Jeff VanderMeer's Blog

December 19, 2014



Happy Holidays, everyone! I’m going to hibernate for a little while, but I wanted to thank all of the readers, booksellers, reviewers, and publishers (here and abroad) who have helped make this year so special for me, and made the Southern Reach Trilogy one of the most talked-about series of 2014.

Highlights lately have included making Entertainment Weekly’s Top 10 and the LA Times Gift Guide, as well as Buzzfeed’s favorite books of the year.

Special thanks to my wife Ann, agent Sally Harding, and Sean McDonald and everyone at FSG.

Enjoy the season!


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Published on December 19, 2014 13:57 • 19 views

Jeff VanderMeer reading at Elliott Bay--Annihilation tour












(The start of it all: At Elliot Bay in Seattle, this February; photo by Todd Vandemark.)

Over on Farrar, Straus and Giroux’s Housekeeping site, they’ve posted my year in indie bookstores. I was fortunate enough to spend much of 2015 on the road in support of the Southern Reach Trilogy, and a big part of that was reading at or signing in independent bookstores.

Head on over and check out my notes on Bookmark It, Book Passage, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Booksmith, Book Soup, Chop Suey, City Lights, Elliott Bay, Fountain, Kramers, Green Apple, Housing Works, Hub City, Inkwood, Malaprops, McNally Jackson, Mysterious Galaxy, Politics & Prose, Powell’s, Quail Ridge, WORD, and more.

A special shout-out here to Kathmandu Books for handling the limited edition S.R. chapbook, Subterranean for various kindnesses, and for Borderlands for providing books for the Writers With Drinks event I did in San Fran–one of the best events ever.

The post The Southern Reach Trilogy: My Year in Indie Book Stores appeared first on THE SOUTHERN REACH.

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Published on December 19, 2014 13:47 • 22 views


 (Thanks, Matthew Revert, for the great info-graphic.)

It’s a perennial problem, isn’t it? How to make that dang-blasted book look like something else when you wrap it, because otherwise what’s the point? It can be slathered in wrapping paper that’s covered in three-dimensional rainbow-colored topographical anomalies interspersed amongst Satanic dog-headed kittens and the person receiving the gift will still figure it out.

But don’t despair! As a public service, you can find my preferred method above. I finally admitted to this approach when NYT bestselling author Lois H. Gresh asked the question on her facebook page. Matthew Revert was then kind enough to provide an illustrated version as a holiday season mitzvah.

Of course, Gresh then had to raise some issues that point to a possible need for refinements in this approach. Specifically:

So let me get this straight. I use the Fishomatic to pulverize 12 dead fish. I dump the fish pulp into a 12″-diameter sphere-shaped ice tray (and good luck finding one of those). Then I push the book into the fish pulp. Clearly, a pulp title is best. I freeze. Carefully, I pop the frozen sphere from the “tray” and arrange it in a nest of fish scales. Then I put it under the recipient’s pillow in his/her bed. Oh, wait. That’s The Godfather Method of Wrapping a Gift Book.

This interpretation is a little time-intensive and perhaps limiting in terms of the type of book. And, granted, sometimes I will just strap the dead fish to the book and cover both with wrapping paper and hand that to the lucky recipient–especially if there’s no convenient sea nearby. Her next suggestion, however, may further streamline the whole process…

If I hide the book or toss it into the sea, and hence, the supposed recipient doesn’t know that he has this wonderful gift… then I can save my book money and give him something much smaller and cheaper, such as a pea. Yes, I can hide a pea and feel good, knowing that I intended to give him a book. After all, it’s the thought that counts!

I have no suggestions on how to hide a pea. Nor for wrapping an e-book. But for less avant garde suggestions on book-wrapping, here are a few links.

5 Creative Techniques to Wrap a Book

Google Image Search (less terrifying than you might expect)

Pinterest, suggesting disguises that will fool no one (like if you put a fake moustache on)

Of course, you could always just wrap the damn book using time-proven and careful techniques.

