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January 21st, 2012


In this crazy political season, I've been pondering the political stance of America's Christian Right toward LGBT citizens and was reminded of The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, a book we used to cover in a community college Early American Lit. class I taught.  If you haven't read it, it's a remarkable book, brief but comprehensive, concerning Douglass's time in slavery.  You definitely get the picture.  Douglass was, to say the least, appalled at American Christians' complicity and involvement in the slave trade.  He makes a compelling case that the worst kind of master to have as a slave was one who claimed to be religious, as these were usually the cruelest.  I may be wrong in this, but I can't help but see an analogy between the atitudes of the religious toward slavery in Douglass's time and the persecution of America's LGBT citizens today.  All the cruelty Douglass denotes toward slaves is still alive, just tarted up sometimes, made more subliminal, for a 21st century audience.  A lot of times it isn't though, it's just straight up, unfettered ignorance and hatred.  Interesting how that original "Puritan" legacy has played itself out in this country and has become such a force in politics.  My point here is not to equate the plight of slaves and the LGBT community of today -- the differences and details are important to consider separately -- but I do see a direct connection between America's Christian Right today and its capacity for self-righteous cruelty, ignorance, fear and hatred as Douglass describes it in his time.  Here are a few quotes from Douglass on the topic --    

I can see no reason, but the most decietful one, for calling the religion of this land Chritianity. I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, the grossest of all libels.

I assert most unhesitatingly, that the religion of the South is a mere covering for the most horrid crimes-- a justifier of the most appalling barbarity, a sanctifier of the most hateful frauds, and a dark shelter under which the darkest, foulest, grossest, and most infernal deeds of slaveholders find the strongest protection. Where I to be again reduced to the chains of slavery, next to that enslavement, I should regard being the slave of a religious master the greatest calamity that could befall me...I...hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.

We have men sold to build churches, women sold to support the gospel, and babes sold to purchase Bibles for the poor heathen, all for the glory of God and the good of souls. The slave auctioneer's bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the relgious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave trade go hand in hand.

January 9th, 2012

Ports Of Call For 2012


I'll be doing a few events in 2012.  Here's a list of the ones I know for sure now. 

In March I'll be at International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Orlando from the 21st to the 25th.  This year I'm pretty sure I'll be doing a reading and participating on a panel.  I hadn't been to this for about ten years and then went last year -- it was a blast.  This year's guests of honor are Kelly Link and China Mieville.  The hotel is pretty cool, the outside part especially -- pools and a gazebo and an alligator in the pond behind the place. http://iafa.highpoint.edu/

In June, I'll be teaching the first week of Clarion at UC San Diego.  My fellow instructors are Marjorie Liu, Ted Chiang, Walter Jon Williams, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare.  Clarion is a six week, intensive writing workshop.  If you're interested in submitting an application and writing sample the time is now.  The reading period ends on March 1st. Here's a link that explains all.  http://literature.ucsd.edu/affiliated-programs/clarion/index.html 


In August, I'll be reading at the KGB along with Tenea Johnson.  It's the third Wednesday of the month.  Here's the link to the KGB site.  http://www.kgbbar.com/  Here are two of Tenea's books --


November 26th, 2011

Not that much has been happening here lately at the Palace, but I'll be shutting the doors and turning off the lights until the new year.  2011 draws to a close.  Here's a list of my fiction that appeared this year -- originals and reprints.  As for 2012, there are a few things slated for publication, including a new story collection, Crackpot Palace, due in August. Only time will tell how it will all shake out.  See you in the New Year.


