Friday, June 30, 2006


Glad I came across this article (and the Bram Stoker Award press release) or I would have thought from the way some people were still whispering about it that nobody "officially" knew. But, yeah, Joe Hill is Stephen King's son. And it was the worst-kept secret EVER.

I mean, honestly, the worst-kept secret in the history of secrets. At least a dozen people emailed or IM'd me and said, "Don't tell anybody, but Joe Hill is Stephen King's son." Or variations thereon, "So-and-so would kill me if they knew I was telling you this." And this happened for MONTHS all over genre.

Meanwhile, ironically enough, it appears Variety had let the cat out of the bag (see article link above) on April 5th of this year.

You could also see it in the smugness of some of the reviews, a kind of "I know a secret," with little hints dropped (like little winking references to Stephen King) so we could tell in hindsight just how clever said reviewers were to not reveal the secret and yet allude to it. (Perhaps more disturbing, you could see it in how certain people treated Joe Hill in person at various events--a kind of muffled fawning that has no particular saving grace to it. One can certainly see why he kept his identity a secret for so long. That said, there was also genuine adulation for the talent in question.)

You could also see it in Locus's People & Publishing, which one month ran headshots of Stephen King and Joe Hill in identical profile, with near-identical beards. Now THAT I thought was pretty funny.

Anyway, you heard it here last, folks. Joe Hill is Stephen King's son.

As for his fiction, that's a TRUE secret since I'm a World Fantasy Award judge--and I ain't tellin' nobody.

BUT, I can now reveal that I am the son of Tiny Tim... What? That don't buy me no love? How about you, Evil? What do you think?

(Evil Monkey: "Go to sleep.")



Via Gwenda Bond...

1. Have you ever been searched by the cops?
Yes--while being hauled into the sheriff's department in connection with questioning about an alleged instance of trying to bomb my former employer (untrue, I should add).

2. Do you close your eyes on roller coasters?
When I rode roller coasters, I didn't close my eyes. As soon as I found out they can burst blood vessels, I stopped riding them. I don't like the feeling almost throwing up anyway.

3. When's the last time you've been sledding?
When I was three, in Pennsylvania.

4. Would you rather sleep with someone else, or alone?
Depends on what you mean by that. I like my space in bed to sleep or I feel claustrophobic. Also, Ann is one of those heat-generating people, so in the winter I warm myself by her body and in the summer I sleep on the other side of the bed.

5. Do you believe in ghosts?

6. Do you consider yourself creative?
I think Evil Monkey is creative. I merely channel him.

7. Do you think O.J. killed his wife?
Absolutely. What idiot would discount that much DNA evidence?

8. Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?
Angelina Jolie. But she's a bit crazy-town.

9. Do you stay friends with your ex's?
Not really.

10. Do you know how to play poker?
Yes. But I'm only dangerous because I follow no patterns in my betting and bluffing. Which also makes me amateurish.

11. Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?
Yes. Finishing up projects. The first time was for an English project describing a post-apocalyptic society. Wound up with 200 pages and sample fiction from the future. My teacher was somewhat bemused. I was unpleased to only get an A-.

12. What's your favorite commercial?
The one for jeans where the guy's squeaky jeans attract a badger that follows him everywhere.

13. What are you allergic to?
Cat dander, in quantity. Dairy, a little. My contact solution, right now. Passive aggressive people.

14. If you're driving in the middle of the night, and no one is around do you run red lights?
I've run three post-midnight red lights, all in Gainesville at the same infernal stoplight near the football stadium.

15. Do you have a secret that no one knows but you?
Yes, but it's of the trivial kind. I think Ann knows all of my secrets by now. Including the one where by the light of the moon I dress up in a squid costume and dance the fandango.

16. Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees?
Neither. Baseball sucks.

17. Have you ever been Ice Skating?

18. How often do you remember your dreams?
Often. Sometimes precognitive, but always in that case of very small events or moments in time.

19. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
Today. And yesterday. And the day before that. I find a lot of stuff funny. And if something doesn't happen during the day, there's always The Daily Show.

20. Can you name 5 songs by The Beatles?
Bridge Over Troubled Otters
Laird Bugglemunch
Slappy McHappy & His Magic Guitar
Weasel Lovin'
Makin' Monkey Money

21. What's the one thing on your mind now?
Shriek video parties and bookings pertaining to that, followed by am I driving Ann nuts with this 24-7 push, followed by this European trip, followed by a kind of puzzlement that I've suddenly discovered coffee and like it. I've hated it for years and years, but I had some at Jim Kelly's place and now I'm a convert.

22. Do you know who Ghetto-ass barbie is?
No. I have no extra room in my brain for such knowledge.

23. Do you always wear your seat belt?

24. What cell service do you use?
Sprint. But I tend to always leave my cell phone off or in a cupboard or under a car seat. So it doesn't really matter what service I have.

25. Do you like Sushi?
Sometimes. It leaves me hungry an hour later, though. Good with a light Japanese beer.

26. Have you ever narrowly avoided a fatal accident?
Yes. A motorcycle smashed into the side of the family's Ford Fiesta in St. Petersburg when I was eleven.

27. What do you wear to bed?
You kidding? It's Florida. It's hot. What do you think?

28. Been caught stealing?
No. I have stolen, though. For the first time, I will reveal that in college, whilst starving, I did in fact steal a few, ahem, adult magazines and a couple of Anais Nin books from the local indie bookstore. That's about the extent of my moral confusion on stealing, though. Perhaps coincidentally, I've also outgrown being a compulsive liar. It just got too exhausting, perhaps.

29. What shoe size do you have?
13 1/2

30. Do you truly hate anyone?
Not anyone I know personally. Even people I don't like that much. I tend to feel affection toward pretty much everyone in the genre community, even people I've had differences with. But, then, I consider arguments a compartmentalized thing--I don't hold general grudges against people. I do think I hate the president and all the hypocrites in power right now, though. Rather, I hate the constructs. I think it's rather hard to hate individuals if you get to know them. You might still really dislike them, but...that said, I've never met Charles Manson or other psychopath (as far as I know, so...).

31. Classic Rock or Rap?

32. If you could sleep with one famous person, who would it be?
Hmmmm. Hypothetically only? Probably the answer to 8, above.

33. Favorite Song?
Impossible to pick. But right now, probably "Lines in the Suit" by Spoon. This second. Next second, something from Scott Walker's Drift. Moment after that, something off of Midnight Oil's 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Moment after that The Church's "Chaos" off Priest = Aura.

34. Have you ever sang in front of the mirror?

35. What food do you find disgusting?
Organ meat. Head cheese. Avocado. Lox. Guac.

36. Do you sing in the shower?
Yes, but I only know a few songs. "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas," "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall," "What'll We Do About Maria?," and "Kumbaya" (sic?).

37. Did you ever play, "I'll show you mine, if you show me yours"?
Yes, with a girl in Fiji. Among others. It was never *my* suggestion oddly enough.

38. Have you ever made fun of your friends behind their back?
Sure, but only in an affectionate way, the same way they do to me.

39. Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
Absolutely--just last week. I have a strong sense of what is fair and injustice at any level bothers me and gives me sleepless nights. This gets me in trouble and I can't say it's particularly noble as it seems hardwired into me--an involuntary response.

40. Have you ever been punched in the face?
No. But I have punched at least three people in the face. All in high school.


