This collection of 23 stories reflects a diversity of approaches to key questions about the human condition, including questions about mortality, love, obsession, and creativity. ”Balzac's War” is a harrowing, powerful far-future novella that pits brother against brother in a landscape ravaged by war with Earth's newly sentient human-made species. In 13th-century Cambodia, a lone artist is torn between his love of his craft and his unspoken love for a woman in ”The Bone Carver's Tale.” In ”The Emperor's Reply” and ”The Compass of His Bones,” set in 17th-century Peru, the last Incan Emperor, having brutally fallen at the hands of the Conquistadores, seeks his revenge.
Jeffrey Scott VanderMeer (born 1968) is an American writer. He was born in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, but spent much of his childhood in the Fiji Islands, where his parents worked for the Peace Corps. This experience, and the trip back to the United States through Asia, Africa, and Europe, influenced him deeply. He currently lives in Tallahassee, Florida. In 2003, Jeff married editor Ann Kennedy.
Photo: Jeff VanderMeer and his Finnish translators. Taken by Johan A. Creative Commons license.