An entertaining, eclectic chronicle of modern fantastical fiction, Monstrous Creatures delivers incisive commentary, reviews, and essays pertaining to permutations of the monstrous, whether it’s other people’s monsters, personal monsters, or monstrous thoughts. A two-time winner of the World Fantasy Award, Jeff VanderMeer is one of speculative fiction’s foremost voices. For the past 20 years, he has not only written weird literary fiction translated into 20 languages, but written about it extensively, influencing the way people think about fantasy through reviews in major papers like The Washington Post and The New York Times, as well as through interviews, thoughtful essays, blog posts, teaching, and guest-speaking. Monstrous Creatures, a follow-up to his 2004 nonfiction collection Why Should I Cut Your Throat?, collects all of his major nonfiction from the past five years, including such controversial pieces as “The Romantic Underground,” “The Triumph of the Good,” and “The Language of Defeat”. Interviews with writers like Margo Lanagan and China Miéville are an added bonus, creating a dialogue with VanderMeer’s own interpretations of the monstrous in the fantastical.
What Are They Saying About Monstrous Creatures:
"A selection of reflections, interrogations, and dialogues about the state and nature of fantastic literature from the perspective of one of fantastika's most discerning writer/editors. The collection puts forth not just VanderMeer's thoughts on making art, genre, and literature, but elaborates his idea of "the monstrous" and how it informs a variety of works and trends....It is the most incisive collection of reflections and criticisms that I have read in years."
"Jeff VanderMeer's collection contains fireworks explosions of insights into the nature of the weird and a fine introduction to a number of rather obscure writers that most fans of the fantastic likely do not know."
"VanderMeer goes for a 360-degree expedition of fantasy in all of its manifestations as well as through significant periods of its evolution. Wherever the fantastical seeps in, be it in books, the act of writing, architecture, art or even nature, VanderMeer follows, documents and then reports with some of the most spectacular and sophisticated turns of phrase I’ve seen in non-fiction."
"VanderMeer has jammed his scalpel into the heart of the beast, here. The first essay alone is worth the price of admission. It's staggering. … it's like a best-of record for the wild and fast discussions of art, literature, and monstrosity born of the beehives of the blog-o-sphere."
"[VanderMeer] writes with an amazing intelligence and breathtaking breadth of knowledge. His reviews are insightful and sometimes toe-curlingly honest."
What Are They Saying About Jeff VanderMeer:
“Cunningly crafted stories full of wonder and intelligence.... VanderMeer proves again why he is so essential and why everybody should be reading him."
“One of modern fantasy’s most original and fearless pioneers.”
—Richard K. Morgan, author of Altered Carbon
“Shriek: An Afterword … is a desert island book, a tale you can lose yourself in for days, a novel of character in which the setting—the magnificently gritty city-state named Ambergris—proves as the light fails to be the finest character of all.”
—Gene Wolfe, author of The Claw of the Conciliator and Soldier of Sidon
“Jeff VanderMeer has written a fascinating book on managing a writing career, including promotion, use of new media, career paths, resources, networking, conventions, and — not incidentally! — balancing all of this with actual writing. Recommended for anyone who writes, wants to write, or has written and now wonders what to do next.”
—Nancy Kress, bestselling author of Write Great Fiction
“One of the things that sets VanderMeer apart is his embrace of technology and media. His online presence is considerable and includes a number of web sites, frequent blogging, a short film adaptation of his novel Shriek (including collaboration with pop rock band The Church), his Alien Baby photo project and even a project involving animation via Sony PlayStation.”
“Somewhere at the intersection of pulp and Surrealism, drawing on the very best of both traditions, is Jeff VanderMeer’s Ambergris. Unsettling, erudite, dark, shot through with unexpected humour, the stories engross and challenge endlessly. Ambergris is one of my favourite haunts in fiction.”
“Beautifully written, virtually hallucinatory work...connoisseurs of the finest in postmodern fantasy will find it enormously rewarding.”
“In the hands of a brilliant writer like Jeff VanderMeer, writing fantasy can be a means of serious artistic expression. In VanderMeer’s hands, it is also playful, poignant, and utterly, wildly, imaginative.”
—Peter Straub, author of Ghost Story and Mr. X
“VanderMeer may be creating the dominant literature of the 21st century.”