22 March 2011

Monsters!

Eric Schaller has been writing occasional SpecTech columns for the Clarion blog for a while now, and his most recent is about "mutations that involve homeotic genes and the monstrous results that can arise". And the results are, indeed, monstrous!

Meanwhile, occasional Schaller collaborator Jeff VanderMeer has released a new book called Monstrous Creatures, full of monstrosities you really don't want to live without. It's been getting monstrously great reviews (including one from Charles Tan that, rather embarrassingly for me when linking to it, starts with my name).

I have, through much effort, managed to secure an interview with VanderMeer about his new book. It was cut a little short, so I can't publish it anywhere other than here, but purely for archiving, here it is:





Matthew Cheney: Your recent collection of nonfiction, Monstrous Creatures, includes a remarkable array of ideas and insights, and is one of the few books I know -- perhaps the only book I know -- to plunge into both the world of genre fiction and whatever-is-other-than-genre fiction with equal aplomb -- indeed, to deconstruct, subvert, and ignore the very boundaries said to create "genre fiction" and "whatever-is-other-than-genre fiction". Did you set out to create such a project, or did you discover it when you began to collect the disparate pieces into a book?

Jeff VanderMeer: Shhhwmmwoowoooogggg! Gwarrrrffffmmmaaaaawwwg! Meat! MEAT!

MC: Perhaps I should rephrase -- what I wanted to get at was your, I think, extraordinary, and, indeed, eloquent, ability to see work beyond its publishing categories, to investigate it at a purely textual level and so free it from the hierarchical bounds of--

JV: Snoooorrrrffffnaggggg! Vaaaarrggggggmmmoooooggggg! MEEEEAAAAAT!

MC: And that passion comes through on the page, but--

JV: BAAAFFFFFFFFMMMOOOOMMM! MEEEEAAAATTTT!

MC: Please, let go, I need that arm to type with--

JV: MEAT! Snaaarrrrgglllleeee pppfffaaaatttt!

[the recording continues for 1.48 minutes with the sound of chewing, drooling, and the crunching of bones, then abruptly ends]

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