Not only is Johanna Sinisalo an edgy and uncompromising novelist, but she has also now edited an anthology of Finnish fiction from one of my favorite publishers in the world: Dedalus. I have ordered this book and hope to read it before I leave for Europe and Finncon. In the meantime, here's all the information you might need to look into it yourself.

And more on Finncon shortly.


Partial Recall has this to say about the antho.

Here's the Strange Horizons review.

Here's the listing on the Dedalus site and their description:

The Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy
Edited By: Johanna Sinisalo

The latest volume in the Dedalus European fantasy series, this anthology of short stories includes a wide range of texts covering the period from nineteenth century until today. The richness and diversity of the stories reflects the long tradition of fantasy in Finnish literature, ranging from the classics to experimental literature, from satire to horror. This is the first collection of Finnish short stories of its kind and almost all are translated into English for the first time. It includes work by the leading Finnish authors Aino Kallas, Mika Waltari, Arto Paasilinna, Bo Carpelan, Pentti Holappa, and Leena Krohn as well as contributions by the rising stars of Finnish fiction.


(Image by Eric Schaller)

Yes, it is true: Ann and I have launched King Squid Productions to cover video and movie projects. We'll have a logo soon, promise.

What will this cover over the next couple of years?

- The Shriek movie
- A Rough Guide to Ambergris short-short movie
- A documentary about the book business focusing on Shriek
- A short film called "The Zamilon File"
- A longer, more ambitious animated feature called "Slattery and Ungdom in Paradise"

We're also planning on hosting a SF/Fantasy short films festival here in Tallahassee, probably in December.


Thursday, June 29, 2006


UPDATE: A great review of Shriek in the Austin Chronicle.

More movie news re the various events at indie theaters and bookstores posted here.

Meanwhile, Infinity Plus has posted a really nice review of Shriek, including this bit:

VanderMeer is, quite simply, one of the finest writers of genre fiction currently operating, and Shriek: an afterword is one of the best novels I've read in recent years.

The characters here are brilliant: the fragile siren Sabon; the wonderfully engaging and ultimately uncertain priest Bonmot, who liked it better when he knew everything; but above all the brother-sister double-act of Duncan and Janice: so similar, so opposite. Echoingly close when they'd never admit it, jarringly contrasting when they might claim fellow-feeling. When it comes down to it, Shriek is an intense, intimate study of sometimes estranged, sometimes close siblings, each plummeting the depths, scaling the heights, and above all transforming.

And the language: masterful use of tense and voice; never a word out of place; choice of phrase working overtime, to pile subtle effect on subtle effect.

Well, it takes a lot to make me blush, but that sure as shit did.


Exercise: Monday, full body work out in hotel room; Wednesday--full gym workout.

NOTE: Re the Shriek limited edition, the terms of lay-away payment are very flexible. Several people have asked about it, so rest assured, email Ann at buzzcity at and we can work up a schedule that's right for you. We've got about 15 or 16 pre-orders as of this morning.


I've just posted about the Shriek movie's cast and credits here.

Coming soon--final Finncon stuff, more Shriek movie info, interviews, etc. It's a busy week, so I may not post again until tomorrow.

I can confirm I'll be attending the Turkey City Workshop September 30th. I hope to also do a reading while in Austin.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006


This photo just shows the unvarnished box and some other elements, using the Pan Mac trade paperback. It is not representative of the Shriek limited's complete contents.

A Deluxe Limited Edition
Lettered, Signed by All Contributors
Available in early October
52 Copies

$325 plus shipping & handling if paid in full in advance by July 18th.
$350 plus shipping & handling on installment plan ($100 in advance by July 18th)

Please email Ann VanderMeer (buzzcity at to reserve a copy (must at least put down $100) and for further details. If you have already reserved a copy, please confirm by emailing Ann. Given prior experience, these copies will sell out fast, so you will need to act quickly, if possible.

A Message from Jeff, Hoegbotton & Sons

As a book collector myself, I have long wanted to put together a truly special limited edition for one of my books. Shriek: An Afterword, my first original U.S. hardcover, gives me this opportunity. This special edition represents collaboration with artists, musicians, jewelers, graphic designers, and carpenters. It will increase in value over time and has many unique features.

Each limited will be put together by hand and in addition to the normal signing and numbering, I will be happy to personalize each book. Due to contract restrictions, I cannot provide an actual limited edition of the book itself, but I think you’ll find that the materials included in this edition more than make up for that fact. Please believe me when I say this is a labor of love and our profit is razor-thin to non-existent. Mostly, I just want to create a compelling artifact that will last.

The Shriek Deluxe Limited Edition consists of one copy of the Tor Books hardcover edition of Shriek with a special dust jacket created by Juha Lindroos. The book will be housed in a beautiful hand-crafted varnished and lacquered wooden box cushioned in dark green velvet. In addition to the hardcover Shriek, the box will contain the following items:

Signing Sheet
An archival-quality signing sheet signed by all contributors, including all members of The Church, Juha Lindroos, Eric Schaller, Paulette Werger, Hawk Alfredson, Todd Szuch, and, of course, Jeff.

Typewriter Key
A typewriter key corresponding to the letter of the limited edition (two such letters for editions 27 – 52).

Credits Sheet
A matte board credits sheet with notes about each person involved in the creation of the limited edition.

A special letter from Hoegbotton & Sons on H&S gold-leaf stationery.

Illustrated Chapbook of New Fiction
A chapbook of new Ambergris fiction (specifically, Dr. Gort’s report on The Shift and its consequences), as illustrated by Eric Schaller (one of the primary artists on City of Saints & Madmen) and including the paintings of noted New York artist Hawk Alfredson. The text and illustrations will not be available elsewhere. The chapbook will be lettered, from A to ZZ.

Starfish Jewelry
A solid silver four-armed starfish pendant in a jewelry box. This unique piece of jewelry created by the award-winning Paulette Werger illustrates in three-dimensional detail the four-armed starfish featured in Shriek. It will keep its value over time and can be worn as part of a necklace or remain purely decorative in the box.

Ambergris Beer
A bottle of micro brewer Todd Szuch’s hand-crafted Smashing Todd’s Wartime Stout beer, with a clever and wonderfully-rendered label by Eric Schaller. (We may include some of the promotional Shriek coasters from Tor, as well.)

The Church’s Shriek Movie Soundtrack
A CD of The Church’s full 48-minute soundtrack for the Shriek movie. This CD is not otherwise available, as the Shriek movie only uses about 12 minutes of the music. This serves as a nice soundtrack to the book in general. In jewel case with custom insert.

Shriek Movie DVD
DVD of the Shriek movie (possibly including DVD extras about the making of the movie). In jewel case with custom insert.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


UPDATE: 7:30pm - We're now stuck in...Atlanta. And Ann points out that there was no floor above us at the Wayfarer. Therefore, the sounds we heard during the night had to be people walking on the *roof*. Cue creepy music... But we have escaped New Hampshire's gravitational pull. We put down our previous inability to Matt Cheney's cat's unwillingness to let us pet it.

Well, we're still in New Hampshire. Delta totally fucked up our entire flight schedule and the best they could do is get us out this morning. Last night, we stayed at a Hampton Inn, having refused to go back to the disturbing Quality Inn, also known as the Wayfarer Inn. Why? Inconsistent electricity. No air conditioning. Insane farm equipment on the walls. A real low-rent Shining ambiance. Dead girls wandering the halls. Weird sounds in the ceiling. Sweating doors. You know--just the usual.

