Friday, August 04, 2006


Dear VanderFans,

My name is Hannes Riffel and I have the pleasure to be host to Ann and Jeff VanderMeer for their stay in Berlin. I am Jeff's German editor, working freelance for Klett-Cotta in Stuttgart, having been in charge of Stadt der Heiligen & Verrückten (the German City, which is identical in content and design to the British TOR edition), and I will translate his Shriek for publication in Fall 2007. Apart from that I co-own the Otherland bookshop here in Berlin, run a small press with some friends and am just about finished translating Vellum by Hal Duncan for Fantasy Productions/Heyne. But enough about me ...

Ann and Jeff arrived by train from Brussels and Cologne late on Tuesday save and sound after a bit of a mix up about trains and train stations. My wife Sara and me took them to an Indian restaurant and we spent a very nice evening there, got to know each other and came to the conclusion that we will be able to spend some of the time in the next five days together without too much irritation on both sides. Seriously, Ann and Jeff are wonderful guests and I am sorry that we have work to do and will have to leave them to fend on their own part of the time.

Yesterday Ann and Jeff explored the city (at least that's what they told us), shopping at the Potsdamer Platz, walking through the Tiergarten, marvelling at the Brandenburg Gate and drinking beer and reading at a riverside Biergarten. Yesterday evening the first of the two Vanderevents in Berlin was held, a reading at a special meeting of the Andymon science fiction club. Attendance was numerous with between 25 and 30 people gathering in the garden of the »Kulturbund Treptow«. Jeff read some excerpts from the English City, and his German translator, Erik Simon, a writer of distinction himself who had come all the way from Dresden for the occasion, read funny bits from the glossary of the German edition. A lively discussion ensued and a fun evening was had by all, as far as I can tell. Jeff got to sign quite a few copies of the German City, brought along or bought on the spot. Thanks to all of you

Afterward we returned to Schöneberg, the district we live in, and spent some more time sitting outside the pub at the S-Bahn station around the corner from our home. Ann and Jeff discovered to their delight that the pub carried Aventinus, a classic strong German beer they both like a lot. It is such a pleasure to meet people with such good taste!

Ok, enough for today -- we have the reading in our bookshop coming up tonight, and there people will get an advance look at the Shriek movie (if technology does not let us down). Whether it will be a bilingual reading as yesterday was will depend on the people turning up. As it is, we have Boris Koch, a fine writer of sf and horror, waiting in the wings to read some German sections, if need be. Otherwise, I'd prefer to keep this strictly English, but we'll just have to see about that. Please come in droves and help us decide (our address is one the Otherland webiste mentioned above).

More tomorrow. Cheers to all of you.


At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Clare said...

I love Berlin - and this post brought it all back. So thank you.

And it sounds like the Vandermeers are imbibing all the important monuments. Keepp up the good work.


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