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Shriek: An Afterword
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About the Author

Widely regarded as one of the world's best fantasists, bestselling author Jeff VanderMeer's book-length fiction has been translated into fourteen languages, while his short fiction has appeared in several year's best anthologies and short-listed for Best American Short Stories. His most recent books have made the year's best lists of Publishers Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Los Angeles Weekly. He is also the recipient of an NEA-funded Florida Individual Artist Fellowship for excellence in fiction and a Florida Artist Enhancement Grant. A two-time winner of the World Fantasy Award, VanderMeer has also been a finalist for the Hugo Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, the International Horror Guild Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. In addition to his writing, VanderMeer has edited or co-edited several anthologies, including the critically acclaimed Leviathan fiction anthology series and The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric & Discredited Diseases. He will also co-edit the inaugural edition of Best American Fantasy. VanderMeer grew up in the Fiji Islands and spent six months traveling through Asia, Africa, and Europe before returning to the United States. These travels have deeply influenced his fiction. He now lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife, Ann, and three cats.

Reviews

World Fantasy Award-winner VanderMeer makes a triumphant return to Ambergris, the fungus-shrouded metropolis he first chronicled in City of Saints and Madmen (2001), in this masterful if difficult fantasy novel. Janice Shriek, a failed gallery owner and journalist, has ostensibly created an afterword to The Early History of Ambergris by her brother, Duncan Shriek, a talented if unconventional historian who finds his career in shambles after his controversial theories concerning Ambergris's founding and the genocide perpetrated against its nonhuman inhabitants gain public disfavor. Worse yet, he's caught in a love affair with one of his students, Mary Sabon. A tragic, brooding figure, Duncan makes repeated journeys underground, into the world of the alien gray caps, and is eventually transformed into something both wonderful and inhuman. Ambergris is a city of magnificent, decaying architecture and multiple baroque religions, where publishers fight wars for control of civilization and authors of obscure historical texts can be major bestsellers at the Borges Bookstore. Fans of Mark Z. Danielewski, Angela Carter and Borges will be well rewarded. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

World Fantasy Award-winner VanderMeer makes a triumphant return to Ambergris, the fungus-shrouded metropolis he first chronicled in "City of Saints and Madmen," in this masterful if difficult fantasy novel.... Fans of Mark Z. Danielewski, Angela Carter and Borges will be well rewarded. "Publishers Weekly (starred review)"

Certainly Nick Cave would be right at home in Ambergris, the setting of this novel.... less "Hitchhiker's Guide" than "Brazil," but more "Requiem for a Dream" than anything else. "Bookslut"

VanderMeer's fantasy vision is a hallucinatory incantation not just of mushrooms but also of literature. "Peter Bebergal, The Believer"

With literary stylings, a complex, riveting plot, and ideas that lesser writers could not imagine, "Shriek: An Afterword" further establishes Jeff Vandermeer as the finest fantasist of his generation. "The Austin Chronicle"

It is, in short, exactly the sort of book which ought to be in contention for major literary prizes--except that it is set in an imaginary city beset by malevolent fungus, and non-genre award panels tend to get scared of such books. In this case, such fears are misplaced; "Shriek" is a fantastic book, and a fantastical one. For lovers of the uncomfortable and slightly unhealthy work of a Will Self, or the fractured cityscapes of M John Harrison, "Shriek" is a delight. "Birmingham Post"

Five stars! A stunning and very different fantasy novel from an author who should be turning heads in the 'serious' literary world. VanderMeer concerns himself with the life of a notorious historian whose investigations into a subterranean race known as 'grey caps' may hold the key to an ancient mystery. In reality, however, the book cleverly plays with the ways in which an author can manipulate an audience. But it's far less heavy and more entertaining than that makes it sound. "BBC Focus Magazine"

In the telling, "Shriek: An Afterword" is an exceptional novel, a tapestry of fine writing, deep psychological insight, and acute narrative excitement.... a dark fantasy of tremendous distinction. "Locus"

An enthralling book which takes you into the vivid and superbly-realized world of Ambergris. It is in turn unsettling, moving and thrilling--with passages of writing that can be dryly funny on one page . . . and beautiful on the next. "Clare Dudman, author of 98 Reasons for Being"

Bloody brilliant. "Hal Duncan, author of Vellum"

There's a madness in Jeff VanderMeer's literary eye, and I would be a liar if I didn't admit it seems intimately familiar. VanderMeer envisions an outlaw literature of shrieks and shouts and a screaming across the sky, worth a thousand polite and respectable mutterings. I, for one, am listening. "Steve Erickson, author of Our Ecstatic Days and editor of Black Clock"