Or share your own secret ways in the comments below…








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Published on December 19, 2014 06:33 • 33 views

December 17, 2014


(A favorite Burrow Press cover.)

One highlight of my year-long book tour in support of the Southern Reach trilogy was doing a Functionally Literate event in Orlando, Florida. The organizers did perfect pre-event publicity, had their own built-in PR through their own radio show/podcast. They also knew exactly what details to take care of to make my life easier after having been on the road a lot, and the gig itself was impressive as hell. From the venue to the format to the dedicated, extremely large (and enthuastic) audience of regulars–with great back-up from the awesome independent bookstore Bookmark It–Functionally Literate had pretty amazing organization, logistics, and support. (I highly recommend this reading series to all writers and their publicists–I put in a good word for them with Farrar, Straus and Giroux.)

They also had books they’d published–beautifully designed books, smartly edited, imaginatively conceived, featuring really interesting writers. I got a sampling of them at the hotel they’d put me up at. They all bore the Burrow Press logo. Burrow, you see, is the driving force behind Functionally Literate. And Burrow quickly has become my favorite new independent press.

After only three years and 10 books published, with four more scheduled for 2015, Burrow Press  has become a prominent part of the Orlando literary landscape. One recent title, the story collection Train Shots by Vanessa Blakeslee, blurbed by Laura van den Berg, won an IPPY in addition to being long-listed for the Frank O’ Connor International Short Story Award and named a Sherwood Anderson Fiction Award Finalist.

Burrow Press seems poised for continued and sustained national attention–especially with its release of the novella on which Terry Gilliam’s latest movie is based. Indeed, you could say that Burrow Press is both reflecting a revitalized Orlando culture scene and helping drive that revitalization. It was energizing to see, and reminded me of ancient days back in Gainesville, Florida, where my cohorts and I founded one of the first significant indies in that city. (Today morphed into Cheeky Frawg.)

With the year coming to the end, and in celebration of the indie press/bookstore renaissance that seems to be sweeping the U.S., I thought I’d interview Ryan Rivas, the publisher and co-founder of Burrow Press. His writing has appeared in decomP, Annalemma, Prick of the Spindle, Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012, and elsewhere.


What distinguishes your press from others?

We’re one of few fiction presses in Florida. I think that’s odd considering the wealth of talented writers who live throughout the state. While I don’t want to limit who we publish in the future, our books are currently written by Florida authors, which is not to say we always publish books about Florida, but rather that we shine a light on talented people who live and write here.

Burrow Press started off hyper-local, publishing Orlando (and Florida) authors in print and online. For a while we could only publish one book per year, so we helped start a monthly prose reading series (there were none prior to this) with another local writer, and which is still going strong. We’ve since started a quarterly reading series that connects authors from all over the world with the best writers in Central Florida. Early on we mostly published anthologies that aimed to paint literary portraits of Florida cities, which are too often portrayed stereotypically. We recently started a radio show that lets us plug other peoples’ lit events. So, out of all these local efforts, a literary community that wasn’t totally connected before started to solidify.

I don’t think many small presses get the same kind of local support we do. That support, for which we are supremely grateful, has helped us grow into a press that can continue to be a community asset while also publishing more books (four per year and growing) and reaching a larger national audience.

While I dislike those “we publish the best” and “books of note” mission statements, I hope Burrow will be known simply as a quality publisher of fiction (and eventually creative nonfiction when we find the right manuscript).

How does Orlando sustain and/or pose challenges to your publishing ventures?

Orlando’s arts community is a huge blessing for Burrow. It feels like we’re a sports team with a hometown crowd cheering us on. If no one else cared what Burrow was up to, I feel like Orlando would continue to embrace us and I’d be perfectly content with that arrangement.

Would it be easier to make “connections” if we were located in New York? Possibly, but it would be a lot more difficult to be noticed at all. I prefer the laid-back feel of operating outside the publishing Mecca, and love visiting small cities to check out their art scenes. I think the slower atmosphere helps me focus more on the work and less on the hype. I like to think that if someone at the New York Times is interested in a Burrow book, it’ll hardly matter that we’re based in Orlando.

