I’m five chapters into Jeff VanderMeer’s Finch. In a couple of text messages I attempted to convey the sense of atmosphere, the rot of Ambergris that seeps into the mind of the reader. I explained the basic concept of the novel, the grey caps, the rot. Then, knowing that she very much enjoyed two previous novels I recommended, I mentioned that this was the fourth novel from the same publisher of Last Days and The Pilo Family Circus.
That’s when I got the response of “ooh”.
The publisher matters.
I’m talking about Underland Press. Underland Press was created by Victoria Blake, a former fiction editor at Dark Horse. From the publisher's "Mission" page:
WE LIKE STORIES that scare us. We like the macabre-monsters and magic and men with nothing to lose. More than anything, we like to be intrigued and entertained.Blake published Underland Press’s first four books in 2009 and it was an impressive debut year. 2010 sees Underland taking over the Best American Fantasy series with the third volume. Both Last Days and The Pilo Family Circus were disturbing and twisted and quite good. I haven’t had the chance yet to read Chaos, but given that Blake published it, I have high expectations – though my stomach is wary.
UNDERLAND PRESS was started to bring the best of the world’s scary and strange stories to life and to light.
CALL IT THE NEW WEIRD, or fantasy, or dark fantasy. Call it what you want. We like reading by flashlight under the covers at night. We want to make books you can’t put down.
So, I’m reading Finch. The first five chapters are fantastic and that isn’t a surprise. When I do my Year’s Best lists in late December I only go to the Top Nine because I never know what book I missed or didn’t get a chance to read. It’s early yet, but I kind of think it might have been Finch.
Published by Underland Press.
Oh, and here's a great interview Victoria Blake did with Charles Tan last year.