Rejoice and make merry! The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities is available for purchase from today! Look at it!
I give you also a sample collage of the interior!
I have a story in this. I keep saying that and grinning because it is so unbelievable a thing. I am overjoyed about this for gazillions of reasons, most of which are variations on the following:
1) The VanderMeers are heroes of mine, and to be invited to work with them has been an honour and a privilege as well as fantastically fun
2) I adored The Thackery T. Lambshead Pocket Guide to Eccentric and Discredited Diseases, so being part of an anthologised sequel to it is all kinds of awesome, particularly when the Table of Contents is so awing a thing
3) I was asked to write a story for this image:
Tremble before its might!
The story is called “The Singing Fish,” and sets out the history of the image’s composition. Have a teaser:
This exciting find titled Der singende Fisch (The Singing Fish) is a rare reproduction of the last known work of artist, artisan and poet Edith Abendroth. She created Der singende Fisch during her incarceration in the Lunatic Asylum at Eberbach Abbey from 1861 until her death in 1869. Until now, only scattered descriptions of the piece were available, reproductions suppressed by the unusual events following Abendroth’s death, which resulted in the superstition that surrounds Der singende Fisch to the present day.
The image contains the distorted proportions characteristic of all Ms. Abendroth’s work, but there are more symbols at work here: consider that the critic is cock-eyed, seen in profile, which associates him with the noble figure of one-eyed Odin, the Norse God of the gallows, who sacrificed an eye in order to gain all the world’s wisdom. Yet instead of Huginn and Muninn, Odin’s twin ravens named Thought and Memory, two parrots perch on his shoulders, symbolic of meaningless chatter and thoughtless repetition. Still there are ravens in the image, after a fashion: two raven feathers (one from Thought, one from Memory?) peek out of the well of Imperial Ink at the critic’s feet, suggesting that he has sacrificed Thought and Memory to produce the ink with which he will write his vicious tracts.
The fact that the critic leans against a stack of books could indicate any number of things: that he leans on the works of his betters without understanding them; that all his learning is useless to him as a means of understanding the singing fish; that all he can do is parrot the words of his educators without contributing thoughts of his own. Consider that he covers his mouth with his hand, and that he is dressed all in black – almost as if he had bathed himself in the death of Thought and Memory.
But where the critic’s mouth is covered, the fish’s mouth is wide open; where the critic is silent, the fish sings.
What bait could hook such a throat?
HarperCollins has a list of retailers from which you can purchase it, if you don’t want to go to Amazon, but it’s worth pointing out that it’s amazingly deep-discounted right now, so, you know, if you’ve always wanted to buy a stunningly produced hardback anthology with amazing interior illustrations for which were written awesomely odd stories for $12, here is your chance!