The monkey has irons in the fire…

…many irons! Huge, blaz­ing irons! I have no idea what the phrase means!

Any­ways, in between work and edit­ing the sec­ond nov­el, I gar­nered the oppor­tu­ni­ty to briefly work with many peo­ple I admire on a (hope­ful­ly) upcom­ing project of mas­sive cool­ness.

From Ecsta­t­ic Days (the web­site of author Jeff Van­der­meer):

Ann and I have (rather qui­et­ly) put togeth­er a unique new project over the past few month: a Bes­tiary with the imag­i­na­tive work­ing title of…Bestiary. In an A-Z for­mat, with a cou­ple extras, the anthol­o­gy will con­tain all orig­i­nal fic­tion. Think of it as a cryp­to­zo­o­log­i­cal text for the twen­ty-first cen­tu­ry, although some entries go far back into his­to­ry. (Ivi­ca Ste­vanovic is on board as an artist.)

For this project we want­ed to assem­ble the writ­ers ahead of time and then sell the anthol­o­gy, so a huge thank you to our con­trib­u­tors for being will­ing to send us mate­r­i­al on such a spec­u­la­tive basis. The antho will make the rounds to edi­tors in August.

Although we’re still in the edit­ing phase, we do now have our final line-up, revealed here in its entire­ty for the first time. We think it’s a stel­lar group of writ­ers. Cer­tain­ly what we con­sid­er a kind of dream team, and in sev­er­al cas­es our first oppor­tu­ni­ty to work with favorite writ­ers who we hadn’t yet had a chance to pub­lish. It’s a lit­tle over­whelm­ing to think we have an orig­i­nal Michal Ajvaz—terrifically fun­ny and pointed—and an orig­i­nal Van­dana Singh and an orig­i­nal Karen Lord and Cat Valente and…well, if we keep going we’ll wind up list­ing every­one!

A: “The Auri­cle” by Gio Clair­val
B: “Bartleby’s Type­writer” by Corey Redekop
C: “The Coun­sel­lor Crow” by Karen Lord
D: “Day­dream­er by Proxy” by Dex­ter Palmer
E: “Enkan­tong-bato” by Dean Fran­cis Alfar
F: “The Fig­mon” by Michael Cis­co
G: “The Guest” by Bri­an Conn
H: “Hadrian’s Spar­rikan” by Stephen Gra­ham Jones
I: “Ible” by Bri­an Even­son
J: “Jason Bug” by Joseph Nigg
K: “The Kar­man­tid” by Karen Heuler
L: “The Liwat’ang Yawa and the Litok-litok” by Rochi­ta Loenin-Ruiz
M: “Mos­qui­to Boy” by Felix Gilman
N: “N—– (Bolus Barathru­ma)” by Reza Negarestani
O: “Orsi­nus Libo­rum” by Cath­erynne M. Valente
P: “Pyret” by Karin Tid­beck
Q: “Quin­tus” by Michal Ajvaz
R: “Rapacis X. Loco Signa” by L.L. Han­nett
S: “Sna­fu” by Micaela Mor­ris­sette
T: “Tongues of Moon Toad” by Cat Ram­bo
U: “The Ugly-Nest Rat” by Eric Schaller
V: “The Van­ga” by Rik­ki Ducor­net
W: “Weialalaleia” by Amal El-Mohtar
X: “The Xaratan” by Rhys Hugh­es
Y: “Yak­shan­tariksh” by Van­dana Singh
Z: “Zee” by Richard Howard
&: “Amper­sand” by Karin Lowachee

(Not shown: a crea­ture whose name begins with invis­i­ble let­ter, writ­ten by an anony­mous writer who is not one of the edi­tors…)

Now you tell me that doesn’t sound all kinds of awe­some­sauce! And what a line­up! I’m not famil­iar with every author’s work, but I can tell you that Bri­an Even­son is a spec­tac­u­lar­ly dark writer whose Last Days is one of the bleak­est reads of the past few years, and Stephen Gra­ham Jones was just this year nom­i­nat­ed for the Shirley Jack­son Award for his col­lec­tion The One that Got Away (Jeff Van­der­meer is also a final­ist for his on-my-future-read­ing pile The Third Bear). I can’t admit famil­iar­i­ty with many of the authors, but a lit­tle research has got­ten me very excit­ed, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the case of Felix Gilman’s recent nov­el The Half-Made World.

And the cou­ple behind the project, Ann and Jeff Van­der­meer, have earned my life­time respect for both their pas­sion for bring unusal genre efforts to the pub­lic eye, and their past releas­es which nev­er fail to enter­tain. Jeff’s Finch was one of my favourite nov­els last year, and I just com­plet­ed his non-fic­tion effort The Steam­punk Bible, an infor­ma­tive and love­ly exam­i­na­tion of the steam­punk genre (and if you don’t know what steam­punk is, look it up). I am cur­rent­ly read­ing Ann and Jeff’s new antholo­gies Steam­punk II: Steam­punk Reloaded (a won­der­ful col­lec­tion of steam­punk sto­ries from some amaz­ing authors), and The Thack­ery T. Lamb­shead Cab­i­net of Curiosi­ties, a bizarre and often hilar­i­ous tome of vignettes and sto­ries that doc­u­ment a fic­tion­al col­lec­tion of fantab­u­lous inven­tions that should be real­ized into fact post-haste (again from some ter­rif­ic authors [Chi­na Mieville!]).

As revealed above, I have already sub­mit­ted my bes­tiary entry, the unusu­al ani­mal known as “Bartleby’s Type­writer.” And what, exact­ly, is a Bartleby’s Type­writer? I’ll nev­er tell, unless this gets pub­lished, in which case I’ll be oblig­at­ed to. And if Ivi­ca Ste­vanovic does a draw­ing? Holy freak­ing s|-|it! I will pay top dol­lar for the orig­i­nal art­work!

So, cross your fin­gers that this gets com­plet­ed. If it does, it may not be the longest piece I’ve ever writ­ten, but it will be the coolest thing I’ve ever attached my name to.