Political, philosophical, many-textured, and multi-layered, the history of fantasy's most intriguing city, Ambergris, is brought vividly to life. The perfect balance of conscientious invention and subtle, comic irony. VanderMeer fearlessly walks a tightrope to deliver an enthralling read. "Jeff Ford, World Fantasy Award-winning author of The Girl in the Glass"

Jeff VanderMeer is a realist of the surreal, a chronicler and bibliographer of the impossible city of Ambergris, which could only have been constructed in a collaborative dream between Charles Dickens and E.T.A Hoffman. It is a city of Dickensian scope and intricacy whose inhabitants are the lovers, the artists, the grotesques of German romanticism, and I sometimes suspect that VanderMeer himself is a fragment of the same dream. "Shriek" is a beautiful and maddening, and beautifully maddening, book. Go to Ambergris: lose yourself among its labyrinthine streets and the fabulous, deadly secrets that lie beneath them. "Theodora Goss, author of In the Forest of Forgetting"

Jeff VanderMeer's work opens a trapdoor in the world we think we know, into a realm as unforgettable and compelling as an opium dream, and as seductive. "Shriek: An Afterword" is a sinister and bewitching tour-de-force. "Elizabeth Hand, bestselling author of Mortal Love"

Here 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 Wizard"

Jeff VanderMeer is an extraordinary writer. His vision of Ambergris is passionate, beautiful, complex, terrifying. What is remarkable about "Shriek: An Afterword" is the way it combines such surreal imagery with intensely human feeling. He writes about real people--about the real world. "Tamar Yellin, author of The Genizah at the House of Shepher"

"Shriek: An Afterword" is the first authentic 21st Century fantastical writing. A masterpiece by any standard. "Zoran Zivkovic, author of Hidden Camera"

VanderMeer explores brilliantly, penetratingly, the frail, evanescent intersection of human understanding and historical actuality.... In the telling, "Shriek: An Afterword" is an exceptional novel, a tapestry of fine writing, deep psychological insight, and acute narrative excitement. Never forget the excitement: quests after cryptic clues in antique manuscripts; forays into the alien territories below ground; heartbreak and breakdown; the War of the Houses, with one publishing company assailing the other with murderous fungal mines and bombs; an opera performance that becomes a literal, three-cornered battlefield; the gray caps surfacing in massacre; injuries, insults, the inexplicable and the horrifying. And enigmas at the end. "Shriek: An Afterword" is a dark fantasy of tremendous distinction, and more is to come, as the story of Ambergris is still far from concluded. "Nick Gevers, Locus"

Jeff VanderMeer's latest is as complicated, impressive and exasperating as anything he has written....VanderMeer makes no compromises with his readers, but "Shriek" is twisted, darkly funny and ultimately rewarding. "Jon Courtenay Grimwood, The Guardian"

Maybe it's because Jeff VanderMeer looks so normal when you see him at cons or talking panels that his fiction comes as such a huge shock. Is this fetid hothouse world really the subconscious of that smartly dressed American writer?... A typical VanderMeer novel: clever, intense, and multi-layered. Four stars. "SFX""


World Fantasy Award-winner VanderMeer makes a triumphant return to Ambergris, the fungus-shrouded metropolis he first chronicled in City of Saints and Madmen, in this masterful if difficult fantasy novel.... Fans of Mark Z. Danielewski, Angela Carter and Borges will be well rewarded. Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Certainly Nick Cave would be right at home in Ambergris, the setting of this novel.... less Hitchhiker's Guide than Brazil, but more Requiem for a Dream than anything else. Bookslut

VanderMeer's fantasy vision is a hallucinatory incantation not just of mushrooms but also of literature. Peter Bebergal, The Believer

With literary stylings, a complex, riveting plot, and ideas that lesser writers could not imagine, Shriek: An Afterword further establishes Jeff Vandermeer as the finest fantasist of his generation. The Austin Chronicle

It is, in short, exactly the sort of book which ought to be in contention for major literary prizes--except that it is set in an imaginary city beset by malevolent fungus, and non-genre award panels tend to get scared of such books. In this case, such fears are misplaced; Shriek is a fantastic book, and a fantastical one. For lovers of the uncomfortable and slightly unhealthy work of a Will Self, or the fractured cityscapes of M John Harrison, Shriek is a delight. Birmingham Post

Five stars! A stunning and very different fantasy novel from an author who should be turning heads in the 'serious' literary world. VanderMeer concerns himself with the life of a notorious historian whose investigations into a subterranean race known as 'grey caps' may hold the key to an ancient mystery. In reality, however, the book cleverly plays with the ways in which an author can manipulate an audience. But it's far less heavy and more entertaining than that makes it sound. BBC Focus Magazine

