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.