Do you have a title that you feel exemplifies what you do? And why?

Train_mainIf I may cheat and offer two titles, because I think the way they compare/contrast exemplifies what BP is trying to do. Vanessa Blakeslee’ Train Shots is a debut story collection of contemporary realism. Songs for the Deaf is a collection of fabulist stories by a mid-career author (John Henry Fleming) who has previously published books with a major publishing house. Published on the same day, these books exemplify Burrow in their diversity, while also showing a similar care for craft, story, and character. They are also really accessible books that any fiction reader might enjoy. Maybe that’s a copout, but quality and diversity is what I’m aiming for—be they books about circus-freak tramps or the quiet drama of Midwestern lives. That said, I do gravitate toward the strange and quirky—75% of our 2015 books are strange and quirky.

How did you come to publish the novella that Terry Gilliam’s latest movie is based on?

I was approached by the author, Pat Rushin, about considering a manuscript of his––short stories plus a novella. I’d read his first collection, Puzzling Through the News, and knew he had this stunning language-driven style. So of course I stifled my excitement and giddiness and said, “Sure, I’ll take a look.”

When I met with Pat to share my thoughts on the manuscript, he’d just returned from Bucharest, where he’d worked on set with Terry Gilliam, who was directing this film, The Zero Theorem, which, oh by the way [Pat said], was inspired by that novella I’d just read. (Pat wrote the script for the film, too.)

Obviously I was thrilled, but also worried about the novella overshadowing the stories. So, The Call: a virtual parable (the novella coming out this February) was torn from the collection Quantum Physics and My Dog Bob (coming out in 2016 with some additional interconnected stories) and I think both books are better for it.

The novella holds its own, and is a different beast than the film. They share most of the main characters and there’s snappy dialogue in both, but the “parable” aspect of the book––the sort of abstract existential aspect––had to be externalized in the film as “solving the Zero Theorem.” The book is driven by that internal desire for meaning, as well as the author’s jealously-inducing prose. The book’s setting is minimal, whereas Gilliam explodes the film’s setting into an amazing imaginative world. The film ends up feeling like a dystopia whereas the book is more of a personal, Kafka-esque hell (but really funny, I swear!).

You’ve done books with teens. Is this an ongoing part of your mandate?

Yes, very much so. We’re part of a larger nonprofit organization, and under that umbrella are two programs: Burrow Press; and Page 15, a children’s literacy initiative that provides free creative writing programs to Orlando kids. Burrow and Page 15 work very closely. We share an office / coffee maker / dart board. The teen writing anthologies we publish are an annual thing, and we generally connect Page 15 with professional writers and editors from the Orlando community year-round.

I used to work full-time for Page 15, before bringing Burrow under the nonprofit. Before that I was a high school language arts teacher, and before that I was in the soul-crushing world of standardized tests. Instilling a love of reading and writing in kids is something I always want to do, so it will always be a part of what Burrow does.

What do you envision doing in future? Where do you want to be in three or four years?

You know, cliché stuff, like teleporting and eating fully nutritional meals in pill form. But as far as the press goes, there are too many ideas to name. I’d like the luxury to explore each one to its logical conclusion but…generally speaking, I want to do bigger events that further establish Florida as a literary hub, publish more books while increasing the promotional budget to expose more people to said books, build out a storefront / workshop space for Page 15 / independent bookstore / craft beer bar / literary event space… but top priority is to get my scattered, overly ambitious ambitions under control.


The post My Favorite New Publisher, Burrow Press: Community-Driven, Forward-Thinking, Terry Gilliam-Connected appeared first on THE SOUTHERN REACH.

