Ligotti: The first story I read that is usually classed as a specimen of weird fiction was Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan.” I didn’t fully understand the story, but I felt immediately captivated by it. There was a real whiff of evil behind the events of the narrative. I then read other stories by Machen — “The White People,” The Three Imposters—and sensed that I had found a world where I belonged: a kind of degenerate incarnation of the Sherlock Holmes tales I loved so much. Immediately after reading Machen, I read Lovecraft and recognized the resemblance between the two authors, no doubt because Lovecraft was influenced by Machen.
Great good news! Ann and Jeff VanderMeer have launched a very promising online journal dedicated to the examination and enjoyment of outré literature, called Weird Fiction Review. Not only does the first issue contain an interview with Neil Gaiman, I see on GalleyCat that “the journal will maintain a ‘symbiotic relationship’ with S.T. Joshi’s print journal, The Weird Fiction Review.” This is a very good thing, Joshi being one of the world’s foremost scholars of the uncanny genres.
I like the way Jeff and Ann refer to their project as “a non-denominational approach that appreciates Lovecraft but also Kafka, Angela Carter and Clark Ashton Smith, Shirley Jackson and Fritz Leiber — along with the next generation of weird writers and international weird.” That quote is also from GalleyCat, and here’s a link to the entire article.
But Ann and Jeff VanderMeer didn’t stop there. They have a new book out. You know those old, weird/horror/sci-fi anthologies I like to talk about in my Bill’s Bookshelf series? Most of those books are from the 1960s or 70s, but here’s a brand new collection that carries on the tradition and brings it into the 21st Century. It’s called The Weird: A Compendium of Dark and Strange Stories. This ambitious labor of love boasts over one hundred years of weird fiction collected in a single volume, representing more than 20 nationalities, with seven new translations. Check out the table of contents.
Apparently, when Weird Tales magazine decided to replace Ann VanderMeer as editor, the magazine’s loss was our gain. Ann & Jeff’s book-life is flourishing like the verdant foliage of Ambergris.
Literary Kicks has posted the interview I did with fantasy/horror/weird tale author Jeff VanderMeer.
After a couple of joking “before & after” pictures, Jeff VanderMeer presents some interesting and educational steps in the completion of his latest novel, Finch. Check it out, this is really cool.
Fast Ships, Black Sails
A new anthology edited by the always top-notch team of Jeff and Ann VanderMeer. Publishers Weekly says:
“Saintly pirates, loony pirates, pirate cooks and talking animal-buccaneers slash and swagger through the Caribbean, the Internet, the perpetually frozen Atlantic and the seas of distant planets in this collection of 18 original stories. The anthology begins strongly with Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette’s Boojum, a tale of one space pirates self-discovery, and concludes equally well with a gentleman rogue and his magical puppet in Garth Nix’s Beyond the Sea Gate of the Scholar-Pirates of Sarsköe. The levity of Castor on Troubled Waters, Rhys Hughes’s playful romp through time and space, and Howard Waldrops conflation of fictional pirates, Avast, Abaft!, are balanced by 68° 07′ 15″ N, 31° 36′ 44″ W, Conrad Williams’s …horror [story]. These ingenious variations on a theme deserve to be savored slowly.”
I think it’s very cool that Jeff’s work is published internationally. This is especially exciting to me because I hope one day to travel to Hamburg, Germany to visit Erni Bar, who translated my book, Time Adjusters, into German.