Contented Reader

just point me toward the nearest library

The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities

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The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities

edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer

Harper Voyager

This book is a good example of how important a good editor is.

I hope it goes without saying that good writers are very important.  But a good editor recognizes the good writers.  A good editor of an anthology has a vision for a unified work, brings together the best pieces to create that work, and makes something wonderful that none of those writers would have created alone.

Ann and Jeff Vandermeer are good editors, and this is a good book.  It’s a long, strange book, not a typical fiction anthology but a collection of faux nonfiction pieces about the improbable collection of oddities accumulated by the fictional Thackery T. Lambshead, pieces that include stories, articles, catalog entries, and illustrations.  A lot of very good writers are entering into the spirit of the Vandermeers’ idea, and it’s all strange and fun and disorienting and – what’s the word? – Weird.

Speaking of Weird…

I’m sad about Weird Tales Magazine.  I discovered it almost exactly when it was being sold.  The issue I liked so well was the last issue edited by Ann Vandermeer.  She’d created something wonderful at Weird Tales, a magazine that was simultaneously true to its Lovecraftian roots and entirely contemporary.  It was kind of beautiful, the way this old, old magazine was still in print, and it was new and wonderful, too.

Of course, I didn’t know that I was already too late.  The whole thing was bought, and it all fell apart kind of dramatically.  The heart of a collection of stories is its editor.  Now the editor is one Marvin Kaye, who seems to have deeply dubious taste.

Weird Tales has been around, sort of, in one form or another, since 1923.  It has had good times, bad times, and times when it wasn’t in print at all.  It has changed hands so completely, more than once, that it’s hard to say any one iteration of it has anything in common with its predecessors but the name.  Maybe it’ll come back, in a better form, some day.  It seems likely that it will.

In the meantime… Ann and Jeff Vandermeer are still good editors.  They aren’t dead.  They are editing good books.  Here’s one of them.  Their ideas are strange and interesting, and I will read just about anything they place in front of me.


Written by Contented Reader

September 13, 2012 at 6:28 am

Posted in Reviews


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