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Published on December 17, 2014 07:37 • 25 views

December 16, 2014

Michael J. Seidlinger is the author of a number of novels, including The Laughter of Strangers, The Fun We’ve Had and The Face of Any Other. He serves as Electric Literature’s Book Reviews Editor as well as Publisher-in-Chief of Civil Coping Mechanisms, an indie press specializing in unclassifiable/innovative fiction and poetry. He can be found on Facebook, Twitter (@mjseidlinger), and at Flavorwire recently called this unique writer “a kind of 21st century David Markson. He’s prolific and talented and we should all read together to try to figure him out.” I’ve long liked Electric Lit, Civil Coping Mechanisms, and the press that published his The Face of Any Other—Lazy Fascist Press (highly recommended in general). So I thought I’d ask Seidinger here to talk about his book…or, in this case, excerpt it. – JV


When Jeff graciously offered this space to let me talk about my most recent book, The Face of Any Other, I was ecstatic—so much that I couldn’t come up with any ideas about what that guest post might be. I came up with all kinds of ridiculous ideas, from something “creative” (read – tacky) dealing with the book’s cover to writing some big behind the scenes (that would likely just go on and on and on), but ended up back where I started. With nothing else, I figured I might as well come clean, much like the unnamed main character of the novel: no personas or facsimiles. Just be myself; or, more precisely, let the book be the book. It gets weird, but that seems to happen to every single one of my books. The following excerpt takes place at the beginning of the novel, offering a candid look at the character’s skewed worldview. –Michael J Seidlinger



Watching You//


Hello, my name is Isabelle Blumstein and I’d like to think that I’m open-minded. I love working with people, I love working out. I love that people come to me to improve their bodies. They come to me to improve themselves. They’ll be so nervous, it’s cute, and when I get them to calm down, they tell me that I’m a savior. It’s so flattering.

As the senior personal trainer here, I basically own this gym.

It’s reassuring—to have that cushion, financially, though I guess I do work a lot.

I talk a lot, yeah, but I’m extroverted. I spend most of my day watching people.

I’m watching you.

It’s my job to improve people’s lives.

I’ve started to, well, develop philosophies. They aren’t even mine any more, it’s not personal: I use my people skills to brighten everyone’s day.

It makes me feel good. I get excited. I have a lot of energy, you know?

I feed on their enthusiasm and compliments.

Not like they’re prey, no but I do pray that they keep up that momentum.

I need it to maintain my illusions of progress.

I teach five classes a day and usually have about six to eight training sessions between those five classes. I’m about to have my second class of the day right now.

I’ll never be late, but I like letting my students sweat it out in anticipation. I’ve learned from experience that if I run into the room at the last minute, there’s less chance that they’ll back off and flee from the challenge.

I wait right here, around the corner, the employee side hallway, listening to my students walk into the room.

Every time I hear them curious and afraid about what I’ll make them do, it gets me excited. This is the kind of energy I crave.

I’ll make them work.

I’ll watch the pounds fall right off every single one of my students. I take their commitment seriously; I take their commitment to put in the work as a personal challenge.

I’d never miss a class.


The Bottomed-Out Soul //

When you have the face of any other, nobody can see you blush. Nobody will notice the embarrassment. I wandered into this day on my own terms, expecting to fall asleep in the same condition I did when I woke. I expected to be me—be blank, nothing—but then I saw her. I saw her face. That look, it was one of terror.

I saw the mania hidden behind a shattered face.

I had to do what I needed to do to have a look. I’m sorry.

I’m sorry but you don’t just see a bottomed-out soul like her everyday.

I wanted to just continue down the street.

Instead, it felt necessary to be a bother. Again, I’m sorry.

Sometimes you have to cause pain to inevitably help a person.

I didn’t break any bones. I didn’t cause any physical harm, nothing but a few hours to call my own. I whispered sorry into hear ear right before it happened.

I made sure that the bulk of it washed over her without anything more than a few cuts and bruises. Nothing serious. A wakeup call at best.

She’s got bigger wounds to heal.

Is it presumptuous of me to think I can lend a hand?


Therapy //


Oh, here she comes. Man I’m going to die. Think positive. No, I’m totally going to die. I won’t make it. Going to keel over. This is the kind of stuff I want to hear from the students when I run right in. The class gets started right when I walk through those doors.