So in the meantime, in addition to getting some work done, I've posted an entry about Shriek on the Shriek movie blog, including a very brief sound file from the movie.

Today, we hope to leave New Hampshire. Please?


Monday, June 26, 2006


After a very fun if activity-packed stint at Odyssey and reading at Toadstool Book Shop, among other adventures, we're now in Manchester, New Hampshire, hoping to get home today--our flight yesterday was canceled.

More blog entries soon, but in the meantime, I'm pleased to report that Shriek has gotten a starred review in Publishers Weekly and been featured in the table of contents. I've cut some of the review only because it contains small spoilers.

World Fantasy Award-winner VanderMeer makes a triumphant return to Ambergris, the fungus-shrouded metropolis he first chronicled inCity of Saints and Madmen (2001), in this masterful if difficult fantasy novel. Janice Shriek, a failed gallery owner and journalist, has ostensibly created an afterword to The Early History of Ambergris by her brother, Duncan Shriek, a talented if unconventional historian who finds his career in shambles after his controversial theories concerning Ambergris's founding and the genocide perpetrated against its nonhuman inhabitants gain public disfavor...A tragic, brooding figure, Duncan makes repeated journeys underground, into the world of the alien gray caps, and is eventually transformed... Ambergris is a city of magnificent, decaying architecture and multiple baroque religions, where publishers fight wars for control of civilization and authors of obscure historical texts can be major bestsellers at the Borges Bookstore. Fans of Mark Z. Danielewski, Angela Carter and Borges will be well rewarded.(Aug.)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


"Subtle, evocative and compelling, The Ephemera is a collection that shines with reflection and intelligence" - Liz Williams

Neil Williamson is a dynamic new Scottish writer who co-edited Nova Scotia, a great anthology of Scottish fiction, in 2005. His stories have appeared in The Third Alternative, Interzone and Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, and anthologies such as The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases, The Elastic Book Of Numbers, and the forthcoming Logorrhea: Good Words Make Good Stories from Bantam Books.

In addition to being a member of the highly successful Glasgow SF Writers Circle, which includes Hal Duncan, Neil is a member of Storyville, a writing group that has resulted in some of my best experiences and most lasting friendships.

I consider Neil not just a great writer but one of the most stand-up guys I know. A lot of times I find myself thinking, "What would Neil do in this situation?" For awhile, I used to joke that Neil was my conscience, conveniently stored in another person. At any rate, everything he does has integrity, from Nova Scotia to The Ephemera to the novel he's just now finishing up.

The Ephemera is his first collection. Here's how I blurbed it:

"Emotionally complex and displaying a keen eye for detail, the stories in Neil Williamson's collection The Ephemera are a rich and rewarding read from a stylish new Scottish talent" – Jeff Vandermeer

He was kind enough to answer my silly and serious questions via email a few weeks ago.


Why should readers pick up your new book as opposed to, say, just about anybody else's book?
Because it has a very, very pretty cover. It's by Gregor Scharff (, and it describes the contents perfectly - er, orange and floaty.

Does your book have any socially redeeming qualities? If so, what are they?
At the very least I should think it could be used as a punctuation primer (and Lord knows kids today need as much help with punctuation as they can get). Failing that, it could provide bedding for many hamsters.

Does your book have any medicinal or mental health value to readers?
Absolutely! We used a paper stock that was laced with mild quantities of lysergic acid. So if anyone finds that they are having difficulty following any of the stories, they should go have a good chew on page 127 and everything will become clear.

Assume your book has been filed under "Ages 8 to 12" in the children's section, perhaps by mistake, perhaps not. How horrified do you imagine a child would be after reading your book, and why? How many years of therapy would the child take to recover from the experience?
To be honest, The Ephemera is actually quite a gentle book - apart from the story about the evil, drug-taking, Great-Old-One-worshipping apes, and I blame my co-writer, Mark Roberts, for daring me to put in the eyeball scene in that one.

You have plucked many hamsters (vocation? hobby?) and yet have never written about this pastime in your fiction. Why?
I fear people just wouldn't understand. I did slip a verse into a sea shanty I once wrote, but it just got quizzical looks. I'm sure your readers would be equally bemused if you were to confess your knowledge of monkey-love, so I know you'll understand why I choose to keep the hamster plucking to myself and other aficionados on those special websites.

If no one buys your book and you are unable to continue publishing your fiction due to the intense vilification that occurs in the media, what line of work will you go into?
Well, I write (boring stuff) for a living anyway, so I'd probably continue doing that, all the while harbouring a burning resentment that one day, when I'm in my seventies probably, will erupt into an extremely damaging, and possibly wildly libelous, self-publishing venture. They'll probably exile me to Hamster Island for good after that.

Will you ever forgive me for jumping out at you during our perusal of the Dracula museum in Whitby?
No. Never. There are many slights that can be overcome in the course of a friendship, but a gentleman simply does not jump out from the darkness making a noise like The Very Legions of Hell just for the purpose of his own amusement, especially when it necessitates recourse to the Emergency Underwear. That sorry day will always be a shadow on our relationship. Alas.


Do you think of yourself as a Scottish writer? And even if not, to what extent does Scotland influence your writing?
I suppose I do, yes. If nothing else, there's a rhythm in the day-to-day spoken language here in the west of Scotland that I love, and that - I hope - is reflected in my prose, and in the dialogue, too. Some writers might aim for a transparent mid-Atlantic tenor to their prose, but that's not for me I'm afraid.

What were your earliest influences?
I suppose they're the stories that made me love stories. I remember loving the absolute adventure of Blyton not long after I started reading for myself, and my Gran had a set of my dad's old comic versions of classics like The Odyssey and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Those, I would say, were what got me hooked on storytelling.

In looking back over your short fiction, do you see any recurring themes or ideas?
Well, in my earliest stories there's a lot of post-teenage, melancholic relationship-gone-wrong stories. That comes directly from the lonely-bedsit-bitter-piano-ballad phase I went through when I was living in London in the early nineties. Not the happiest of times, but I got it out of my system eventually. Thankfully we only chose a couple of those sorts of pieces for the collection.

I hope I'm more varied with subject matter now, though I have a tendency to go through phases of fixation. Like the thing about primates (you know my novel has simply tons of monkeys in it, don't you?). My current riff is Scottish engineering backwaters and sidestreams. The first of those stories was the George Bennie railplane piece we used in Nova Scotia, it carries on with engineering meeting post-war spiritualism in The Apparatus, and I've just finished a new piece about consumerism called The Gubbins. Add to that that one of the central characters in my novel, The Moon King, is an engineer tasked with understanding and fixing an impossibly advanced device, and I think the case is made. Who knows what it'll be next, though?

Something that I do find in my work are recurring images. For example, a lot of my stories feature rain, or water, in some way. It sounds miserable, but if you lived in Glasgow rain would be on your mind a lot too (Eskimos and snow = Glaswegians and rain). So, yes, you'll see rain appear a lot in my work, but it's not always a bad thing. Honest.

Do you have a set writing schedule?
At the moment I try to write for an hour before going to work, and then fit in as much as possible at lunch, followed by whatever I can manage in the evening. It's not much of a schedule as such, but I find that if I don't make a habit of it, my output slips dramatically.

