SQUIDANTHROPY: New Tales From Ambergris


…Okay, so “Squidanthropy” might not be the final title, but I am happy to say that Centipede Press and my agent are wrapping up the details on a new collection of Ambergris stories, to be illustrated by the amazing Richard A. Kirk

…except, it’s a little more complicated than that, as these things sometimes are….

Richard read City of Saints & Madmen recently and sent me a facebook message to say how much he liked it. I noticed he was an artist, and so I checked out his work. You don’t necessarily like someone’s stuff just because they liked yours, but in this case I was blown away. I have to admit I’d never seen his art before, and it’s wonderful. (It didn’t hurt that I then read his fiction—see below—and liked that, too.)

So since Richard had said he’d like to do a project someday, I pinged him and asked if he’d consider doing art inspired by his reading of City of Saints. I would then write Ambergris fiction inspired by his art. I suggested this because I’m genuinely curious as to what Richard comes up with, but also because I don’t currently have a way in to writing more Ambergris short fiction. I know from past experience that all I really need is the right kind of trigger, however.

Also, I want to get back to writing more short fiction, and short fiction that’s in my personal sweet spot. I can and do write personal fiction in a variety of modes, but lately I’ve been hankering for a return to the kinds of things explored through my Ambergris stories. What will probably result, too, will be tales set throughout the period of time covered by City of Saints.

Although the project is being pre-sold, there’re no pre-conditions on the stories, which is very attractive to me. Richard will create about 10 originals and a title page/cover (I believe). As he finishes an illustration, I will then write a story around it, so I can easily slot these stories around existing commitments. Some will no doubt be short, others may linger awhile. I’m going to go wherever his art takes me. The finished book will be between 35,000 and 60,000 words, depending. And since it’s Centipede, you know it will be absolutely beautiful. I’m very excited.

When I have pre-order information, I’ll let you know.

17 comments on “SQUIDANTHROPY: New Tales From Ambergris

  1. Great news! And I can totally see the connection. I first encountered his work illustrating CRK’s stories, and I’ve kept my eye out for it ever since.

  2. Shaun Duke says:

    That artwork at the top is quite beautiful. Also: City of Saints and Madmen is bloody brilliant, which means another collection of short stories will be on my wishlist as soon as pre-ordering is available. Thanks for letting us know about the new book!

  3. This is wonderful news.

    I’ve done a fair amount of writing to existing art and, in general, I love it. It’s a great kickstart to a new story. I’m fascinated by the relationships between prose and illustrations and I’m delighted to see you’ve found a way back into Ambergris. That we’ll get both new art and new fiction out of it is a treat. Please do write more about the process of writing to art as you’re working—I’d love to hear more about your experiences with it, both new and old.

  4. Well this is bloody good news.

  5. That’s going to be lots of fun to read! Centipede press makes marvelous lovely books, too!

  6. Ben Godby says:

    That is awesome. My unhealthy obsession with absurd magical systems forces me to at least propose the title, “Squidolomancy.” But whatever you call it, I’m sure it will rule perforce.

  7. Wooleybooley says:

    Sooooooooooo excited about this project! Can’t wait to read it.

  8. ethan says:

    massive want.

  9. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    This is the best way to go about it, too. Centipede Press is putting no constraints on me regarding the stories, like some publishers sometimes do, like “most of them must be traditionally structured,” etc.

  10. This sounds incredible. I love the Ambergris stories like I love few other things, so more tales from there are very welcome. I don’t own any books from Centipede Press, and I’m honestly not sure I can afford any of them (including this one), but that’s not stopping me from being very excited.

  11. whoa! great news, frog!

  12. Samuel S says:

    Really looking forward to this!

  13. Hey JV,

    This news has made my day. I adore your Ambergris world and can’t get enough! :) Though it does make one suspicious of fungi and squid…

  14. If I can chirp in here. To say that I am psyched about this would be to fall hilariously short of the mark. From the moment I pick up City of Saints and Madmen, I knew that it was special. Beautiful, dark, weird…and dense. My kind of book from the get go. As I was reading it, traveling through Ambergis, I kept imagining strange tableaus of imagery in my peripheral vision. Things that like unexpected clusters of mushrooms kept popping up and taking on a life of their own. So yeah, seeing what Jeff comes up with after looking at my drawings is going to be fantastic. Thank you to Jeff for giving me the key to the city and a Baedeker with blank pages.

  15. inaudible says:

    Just wanted to say that I’m very exited for the project and absolutely thrilled to hear: “no constraints… like ‘most of them must be traditionally structured,'”

    The narrative annotated bibliography in City of Saints and Madmen is my all time favorite short story!

    Can’t wait to see what Jeff and Richard come up with!

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