Just in case you’re at a loss for something to do in my absence (yeah, right), here’s an idea – go tell the folk at Underland Press about your favourite fictional worlds so that Jeff VanderMeer can write a book about ’em. From my inbox:
The project, authored and edited by Jeff VanderMeer, is called If You Lived Here: The Top 30 All Time Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Worlds. It’s a compendium, of sorts, but also a travel guide to places like Dune, Ring World, Middle Earth, Lankhmar… and beyond. We’ve all lived in these places – in imagination if not in fact – and we’re all united by our common experiences of them. We wanted to collect the worlds together in one place as both a walk down memory lane and a place to start new dreams.
We’re reaching out to readers, writers, and booksellers to ask for nominations of worlds to include. We’ve set up a web form at www.ifyoulivedherebook.com, which takes the nominations and asks respondents to describe what they love about the world.
You heard ’em – so trundle over there and put in your two cents, why don’t ya?
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Booklife by Jeff VanderMeer
Tachyon Publications, November 2009; 330pp; US$14.95 RRP – ISBN13: 9781892391902
There are dozens – possibly even hundreds – of books out there that purport to tell you how to be a writer. Continue reading “BOOK REVIEW: Booklife, by Jeff VanderMeer”
Hyperprolific author and anthologist Jeff VanderMeer recently completed and submitted Booklife, a non-fiction book about the writing life that promises to be full of insight, harsh truths, good ideas and (knowing VanderMeer) dark humour.
He’s been posting a few excerpts from it in various places, including a chunk of tips on PR and self-publicity for writers which are well worth reading even if you’re not a writer – they say a lot about the art of publicity in a world where everyone is already their own PR firm (whether they realise it or not).
That advice includes a warning on the dangers of listening to advice from those who aren’t as qualified to give it as they might like to think:
How did some of these people arrive at bad places? Horrible advice. Always keep in mind that advice, especially advice on promoting yourself, is often anecdotal or a Received Idea–received from a time machine from the Distant Past. Sincerely-given but idiotic career advice can be a shiv in the side, an icepick through the eye. Worse, it can result in a slow malarial fever from which you never recover, performing actions you later have no good rationale for doing. The worst career advice attempts to separate you from your work, you a shucked oyster wondering what happened, and why.
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Those VanderMeers are everywhere at the moment – and not just in the traditional venues of genre fiction enthusiasts. Wired‘s GeekDads blog (which strikes me as a slightly sexist masthead – are there no GeekMums?) has an interview with Jeff and Ann VanderMeer that shows them off as candid, interesting and very smart people … and explains why they’re appearing in those unusual venues:
JV – “The main thing is, the internet and the way memes move now, there is no monolithic thing called “genre” or “literary mainstream” any more. There’s all of this fascinating cross-pollinations and collaborations that you never really saw before. […] I think I like to write stuff that can connect with different kinds of readers in different ways. Like, a fantasy reader is going to perceive The Situation one way, whereas somebody who works in front of a computer all day but doesn’t read fantasy is going to take something else out of it, for example.”
Well worth a read. And even though it’s well in advance of Friday Free Fiction, I might as well mention that Wired are giving away a PDF of Jeff VanderMeer’s new PS Publishing chapbook The Situation alongside the article. Bonus!
You can find out more about PS Publishing (an excellent UK-based bespoke small press) at their website – why not order something while you’re there? [Cover art image lifted from Wired interview]