How does being in a band influence your fiction?
These days I'd say that question is the wrong way round. My approach to fiction influences my songwriting. For me, the ideas for songs and stories come from the same place, and I used to be rubbish at telling which ideas were suitable for one form or the other, and that led to songs with loads of words that didn't scan and were impossible to sing. Thankfully now I think I'm pretty good at knowing what works as a quick, iterative sketch, and what will bear extrapolation into a full story.

I've also been inspired musically by the writings of friends. In particular, ideas nicked from the novels of Glasgow SF Writers Circle comrades Hal Duncan and Harvey Raines have added a couple of songs each to our songbook. Which is great, music is a communal discipline, you rip and riff off other people's work all the time. Glasgow is a particularly inspiring place to be in terms of musical cross-fertilisation at the moment, and that sort of energy can't help but spill over into other creative disciplines too.

What do you most fear?
Losing my loved ones. And becoming bored with being creative, and frittering away my time watching SF on television or playing Tolkein-lite games on the interwebs.

What issues or ideas about writing are foremost in your mind right now? Why?
I'm literally inches away from finishing my first real attempt at a novel, so I guess that's been my main writing concern in recent months. Learning to write a novel has been like trying to draw a house - on a piece of paper the size of a house. It's all about scale, isn't it?

Getting the proportions right, not tearing the paper as you clamber across it, or forgetting the notes you made on the folded down corners. I've enjoyed the experience enormously. Getting into the real detail of things I could only hint at before when I was limited to my (now rather tired) metaphorical sketch pad has been marvellous fun.

What are you working on now?
The novel, the novel, the novel. My life will contain nowt but that mad old Moon King and his enduring city, and the maverick engineer and the ephemeral artist who live there, until it is all finished. Which will be very soon now. Unless the luck monkeys have got it in for me. Again.


It's become increasingly clear I need a blog just for the Shriek Movie, so now there is one.

Right now it just has some of the same posts from this blog. But that'll change. I'll still alert readers of this blog to updates on that blog, though.

Oh, the complexity of modern life.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Forrest Aguirre has posted the table of contents for this really cool-looking new fiction antho. (From Jason Lundberg.)

Lance Olsen, Tamar Yellin, Eric Schaller, Jay Lake, Brian Evenson, and many others.


SHRIEK MOVIE EVENTS--Atlanta, Portland

Fourteen or fifteen Shriek movie parties are planned from August through October, most to be held the weekend of August 19th (a week or two after Shriek: An Afterword hits bookstores). These parties will be held in Atlanta GA, Cambridge MA, Columbia SC, Des Moines IA, New York City, Orlando FL, Osceola IN, Philadelphia PA, Pittsburgh PA, Portland OR, Raleigh NC, San Francisco CA, Tallahassee FL, and Tempe AZ. I'll have details shortly on the public and private events.

One public showing just finalized that I can now announce is in Atlanta, Georgia:

Invited, Like the Fans: A Showing of Shriek: The Movie, with Soundtrack by the Church
August 6, 2006, 6pm to 8pm at The Five Spot (1123 Euclid Avenue, NE, Atlanta, GA 30307, 404-223-1100)
Stop by the Five Spot before The Church’s concert at the Variety Playhouse (right around the corner) to view Shriek, a short film with a soundtrack by The Church, written by World Fantasy Award winner Jeff VanderMeer. Also, Church videos, door prizes (including Shriek beer and Church CDs), and other freebies. Check it out before the concert. With host, writer and publisher Daniel Read.

It's not yet clear if members of The Church will stop by for the event or not. But I hope to soon announce Shriek movie events that will feature appearances by The Church.

And here is extended information on the Portland, Oregon, event at the Clinton Street Theater. Thanks to Edward Morris Jr and Jay Lake for their kick-ass efforts.

Join us for a one-night-only screening of SHRIEK - the new film based on the fantasy novel by Jeff VanderMeer, set in his popular imaginary city of Ambergris. A full-fledged event, with give-aways of Ambergris beer, Shriek swag, freebies from The Church, refreshments, the infamous Ambergris experimental music from Pittsburgh musician Robert Devereux. MC'd by local Portland author Jay Lake and the tireless Edward Morris, Jr., with support from 23rd Street Books.

USA, 2006
14 minutes

A city at war with itself. A night beyond imagining. And...aftermath.

Set in the classic imaginary city of Ambergris, Shriek is based on World Fantasy Award winner Jeff VanderMeer's critically acclaimed novel of the same name. With an original soundtrack by the legendary art-rock band The Church. Directed by Finnish director Juha Lindroos, a member of the Helsinki 19. (With a bonus showing of the short "A Rough Guide to Ambergris," a humorous walking tour of an imaginary city and a video message from Jeff VanderMeer and excerpt from his upcoming documentary.)

Edward has been on local Portland radio shows promoting the event and postering the entire city. Major kudos to Mr. Morris.


Monday Exercise: Same as last Friday, except more legs and no biceps/triceps.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


This has become the weekend of frivolous posts, so here's one more for good measure.

Tor's providing beer coasters for the upcoming Shriek movie parties (finalized schedule of times and venues forthcoming in the next couple of weeks).

They go nicely with Eric Schaller's beer labels.

Which go nicely with the Ambergris beer by Todd Suzch.

Perfect synergy!


(Evil Monkey: "So who're you working with over at Tor, besides your editor, Liz Gorinsky?" Jeff: "Leslie Henkel is my energized and energizing publicist, and the senior publicist assisting Leslie is Elena Stokes." Evil Monkey: "Happy?" Jeff: "Extremely." Evil Monkey: "And it's off to New Hampshire next week." Jeff: "Yep." Evil Monkey: "You're a busy man right now...a monkey doesn't see much of you these days." Jeff: "I don't see much of me these days.")


The Portuguese edition of "Transformation of Martin Lake," "Secret Life," and "Three Days in a Border Town," called The Transformation of Martin Lake and Other Stories goes to press next week. I can't wait to see the cover. This publisher does an amazing job with covers. Here's information for my Portuguese readers. I'll be doing a bookstore signing in Lisbon on July 24th in support of the book's release. Luis Rodrigues of Fantastic Metropolis fame has done the translation.



The Nashua Telegraph did an interview with me over the phone in advance of my reading at Toadstool Book Shop in Milford (after I do my Odyssey stint). Here's the resulting article.

I appreciate the exposure, but wish that things like "My wife is my business manager" hadn't become "My son is my business manager". Nor should my quote of something like "I don't want to be a full-time writer" have become "I don't want to work full-time." Nor...well's an article. Hope it brings a few more people to the reading next Saturday.



I recorded this on my camera in Victoria, BC, last year...does that mean I should put it on my blog? Of course not. But I can! So I will!


I'm not gonna turn my blog into a stupid pet tricks video blog, but I just discovered how easy it is to put my YouTube videos on my blog. Woohoo!


Here is the rough cut of the Shriek movie--the first 3 minutes or so. Janice is in blue. Sybel is in yellow.


(5) "I thought writing 'Exterminate all the brutes' in the margins of your manuscript was cute. You didn't?"

(4) "I've just undergone a religious conversion that has real relevance to your manuscript."

(3) "My apologies for all the drinking this morning, but I have read your fucking manuscript, so no goddamn worries, huh, kid?"

(2) "You need to be more original. This is the third novella disguised as a scientific monograph about squid that I've read this week."

(1) "I think the only thing you lack in your fiction is the benefit of certain...first-hand...experiences..."


Erin playing "Happy Dead Girl"--one for the blooper reel

Ann went off with our daughter Erin, her boyfriend John, and James, a friend of theirs, to shoot some additional footage to give the director Juha Lindroos a few extra options while editing the movie.

