Last Drink Bird Head pre-order

Coming out of hole to say that Last Drink Bird Head, awesomely imaginative flash fiction for literacy, is available for pre-order:

What Is Last Drink Bird Head?

That’s the catalyst editors Ann and Jeff VanderMeer provided to over 80 writers in creating this unique anthology, with all proceeds going to ProLiteracy.org. All each writer got was an email with “Last Drink Bird Head” in the subject line and the directions “Who or what is Last Drink Bird Head? Under 500 words.” The result? Last Drink Bird Head is a blues musician, a performance artist, a type of alcohol, a town in Texas, and even a song sung by girl scouts in Antarctica. Famed designer John Coulthart did the interior, which features bobbing bird heads in the corners of the pages, so that the antho is also a flipbook.

Cover image:

Order Page

As I said in my earlier post, the contributor list is awesome. Having been given permission to include teasers in this advertisement, my piece is actually 5 short pieces, one of which is a poem that starts like this:

In the land of the thundercloud
on that most open of pinion ayeways, that scraaa-aa-apes down
from Hrim Town of the iron filing cabinets, iron horses, iron heads,
longbows, curfews, depressions, down to Hum,
known for its many used Tarota dealers
(& the astonishing aerial ballétopétomachia, held every June at the Grand Opera),
the goondas’ silver trail, the high and cold
gutter down the roof of the world,
which the gamblers call Rue Misère Ouverte or Miserie op Tafel Straat,
and the shills—not a damn one that speaks except in tongues—
call the Dill’s Doodweg—passes through Last Drink Bird Head,
where the deciduous Marquis, to prove
that a white Borsalino was the real thing…

(The Marquis, Borsalino held over heart, smiles winsomely, bats a silver-sugared eyelash, and whispers that you might like to buy the book…)

* * *

While I’m out of the hole, I’m looking at artist Melli Ink. Glass skeletons, insects, savage plants…  And at the bottom of this page, the poem Blue Horse, by Masako Takiguchi.

I was going to go back in the hole and close comments off this post, but changed my mind. In case comments help sales, or the Marquis needs to say more, or something.


Last Drink Bird Head

Flash fiction! Jeff and Ann VanderMeer have curated a collection of flash fiction, Last Drink Bird Head, to be launched at the World Fantasy Convention this year. All proceeds go to literacy charities.


This is the contributor list:

Daniel Abraham
Michael Arnzen
Steve Aylett
KJ Bishop
Michael Bishop
Desirina Boskovich
Keith Brooke
Jesse Bullington
Richard Butner
Catherine Cheek
Matthew Cheney
Michael Cisco
Gio Clairval
Alan M. Clark
Brendan Connell
Paul Di Filippo
Stephen R. Donaldson
Rikki Ducornet
Clare Dudman
Alistair Duncan
Scott Eagle
Brian Evenson
Eliot Fintushel
Jeffrey Ford
Richard Gehr
Felix Gilman
Jon Courtney Grimwood
Rhys Hughes
Paul Jessup
Antony Johnston
John Kaiine
Henry Kaiser
Caitlin R. Kiernan
Tessa Kum
Ellen Kushner
Jay Lake
Tanith Lee
Stina Leicht
Therese Littleton
Beth Adele Long
Dustin Long
Nick Mamatas
JM McDermott
Sarah Monette
Kari O’Connor
Ben Peek
Holly Phillips
Louis Phillips
Tim Pratt
Cat Rambo
Mark Rich
Bruce Holland Rogers
Nicholas Royle
G Eric Schaller
Ekaterina Sedia
Ramsey Shehadeh
Peter Straub
Victoria Strauss
Michael Swanwick
Mark Swartz
Alan Swirsky
Rachel Swirsky
Sonya Taaffe
Justin Taylor
Steve Rasnic Tem
Jeffrey Thomas
Scott Thomas
John Urbancik
Genevieve Valentine
Kim Westwood
Leslie What
Andrew Steiger White
Conrad Williams
Liz Williams
Neil Williamson
Caleb Wilson
Gene Wolfe
Jonathan Wood
Marly Youmans
Catherine Zeidler

(Fangirly squee for being in a book with Rikki Ducornet, whose The Fountains of Neptune is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.)

And a word for Neglected Topiary, a book of music for which I can’t find any samples, so that you may wonder why I’m mentioning it at all. But listen to this description:

“…the pieces may allow listeners to gradually form the impressions of a repertoire of music, in turns ceremonious, mannered, sentimental, and whimsical, with all of the internal consistancies and differences encountered in “real” repertoires, not like Pinnochio trying to be a “real boy” by learning to behave well, but like a topiary animal in a forgotten garden, which is ultimately no more real than the observer wants it to be.”

I found this paragraph so evocative that it started creating music in my mind, to the visual accompaniment of a film that never was — a grey film wandering between stormy days and quietly cloudy ones, in which the topiary animal, subject and obedient to the laws of  melancholy, inevitably returns to the natural form of a tree.