This is therapy.

It’s what I repeat in my head, over and over.

This is therapy.

Once we get warmed up, get the legs and arms moving, the mind clears. Keep the body moving. I turn up the music and let them start with a jog.

Therapy. Keep it motivational.

They know what to do. Follow me, every step.

No one dares slow down.

Once we get started, I’ll be able to ignore the feeling.

The question(s) I never ask myself: What feeling? Why do you feel this way? Why are you so anxious? What is the source of this anxiety?

Once we get that sweat going, it’s time for the best part. It’s time for that part of the workout where everyone decides whether or not they’re all in or not. You don’t come back from this; once you start with the compound movements, I start placing demands.

I set the benchmark that each student needs to meet.

At this moment, I feel perfect, serene. I feel nothing.

Every thirty seconds, I shout out something declarative. I say something that others can take to heart.

I enjoy exploring new places.

Too busy keeping up to respond.

Too busy to be anything but critical of each and every student.

Too busy to entertain such thoughts.

Keep up with the beat. That’s it keep it up. I don’t see anyone slacking and I want to keep it that way. If you cramp up, fight through it. Think, I want you to think: The cramp will pass. That pain will pass. We can keep going.

I need to believe my own philosophies.

I enjoy trying new things.

Say it. Feel it. Believe it. Become that person you want to become.

You can be the ideal you. No reason to hide behind any sort of mask; you can look your best. I will make sure you are in the best shape of your life.

I’ll say every single thing with enthusiasm. I’ll look my best, my most confident, even when I know that what I’m running from will be right there when I stop. I have to keep going. It’s right there.

I won’t admit that I’m sick. I won’t admit that I’m dying.

I like learning new things.

I’ll watch as the class takes on a life of its own, my body working without any vital cues or commands from my brain. I watch and see everyone in my class essentially bothered by the same threat of mortality. They are here to heal, to mend something about themselves.

I’ll do what I do to hide from the fact that just because it goes into remission, it doesn’t mean the cancer won’t return.

I pride myself on being different.

I say and do these things for the same reason I remain so manic and hyper:

If I let myself enjoy this moment, I might collapse.

I’m afraid that I don’t have a lot of time left.

Next thing I know I’m waking up in a hospital bed, with no way to escape the sound of the monitor.




One of those beeps will last longer than the others.

I’m dying. Oh god, I’m dying…

It’ll hold on, flatlining, the moment I lose my grip.


The moment I let go.


False Expectations //


When you have the face of any other, you are confronted with the understanding that death is present throughout our entire lives. It remains near, the inevitable book-end to the open book of a person’s life story. It waits, more patiently with some, while others it takes a liking to their pulse. You can hear it.

Every beat is one less to be dealt.

Beep. I imagine Isabelle in the hospital after it happened.

A life completely changed via one single experience.

You can’t hide the cracks carved into the skin of your face, the cracks dug in deep, no matter what the doctors do to bring you back from death’s grip.

In the context of the class, her students are as much there to learn as she is there to use them as a means to cope with her demons.

But Isabelle, dear Isabelle, you can’t keep living like this.

You can’t work yourself to exhaustion.

You can’t feed on what isn’t there.

That’s how you’ll end up back in the hospital. It won’t be due to something unforeseen; everyone will have saw it coming. Everyone but you.

You’ll run yourself back into the ground.

When you have the face of any other, you get sick to your stomach seeing how some people choose to live. So much of what they’ve been dealt had to do with the various decisions and distances, the ones chosen and the measures carved, to deal. When you have the face of any other, you quickly understand that “dealing” with the cards dealt isn’t anything more than another excuse.

How do you really feel? Sometimes, a person must fill in and decide for those that remain indecisive.


Subliminal Messages //


I wait around, unable to really leave until I let Isabelle know that she is not alone in carrying these anxieties. I am here right after my departure. I adjust my tie, run a hand through my hair. I look fine but how does she look?

Some cuts, a bruise on her forearm.