The scene involves two people hunched over a body in the middle of rubble, during the Ambergrisian War of the Houses. So they found a nice rubble-strewn, grass-sticking-through-pavement-crumbling-building-in-background area and set up for the shot. Erin and John were to hunch over James, who would play the dead guy, and then Ann would do three or four different approach shots: running at them from a distance, walking at them from a distance, and then strapping the camera to a skateboard and getting a ground-level view, closing in fast.

Unfortunately, as they were setting up, a cop drove by and thought that what was going down was a murder--James was being too good a dead guy and Erin and John apparently looked too predatory. So Ann had to quickly run over before the cop called in back-up and James the Dead Guy had to quickly rise from the dead to reassure him no crime was being committed (except the possible crime against Art).

Ann still managed to get the shoot done and then take some stills of all three for possible consideration for the photos of dead people part of the movie.

Really, the funniest part of all this is that James didn't even know what he'd been roped into until they all go over to our house. He'd thought he was going to have to help John move furniture or something. Nope--we need you to play a dead guy, we said. "Oh--no problem," he said. "I've got lots of experience. Or near experience."

This continues to be an interesting experience. And it was certainly a great story for father's day--Stepfather almost gets daughter in trouble with cops...



Friday (amended)
-Actually did the cycle re the incline leg press (9 sets at 800 lbs, then 2 sets each at 700, 600, etc., with no rest, all the way down to 200 lbs)
-Did 6 sets at 180 lbs on the leg extension instead of 3.
-The rest the same as Wednesday

- 30 minutes abs
- 3 sets triceps/biceps

(Best wishes for a full recovery to Christopher Rowe, btw.)

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Random Saturday ramblings in advance of the Winky Wright-Jermain Taylor fight tonight...

(1) Nacho Libre is a fun, sweet, entertaining movie. It's no Napoleon Dynamite, but it's light and fun and Jack Black gives it his all. Go expecting an amazing masterpiece and you'll be disappointed. Go in expecting to have some fun, and you'll have some fun.

(2) The United States side impressed me a lot with their tie against Italy and against a rabid ref. It's one of the few times over the last few years where I can honestly say I was proud to be an American.

(3) The Kenji Siratori thread on my NS board has been heating up of late. Check it out.

Over and out.



The Church, who've done the soundtrack to the Shriek movie, will be touring the US in July and August. Here's the schedule. I hope to add to it shortly.


TUES. 18th July - Santa Barbara, CA - SOhO RESTAURANT & MUSIC CLUB
WED. 19th July - Hollywood, CA - The Music Box, HENRY FONDA THEATER
THURS. 20th July - Solana Beach, CA - BELLY UP TAVERN
FRI. 21st July - Anaheim, CA - THE GROVE OF ANAHEIM
SAT. 22nd July - Tempe, AZ - MARQUEE THEATRE
SUN. 23rd July - Tucson, AZ - RIALTO THEATRE
WED. 26th July - Houston, TX - THE MERIDIAN
THURS. 27th July - Austin, TX - LA ZONA ROSA
FRI. 28th July - Dallas, TX- GRANADA THEATER
SAT. 29th July - New Orleans, LA - HOUSE OF BLUES
TUES. 1st Aug - Ft. Lauderdale, FL - REVOLUTION
WED. 2nd Aug - Lake Buena Vista, Orlando FL - HOUSE OF BLUES
THURS. 3rd Aug - St. Petersburg, FL - THE STATE THEATRE
FRI. 4th Aug - Jacksonville, FL - JACK RABBITS
SAT. 5th Aug - N. Myrtle Beach, SC - HOUSE OF BLUES
WED. 9th Aug - Falls Church, VA - THE STATE THEATRE
THURS. 10th Aug - New York, NYC - IRVING PLAZA
FRI. 11th Aug - Sellersville, PA - SELLERSVILLE THEATER 1894
SUN. 20th Aug - San Francisco, CA - GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC HALL

Friday, June 16, 2006


The Shriek movie is a mix of still photography and live-action. Yesterday, photographer Dana Martin shot photos of actor Rick Wallace, local to Tallahassee, and my wife Ann took video footage.

It's funny how stuff looks with a white screen behind it.

Er, the cat snuck into this shot. Don't think we'll be using it.

In other news, Elizabeth Hand, by way of photographs, has agreed to be the image of Janice Shriek in the movie. (The voice-over for Janice is being done by the director Juha Lindroos' wife, who has been in movies, etc.) Very excited about that!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Here an interview with a SF/F group from Greece. In English and Greek. Thanks to Alex Letsa for some interesting questions.


(Evil Monkey: "Deep genre is different than genre." Jeff: "Just as bull is different than shit." Evil Monkey: "Exactly!" Jeff: "I wonder how many writers will step in it this time." Evil Monkey: "At least they're not anonymous." Jeff: "True.")

Exercise (forgive this, but I gotta list it in detail from time to time):

Chest/shoulders (one after another without rest; 3 times total; 10 to 12 reps each)
- bench press (2 55 lb dumb bells)
- overhead press (1 70 lb dumb bell)
- reverse flyes (2 30 lb dumb bells)
- military press (2 330 lb dumb bells)
- shrugs (2 55 lb dumb bells)
- shoulder raise, to sides (2 15 lb dumb bells)
- shoulder raise, out front (2 15 lb dumb bells)
(At end of workout, one set of upright press on machine, 150 lbs, and same for incline press, 120 lbs and then 90 lbs)

Legs (each type interspersed with tricep/bicep or back stuff)
- incline leg press (800 lbs, three different leg/foot positions one after the other in sets of 15, top, 10, middle, 9, top, feet together; repeat three times)
- leg extensions (180 lbs three times, 10-12 reps each; 100 lbs to exhaustion right after third 180 lb set)
- leg curls (70 lbs, one leg at a time, repeat three times; 8 to 10 reps each)
- assisted squats (300 lbs, three sets, 10 reps; done at end of work out to exhaust already tired muscles)
- calf raises (using own body weight and step--30 straight, 25 toes in, 25 toes out)

- 5 sets using weight bench and own body weight, 12 to 14 reps, followed immediately by tricep machine pull down at 90 lbs (yay!)

- 5 sets of 21s using 45 lb barbell followed immediately by 35 lb barbell forearm curls to exhaustion followed by 25 lb barbell to exhaustion
- one set at end of workout (65 lb barbell, 10 reps; 55 lb barbell, 10 reps; 45 lb barbell to exhaustion)

- Single grip latt pulldown at 80 lbs (3 sets each side)
- Bar latt pulldown, wide grip, at 140 lbs (3 sets)
- Upright row, single grip, at 80 lbs (3 sets each side)

- 150 crunches
- 3 sets of obliques
- 3 sets using 70 lb weight and using abs to pull across body
(need to start ramping this up)

- 1 mile run to warm up
- 30 minutes on bike (half at highest level)
- 2 lap sprint

- 2 hours singles racquetball (my legs are as strong as they've ever been; most of the time, i feel like i could play all damn day)
- 1 set biceps, 65 lb barbell (just to wake 'em up)
- 3 sets tricep pull down at 110 lbs (yay!)

