. Oh man, the art is fantastic.

  10. Oom. I might not be able to get there till Friday. Which sort of sucks because I was planning on showing up in my bird head costume. Oh well, I’ll save it for the next launch party.

  11. Wow, this is such a great idea. There should be more of this type of charity using words. Kudos, congratulations and I’ll go order a copy right now. Very cool. If you ever need a story hit me up, I’d be glad to contribute.

  12. Hellbound Heart says:

    beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…

    peace and love….

  13. I know what room you’re in ;)

    Just waiting for Rina to get you in contact with us.

  14. Wasn’t sure my brand-new electronic passport would be ready in time. It would seem I’ll get it, so it’s probable I’ll be there, too.

  15. Personally I don’t think that Mr. Handsome has received enough accolades for his humanitarian efforts. In my opinion a lot of celebrity do-gooders are totally phony and engage in so called good deeds merely for positive publicity. I have to say that I don’t think that George is one of the phonies out there in the world of celbrity do-gooders. I admire what he is doing for the Haitian people. I wish more celebrities were as real as he is when it comes to helping out those less fortunate in the world. So kudos to George and his desire to make this world a better place.

  16. I love the artwork on this page. It is fantastic.

  17. Jazlyn says:

    Smart thinikng – a clever way of looking at it.

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