In the telling, Shriek: An Afterword is an exceptional novel, a tapestry of fine writing, deep psychological insight, and acute narrative excitement.... a dark fantasy of tremendous distinction. Locus

An enthralling book which takes you into the vivid and superbly-realized world of Ambergris. It is in turn unsettling, moving and thrilling--with passages of writing that can be dryly funny on one page . . . and beautiful on the next. Clare Dudman, author of 98 Reasons for Being

Bloody brilliant. Hal Duncan, author of Vellum

There's a madness in Jeff VanderMeer's literary eye, and I would be a liar if I didn't admit it seems intimately familiar. VanderMeer envisions an outlaw literature of shrieks and shouts and a screaming across the sky, worth a thousand polite and respectable mutterings. I, for one, am listening. Steve Erickson, author of Our Ecstatic Days and editor of Black Clock

Political, philosophical, many-textured, and multi-layered, the history of fantasy's most intriguing city, Ambergris, is brought vividly to life. The perfect balance of conscientious invention and subtle, comic irony. VanderMeer fearlessly walks a tightrope to deliver an enthralling read. Jeff Ford, World Fantasy Award-winning author of The Girl in the Glass

Jeff VanderMeer is a realist of the surreal, a chronicler and bibliographer of the impossible city of Ambergris, which could only have been constructed in a collaborative dream between Charles Dickens and E.T.A Hoffman. It is a city of Dickensian scope and intricacy whose inhabitants are the lovers, the artists, the grotesques of German romanticism, and I sometimes suspect that VanderMeer himself is a fragment of the same dream. Shriek is a beautiful and maddening, and beautifully maddening, book. Go to Ambergris: lose yourself among its labyrinthine streets and the fabulous, deadly secrets that lie beneath them. Theodora Goss, author of In the Forest of Forgetting

Jeff VanderMeer's work opens a trapdoor in the world we think we know, into a realm as unforgettable and compelling as an opium dream, and as seductive. Shriek: An Afterword is a sinister and bewitching tour-de-force. Elizabeth Hand, bestselling author of Mortal Love

Here 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 Wizard

Jeff VanderMeer is an extraordinary writer. His vision of Ambergris is passionate, beautiful, complex, terrifying. What is remarkable about Shriek: An Afterword is the way it combines such surreal imagery with intensely human feeling. He writes about real people--about the real world. Tamar Yellin, author of The Genizah at the House of Shepher

Shriek: An Afterword is the first authentic 21st Century fantastical writing. A masterpiece by any standard. Zoran Zivkovic, author of Hidden Camera

VanderMeer explores brilliantly, penetratingly, the frail, evanescent intersection of human understanding and historical actuality.... In the telling, Shriek: An Afterword is an exceptional novel, a tapestry of fine writing, deep psychological insight, and acute narrative excitement. Never forget the excitement: quests after cryptic clues in antique manuscripts; forays into the alien territories below ground; heartbreak and breakdown; the War of the Houses, with one publishing company assailing the other with murderous fungal mines and bombs; an opera performance that becomes a literal, three-cornered battlefield; the gray caps surfacing in massacre; injuries, insults, the inexplicable and the horrifying. And enigmas at the end. Shriek: An Afterword is a dark fantasy of tremendous distinction, and more is to come, as the story of Ambergris is still far from concluded. Nick Gevers, Locus

Jeff VanderMeer's latest is as complicated, impressive and exasperating as anything he has written....VanderMeer makes no compromises with his readers, but Shriek is twisted, darkly funny and ultimately rewarding. Jon Courtenay Grimwood, The Guardian

Maybe it's because Jeff VanderMeer looks so normal when you see him at cons or talking panels that his fiction comes as such a huge shock. Is this fetid hothouse world really the subconscious of that smartly dressed American writer?... A typical VanderMeer novel: clever, intense, and multi-layered. Four stars. SFX

"

"World Fantasy Award-winner VanderMeer makes a triumphant return to Ambergris, the fungus-shrouded metropolis he first chronicled in City of Saints and Madmen, in this masterful if difficult fantasy novel.... Fans of Mark Z. Danielewski, Angela Carter and Borges will be well rewarded." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Certainly Nick Cave would be right at home in Ambergris, the setting of this novel.... less Hitchhiker's Guide than Brazil, but more Requiem for a Dream than anything else." --Bookslut

"VanderMeer's fantasy vision is a hallucinatory incantation not just of mushrooms but also of literature." --Peter Bebergal, The Believer

"With literary stylings, a complex, riveting plot, and ideas that lesser writers could not imagine, Shriek: An Afterword further establishes Jeff Vandermeer as the finest fantasist of his generation." --The Austin Chronicle

