Jeff VanderMeer’s new illustrated writing guide is called Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, and it’s jam-packed with useful writerly information and illustrations. I mean, for starters just check out that awesome cover. (If you want a closer look at this fantastic cover by Illustrator Jeremy Zerfoss, click the image to embiggen.)
Here’s the book’s description:
This all-new definitive guide to writing imaginative fiction takes a completely novel approach and fully exploits the visual nature of fantasy through original drawings, maps, renderings, and exercises to create a spectacularly beautiful and inspiring object. Employing an accessible, example-rich approach, Wonderbook energizes and motivates while also providing practical, nuts-and-bolts information needed to improve as a writer. Aimed at aspiring and intermediate-level writers, Wonderbook includes helpful sidebars and essays from some of the biggest names in fantasy today, such as George R. R. Martin, Lev Grossman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Moorcock, Catherynne M. Valente, and Karen Joy Fowler, to name a few.
Now hang on to your hats folks. Here’s the incredibly huge and mouth-watering — and did I mention HUGE? — table of contents…
Read the rest of this entry
TOC: “The Time Traveler’s Almanac” Edited by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer (Plus: US and UK Covers!)
Ooooh, I loves me a good time travel story, so I’m looking forward to the upcoming anthology The Time Traveler’s Almanac edited by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer. Now I just wish I could travel to March 2014 to get it now. (See what I did there?)
Can’t wait to see the final table of contents!
Here’s the synopsis:
Read the rest of this entry
[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
In recent years, the ascension of several former Third World countries to a better economical and geopolitical standing (the best example of which are the like the BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) has been slowly but steadily bringing a change of paradigms in the way science fiction sees the world. Could it be that novels like Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Wind-Up Girl, Ian McDonald’s Brasyl and The Dervish House, to name just a few, are some of the harbingers of this change? Or, as their authors are Western in origin and haven’t lived in the countries they portrayed, would they still be focusing on the so-called exotic aspect of foreign countries and therefore failing to see the core of these cultures?
We asked this week’s panelists:
Here’s what they said…
A Western writer who wants to write a convincing story has so many opportunities at his or her fingertips. Thanks to globalization, we have access to the Internet, the chance to talk to people living in non-western countries via a plethora of tools and gosh, libraries. Accessing information now is so easy, so simple – many do not even have to step out of their rooms. At the same time, you can ask a friend who is from the said culture(s) you are writing about to vet it. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Research. Let it be an enriching experience. Worldbuilding does not emerge out of the ether nor do you pluck it out of thin air.
“This is one of the effects of reading weird fiction: it does not dictate your imaginative path, but impels you to make your own.” – from “The Weirdness Addendum.”
At year’s end I finished reading the massive anthology The Weird, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer. I’ve been digesting it ever since. It was a humongous capstone to an edifice of weird anthologies for the year that included their Odd? anthology and The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities project. At the end of reading The Weird I found I needed a period of time to absorb what I had read, as I took a “devour the whole thing” approach to it. Now, with some time to reflect on it, I want to write about some thoughts and ideas that have resulted from that reading. Rather than write a standard review, which seems difficult to do, I want to reflect on. . . not what I have learned necessarily, but what that reading has done to stimulate my thinking and my imagination.
Read the rest of this entry
Jeff VanderMeer talks with editor, writer, and translator Konrad Walewski, a prominent figure in the Polish Science Fiction and Fantasy scene. As a co-founder of, and editor for, the Magazine of Science Fiction & Fantasy in Poland, Walewski talks about Polish SF/F, a new anthology of stories about time, the Polish version of the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, his relationship with Gordon Van Gelder, and more. Recorded April, 2011 in Warsaw.
Mentioned in passing a few days ago, merits more attention. Jeff VanderMeer has posted the table of contents for his and Ann VanderMeer’s upcoming anthology
- Ekaterina Sedia, “Two Short Excerpts from the Russian Book of the Improbable”
- Jeffrey Ford, “Dr. Lash Remembers”
- Matthew Cheney, “Confessions and Complaints of a True Man”
- Ramsey Shehadeh, “The Unbecoming of Virgil Smythe”
- Vilhelm Bergsoe, “Flying Fish (Prometheus)”, translated by Dwight R. Decker
- As well as contributions by Fabio Fernandes, Brian Stableford, Jess Nevins, and the Steampunk heretic known only as “The Mecha-Ostrich.”
