Highlights // 12 – 18 Oct 15

Injection_01-1Graphic Novels: Descender and Injection (Image)

Although we primarily focus on text-based fiction, it would be completely misguided not to report speculative fiction from the graphic novel and comic-based world. Recently, Image introduced two new titled to their impressive catalogue of speculative and weird works: Descender by Jeff Lemire, and Injection by Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey. The first volume of Descender was published this September; a beautiful story which artfully mixes glorious space opera with a touching, “coming-of-age” type narrative humanoid-robot Tim-21.

And if that wasn’t enough, Image are set to release volume one of Injection. We can’t wait for this one – it contains a serialised collection of graphic novels which detail the fall-out of a 21st century “poisoned by five crazy people”. Injection has been described as a blend of weird, science fiction, crime and horror all rolled into one. So, naturally, we had to get in on that – we are ready to dive into our copy!

e433eb8de9132a354277d9f4b44fc17aR.R.A.P. Magazine – Black Speculative Fiction Month

R.R.A.P. Magazine is a great place that forefronts diverse stories, characters and writers from different backgrounds. Of course, this is a great initiative in any context, but October is a very interesting month. During October, R.A.A.P. Magazine are championing works of black authors writing speculative, fantasy and science fiction. Hop over to their website to see their selection of the best in speculative fiction, with a fantastic mix of often marginalised voices dabbling in the speculative genres.

Follow R.R.A.P. on Twitter here for more exciting discussions about race and culture in fiction and the media.

35108-1Publishers Weeky – Big Indie Books of Fall 2015

Check the Publishers Weekly list of the Big Indie Books of Fall 2015 which is chock-full of thrilling new titles coming out this autumn. There are some great titles on the list, such as Learning to Die in the Anthropocene by Roy Scranton (City Lights), The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli (Coffee House) and Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine (Drawn and Quarterly). It’s really important to support indie publishers – after all, they bring us some great texts that big publishing houses are reluctant to get behind. So wander on over to Publishers Weekly’s website and take a peek at the impressive range of essays, graphic novels, fiction and non-fiction on offer!

Hope you found something you like here! If you have any suggestions or have something you would like to see featured in the upcoming weeks – please let us know in the comments! Keep the conversation going – MEGLO

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Highlights // 05 – 11 Oct 15

A selection of exciting things happening in the literary world! The high points of the week for us!

UprightBeasts_FRONTCOVER

Upright Beats by Lincoln Michel (Coffee House Press)

This new title was just launched by Coffee House Press earlier in the week. This is a début book by Lincoln Michel, co-editor of Gigantic Magazine. There has been a lot of buzz around this collection of short stories, with high praise coming from early reviewers. Michel’s writing ” reads something like translated Kafka”, according to The New York Times Book Review, so we here at Meglo are can’t wait to get our hands on a copy!

Upright Beasts was also featured in Vanity Fair’s list of “October’s 6 Scariest New Books”: http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2015/10/scary-new-october-books-the-witches-stacy-schiff

Cofee House Press website: http://coffeehousepress.org/shop/upright-beasts/

Read Michel’s short story “My Life in the Belly of Beasts” on Vice: http://www.vice.com/read/read-this-story-from-upright-beasts-by-lincoln-michel

Follow Lincoln Michel on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheLincoln

Popshot Issue 14

Popshot Issue 14, “The Curious Issue”

Popshot  released the 14th issue of their magazine earlier this month, under the umbrella theme of “Curious”. Popshot is a quarterly magazine of poetry and short fiction, full of dark and strange stories, prefect for our taste at Meglo. Not only do they have a great selection of short stories with lyrical prose, the also produce amazing artwork from some very talented artists.

Find out more about Popshot here: http://popshotpopshot.com/index.html

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The Heart Goes Last Fan Fiction Contest

Write fan fiction inspired by Margaret Atwood’s latest novel, The Heart Goes Last. The competition is being held by Book Riot and will be judged by a selection of Book Riot staff along with Margaret Atwood herself. Atwood has thoroughly embraced speculative fiction in the past few years, so this competition could be of particular interest to anyone eager to write strange or dystopian literature. Best of luck!