"It is, in short, exactly the sort of book which ought to be in contention for major literary prizes--except that it is set in an imaginary city beset by malevolent fungus, and non-genre award panels tend to get scared of such books. In this case, such fears are misplaced; Shriek is a fantastic book, and a fantastical one. For lovers of the uncomfortable and slightly unhealthy work of a Will Self, or the fractured cityscapes of M John Harrison, Shriek is a delight." --Birmingham Post

"Five stars! A stunning and very different fantasy novel from an author who should be turning heads in the 'serious' literary world. VanderMeer concerns himself with the life of a notorious historian whose investigations into a subterranean race known as 'grey caps' may hold the key to an ancient mystery. In reality, however, the book cleverly plays with the ways in which an author can manipulate an audience. But it's far less heavy and more entertaining than that makes it sound." --BBC Focus Magazine

"In the telling, Shriek: An Afterword is an exceptional novel, a tapestry of fine writing, deep psychological insight, and acute narrative excitement.... a dark fantasy of tremendous distinction." --Locus

"An enthralling book which takes you into the vivid and superbly-realized world of Ambergris. It is in turn unsettling, moving and thrilling--with passages of writing that can be dryly funny on one page . . . and beautiful on the next." --Clare Dudman, author of 98 Reasons for Being

"Bloody brilliant." --Hal Duncan, author of Vellum

"There's a madness in Jeff VanderMeer's literary eye, and I would be a liar if I didn't admit it seems intimately familiar. VanderMeer envisions an outlaw literature of shrieks and shouts and a screaming across the sky, worth a thousand polite and respectable mutterings. I, for one, am listening." --Steve Erickson, author of Our Ecstatic Days and editor of Black Clock

"Political, philosophical, many-textured, and multi-layered, the history of fantasy's most intriguing city, Ambergris, is brought vividly to life. The perfect balance of conscientious invention and subtle, comic irony. VanderMeer fearlessly walks a tightrope to deliver an enthralling read." --Jeff Ford, World Fantasy Award-winning author of The Girl in the Glass

"Jeff VanderMeer is a realist of the surreal, a chronicler and bibliographer of the impossible city of Ambergris, which could only have been constructed in a collaborative dream between Charles Dickens and E.T.A Hoffman. It is a city of Dickensian scope and intricacy whose inhabitants are the lovers, the artists, the grotesques of German romanticism, and I sometimes suspect that VanderMeer himself is a fragment of the same dream. Shriek is a beautiful and maddening, and beautifully maddening, book. Go to Ambergris: lose yourself among its labyrinthine streets and the fabulous, deadly secrets that lie beneath them." --Theodora Goss, author of In the Forest of Forgetting

"Jeff VanderMeer's work opens a trapdoor in the world we think we know, into a realm as unforgettable and compelling as an opium dream, and as seductive. Shriek: An Afterword is a sinister and bewitching tour-de-force." --Elizabeth Hand, bestselling author of Mortal Love

"Here 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 Wizard

"Jeff VanderMeer is an extraordinary writer. His vision of Ambergris is passionate, beautiful, complex, terrifying. What is remarkable about Shriek: An Afterword is the way it combines such surreal imagery with intensely human feeling. He writes about real people--about the real world." --Tamar Yellin, author of The Genizah at the House of Shepher

"Shriek: An Afterword is the first authentic 21st Century fantastical writing. A masterpiece by any standard." --Zoran Zivkovic, author of Hidden Camera

"VanderMeer explores brilliantly, penetratingly, the frail, evanescent intersection of human understanding and historical actuality.... In the telling, Shriek: An Afterword is an exceptional novel, a tapestry of fine writing, deep psychological insight, and acute narrative excitement. Never forget the excitement: quests after cryptic clues in antique manuscripts; forays into the alien territories below ground; heartbreak and breakdown; the War of the Houses, with one publishing company assailing the other with murderous fungal mines and bombs; an opera performance that becomes a literal, three-cornered battlefield; the gray caps surfacing in massacre; injuries, insults, the inexplicable and the horrifying. And enigmas at the end. Shriek: An Afterword is a dark fantasy of tremendous distinction, and more is to come, as the story of Ambergris is still far from concluded." --Nick Gevers, Locus

"Jeff VanderMeer's latest is as complicated, impressive and exasperating as anything he has written....VanderMeer makes no compromises with his readers, but Shriek is twisted, darkly funny and ultimately rewarding." --Jon Courtenay Grimwood, The Guardian

"Maybe it's because Jeff VanderMeer looks so normal when you see him at cons or talking panels that his fiction comes as such a huge shock. Is this fetid hothouse world really the subconscious of that smartly dressed American writer?... A typical VanderMeer novel: clever, intense, and multi-layered. Four stars." --SFX

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