What the hell happened?!

Confusion is natural. An hour ago many of her students had been in class. They assume that she had been there too. A few either remained at the gym or returned for another run. Whatever the reason, they are here, and they help conjure up the impossibility of her case. If she had really collided with a biker, how could she have taught class today?

Isabelle has no recollection of both class and collision.

She has the cuts and bruises to prove that the impossible indeed occurred but that doesn’t change the fact that her face is red. She feels taken aback, not quite shock and not quite fear. She’s frozen in place.

The students do their best to make sense of the situation, offering excuses like, I guess it just needed some disinfectant and a bandage; they probably ran her through the system, and, it probably hasn’t sunk in yet, that’s all.

But there are no explanations and I wait near the bench press, sitting with my elbows on my knees, watching as, one by one, they leave the gym.

Isabelle is, to be expected, the last at the gym, closing up every night.

I need her to understand something.

In every step, I am here to help.

She cleans each station, making sure the gym is ready for tomorrow’s round of activity. When she reaches the free weights, I stand up and take to her left side.

When you have the face of any other, there are certain peculiarities that come with the territory. They can’t see or hear me but they can sense me. If I touch her, she will feel that touch; if I whisper into her ear while touching her skin, she will hear me.

She won’t hear my voice, but the thought, it will pass her ear drum and burrow into her brain. I’m here for no other reason than to heal the shattered nerves, the broken face, the wounded and worried personality.

Isabelle Blumstein doesn’t need to continue along this path. She can find her way back to previous ideals, lifestyle choices.

I tell her something while holding her cheek.

She shivers, continuing unaddressed. It’s nothing, a cold gust, prickle of the skin.

I’m here, but to the world I’m more a ghostly chill than a person with good intentions.

Isabelle checks the private weight rooms, flicking on each light switch to examine the condition and arrangement of the equipment.

She leaves each door locked and continues to make her rounds.

I tell her something, hand on her shoulder.

A look over her shoulder and nothing more.

Isabelle gathers all the dirty towels, checks to make sure all the lockers are properly shut, checks to make sure no items left behind, pushes the bins into the back employees-only area, essentially fulfilling another employee’s duties.

After she’s checked the facilities, she returns to her office. I slip into the room before she shuts the door on me, watching as she collapses in the office chair, eyes without focus.

There’s nothing but her and the four walls.

I can see the exhaustion across her shattered face, applying more stress and pressure to already permanent and troublesome fissures.

Eyes shut and in seconds she’s dozing.

I tell her something.

I tell her what she needs to hear.

I lean down and hug her. I tell her everything I see.

And then I leave. It might have been something imagined, part of a dream, but Isabelle will remember parts of the telling. It’ll maybe show itself in the morning or a week from now in the form of a slight acknowledging of how tired she feels, her body screaming for a break. Maybe some of what I said will hit her all at once. I never really know how it’ll sink in; I only know that it always does. In some way, it does.

There’s no greater purpose to this other than the purpose itself. This is it, my motive. Nothing else. Without one, I’ll wander for an hour, a day at best, before getting bored.

And this is where it’s worth repeating what I said about boredom.

I’m here because this act gives me purpose. Here for no other reason to deliver subliminal messages to a person in need.

It helps me feel real.


Something About Needing to Be Something //


When you have the face of any other, you see the cracks peeling apart their face, showing bone, bleeding with the hidden anguish of hushed nerves. You feel each and every nerve tensing, and you feel for them—for everyone—when they buckle, unable to bear the burden of each daunting episode. Life has a way—the common dictum. But they forget the other half, the part that reads, and life has a way with you.

I see everything as it falls in place—a person’s basic needs:

The need for food, shelter, health, safety, ambition: these are imperative. But there’s also the need for self-interests, self-respect, self-discipline, self-awareness, self-actualization, self-disclosure, self-control, self-sufficiency, self-compassion, and self-preservation.

Those needs cluttered by a series of wants, desires, and harms dealing with success, worth, and validation. And everything in between:

A person is born into this world, and a person is required to learn.