"Sit the Dead" -- Teeth, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, Harper Collins

"Daddy Long Legs of the Evening" -- Naked City, edited by Ellen Datlow for St. Martins

"Relic" -- Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, edited by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, Harper Collins

"Glass Eels" -- New Jersey Noir, edited by Joyce Carol Oates, Akashic

"Gaslight" -- The Revelator, issue #1, edited by Matt Cheney and Eric Schaller

"The Summer Palace" -- Ghosts By Gaslight, edited by Jack Dann and Nick Gevers, Harper Collins

"What to do with the left over copies of G. W. Bush's autobiography" -- (with Mike Gallagher), MAD Magazine issue #508

"The Last Triangle" -- Supernatural Noir, edited by Ellen Datlow, Dark Horse

"The Double of My Double Is Not My Double" -- Eclipse #4, edited by Jonathan Strahan, Night Shade

"The Hag's Peak Affair" -- Portents, edited by Al Sarrantonio, Flying Fox


"On the Road to New Egypt" -- Urban Fantasy, edited by Peter Beagle and Joe Lansdale, Tachyon

"Coffins on the River" -- Crucified Dreams, edited by Joe Lansdale, Tachyon

"Weiroot" -- ODD?, edited by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, Cheeky Frawg

"The Delicate" and "The Beautiful Gelreesh" -- The Weird, edited by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, Corvus

"Bright Morning" -- Kafkaesque, edited by John Kessel and Jim Kelly, Tachyon

"Exo-Skeleton Town" -- Alien Contact, edited by Marty Halpern

"After Moreau" --  Creatures, edited by John Langan and Paul Tremblay, Prime

"Creation" -- Fantasy Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams and Starship Sofa Podcast, edited by Tony Smith (story read by Rajan Khanna)

November 24th, 2011

This came in from Ross Lockhart this morning.  Follow the link for details --

October 12th, 2011

A nice review of the John Kessel and Jim Kelly edited Kafkaesque anthology from Tachyon at CzechPosition.com. 

"The sheer variety of stories makes the book a delight to read as well as indicating what a vast resource Kafka’s work remains for writers."

Read the rest here: http://www.ceskapozice.cz/en/czech-living/arts-leisure/%E2%80%98kafkaesque%E2%80%99-collects-prague-writer%E2%80%99s-global-influence

October 11th, 2011

(no subject)

The Odd? anthology is out.  There's all the information you might need about it below.  I love the video.  Also I'll be judging an Odd? writing contest.  See the details and post your entries at the VanderMeer's Ecstatic Days site in the comments section.  Read on...


(Myster Odd based on a character created by Jeremy Zerfoss. Music by Danny Fontaine; lyrics by Jeff VanderMeer and Danny Fontaine.)


Announcing the release of the unique new fiction anthology ODD?, which asks the question “Is it odd, or are you too normal?” A mix of originals, new translations, and reprints (many of them hard-to-find) that qualify as “strange fiction”, some of it surreal, some horrific, some fantastical, and all of it…odd. (Unless it’s just because you’re too normal.)

—Featuring, among others, Amos Tutuola, Nalo Hopkinson, Jeffrey Ford, Rikki Ducornet, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Hiromi Goto, Stacey Levine, and Jeffrey Thomas—with new translations by Gio Clairval, Larry Nolen, and Brian Evenson of such classic writers as Gustave Le Rouge, Leopoldo Lugones, and Karl Hans Strobl as well as a brand-new story by Leena Krohn! (Full table of contents below the cut.)

—Brought to you by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, the team behind such anthos as The New Weird, Steampunk Reloaded, Last Drink Bird Head, The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, and the Best American Fantasy series.


In addition to Amazon in Germany, France, and the UK, you can buy ODD? at:
Weightless Books
Wizard’s Tower


This blog post gives you details on all kinds of special offers good through Friday (when prices rise)—along with information on how to become an Oddkin or even a Super Oddkin! (Note: print version of ODD? is out next year.)


Just post an odd true-life story of something that happened to you in the comments thread of this blog post any time between now and Friday, October 21, and you could appear in the next volume of ODD? Yes, that’s right. You could receive a contract for your weird true-life story to appear in ODD? Not only that, the winner will receive a year’s subscription to both the ebook and print versions. Under 1,500 words, please, and anything above PG-13 will need bleeps. TO BE JUDGED BY ODDITY AND MULTIPLE WORLD FANTASY AWARD WINNER JEFFREY FORD!


