Posted on July 6, 2011 by Monica Valentinelli
The Third Bear is a collection of fourteen stories penned by Jeff Vandermeer. The tales ranging from folklore to absurdist; each story offers a different, sometimes surreal, take on a genre. In short, the collection was penned by a “master writer.”
It’s hard not to be a little envious of Vandermeer’s writing, for each story has the kind of quality most writers dream about. These stories belong in a school curriculum to be pored over, obsessed about, and analyzed. By far, my favorite was the signature story — The Third Bear. When I read it, I imagined I was sitting in a pub somewhere with a tall pint of ale, listening to an old, grizzled guy tell this folktale as a warning to curious travelers.
That style of writing is what I feel will draw even the most casual reader into this book. Often, you’ll find that there isn’t just one, but two stories written in each and every tale.
Posted on October 29, 2009 by Monica Valentinelli
As the final novel in the Ambergris Cycle, FINCH is the conclusion to a complex plot that takes place in a rich, detailed setting. In this novel, the “gray cap” aliens have all but taken over humanity and this is the “last chance” for the rebels to fight back. Although the rebels are lurking in the background, FINCH is primarily about John Finch’s investigation of a double murder of one gray cap and one human. The case turns into some interesting directions, which is why John often reminds us he isn’t really a detective.
First off, I would like to mention that FINCH is constructed as a stand-alone novel. As a reader, you can pick up this book and not know anything about the story before digging in. However, this is not the type of book you will read in one sitting. Every word, chapter and turn of phrase has an intelligent architecture to it that forces you to slow down and savor every concept before realizing how they fit into the rest of the story.
Posted on September 21, 2009 by Filamena
Look, I was hooked on this collection of short stories from the minutes I saw the premise. Seriously, whose timbers don’t get shivered at the prospect of well written, thoughtful pirate fiction? Well, that’s what I was handed when I got my copy of Fast Ships Black Sails.
Ann and Jeff Vandermeer rounded up a deadly crew of writers a list of which kind of staggered me. Some of the names were familiar to me, some not so much, and a few of my favorite writers included. None of these varied authors disappointed or brought me anything less then fantastic pirate fiction. That makes it hard to talk about the collection, as I want to go on for pages about each story, but I’d probably lose you pretty quickly into that sort of dissertation so let me point out the two stories that really rocked my world.
Posted on July 18, 2008 by Flames
So, what is “steampunk”?
“Cool stuff, rich language, invented – reinvented — science,” says James Blaylock, a pioneer of steampunk and author of the novel, Lord Kevlin’s Machine. “Steampunk [a sub-genre of science fiction] offers a great deal of what is most flamboyantly, eccentrically, visually, and adventurously interesting about the Victorian era and its curious scientific hopes and speculations.”
The recently-released anthology Steampunk, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, clatters and clinks with gadgets, airships, and forty-foot tall steam-powered men. The thirteen stories and novel excerpts contained in this collection are enhanced by a preface, an introduction, and two essays.
The editors themselves are no strangers to strange fiction. Ann VanderMeer is an editor for Weird Tales and Jeff VanderMeer is the World Fantasy Award-winning author of Shriek: an Afterword as well as a collection of linked stories, City of Saints and Madmen, both set in the imaginary world of Ambergris.
Interview by Jeremy Jones
Posted on June 12, 2008 by Matt-M-McElroy
Steampunk has grown as a genre over the last few years and some very cool stuff has hit the shelves recently. Everyone has their favorites and we have compiled a list of the seven “must have” Steampunk books and games for fans to check out.
Replete with whimsical mechanical wonders and charmingly anachronistic settings, this pioneering anthology gathers a brilliant blend of fantastical stories. Steampunk originates in the romantic elegance of the Victorian era and blends in modern scientific advances—synthesizing imaginative technologies such as steam-driven robots, analog supercomputers, and ultramodern dirigibles. The elegant allure of this popular new genre is represented in this rich collection by distinctively talented authors, including Neal Stephenson, Michael Chabon, James Blaylock, Michael Moorcock, and Joe R. Lansdale.