Details on Book Riot’s website here: http://bookriot.com/2015/09/29/announcing-heart-goes-last-fan-fiction-contest/

Get the latest from Book Riot on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BookRiot

Author Spotlight: Jeff VanderMeer

Bookish Bio

In celebration of the news that Jeff VanderMeer will be releasing another book next year, we have decided to dedicate our very first Author Spotlight to him! Jeff VanderMeer is an American author who has been writing sf of varying degrees for the last few decades. He has been a prominent voice in the sf community, both online and in the academic world. Not only has VanderMeer contributed significantly to the Weird with his works of fiction, but along with his wife Ann, he has complied numerous influential anthologies. These anthologies have dealt with a wide range of sf-related topics, from Steampunk to weird fiction and the New Weird. VanderMeer is also a strong advocate of translated weird fiction, and he is determined to make it possible for international Weird writers to get their stories published in English for the Anglo-centric masses.

Catalogue Stand-Outs

VanderMere’s most prominent works of fiction include:

The Southern Reach Trilogy –

“Annihilation” (4th Estate, 2014)

“Authority” (4th Estate, 2014)

“Acceptance” (4the Estate, 2014)

The Ambergris Novels – 

“City of Saints and Madmen” (Tor, 2004)

“Shreik: An Afterword” (Tor, 2006)

“Finch” (Underland Press, 2009)

The paperback editions of The Southern Reach Trilogy by 4th Estate UK

The paperback editions of The Southern Reach Trilogy by 4th Estate UK

In-Depth Focus

A look at the books of The Southern Reach Trilogy 

Although the trilogy is made up of three separate novels, it is recommended that all three books should be read in sequence. The publisher, 4th Estate, made the savvy decision to publish all the books in the same year; this worked greatly to their advantage as the first book “Annihilation” proved a run-away success.

“Annihilation” follows the story of a team of four scientist as they undertake a mission to a strange wilderness known as Area X. The group are the twelfth expedition to be sent into the strange zone by a clandestine government agency called The Southern Reach. In the following two novels, the reader gets a better look into this shadowy agency, as the story shifts from the weird wilds of Area X to the unsettling claustrophobia of confined offices and narrow hallways. The story of Area X slowing unfolds as the characters become both baffled by and obsessed with the mysteries of the unsettling landscape.

Useful Links

VanderMeer’s Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_VanderMeer#Novels

VanderMeer’s Blog: http://www.jeffvandermeer.com/

VanderMeer on “The Uncanny Power of Weird Fiction” from The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/10/uncanny-fiction-beautiful-and-bizarre/381794/

“The Weird World of Jeff VanderMeer” from Tor.com: http://www.tor.com/2014/12/10/the-weird-world-of-jeff-vandermeer/

“A Writer’s Surreal Journey” from The Altantic:  http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/01/from-annihilation-to-acceptance-a-writers-surreal-journey/384884/

“Weird Ecology: On The Southern Reach Trilogy” from the Los Angeles Review of Books: https://lareviewofbooks.org/review/weird-ecology-southern-reach-trilogy

Highlights // 28 Sep – 4 Oct 15

A smattering of exciting stuff in the world of contemporary fiction. Relaying news on upcoming titles, bookish events and anything with a literary flourish.

Rules-for-Werewolves-mockup

“Rules for Werewovles” by Kirk Lynn 

A brand-new book from début novelist Kirk Lynn, published by the amazing indie press Melville House. The story has been described as a subverted take on the suburban novel; the book deals with displaced people and unoccupied spaces. See an interview with Kirk Lynn here and a review of his novel on Boobpeople’s Blog here.

Links: http://www.mhpbooks.com/i-think-its-pretty-clear-youre-wrong-an-interview-with-kirk-lynn/

https://bookpeopleblog.wordpress.com/2015/10/06/read-this-book-rules-for-werewolves/

global_437444520The Horror Book Club (London, UK) – The Horror Book Club are reading the classic Dracula for their meet-up tomorrow, Thursday 8th October. A great group dedicated to horror and the Weird, they meet near King’s Cross station at 7pm. Details here for anyone interested in this or future events: http://www.meetup.com/The-Horror-Book-Club/

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Jeff VanderMeer – The author of the iconic Ambergris novels and the phenomenally successfully Southern Reach trilogy has just completed his new novel, Bliss. This will be his first novel since the Southern Reach trilogy, and is due out in either later 2016 or early 1017. But this is not the only project VanderMeer’s been working on! As usual, he’s been a busy bee; he and his wife Ann have a mountain of other schemes they’ve been working on. VanderMeer posted this list of his current undertakings on his Facebook page:

