Friday, September 16, 2011

The Cabinet of Curiosities

I mentionted back in April that Ann and Jeff VanderMeer had another collection in the works bearing the name of the learned (and fictious) Thackery T. Lambshead: The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities.  The volume is subtitled "Exhibits, Oddities, Images, and Stories from Top Authors & Artists," which means it's enough weirdness to fill a couple of d30 tables of the bizarre. 

The book's conceit is that Lambshead has died and a cabinet of "artifacts, curios, and wonders" was discovered in his estate.  Famous authors (abetted by artists) relate vignettes and short-stories about these items.  For examplle, Cherie Priest details "the clockroach," and China Mieville reveals the "Pulvadmonitor" (and what it has to do with the British Dental Assocation Museum).  Other contributors include Michael Moorcock, Ted Chiang, Alan Moore, Caitlin Kiernan, and Tad Williams.

Some of my favorites are the shorter entries in "A Brief Catalog of Items." The names alone are evocative in many cases: "Bullet Menagerie," "The Decanter of Everlasting Sadness," "Mellified Alien," and "The Night Quilt, American."

Plenty of inspiration to be had.  Check it out.


The Angry Lurker said...

Sounds like a good read for when curiosity gets the better of me.

Trey said...

Heh. Nice. :)

Jeremy Duncan said...

I got my copy signed by Ann and Jeff when they were in town for a reading, but I haven't had time to dip into it yet.

Needles said...

We've got this book at my libary & I think I'll be checking it out this week! Thanks for making me aware of this book Trey! Nice work

Trey said...

@Jeremy - It's good stuff, though the sections are longer than in the diseases volume, so it's less amenable to browsing.

@Neeldes - Check it out.

evangineer said...

Just picked up a copy of this yesterday in a charity shop.

Two words: Bear Gun!

This is a book of weird, absurd and surreal items.

So I can see using this for games and settings like Over the Edge, Ultraviolet Grasslands, and most especially the crowdsourced hexcrawl Weird Wayfaring which is fully of weird, anachronistic items anyway.