Thursday will be an off day. Friday will repeat Tuesday unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Just as an addendum to our ongoing book sale, Forrest Aguirre has copies of my Dradin, In Love, my Exchange (non-deluxe), and Michael Cisco's Divinity Student for sale. Prices are $60 for Dradin (ABE's selling it for $70 - $120), $30 for Divinity Student (this is the Buzzcity original edition, of course), and $20 for the Exchanges. No other new, pristine copies of these books are available from us or most anybody else as far as I know.

You can contact Forrest for further details at:

experimentaleditor at

Coming soon: An extensive interview with Scottish writer Neil Williamson.

Also, final details on the limited edition of Shriek: An Afterword.


PS Congrats to Australia for their first World Cup win!!!

Monday, June 12, 2006


(Don't forget--over at Hoegbotton, our book sale is still going on...including additions, some of rare or unique editions, that I made tonight--check it out. And, of course, the original list if you haven't seen it.)

I'm going to call this blog post "Soccer Memories" instead of "Football Memories" because, unfortunately, "soccer" is what we call it in the United States. This could be one of the reasons we just got our asses kicked by the Czech Republic (along with a lack of intensity and imagination on offense, an inability to one-touch the ball to teammates with any kind of consistency, a flat-footed let's-watch-the-Czechs-play defense, and a coach who, as a friend of mine said, "always looks like someone just crapped in his ham sandwich").

But what are my soccer memories? I played left back for Buchholz High School back in the 1980s, first on the JV team and then varsity my junior year. (I quit my senior year because I hated the coach, who helped pressure an English teacher into changing a star players grade from an F to a D.)

And these are the top five moments from my completely unremarkable run of soccer, from Youth Soccer up through high school.

(5) Watching Ethan Bliss, the varsity sweeper, intimidate the hell out of opposing strikers. He'd paint a rising sun on his forehead before the game and then he'd talk to the strikers when they came down field. I'd swear he'd even bark at them. I think they all thought he was a bit nuts. Off the field, he was a thoughtful and cool guy.

(4) "Hutch," the keeper for our JV and then varsity team was a bit of a jerk. Total whiny bastard, actually. One blustery cold night he was amusing himself by trying to spit on the back of the referee whenever he got close. Then the wind shifted and the next time he spit, it flew right back in his face. Good times.

(3) Jorge was a kind of cocky player on our varsity team when I was a junior. We had a winter game in North Florida and had to wear sweats due to the cold when we were on the bench. Jorge was a substitute and was sitting on the bench in his sweats for about 20 minutes before the coach subbed him in. He took off his sweat pants, started to run onto the field...and then realized he wasn't wearing shorts. Classic moment.

(2) In one Youth soccer game, the field was wet and a big hole had opened up right where the penalty spot was. Lo and behold--we got a penalty kick. And the ref place the ball in the hole, which was so deep the ball was hidden in it. Despite our protests, our striker had to try to kick the penalty out of that hole. Which meant he had to try to get his foot under it and lob it over the goal keep. Which didn't work, of course. We hated that ref. He was extremely literal-minded and you couldn't make him budge. He was the bane of our existence for several years.

(1) Scoring on a penalty kick against rival Orange Park while on the Buchholz JV team. That was a sweet moment.



The Tallahassee Democrat has run a short mention of City of Saints & Madmen, along with a reading from "Martin Lake" and the font notes section of the book. The link is here and the reading is in a box on the page at the right.


Sunday, June 11, 2006


Note: 9:50pm Sunday added books to our bookselling blog by Michael Bishop, Chris Roberson, LeBrutto, M. John Harrison, Fergus Fleming, Greg Ketter, John Brunner, Nicholas A. Basbanes, Iain M. Banks, Michael Connelly, and Cordwainer Smith, below, for those who already checked earlier Sunday. (Most under Special Editions.)

Yes, it's that time again...It's time to purge the house of extra copies and used books we don't need any more. Between reviewer copies and copies for various judging assignments, we have as many as four or five copies of some books. In many cases, we are donating books to libraries, but that still leaves us with a ton of stuff that we must remove from the house so we don't have to wade through books to get from, say, the kitchen to the couch (important during World Cup).

Also, we're gearing up for our European book tour, and although much of it is comp'd, some is not. Your support very much appreciated and helpful. Most importantly--ya get cool books!!

The sale is taking place on our bookselling blog:

Terms and Conditions

New Books Just Added (divided into VanderStuff, Special Editions, Graphic Novels, Hardcovers, Trade Paperbacks)

Other Books (stuff we've had up there for awhile).

Hope you find something you like!


(Evil Monkey: "So...why've you come over all funny all of a sudden? You're kinda whiter than usual." Jeff: "I just found out that ABE is selling the two mini paperback golden boxed set of Murakami's Norwegian Wood for over $200. Sometimes a lot more than that." Evil Monkey: "You want one?" Jeff: "I HAVE one. I just didn't know it was worth that much." Evil Monkey: "More for the book sale!" Jeff: "Hell, no. I'm holding on to this one. Besides, it's a cool edition." Evil Monkey: "Nostalgia peddler!" Jeff: "Monkey!! Big honking monkey!" Evil Monkey: "Well. Guilty as charged.")

Saturday, June 10, 2006


A Portuguese edition of stories will be released in July by Livros de Areia, just in time for my visit to Lisbon. Luis Rodrigues of Fantastic Metropolis has been instrumental in making this happen, and is doing the translation. The book will include:

The Transformation of Martin Lake
Secret Life
Three Days in a Border Town

It's a kind of precursor to possibly having a novel or longer story collection out in Portugal. Viva a guarda avançada!

I'm delighted to share a page with Rhys Hughes and Jerzy Kosinski, among others.

Screaming at TV during Trinidad-Tobago-Sweden game (it was a three-way!).
Screaming at TV during Argentina-Ivory Coast game.
Cracking King Crab legs a dinner.

(Evil Monkey: "Hey--here's a way to be more objective about judging books!" Jeff: "If only fiction could be counted like soup cans!" Evil Monkey: "If only novels were broccoli! You could count spoilage!" Jeff: "If only short stories were power tools! You could cut things with them!" Evil Monkey: "If only novellas were bazookas! You could blow shit up with them!" Jeff: "If only sentences were ribbons! You could wrap things up quickly!" Evil Monkey: "If only words were pancakes! I'd never go hungry again!" Jeff: "If only, if only, my friend.")


...not as fond of, at least...

T and T news.

Friday, June 09, 2006


UPDATE: The messageboard I set up is now cleared for non-registered users--much more convenient now.

Today is the start of the World Cup, which you should know unless you live underground or on another planet. Or, if you're an American and you are so into instant gratification that you cannot understand the appeal of a game that in its dual simplicity and complexity is, quite literally, the great sport the world has ever seen.

If you don't get exciting watching the imagination at play when, say, the Czech Republic gets near the opponent's net. If you don't stand in awe of the individual and team skills on display, the pageantry, the utter jubilant wonderful chaos of World Cup...well, then, you probably won't want to talk about World Cup on the message board thread I've set up here.

But, if you do, come join the discussion. I'll be checking the discussion and the games almost every day, despite my schedule. (One year I had the pleasure of watching every single game live. This year, no so much.)

Anyway, World Cup is here. It's gonna be awesome.



Mon-same as last week in gym.
Tues-biceps/triceps, abs
Wed-same as Mon but less legs
Fri (today)-same as Mon

Thursday, June 08, 2006


This should be up on the IHG site soon, but in the meantime here's the official press release about the finalists.