Original Non-fiction Articles by:
- Gail Carriger, author of Soulless (fashion and fiction)
- Jake Von Slatt of the Steampunk Workshop (maker movement)
- Mike Perschon, the Steampunk Scholar (the future)
- Daniel Abraham, “Balfour and Meriwether in the Adventure of the Emperor’s Vengeance”
- Stephen Baxter, “The Unblinking Eye”
- Winona Cookie, “The Unlikely Career of Portia Dreadnought,” “Artemesia’s Absinthe,” and “Obadiah Theremin, MD”
- G.D. Falksen, “The Strange Case of Mr. Salad Monday”
- William Gibson, “The Gernsback Continuum”
- Samantha Henderson, “Wild Copper”
- Caitlín R. Kiernan “The Steam Dancer (1896)”
- Andrew Knighton, “The Cast-Iron Kid”
- Marc Laidlaw, “Great Breakthroughs in Darkness”
- Margo Lanagan, “Machine Maid”
- Lisa Mantchev & James Grant, “As Recorded on Brass Cylinders: Adagio for Two Dancers”
- Shweta Narayan, “The Mechanical Aviary of Emperor Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar”
- David Erik Nelson, “The Bold Explorer in the Place Beyond”
- Cherie Priest “Tanglefoot”
- Chris Roberson, “O One”
- Margaret Ronald, “A Serpent in the Gears”
- Catherynne M. Valente, “The Anachronist’s Cookbook”
[reminded by Mad Hatter]
Jeff VanderMeer has posted the table of contents to his upcoming story collection The Third Bear:
- “The Third Bear”
- “The Quickening”
- “Finding Sonoria”
- “The Situation”
- “Fixing Hanover”
- “Shark God Versus Octopus God”
- “The Goat Variations”
- “Three Days in a Border Town”
- “The Secret Life of Shane Hamill”
- “The Surgeon’s Tale” (with Cat Rambo)
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: John Finch, detective, must solve a double homicide of a human and gray cap, even as the city of Ambergris slides into chaos.
PROS: Surreal tone; emotionally powerful; great mashup of the real and unreal
CONS: Anti-climactic ending; early difficulty in understanding sentence structure
BOTTOM LINE: The vibrant storytelling of a perversely beautiful city and its hard-boiled detective is well worth the reading.
In this gritty crime noir/fantasy mashup, World Fantasy Award winner Jeff VanderMeer creates a narrative that is distressingly real, and yet so unreal as to be absurd. Like a Salvador Dali painting in prose, Finch mixes the mundane and the fantastic and then melts them together into one surreal but powerful work.
[SF Signal welcomes the return of guest reviewer Jason Sanford!]
REVIEW SUMMARY: An excellent book for writers of all levels, from beginner to seasoned veteran.
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Best-selling author and social media maven Jeff VanderMeer shows how writers can both survive and thrive in today’s 24/7 interconnected world. From creating goals to managing social media platforms, VanderMeer uses his own experiences to demonstrate what works and what doesn’t, all while highlighting methods to keep your balance in both life and writing.
PROS: Concise, insightful, full of great advice which is based on real-world experience. Booklife has something to teach any writer.
CONS: A minor issue, but the book’s non-linear style would have benefited greatly from an index.
BOTTOM LINE: Even if it’s been years since you bothered reading a “how to” book related to writing, check out Booklife.
A few weeks back, Jeff VanderMeer and Jeremy Tolbert appeared on an episode on The Sofanauts in which they had some harsh words for the short fiction magazines, including Asimov’s.
This week, The Sofanauts hosted a fascinating follow-on discussion centered on Asimov’s. Guests included Asimov’s Editor Sheila Williams and Managing Editor Brian Bieniowski. Writers, Jeff VanderMeer and Jeremy Tolbert also re-joined host Tony C. Smith to revisit the issue.
Contrary to growing opinion in the SF community, things are not all doom and gloom for the magazine. Digital sales are up and new methods of delivery are being explored. Yet some things, like website and digital submissions continue to be touchy subjects.
Don’t miss this frank and engaging roundtable focusing on one of the most established magazines in SF!
- Jeff VanderMeer’s Endurance Tour: 36 Days, 27 Events, 14 States, 2 Books, 1 Writer.
- As part of the Fantastic Fiction free reading series, Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel present Sarah Micklem (Wildfire) & Alisa Kwitney (Moonburn) Wednesday November 18th, 7pm at KGB Bar in NYC.
- Forbidden Planet will have a signing by Gareth David-Lloyd (Torchwood) who is launching the exciting new web thriller Girl Number 9. The signing is at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR, on Tuesday 27th October from 5:30 – 6:30pm.
- @Marshall’s Super-Sekrit Clubhouse: Amal El-Mohtar
- @Agony Column: Jewell Gomez at SF in SF / Litquake on October 10, 2009
- @Book Nook: Bruce Cordell
- @Dragon Page: Douglas Clegg
- @Laptop Magazine: Eoin Colfer
- @The Lovecraft News Network: Silvia Moreno-Garcia
- @BSC Review: Michael Connelly
- @Tor.com: Dan Hillier and Tom Lloyd
- Stomping on Yeti interviews M. Rickert.
- Apex Publications signs two book deal with Gary A. Braunbeck.
- Phillip Palmer asks: Is this the Golden Age of SF (and if not, why not?) [via The Website at the End of the Universe]
- Jason Sanford Online looks at Genre Magazines, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
- The latest issue of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine features fiction from Stephen Dedman, Damien Broderick & Paul Di Filippo, and Brian Stableford.