A person is educated about this world and therefore grounded in the principles, tragedies of the past, and everything in between. The weight of the world handed over in the form of a standardized test. A person graduates and required to come of age.

A person needs employment.

A person needs a place in society. A person needs to support the institution of marriage. A person warms up to the concept of parenthood. A person will age and eventually retire from what used to provide meaning to their days. A person leaves the world the same as when s/he entered: faceless.

Then you add in social pressures and demands and suddenly, it’s less about all of the above and more about what’s missing, everything in between.

It’s confusion and existential curiosity. It’s life having its fucking way with you.

So I see it happen and I wince, really I do. I just want to help. That’s it.

When you spend all your time and energy making sure the people around you are happy, no one will question whether or not you feel the same way.

No one is there to question your motivations.










The post Guest Post: Michael J. Seidlinger’s The Face of Any Other appeared first on THE SOUTHERN REACH.

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Published on December 16, 2014 06:42 • 15 views

December 15, 2014

All Covers Large

Over at Storybundle, they’re running a selection of our Cheeky Frawg titles, which include fiction from Finland and Nigeria. It also includes Stepan Chapman’s PKD Award-winning novel The Troika and an exclusive: my novelette Komodo as a stand-alone e-book, in expanded form.

Proceeds go to the authors, to the Helsinki 2017 WorldCon bid, and to us, the publishers. Our share will help fund more translations and support our huge forthcoming omnibus of iconic Finnish writer Leena Krohn’s short novels.

With 10 days to go, I’d like to make it even more interesting. One of the titles on offer is Secret Lives, which collects the flash fictions I wrote for readers as a thank you for buying a prior book of short stories.

Anyone who buys our Storybundle at the bonus level (all of the e-books) will be eligible for their own secret life. Three randomly chosen readers will win a flash fiction written by me that incorporates details of their lives as the starting point. Handwritten, personalized, and one-of-a-kind. No other copies will ever exist. in addition, those three winners will receive the Area X hardcover of my NYT bestselling Southern Reach trilogy, with a limited edition Southern Reach art booklet. (Anyone who has already bought the Storybundle at the bonus level will be entered in the random drawing.)

International fiction is important to us. Now you might just win some unique fiction yourself.

Please share the link. Go forth and acquire our Storybundle.

In addition to a secret life, here’s what you could win:

Southern Reach trilogy with chapbook


The post Jeff VanderMeer’s Storybundle: Win a Secret Life & Area X and Promote International Fiction appeared first on THE SOUTHERN REACH.

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Published on December 15, 2014 08:47 • 50 views

December 4, 2014

I’m very excited to report that I’ve sold Worldwide Rights to my next coffee-table book, Space Oddities & Super Freaks: The Secret History of Science Fiction and Fantasy, to editor David Cashion at Abrams Image, in a robust deal via my agent Sally Harding (The Cooke Agency).

What is Space Oddities & Super Freaks?

The unexpurgated behind-the-scenes story of one of the world’s most popular forms of entertainment, from movie projects gone terribly wrong to mysterious rock-album SF worlds, from eccentric, flamboyant personalities to some of the most interesting art, performance, music, movies, and fiction of the 20th and 21st century…this is Space Oddities & Super Freaks.

…and not just the secret history, but also the story of the underappreciated, the eccentric, and just plain off-the-charts strange–across all forms of storytelling/media. The project will involve writers and artists from all over the world, like previous projects Wonderbook and The Steampunk User’s Manual. However, this is likely the most wide-ranging book I’ve done yet with Abrams–roving across decades and diverse points of view, involving research and a lot of interviews.

Sometimes books like this can be organized like encyclopedias. This is not that beast. This will have clear through-lines thematically and organizationally to focus on telling the most entertaining stories, and then hang other fascinating details off of that. Over 350 full-color pages and 120,000 words of text.

Working with Abrams Image has always been wonderful, and teaming up against with editor David Cashion and everyone else at Abrams is going to be great. My wife Ann will be involved with creating this book as well.

