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Why Should I Cut Your Throat? Paperback – September 21, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

JEFF VANDERMEER, winner of two prestigious World Fantasy Awards, has had his fiction and nonfiction published in ten languages in twenty countries. He has been a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the British Fantasy Award. His nonfiction has appeared in, among others, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, the latest Nebula Awards anthology, and The New York Review of SF. Books by VanderMeer have made the year’s best lists of The San Francisco Chronicle, The Los Angeles Weekly, Amazon.com, Publishers Weekly, Publishers News, and Locus magazine. CNN.com recently called his work "Darkly distinctive. Not to be missed!" He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Monkeybrain; First Edition edition (September 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932265112
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932265118
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,879,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Abigail Nussbaum on June 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
In the last few years, Jeff VanderMeer has become one of my favorite writers of modern fantasy. His Ambergris stories in particular opened my eyes to the possibilities of the genre, and through his weblog I've found his observations on the state of the genre insightful and fascinating. VanderMeer has a unique perspective, as an outsider (published by small presses and POD) who became an insider, and so his nonfiction provides a fresh approach to the business and art of writing fantasy. Unfortunately, while there are some stellar pieces in Why Should I Cut Your Throat, the collection is padded with a great deal of material that doesn't merit compilation and preservation for the ages.

Why Should I Cut Your Throat is divided into three segments. The first, Career & Craft, discusses VanderMeer's growth as a writer and his efforts to get his work published. Of particular note is "City of Saints and Madmen: The Untold Story", in which VanderMeer describes not only the artistic genesis of Ambergris, but also his struggle to get stories set in that city published, and finally to publish a collection of these stories. The essay is a fascinating look behind the scenes of small press publishing and of the challenges that face writers outside the mainstream. The rest of the Career segment isn't half as interesting. Did we really need, for example, an interview with the artist who drew the original City of Saints and Madmen cover?

The next section collects VanderMeer's reviews over a period of a decade. Most of the reviews are the kind you'd expect to find in a periodical - a brief discussion of the book's plot and an overview of its strengths and weaknesses. In other words, not something that needs to be preserved for the ages.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kelly C. Shaw on May 16, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Why Should I Cut Your Throat?, the first essay collection by one of America's finest young authors, Jeff VanderMeer (City of Saints and Madmen, Secret Life), is part humorous insider's view of the SF, fantasy, and horror scene (i.e. VanderMeer's experience at the 1999 World Fantasy Convention), part compilation of VanderMeer's previously published reviews, and part an infectious appreciation of VanderMeer's favorite authors (one comes away from these essays wanting to hunt down the works of Angela Carter and Edward Whittemore).

Regardless of its parts, it is always brave and brutally honest (one wonders, after reading some of VanderMeer's scathing reviews, how much hate mail he has received), always compassionate and encouraging (particularly to aspiring writers in his notes on how to teach creative writing). But above all, it is a passionate, compulsively readable love letter to the imagination.

Anyone who believes fantasy is simply orcs and hobbits, or doubts the literary merits of contemporary fantasy, needs to buy this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Alexander on August 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
I have been a major fan fo jeff since i picked up a copy of City of Saints and Madmen from an employee picks section of a borders. This book is a collection of stories about his time spent in atlanta for a convention, and many reviews and anecdotes he has written over the years. Jeff uses his emmense imagination to make even an atlanta convention a great, wonderful, insightful, and surreal place. If he wrote the phone book, id read it cover to cover. The end.
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