Strange Bird: A Novella


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Publisher Description

What is organic and what can be mechanical about the art and craft of fiction? What kinds of hauntings in fiction go beyond the uncanny and how are these effects achieved?

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Glaciers are melting, animal and plant populations are failing, and agricultural practices no longer prevent famine. Around the world, scientists, artists, and activists are addressing climate change in media from nonfiction books to documentary films to live theater. This series brings together writers, journalists, and artists in robust discussion on how they address climate change—and why their work is important in the Anthropocene Era.

April 20 Fri , 3pm, New York, The Strand bookstore I will be signing stock at The Strand at 3pm for about 45 minutes to an hour, for a live facebook event. This is NOT a public in-store event, BUT if you see me in the bookstore before 3 or after I finish signing stock, I will of course sign your book totally on an ad hoc informal basis.

Followed by book signing. In terms ranging from political to personal, this talk includes topics like redefining dystopia and the need for new narrative approaches to climate change. If nothing else, being a novelist for decades gives you some hopefully useful ideas about process. Because at the end of the day, there is no magic solution, no short-cut, to writing something that hopefully will last. No matter how we search for one. I also believe strongly in letting the things about writing that should be organic remain organic, but also working in targeted ways on those things that can be improved mechanically.

These ideas should work for writers who have a day job as well as full-time writers, as I do not stress needing to write every day. In fact, points 1 and 2 should offer relief for writers who beat themselves up about not writing as much as they want to. I often feel it is easier to spoil a novel by beginning to write too soon than by beginning to write too late.

Perhaps this is because I need to know certain things before I can even contemplate writing a novel. For example, I need to know the main characters very well, the initial situation, and the ending even if the ending changes by the time I write it. I also have to have some kind of ecstatic vision about a scene or character, some moment that transcends , and I have to have what I call charged images associated with the characters. They have a kind of life to them, and exploring their meaning creates theme and subtext. For example, the biologist encountering the starfish in Annihilation or Rachel in Borne reaching out to pluck Borne from the fur of the giant bear.

Both of which also have their origin in transformed autobiographical moments, and thus an added layer of resonance. Once I know these things, it may still be six months to a year before I begin to write a novel. The process at that point is to just record every inspiration I have and relax into inhabiting the world of the novel. But, hopefully, the novel takes on such a life that everything in the world around me becomes fodder for it, even transformed. Her voice, style, and point of view were fully formed well before coming to Clarion.

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Very glad to see her break through with this piece. Here are links to a couple of articles on the subject. My wife Ann and I have recently binge-watched a number of dark, layered, sometimes over-the-top series. I should also mention the Icelandic movie I Remember You—a supernatural thriller currently showing on cable under new movies for rent that holds up much better than most and is definitely worth your time.

THE BREAK — A Belgian series in which a detective returning to the village of his birth must battle the betrayals of the townsfolk and an incompetent department as well as his own personal demons to solve the murder of an African-born soccer player on the local lower-division team. The answers and the character development are suitably surprising and the ensemble cast is superb from first to last.

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I must admit that it was rough going through the first three or four episodes, but around episode 5 it all clicked for me and the show found its sea legs. Set in a small Belgian town whose inhabitants have plenty of secrets, Hotel Beau Sejour bears some surface similarities to The Break Belgian, small town, secrets but it is completely different. Complex, at times heart-breaking, and with lots of reversals. Nice, too, that the lead detectives are both women.

Shot in the wonderfully dark style David Fincher is known for, and with unexpected humor as well. The last episode of season one is perfect. From a first episode that seems fairly conventional in which a former star detective estranged from his wife and now working in a crappy little town must deal with human trafficking and the discovery of a corpse with no arms, legs, or head, the show just goes into overdrive. This show has everything—avalanches, lots more deaths, family intrigue, long-time town secrets, a harbor deal with the Chinese that goes terribly wrong, and much more.

Yet at the same time the portrait of the detective and other characters is pretty deep and the action never seems rushed. Highly recommended. Something weird is swimming in the river through the forest. Why are there so many tunnels that end in various old houses?

Why the heck does that dude have gills? Why are so many people being murdered? If these questions intrigue you, Jordskott is for you. But as a whole, the series is original enough that we recommend watching, and look forward to season 2.

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Although the fact the credits take up three minutes of every minute episode is a bit much, the show has much to offer, including a grade-A-quality infusion of that frisson of Mars mystery dread some of us really enjoy. THE VALLEY — Another German show about a small town with secrets, this time revolving around the wine queen, who shows up dead, setting off a series of repercussions for the mysterious stranger with no memory who appears at the local pub around the same time. But she cannot just soar in peace above the earth.

The sky itself is full of wildlife that rejects her as one of their own, and also full of technology—satellites and drones and other detritus of the human civilization below that has all but destroyed itself.

The Strange Bird

And the farther she flies, the deeper she finds herself in the orbit of the Company, a collapsed biotech firm that has populated the world with experiments both failed and successful that have outlived the corporation itself: a pack of networked foxes, a giant predatory bear. He has created a whole new perspective on the world inhabited by Rachel and Wick, the Magician, Mord, and Borne—a view from above, of course, but also a view from deep inside the mind of a new kind of creature who will fight and suffer and live for the tenuous future of this world. Readers thus far have been very kind in their reactions to The Strange Bird , which is much, much more than just an add-on to Borne.

You see this happen in urban spaces in patches, but perhaps as things become more urgent, it will seem more important. Not to just plaster cement over everything, but to renegotiate the distance between out and in, between the urban and the rural. It becomes a political thing to render such spaces invisible too. Once I had this kind of ecstatic vision of a bird escaping from a laboratory, and the cadence of the language of that, I was set. What are your thoughts in general on the way our technology is advancing?

Are we going to annihilate ourselves, or will technology help us to get out of the environmental and humanitarian mess we created? So much of our tech works against those natural systems and ultimately our quality of life. But there is also nothing the human imagination cannot accomplish if the push is in the right direction, and you do see a lot of forward thinkers using natural systems as the basis for solutions, too. In my opinion.

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Amy Brady: You are able to conjure horrific imagery that is, surprisingly, also quite beautiful. That combination of horror and beauty feels rare, even in works by other speculative fiction writers who attempt to describe ecological disasters. The writer, through this narrator, described the pollution from a factory in a way that was beautiful and also complete bullshit. Because anyone who actually lived in a fucked-up city full of pollution would not stop to admire the beauty of what was killing them.


  • The Guardian (Mills & Boon Intrigue).
  • Blackwells Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Small Mammal.
  • Write Winning Proposals.
  • Our Guide To 2014’s Great Reads;
  • See a Problem??
  • The Strange Bird: A Borne Story by Jeff VanderMeer.

And if they did, it would say something very specific about the character that was lacking from the depiction in this story. You find people who are still trying to help other people, who still believe in connection, who still have hope. Also, of course, even in the midst of destruction, animals carry their grace and their fortitude with them. Because, in the end, just like us, they are trying to live. It includes some of my favorites. The first novel, Annihilation , won the Nebula Award and the Shirley Jackson Award, was short-listed for a half dozen more, and has been adapted into a movie to be released by Paramount Pictures on February 23rd, And his work continues to explore themes related to the environment, animals, and our future.

Strange Bird: A Novella Strange Bird: A Novella
Strange Bird: A Novella Strange Bird: A Novella
Strange Bird: A Novella Strange Bird: A Novella
Strange Bird: A Novella Strange Bird: A Novella
Strange Bird: A Novella Strange Bird: A Novella
Strange Bird: A Novella Strange Bird: A Novella

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