Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Two of weird fiction's most famous visit USF

TAMPA — It can be difficult to describe the kind of fiction Jeff and Ann VanderMeer write, edit and publish.

Called weird fiction, it's a mix of fantasy, science fiction and horror. And there seem to be no set rules.

"It's not Harry Potter and it's not The Walking Dead. It's kind of a combination of both," Jeff VanderMeer said.

"It's when the strange and surreal intrude upon your real world," added Ann VanderMeer, his wife.

The couple spoke at the University of South Florida Tuesday night as part of the school's annual science fiction symposium.

Both are famous in the science fiction world. Jeff VanderMeer, 44, is a World Fantasy Award winner. His fiction has been published in more than 20 countries. Ann VanderMeer, 56, is a publisher and editor, and only the second female editor, of the horror magazine, Weird Tales. And together, they have published the critically acclaimed anthology The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories. They live in Tallahassee.

On Tuesday, Jeff VanderMeer added one more accomplishment to his list. Before his presentation at USF, he learned his latest book, Annihilation, and the trilogy it is part of have been optioned to become movies by Paramount Pictures and Scott Rudin Productions.

"I can't believe I'm saying this," he said as he announced the news to the audience full of creative writing students.

The book is about Area X, a forbidden zone of wilderness concealed by the government for 30 years. Eleven expeditions have entered the area to try to discover what's going on inside without success. The book follows the 12th expedition, VanderMeer said.

While the genre of weird fiction may seem unfamiliar, it's more popular than one might think.

Weird fiction has been around since Gothic novels 200 years ago, said Rick Wilbur, a professor of mass communications at USF and organizer of the science fiction symposium. Edgar Allan Poe would fit into that, he said.

More recent authors such as Ray Bradbury and Margaret Atwood write stories of a similar feel, too, Jeff VanderMeer said.

"A lot of people read darker fantasy fiction," he said, "and don't even realize it because it's in the mainstream."

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3401.

Two of weird fiction's most famous visit USF 03/28/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 3:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. A total of 367 men and women reside on death row at Florida State Prison and Union Correctional Institution, down from 383 at the start of this year. [AP photo (1989)]
  2. Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, right, host MSNBC's "Morning Joe" at NBC Studios in New York on April 14, 2010. President Donald Trump on Thursday assailed Brzezinski in unusually personal and vulgar terms, the latest of a string of escalating attacks by the president on the national news media.
  3. Goliath grouper are anything but gentle giants for Florida fishermen

    Wildlife

    Goliath, the biblical giant, wasn't known for bothering fishermen. But the gigantic fish named after him — they can weigh up to 800-pounds — is notorious for exactly that.

    Biologists take samples from a goliath grouper that was caught in the Gulf of Mexico. The fish was released back into the gulf. Florida fishermen have petitioned the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to allow them to catch the up to 800-pound fish for a limited time. [Courtesy of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
  4. Volkov hopes to prove his surprise selection right

    Blogs

    RW Alexander Volkov was not a particularly talked-about player in the lead up to the NHL entry draft.

  5. A stunt turns deadly for a couple seeking YouTube fame (w/video)

    Human Interest

    Over the past several weeks, Monalisa Perez of Halstad, Minnesota, and her boyfriend, Pedro Ruiz III, began their quest for YouTube fame by creating and posting videos of mostly harmless pranks: Ruiz climbing onto a tenuous tree branch and falling a short distance, or Perez feeding him a doughnut covered in baby powder …

    Over the past several weeks, Monalisa Perez of Halstad, Minnesota, and her boyfriend, Pedro Ruiz III, began their quest for YouTube fame by creating and posting videos of mostly harmless pranks. On June 26, 2017, authorities say, Perez, 19, shot at a thick book that Ruiz, 22, was holding, apparently believing that the bullet would not make it through the volume. The bullet entered Ruiz's chest and he died at the scene. [Photo from video]