The video featured above is a unique short film by Greg Bossert celebrating ODD? Bossert, based just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. has done research and design for feature films—including the Neil Gaiman/Roger Avary adaptation of Beowulf and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland—and worked on creating visuals and sounds for independent films, including the One Minute Weird Tales video series. His stories have appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction and ESLI Magazine. Find out more at Sudden Sound and his website.


Cheeky Frawg specializes in quality, self-aware e-books. We hand-craft every e-book on a letterpress using only the best, most perfectly formed 00000s and 111111s. Our e-binding is hand-rolled by former Cuban cigar makers, our interiors are lovingly formatted by Neil Clarke, and our covers, unique back covers, and wallpapers are designed by the Las Vegas Madman, artist Jeremy Zerfoss. Cheeky Frawg is a joint production of Ann and jeff VanderMeer. Join us on facebook!



Ann & Jeff VanderMeer – Introduction

Amos Tutuola – “The Dead Babies”

Gustave Le Rouge – “The War of the Vampires” (translation by Brian Evenson and David Beus)

Jeffrey Ford – “Weiroot”

Leopoldo Lugones – “The Bloat Toad” (translation by Larry Nolen)

Mark Samuels – “Apt 205″

Michael Cisco – “Modern Cities Exist Only to Be Destroyed”

Nalo Hopkinson – “Slow Cold Chick”

Sumanth Prabhaker – “A Hard Truth About Waste Management”

Hiromi Goto – “Stinky Girl”

Eric Basso – “Logues”

Edward Morris – “Lotophagi”

Karin Tidbeck – “The Aunts”

Jeffrey Thomas – “The Fork”

Rikki Ducornet – “The Volatilized Ceiling of Baron Munodi”

Leena Krohn – “The Night of the Normal Distribution Curve” (translation by Anna Volmari and J. Robert Tupasela)

Amanda le Bas de Plumetot – “Unmaking”

Karl Hans Strobl – “The Head” (translation by Gio Clairval)

Caitlin R. Kiernan – “A Child’s Guide to the Hollow Hills”

Stacey Levine – “Sausage”

Danny Fontaine & Jeff VanderMeer – “Myster Odd Theme Song” (lyrics)

October 7th, 2011


 I've been teaching a Fiction writing workshop every Thursday night, 7-10, in the Fall and Spring semesters, for about 8 years.  A strange thing I've noticed is how often the stories on a given night will all share a similar theme or type of character or some object or image when no specific assignment was given.  The assignment is always the same -- "Write a story."  This synchronicity seems to me to go beyond mere coincidence.  There might be a night with 3 of the 4 stories having ghosts in them or the devil will show up in all of them in a given night.  Sometimes it's very subtle -- a passing reference or nod to a famous historical figure or film will be worked into a number of the pieces.  I became aware of this early on and have tracked its occurrence for years.  Is this some kind of group mind thing or merely a malaise of fiction workshop paranoia?  One of the things I've noticed is that this happens most with workshop groups that have turned out to be awesome.  When I notice it starting to happen in a given class, I take it as a good sign.  I know, I'm nuts.  But if you teach a Fiction workshop or participate in one on a regular basis, drop me a line and let me know if you've experienced this. 

October 6th, 2011

The end of the year is coming on, but I've still got a few more publications on the way.  Here's a round up of the incoming for the remainder of 2011. 