- Disney now offers digital books.
- John Scalzi asks: Can SciFi Movies Be Cool?
- Real Science: Timewarp: How your brain creates the fourth dimension. [via Velcro City Tourist Board]
- @SCI FI Wire: 9 rampaging space zombies hungry for our sci-fi brains.
- Dresden Codak has a neat graphic illustrating 42 Essential plot twists for writers. [via Boing Boing]
- Awesome cartoon of the day: Witness Mr. Henry Bemis in the digital age.
- Interviews and Profiles:
- @PopCultureShock: Mike Mignola Talks About 15 Years of Hellboy, B.P.R.D. & More |
- @Tor.com: Artist Keith Thompson.
- @Agony Column Podcast: Margaret Atwood.
- Frederik Pohl on fandom (part 5).
- Ellen Datlow reports on the The Funeral (that should have been) for Edgar Allan Poe.
- @Tor.com: Erika Nelson reviews Octavia Butler’s Adulthood Rites.
- Neil Gaiman and BBC will let you Twitter a story for them.
- BenBella Books has posted Chris Roberson’s essay “An Angel on His Shoulder, A Devil on Hers“, one of the essay in Say We All: Collected Thoughts and Opinions on Battlestar Galactica edited by Richard Hatch.
- Three Words: Zombie Marvel Superheroes
- John Anealio has written a cool song for Jeff VanderMeer’s Last Drink Bird Head. [via Ecstatic Days]
- EVENT: Forbidden Planet hosts a signing by horror legend Clive Barker Thursday 15th October 6:30 – 7:30pm. Clive will be signing his new DVD The Midnight Meat Train at the Forbidden Planet Megastore, 179 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, WC2H 8JR.
- Bibliophile Stalker is maintaining a List of Speculative Fiction Anthologies for 2010 to which you can contribute.
- @Tor.com: Top Steampunk Media.
- @io9: Top 10 Greatest Space Zombies Of All Time.
- @AbeBooks: The Top 10 Most Depressing Reads. A couple of genre titles make the list. [via Lit Lists]
- @Mental FLoss: B-Movie Monsters
- Kevin Maher lists 5 Music Videos About Werewolves.
- @SciFi Scanner: The Best and Worst Comic Book Movie Lairs.
- Here’s Total Dick-Head‘s First Look At Radio Free Albemuth – The Movie.
- At Asimov’s, Mary Robinette Kowal interviews Dr. Michio Kaku. [via Bibliophile Stalker]
- Scott Westerfeld has posted Leviathan artwork.
- Joseph Mallozzi names his November Book of the Month Club selection: Emissaries from the Dead by Adam-Troy Castro. Hmmm…might be a good excuse to read this. I’ve heard good things and have put it off far too long.
- Jeff and Ann VanderMeer announce the finalists for The First Annual Last Drink Bird Head Award.
- Andrew Wheeler celebrates his blog’s 4th Anniversary.
- Mike Brotherton is looking for Science Fiction Words in the Mainstream.
- For the writers: Vonda N. McIntyre’s Pitfalls of Writing SF & Fantasy.
- Gary Westfahl reviews Pandorum: “In order to appreciate Pandorum, then, one must ignore those silly mutants and instead focus solely on the shorter, better film they are viciously struggling to conceal.”
- SCI FI Wire lists 10 theories on what caused the flash forward in FlashForward.
- Cool news! Scott Westerfeld‘s Midnighters is coming to NBC. The story “revolves around a group of people born at the stroke of midnight who have access to the 25th hour of each day, which they use to stop crime.” [via SFX]
- Interviews and Profiles:
- John Scalzi answers Stargate Universe questions.
- Innsmouth Free Press has a brief interview with Mary Robinette Kowal.
- 3 Questions with Mindy Klasky at SF Novelists.
- Jeremy Tolbert and Jeff VanderMeer join host Tony C. Smith in the latest Sofanauts podcast.
- @Only The Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy: David Gunn.
- @Sci-Fi Fan Letter: Gail Carriger.
- Frederik Pohl on Fandom. (Part 3)
- Octavia Butler’s Papers Bequeathed to Huntington Library. [via Locus Online]
- Guest-hosting at Tor.com: Cherie Priest, author of the the aesome recent release, Boneshaker.
- The Post-Modernity of Steampunk.
- The Directors of Spectrum announced that Richard Corben is the recipient of the 2009 Grand Master Award.
- The World SF News Blog is now hosted over on WordPress.
- Rare Gene Roddenberry Science Fiction TV Pilots are coming to DVD.
Jeff VanderMeer writes about a good cause: Folks who pre-order (with a $5 discount) Last Drink Bird Head, the flash-fiction anthology Jeff co-edited with his wife Ann, will see the proceeds go ProLiteracy, an organization that “champions the power of literacy to improve the lives of adults and their families, communities, and societies.”
Here’s some more info about the book:
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.)
See Jeff’s original post for many more details and warm fuzzies