The INTERNATIONAL HORROR GUILD has announced nominees for its 2005 awards and honored CHELSEA QUINN YARBRO as recipient of its annual LIVING LEGEND award. Ms. Yarbro becomes the first woman to be named a Living Legend. "Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's contributions to the field of horror and dark fantasy are inestimable. Although she has done so much more, her creation of the heroic romantic vampire Saint-Germain alone is reason enough for her recognition," said Paula Guran, award administrator. (The nineteenth Saint-Germain novel, ROMAN DUSK, is slated for publication this fall.) The twelfth annual awards will be presented during the World Fantasy Convention November 2-5 in Austin, Texas.

Nominations in recognition of achievement in the field of horror/dark fantasy during 2005 are:


* Brett Easton Ellis. Lunar Park (US: Knopf, UK: Macmillan/Picador)
* Elizabeth Kostova. The Historian (US, UK: Little, Brown)
* Hilary Mantel. Beyond Black (UK: Fourth Estate, US: Henry Holt)
* Peter Raftos. The Stone Ship (Australia: Padanus Books, US: University of Hawaii Press)
*Carl-Johan Vallgren (Translated by Paul Britten-Austin). The Horrific Sufferings of the Mind-Reading Monster Hercules Barefoot, His Wonderful Love and His Terrible Hatred [UK: Random House/Harvill Press (US 2006: HarperCollins)

* * *


* Rick Bowes. "There's a Hole in the City" (SciFiction 06.15.05)
* Brian Evenson. "The Third Factor" (Quarterly West #60)
* China Mieville. "Go Between" (Looking for Jake)
* Steve Rasnic Tem. "Invisible" (SciFiction 03.02.05)

* * *


* Laird Barron. "Proboscis" (Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Feb 05)
* Jeffrey Ford. "Boatman's Holiday" (Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Oct 05)
* Joe Hill. "My Father's Mask" (20th Century Ghosts)
* Caitlin Kiernan. "La Peau Verte" (To Charles Fort, with Love)

* * *


* Laird Barron. The Imago Sequence (Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May 05)
* Gary Braunbeck. Kiss of the Mudman (Home Before Dark)
* Joe Hill. Voluntary Committal (20th Century Ghosts)
* Kim Newman. The Serial Murders (SciFiction 10.05.05)

* * *

COLLECTION (Single Author)

* Michael Cunningham. Specimen Days (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
* Joe Hill. 20th Century Ghosts (PS Publishing)
* Caitlin Kiernan. To Charles Fort, with Love (Subterranean Press)
* Kelly Link. Magic for Beginners (Small Beer Press

* * *


No Award

* * *


* The Book of Dark Wisdom (William Jones, Editor/Publisher: Elder Signs Press)
* The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (Gordon Van Gelder, Publisher/Editor: Spilogale, Inc.)
* Postscripts (Peter Crowther, Editor/Publisher, PS Publishing)
* SciFiction (Ellen Datlow, Editor:
* Subterranean (Bill Schafer, Editor/Publisher: Subterranean Press)
* * *


The Black Forest 2 by Todd Livingston, Robert Tinnell, Neil Vokes (Image Comics)
The Dark Horse Book of The Dead edited by Scott Allie (Dark Horse Books)
Memories by Enki Bilal (Humanoid/DC)
The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion by Will Eisner (Norton)
Plucker by Brom (Harry N. Abrams)

* * *


* Christopher Frayling. Mad, Bad and Dangerous? The Scientists and The Cinema (UK: Reaktion Books, distributed in US by University of Chicago)
* Stephen Jones and Kim Newman, editors. Horror: Another 100 Best Books (Carroll & Graf)
* S.T. Joshi and Stefan Dziemianowicz, editors. Supernatural Literature of the World: An Encyclopedia (Three Volumes) (Greenwood Press)
* Denis Meikle. The Ring Companion (Titan Books)
* Norman Partridge. Mr. Fox and Other Feral Tales (Subterranean Press)

* * *


* Clive Barker for Exhibition: Visions of Heaven and Hell (and Then Some), Bert Green Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA
* Tim Bradstreet for 2005 "Hellblazer" covers (Vertigo/DC)
* Caniglia for Exhibition: World Horror Convention 2005, New York City, NY
* Alex McDowell for Production Design of "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride"
* Elizabeth McGrath for Exhibition: Altarwise by Owl-Light, Billy Shire Fine Arts, Culver City, CA)

* * *


Chelsea Quinn Yarbro was is one of the first women to have made a successful and long career writing modern supernatural fiction and now becomes the first woman to be named as an IHG Living Legend. Yarbro is best known as the creator of the heroic vampire, the Count Saint-Germain. With her creation of Saint-Germain, she delved into history and vampiric literature and subverted the standard myth to invent the first vampire who was more honorable, humane, and heroic than most of the humans around him. The world and its mortal inhabitants, not the vampires, are forces of darkness in Yarbro's long-running "historical horror" series. She fully meshed the vampire with romance and accurately detailed historical fiction then filtered it through a feminist perspective that both the giving of sustenance and its taking were of equal erotic potency. Yarbro's novels are notable for laying the groundwork for the 1990s upsurge of "paranormal romance" and trans-genre fiction.

Yarbro is one of only two women ever to be named as Grand Master of the World Horror Convention (2003) and the first to serve as president of the Horror Writers Association (1988-1990). In 2005 the city of Padua, Italy honored her with a day of celebration. She is the recipient of the Fine Foundation Award for Literary Achievement (1993) and (along with Fred Saberhagen) was awarded the Knightly Order of the Brasov Citadel by the Transylvanian Society of Dracula in 1997. In 1995 Yarbro was the only novelist guest of the Romanian government for the First World Dracula Congress, sponsored by the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, the Romanian Bureau of Tourism and the Romanian Ministry of Culture. She has been nominated for the Edgar, World Fantasy, and Bram Stoker Awards. Her manuscripts are being archived at Bowling Green University. Her Web site is

* * *

For more information:

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


So, I'm doing the Odyssey Workshop gig the week of June 20th.

It's not something that's open to the public, but I am doing a reading/interview/signing at the Milford Toadstool Bookshop (Lordens Plaza) in New Hampshire at 7pm on that Saturday, June 24. Here's the main info on the event. Hope to see some of you there. Should be fun. And I'm assuming there'll be a bar or pub around there for afterwards...

I've also gotten a teaching gig next year that I'm pretty happy about--officially will talk about that in August.

And pirates! Must talk about pirates soon or Tessa will probably cut my arms off and stuff a parrot in my mouth...

A basic Shriek website can be found here. It'll be get all fancy and cool in another month or so.

We've finally found our Sybel, but we still need dead people. Like, dead people who really look dead. Some of these look a little too healthy...

Finally, a nice review of City of Saints and Madmen in Realms of Fantasy (thanks for sending it to me, Christopher Rowe). I believe it's by Paul Witcover.

This bravura performance by the almost shamefully talented VanderMeer was originally published in 2002 by Prime Books. Now Bantam, publisher of the author's excellent sf novel, Veniss Underground, has released a new "definitive" edition. It's a great opportunity for readers unfamiliar with VanderMeer's moldering, blood-drenched city of Ambergris, home of deadly mushrooms and ambiguous squids, to become acquainted with its many wonders, horrors, and hilarities before the publication of Shriek: An Afterword, his highly anticipated follow-up. Not precisely a novel, nor exactly a linked collection of short stories, City of Saints and Madment is a literary Rubik's Cube that owes as much to Nabokov and Borges as it does to Lovecraft and M. John Harriosn. It is marvelous in every sense of the word.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Just some of the words that come to mind when thinking, even for a second, of this gay marriage ban. To see the President of the United States propose codifying discrimination...well, I expect nothing less of this president, but a little more of the office. But, really, it's like a dozen of these things a week.

