February 17th, 2011


Draft Finished: "Cutting Cords and Clasping Hands"

Tonight I finished the rough draft of "Cutting Cords and Clasping Hands."  At about 14,500 words, this is a novelette (using Hugo/Nebula length ranges, there being no universal standard).  It is Fala's coming-of-age story, showing the shift from being kind of clingy as a child to being more independent as an adult.  This also includes some more development of Fala's age-mates.  I'll set this aside for a little while, then it will get revised and presented to the canon board for consideration on the Torn World site.  I'm pleased to complete the rough draft; this is a big piece and it's challenging for me to stick with things long enough to finish them.


Hooking Leviathan

The Leviathan anthology project is raising money through crowdfunding.

From: Jeff VanderMeer <vanderworld@hotmail.com>
To: vanderworld@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thu, February 17, 2011 11:20:21 AM
Subject: [VanderWorld] VanderWorld Report: The Return of the Leviathan
(How You Can Help)

 Dear Fellow Weirdies:

Things are heating up again around VanderWorld. My nonfiction collection
Monstrous Creatures is out in March (links below), with the sumptuous
table book The Steampunk Bible (coauthored with SJ Chambers) out in May
and The
Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities out in June from
HarperCollins--along with lots of travel. The Weird: A Compendium of
Strange &
Dark Fictions is definitely now scheduled for October from Atlantic.
I've also just reached an agreement with Underland Press to do a book
tentatively titled If You Lived Here: The Top 50 Fantasy Worlds of All
Other projects include a possible deep space generation ships saga
connected to
a well-known movie franchise, the ultimate SF/F writing book, a two-novel
duology titled KOMODO, and a couple of other things I can't talk about
yet. I've
also been tagged as a consultant by a Hollywood producer for a movie.
We'll see
how that goes.
But the news most near and dear to my heart is that we're reviving the
anthology series, with an emphasis on new writers, and writings in
too. This month, I'm conducting a fund drive to help that project--if we
get to
$1,000, I will dance. We're at about $675 right now. See below for the
on how to donate. Thanks for any help you can provide.
I hope all is well. I know I owe many of you emails.
Much Love,

Leviathan 5: The Next Wave, the latest in the award-winning fiction
series edited by my wife Ann and me, will focus on new writers of weird
fiction, and will also endeavor to have an open reading period as
world-wide as
we can make it. This means many writers who don’t write in English will
be able
to submit, to our brigade of foreign language editors.

The publisher is ChiZine, and they’re providing a budget that is
respectable for
an English-language anthology. BUT, we will need more funds for the
component. (See below for more info.)
So…all of February is fund-drive month here at Ecstatic Days. Our goal
is to
raise $1,000 in 28 days, to add to the $300 in donations already received.
name will be listed in the book, and you can donate easily through paypal
vanderworld at hotmail.com or via check to “Jeff VanderMeer”, POB
Tallahassee, FL 32315.

IF we reach the $1,000 goal, I will do an interpretative dance based on
title story in my story collection, “The Third Bear,” which will be
taped and
put up on YouTube for your enjoyment. Trust me when I say that…I am a
dancer…and very bad at interpretative dance…and, um, a dance based on
The Third
Bear…I could do myself an injury on accident… (Note also that per this
post, I
can confirm that my collection Third Bear has earned out, which means my
to use all royalties received from the book toward Leviathan is no idle
Ann and I have finalized most of our plans for Leviathan 5: The Next Wave,
will be published by the awesome folks at ChiZine Publications. This
the latest in the World Fantasy Award winning and PKD award finalist
will focus on weird fiction and fantasy from newer writers, probably
defined as
writers with two or fewer books published in English. We are going to do
something fairly unprecedented in the history of genre and have between 15
20 associate/foreign language editors in other countries so that many
who do not write in English would be able to submit. Up to 30,000 words of
100,000 words might be fiction newly translated for Leviathan 5.

But to ensure we have a budget that allows for paying a decent wage to
translators, and to cover anything unexpected that comes up, we will be
doing a
couple of fund-raisers. ChiZine is already providing a solid budget, but
to do
this anthology “pure”—with no solicitations from established
writers–this extra
step is necessary. I would note that Ann and I are not taking any
editorial fee
upfront–this is a labor of love and something we feel is necessary to
spotlight new writers and international writers.
The first “fund-raiser” is simply this: 100% any royalties received
from my
forthcoming nonfiction collection Monstrous Creatures or my 2010 short
collection The Third Bear will go toward funding Leviathan 5. This is no
threat since the advances for both were low enough that royalties will
kick in

Monkey Brain Books has also been kind enough to provide a free PDF of my
nonfiction collection, currently on the order page for Monstrous
Creatures. If
you download that PDF, consider buying Monstrous or making a direct
Any direct donations for this project can be sent to me via paypal at
vanderworld at hotmail.com with “For Leviathan 5″ as the subject line.
If you
would like to become a major investor, ping me as well.
Right now, the plan is for an open reading period for Leviathan 5 starting
late 2011 and extending into the spring of 2012, for publication in spring
2013. Projects like this require a long lead time. Payment and firm
period information will be forthcoming once we’ve finalized our plans.
PS For those wondering, the “best of Leviathan” volume will probably
come out prior to Leviathan 5.


Animal Domestication and Implications

I was utterly fascinated by this National Geographic article on the domestication process and what it means.  Some of the more interesting ideas require a little reading between the lines...

These foxes treat any human as a potential companion, a behavior that is the product of arguably the most extraordinary breeding experiment ever conducted.
Previously I've read the theory -- which I find plausible -- that not all animals could be  domesticated, no matter what you did with them.  Some are too skittish, some too vicious, some won't breed in captivity.  (This project actually hit breeding problems, with otters.)  But it's usually broken down into "animals that are relatively easy to domesticate, so they have been" (like wolves into dogs) vs. "animals that are impossible to domesticate, no matter what you try" (like cheetahs, and boy did some people try historically).  This experiment makes me think it's more of a spectrum.  We've already picked the low-hanging fruit.  But if we get a stepladder, apparently we can domesticate species that we would not have thought possible -- and get impressive results within the span of a human lifetime.  That's awesome.
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