"The Delicate" and "The Beautiful Gelreesh" will both appear in Jeff and Ann VanderMeer's The Weird: A Compendium of Dark and Strange Stories from Corvus.  Due out soon, in October. The generous selection of Weird stories here stretches back a 100 years and Jeff and Ann have really dug deep to find some of the best  truly strange and provacative short fiction from all over the world.  Check out the TOC --

"Weiroot" will appear in ODD? another anthology by the VanderMeers.  I believe this is coming out from their own e-book imprint, Cheeky Frawg.  It is also due for October.  In addition to the e-book, I think there will also be a limited supply of hardcopy books as well.  I'm excited about this one, getting to appear alongside one of my literary heroes, Amost Tutuola, as well as some of my favorite contemporary writers -- Michael Cisco, Caitlin Kiernan, Rikki Ducornet, Jeffrey Thomas, Nalo Hopkinson, Hiromi Gato, etc. 

"Exo-Skeleton Town" will appear in Alien Contact, edited by Marty Halpern for Night Shade Books.  Stories of close encounters of all kinds by writers like Robert Silverberg, Karen Joy Fowler, Ernest Hogn, Jack Skillingstead, Cory Doctorow, Nancy Kress, Michael Swanwick, Pat Cadigan, Caitlin Kiernan, Ursula Le Guin, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, etc.  This one's coming soon, either late October or early November.  As noted previously at the palace, you can read the entirety of my story at Marty's blog, More Red Ink, as well as check the full TOC --  http://martyhalpern.blogspot.com/p/alien-contact.html

"Glass Eels" will appear in the anthology New Jersey Noir, edited by Joyce Carol Oates for Akashic Books.  This one's coming in November.  I've already flogged this book to within an inch of its life here at the palace and on FB, but it's worth it.  The intro essay by Oates concerning the intersection of Noir and the Garden State takes no prisoners and is worth the price of admission.  Fiction, poetry and photography. 

"Bright Morning" will appear in Kafkaesque, edited by John Kessel and Jim Kelly for Tachyon Books.  This one will be out in November.  My hat off to the editors.  An anthology many have probably dreamt of, but these guys actually created.  A compilation of stories inspired by the life and work of Fraqnz Kafka.  I'm particularly looking forward to John Kessel's new translation of "A Hunger Artist," my favorite Kafka story.
Work by J.G. Ballard, Robert Crumb, Jorge Luis Borges, Eileen Gunn, Carol Emshwiller, Terry Bisson, Theodora Goss, Jonathan Lethem and Carter Scholz, T. C. Boyle, Paul Di Fillipo, Phillip Roth, Tamar Yellin, and more...

And while I'm at it, one more plug for The Revelator, which is live @

October 5th, 2011

Emily Dropped By


 Emily dropped by tonight.  She stepped out of the shadows bearing a peach liquerer she and Lavinia had concocted. She wore a dark blue dress with a white lace collar.  Her hair was down.  She looked paler than usual and tired. We sat at the kitchen table, and she filled me in on old Amherst, who was doing what and who was doing who. I told her about a news story I'd read in which light traveled faster than the speed of light.  "The speed of light," she said, "I'm stealing that."  "Knock yourself out," I said.  Then she confessed she was reading Keats again, and I told her, "Move on, what about Whitman?"  She smiled and laid this poem on the table.  "I'll read it," I said.  "Suit yourself," said Emily. I lifted the page and she poured, the scent of summer rising from my glass.  When I looked up to tell her how much I liked the third stanza, she was gone, back in her room, writing by candlelight, and the kitchen was cold.  

Besides the Autumn poets sing,          
A few prosaic days     
A little this side of the snow    
And that side of the Haze -      
A few incisive mornings -                
A few Ascetic eves -    
Gone - Mr Bryant's "Golden Rod" -    
And Mr Thomson's "sheaves."
Still, is the bustle in the brook -          
Sealed are the spicy valves -           
Mesmeric fingers softly touch 
The eyes of many Elves -        
Perhaps a squirrel may remain -          
My sentiments to share -
Grant me, Oh Lord, a sunny mind -       
Thy windy will to bear!

September 28th, 2011

Marty Halpern has an anthology coming out from Night Shade later this year called Alien Contact.  My story, "Exo-skeleton Town," appears in the book and is also being posted in two parts at Marty's blog.  The first part is up now. 

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