Inasmuch as much of what Bush does is about devaluation and deformation of language, John Scalzi has a very good point on this blog about the marriage bigots.

Look, none of this is okay. None of this should be considered business as usual. Not the war in Iraq, not the attacks on civil liberties, not the proposal to build a wall at our borders. The descent into fascism is just a few steps away. What do you think things were like in any fascist state a few years before the boot came down? The only difference here, and right now, is our creature comforts.


Monday, June 05, 2006


You Want Some Dead People?

Yes. For the war sequences in the Shriek movie, we could use a few stiffs. Literally, headshots of dead people. But not real dead people--of live people acting dead. Which doesn't take much. Casualties pulled from the rubble.

Where and How Do I Post My Photo?

I've set up a thread on my Night Shade message board where you can post a photo of your dead self for possible use in the movie.

As it says on the thread, to post a photo, just copy-and-paste this:

\image{Text description}

and you'll be prompted to upload your dead self. (You don't need to enter anything in the text description part. Just leave it as is.)

Try to make sure the jpegs you post to the thread aren't too big--either in file size or height and width, or it'll be hard to see them.

You will be emailing the original high-quality digital photo (at least we hope it's high-quality) to the director of the movie if your dead face is chosen...

Finally, make sure to include your email with the posted photo so we can contact you.

What does a headshot of a dead person look like?

Generally, that would mean eyes shut and expression slack. If you want to be adventurous and try for the dead-but-eyes-open look, that's cool. Just be sure you can pull it off. Your live self better look dead. If your shirt is showing in the shot, it should be nondescript without any logo or anything showing. Dark solids are best. Also, these shots tend to look best if you're lying down and someone is taking the photo from above. Best not to include anything below shoulders or chest. No cheesy makeup to show head wounds or what not, although if you wanna try to look bruised or scarred or something, go for it. (On our end, it's amazing what photoshop can do...)

What's the deadline?

We'll consider dead shots of your dead self for the next week. Who knows? You might end up dead in a war in Ambergris.

What do I get for being dead?

You'll get a free copy of the movie on DVD and some other freebies if your shot makes the movie. (This is a low-budget production.) You'll also get a film credit as a dead person. I'll probably post all the headshots on my blog, regardless of who makes the movie, at the end of this experiment. That's a lot of dead people.



Here are a couple of short samples from the Church music soundtrack for the Shriek movie. They sent a total of 48 minutes of music.

Calm Before the Storm

Intense Build


PS First time I've used streamloader, so hope it works...

Sunday, June 04, 2006


So I was sitting in the audience watching Francois and the Eastside Class of 2006 graduate and I was thinking about advice. Especially during the speeches given by members of the graduating class. These speeches had the ingredients one would expect: hope for great accomplishments in the future, pride at the accomplishments of the past, a gung-ho attitude. Sprinkled with advice on dealing with college and the job market. And so I started think about what I would have wanted as advice as a graduating high school senior (I can't really remember what advice was given out back then--it was, after all, 20 years ago).

The term "permission to fail, sir," kept running through my head.

Then, this morning, I read this reprint of something Kelly Link just wrote, and that same phrase came back into my head: "permission to fail."

Yeah, that's what I would have liked coming out of high school. I would have liked permission to fail. In fact, I think it's great advice for writers in general, sometimes even more for intermediate writers who have gained a certain level of success and public praise.

I would have said to those high school students: Whatever you do from now on, don't feel that it has to always be successful. To be successful, to be as good as you can possibly be in whatever field you choose, you need to have permission to fail. You have to feel like you can bungee jump out to the edge of success and into that space where the ropes might break. If you don't, you won't take risks, you won't get out there, to that area with a night sky full of unfamiliar stars where "success" might become either something extraordinary or utter failure. Because utter failure and extraordinary accomplishment are conjoined twins much of the time.

Or, put another way, the space between a "publishable" story or novel and a "good" story or novel can be a chasm.

Sometimes you might not have the skill or mastery of technique to pull off certain effects. You might be of a more cautious temperament than other writers so it might take you longer. But that doesn't mean you can't get there. I can only go by reader and reviewer response, but every single time I've had the patience to train myself to go over the edge into someplace initially terrifying, I've provided people with a read that draws them in, that brings them a unique experience.

One of the things I always loved about Angela Carter was her fearlessness. I think she always gave herself permission to fail, and she didn't care. She wouldn't have cared if she'd written ten failed stories that she'd never get published if that got her to a place where she'd be able to write one truly extraordinary piece that no one else could possibly have written. Lack of nerve is often the only thing separating talent from its full potential.

I think in part, having nerve or daring is a matter of not limiting your options. (That mad stray thought you immediately put out of your head; that typo that has all kinds of psychological complications that you correct instead of riffing off of.) Of not pre-editing yourself into not writing a particular story because you don't think you can pull it off. Of not shying away when it comes to putting in painful or personal things into your stories. Of not shying away from the true implications of your scenes and situations. You know when you're censoring yourself, when you're not willing to go to the places necessary to make a story truly complete or perfect. It's the kind of "niceness" that makes so many Hollywood movies that start out well end so poorly--the endings don't do justice to the set-up.

So it's not just a matter of using more daring technique--most definitely not. It's about seeing how far you can go in so many different ways. It's testing your stories and novels by asking yourself--is that what would have really happened? Might it have gone even farther if you'd let it? It's about giving yourself over to the characters and storyline so that even if you have to write something uncomfortable, you still do it. And all the while, not thinking about the fact that you might fail, might completely fuck it up. Not worrying about your readers or reviewers or anything other than the story.

There's a true freedom and release to doing so. And I think it can get you to a space where something truly unique and ambitious comes through. It can also break you of patterns and predictability.


Saturday, June 03, 2006


No blog entries today except for this one--we're heading down to Gainesville, Florida, for my brother Francois' high school graduation. In the fall, he'll be attending the University of South Florida.

In another milestone, my twentieth high school reunion is fast approaching! Ack!!!

And, we've found Sybel for the Shriek movie--a local actor who fits the description perfectly.

Finally, sometime this weekend will go live. It's just placeholder right now while we get the audio and video files ready. But there is a lively description of the novel and a flurry of blurbage. I expect we'll have the true site up in another month.



Intense 30-minute ab work-out, plus 90 bridges, plus triceps/biceps/forearms sets.

- Same as Tuesday, but just 9 sets on incline leg press at 800 lbs.

Friday, June 02, 2006


I'm having a total fan boy moment tonight. I'm listening to the 50 minutes of music the Church sent over for the soundtrack of the 12-minute Shriek movie. And it's totally fucking brilliant--beautiful and light where it needs to be, and brutal and sharp and cutting where it needs to be. The soundtrack's absolutely and utterly awesome. I've been paralyzed half the night just listening to this and thinking, "This thing's really going to come together." It's primo soundtrack music, but it also stands on its own--and the full 50 minutes is like a wonderful soundtrack to the whole novel or something.

I'm kinda having difficulty focusing on anything else right now...

I hope to post a couple of samples soon.


Thursday, June 01, 2006


It's coming...and it's huge...