(Image below by John Jennings: a two-page spread from current Abrams project The Steampunk User’s Manual.)



The post Book Deal Announcement: Space Oddities & Super Freaks: The Secret History of Science Fiction And Fantasy appeared first on THE SOUTHERN REACH.

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Published on December 04, 2014 06:02 • 42 views

December 3, 2014

All Covers Large

Over at StoryBundle, you can now acquire nine titles from our Cheeky Frawg books for a very low price–unless you’re moved to pay more. You’ll be supporting not just our press, which specializes in international fiction and what you might call cult classics. You’ll also be supporting the Helsinki 2017 WorldCon bid. We’re donating a minimum of half of the publisher proceeds to that effort.

What are you going to get?

–The Philip K. Dick Award winning The Troika by Stepan Chapman

–Finnish fiction by Leena Krohn and Jyrki Vainonen

–The International Horror Guild Award winning novel The Divinity Student

–A collection of rare and out of print stories by iconic Nigerian writer Amos Tutuola

–Our Odd? anthology, which includes fiction by Nalo Hopkinson, Rikki Ducornet, Amos Tutuola, Brian Evenson, and more.

–Two selections of mine, a collection of micro fictions, Secret Lives, and also a NEW e-book, Komodo, a novelette that won’t be available in stand-alone e-book form otherwise until late in December.

We hope you’ll want to support our efforts–please share the link! And as a bonus–here’s the promotional video for ODD?

The post Cheeky Frawg StoryBundle: For International Fiction and Helsinki’s WorldCon Bid appeared first on THE SOUTHERN REACH.

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Published on December 03, 2014 13:22 • 31 views

December 2, 2014

My AMA on Reddit is now live. To recap, an AMA (short for Ask Me Anything) is Reddit’s version of a Q&A. You can come and ask me any question you desire and I’ll be answering questions from 3pm to 5pm. The AMA link to ask me questions is here.



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Published on December 02, 2014 11:01 • 42 views


It’s been a great couple of weeks for the Southern Reach trilogy. The Area X hardcover is officially out and the series has made the year’s best lists for the Huffington Post, Bookriot, Amazon, Kirkus, and a host of others. FSG also has a great splash page for the hardcover that includes this rather wonderful flipbook of links and articles related to the novels. I’m also doing a Reddit AMA at 3pm today EST.

This week, we’re also teaming up with for a contest that could lead to you winning a cool Southern Reach full-color chapbook or even the hardcover itself, signed and personalized. Details here.

The contest accompanies my annotations for the beginning of Acceptance. Although I’ve annotated Southern Reach text at before, this time there’s a difference!

I’ve gone a little metafictional this time, a little bit “found object,” too. What will you uncover?

–Brief entries from Whitby Allen’s personal journal.

–Transcripts of interviews and other “evidence” pertaining to the Southern Reach and Area.

–Reports from the Séance & Science Brigade.

–Southern Reach images, some of which you may not have seen before.

–Excerpts/fragments from Southern Reach science division lead Mike Cheney’s shambolic novel-in-progress “Control,” in which he tries to make sense of the new director of the Southern Reach…although I think he’s really trying to make sense of his own experiences.

But that’s not all! I invited Tom Abba from the U.K. to create a “shadow page” of annotations that depict what might’ve happened to Southern Reach staff left behind at the end of Authority. Can you find the shadow page? Peruse my annotations and you might just stumble upon it. (Abba is a director of ‘Circumstance’, which develops methods to link physical books to codependent digital content.)

Finally, author Nicholas Rombes will be adding annotations later this week. Rombes is the author of Ramones from the 33 1/3 series and the just-released (and highly recommended) novel The Absolution of Roberto Acestes Laing. He will be addressing the found footage from various expeditions.

Of course, you can join in the experience by signing up at and adding your own annotations.

Go check it out–and don’t forget about the contest.

(Thanks to Chris Urie for bunny photo.)


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Published on December 02, 2014 09:04 • 47 views