“Right. One informational post. My novel BORNE will be out in fall 2016 or spring 2017. The next one, BLISS, just went to my agent. BIG BOOK OF SF, almost 700k of a century of SF stories, is out from Vintage in June 2016. *This* year, our 900-page omnibus of Leena Krohn’s fiction is out Dec. 8. Ann’s BESTIARY antho (with original fiction from Mieville and Valente) is out in December as well from Centipede Press. In addition, we’re putting together a STORYBUNDLE for December (ebooks) that is like none you’ve ever seen. It’ll include the Krohn as well as Anna Tambour Michael Cisco’s The Narrator, and some other things I can’t talk about yet. BUT one of them will be an e-book of fiction by a writer out of print for almost 20 years. Finally, we have a month of events in Canada starting next week–will do a blog post about that soon. Both Ann and I are really exhausted, but I think it was worth it.”

Some useful links to VanderMeer’s Facebook page and VanderMeer’s blog

What is the Contemporary?

The key concern for Meglo is contemporary fiction. So, we’ve put ourselves in a bit of a difficult situation here, because this means we have to define what “the contemporary” means. On the one hand, and for the simple the purpose of this blog, “contemporary fiction” plainly means new fiction. Anyone who is writing and publishing fiction at this moment can be considered contemporary. But, then, what is “this moment”? And does contemporary really simply mean “new” or “happening now”, or is it more of a cultural construct?

The idea of the contemporary implies time, and since human beings experience life inside time, the implication is that the contemporary is also an experience. Therefore, the contemporary is difficult to categorise because it is constantly in flux; once we state “this is now”, that “now” has already past and we are living in a future moment of “now”. Yet this difficulty of the contemporary is also its strength. The beauty of the contemporary is that it is constantly moving forward, propelled by the arrow of time.

So,  where does this leave contemporary fiction? When you study literature, you learn about literary movements in blocks of time – you move from medieval, to Romantic, to Victorian, to Modernism. This is a terribly simplistic overview, but you get the picture; literature is contextualised within its (very general) historical moment. But it is not unusual to hear people state that there is no movement within contemporary fiction. But Meglo is a space that seeks to prove this sentiment is false. There is so much happening in the contemporary literary sphere, in fact, there is not just one movement, but there are several!

The contemporary captures the spirit of an age, but the irony is that that spirit only becomes concrete once the current moment has past. We encourage constant discussion about contemporary fiction, because we believe that such a dialogue is  the sphere of the contemporary. Channels of communication enable the continuous flux, and the internet is the best place to open these channels, because here, everyone has a platform and everyone has a voice.

We concentrate particularly on weird and speculative fiction, because we think that the sf community is a vibrant place full of intriguing and cutting-edge ideas. Sci-fi has moved from it’s parents’ basement to join the populace, and the results are pretty interesting. Speculative fiction is also of specific interest because it blurs those antiquated boundaries between pulp/genre fiction and traditional literary fiction. And, as we’ve readily discovered, the contemporary is pretty much all a blur!

So does the contemporary come with the “end of history”? Does it belong in the moment of postmodernism, or evern post-postmodernism? Does the contemporary emerge with the dawn of the information age? We’re not sure, in fact, nobody’s really sure (seriously, try discussing this topic with a literature scholar)! Literature is constructed from and a response to the concerns of its time. Contemporary fiction is built of our current cultural, social and historical experiences, and the conversations these experiences inspire.

So let’s keep taking, the floor is yours

-MEGLO

Intro to Meglo

A little bit about MegloBlog:

This is a space to discuss the latest news in the world of contemporary speculative fiction. There are so many impressive authors emerging right now, and we aim to keep the public informed on exciting developments and projects in the literary world.

If you are interested in fiction that blurs boundaries, this is the place for you!
We are primarily concerned with fiction that is a little bit strange and hard to place. Weird fiction, horror, science fiction, urban fantasy, magical realism … anything that feels slightly odd and unnerving, anything that breaks down the division between genre fiction and traditional literary fiction. We live in a time where binary categories and social norms are constantly shifting, so why should the norms of literature be any different!

Meglo Aims:

This site is an open channel, and we are keen to start a discussion about the state of literature in the present moment. If you would like to throw your opinions out there, please don’t be shy and leave a comment! We are based in the UK and our focus is mainly on British and North American fiction, but we are happy to hear from writers further afield.

Happy reading, happy writing, and remember to always keep an ongoing dialogue. Literature stays alive through continuing discussion of its readers!