Jeff VanderMeer

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Jeff VanderMeer

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in The United States



member since
May 2009

About this author

Jeff VanderMeer's most recent fiction is the NYT-bestselling Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance), all released in 2014. The series has been acquired by publishers in 15 other countries and Paramount Pictures/Scott Rudin Productions have acquired the movie rights. His Wonderbook (Abrams Image), the world's first fully illustrated, full-color creative writing guide, won the BSFA Award for best nonfiction and has been nominated for a Hugo Award and a Locus Award. A three-time World Fantasy Award winner and 13-time nominee, VanderMeer has been a finalist for the Nebula, Philip K. Dick, and Shirley Jackson Awards, among others.

His nonfiction appears in the New York Times Book Review, the Guardian, the Washington Pos...more

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Jeff VanderMeer Thank you for the truly great question, Ali. To me, this is the essential theme of our time, and it's not about giving in or checking out. It's about…moreThank you for the truly great question, Ali. To me, this is the essential theme of our time, and it's not about giving in or checking out. It's about adaptation to what's coming. Of course, I'm coming at it from a kind of fantastical point of view. No matter how I deploy science or specific detail about our real world, I'm still somewhere between the real and the metaphorical in these explorations. In part to get the distance to explore modes of thoughts, and in the absence of being able to imagine being truly not-human, to get as close to that as possible without marginalizing that state of being as horrific.

I suppose I don't see it as leaving behind individual consciousness as being in greater harmony and collusion with the contamination we already experience but that is invisible to us, and to also thereby better understand that we do not in fact stick out from our landscape, but are part of it. This is something we've forgotten over the last centuries, and the farther we get away from understanding this, the farther we get from long-term solutions to questions like...What do we contribute to our biosphere? Why do we privilege human-style intelligence to the exclusion of all else? Why do we see as strengths those things that are actually now weaknesses in ourselves as a sustainable species on Earth?

This doesn't even get to the question of being able to see our environment with a fresh eye--so that we no longer think in terms of being stewards or despoilers but some other philosophy altogether. And this in the context, too, of not bringing with us the old "culture creatures" as Schama puts it in his book Landscape and Memory. That we might see with clear vision but also perhaps with a hint of awe just how thoroughly we live on an alien planet that is full of wonders we're only now beginning to understand. And of which we are at times the most mundane.(less)
Jeff VanderMeer My real phobia is cockroaches. Growing up in Fiji, I would sometimes wake up and hear this crackling, shifting sound in my ears. These small…moreMy real phobia is cockroaches. Growing up in Fiji, I would sometimes wake up and hear this crackling, shifting sound in my ears. These small cockroaches would burrow in there and I'd have to fish them out. So I come by my phobia honestly. Also, I should note that it extends to professional cockroaches, not just amateur ones. We were on a claustrophobic boat trip once in Romania (eventually cut off by the Romanian navy and a man in a dinghy, but that's another story0 and there were rustling boxes under each of the bench seats in the passenger area (which didn't have windows you could open). The translation came back as "professional cockroaches." Boxes and boxes of professional cockroaches, to be used as bait by fishermen. I was as phobic about them as any number of amateur cockroaches. When it comes to cockroaches, I treat all equally. (Except, I really hate the flying ones.)

As for using them in my writing, I did once write a children's story called Erin & the Roach, but it has never been published, and probably shouldn't be anyone.(less)
Average rating: 3.83 · 29,309 ratings · 4,092 reviews · 125 distinct works · Similar authors
Annihilation (Southern Reac...
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City of Saints and Madmen (...
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Authority (Southern Reach T...
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Wonderbook: The Illustrated...
4.49 of 5 stars 4.49 avg rating — 443 ratings — published 2013 — 2 editions
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More books by Jeff VanderMeer…


Before participating in the Miami Book Fair, I’ll be leading a workshop at the Center for Literature at Miami Dade College–November 19-21. Here’s information on the workshop. You can sign up here. Space is limited.

Wonderbook has been taught at Brown, the Yale Writers’ Conference, University of California, San Diego (Clarion), and many others. It is currently a finalist for the Hugo Award.


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Published on August 12, 2014 06:00 • 10 views
Annihilation Authority Acceptance
Southern Reach Trilogy (3 books)
3.776160990712074 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 9,690 ratings

City of Saints and Madmen Shriek: An Afterword Finch
Ambergris (3 books)
3.92512077294686 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 4,968 ratings

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More of Jeff's books…
“The effect of this cannot be understood without being there. The beauty of it cannot be understood, either, and when you see beauty in desolation it changes something inside you. Desolation tries to colonize you.”
Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation

“That's how the madness of the world tries to colonize you: from the outside in, forcing you to live in its reality.”
Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation

“Silence creates its own violence.”
Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation


May Science Fiction Run-off

  43 votes 59.7%

  29 votes 40.3%

72 total votes
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Christine Hatfield Thanks for being my friend

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Fran Friel Happy Tuesday, Jeff!

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