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None of This Is Normal: The Fiction of Jeff VanderMeer

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How the otherworldly worlds created by the author of the Southern Reach Trilogy speak to—and even affect—our own If ever a moment and a writer were made for each other, that time is now and Jeff VanderMeer is that writer. Reaching more and more readers as his fantastic fiction delves deeper and deeper into the true weirdness of our day, VanderMeer presents a unique opportu How the otherworldly worlds created by the author of the Southern Reach Trilogy speak to—and even affect—our own If ever a moment and a writer were made for each other, that time is now and Jeff VanderMeer is that writer. Reaching more and more readers as his fantastic fiction delves deeper and deeper into the true weirdness of our day, VanderMeer presents a unique opportunity to explore the cultural frictions and fault lines in today’s—and tomorrow’s— literary landscape.  In the first book-length study of this provocative writer, Benjamin J. Robertson focuses on the three major series that have propelled VanderMeer to prominence (his Vennis fictions, Ambergris novels, and Southern Reach Trilogy) as well as his recent stand-alone novel Borne. Most salient for Robertson is how VanderMeer grapples with the transformation of human meaning and being in the contemporary moment. None of This Is Normal reveals how VanderMeer creates fictions that directly address our Anthropocene epoch, in which humanity must reckon with the unprecedented nature of its impact on the environment and with the consequent obsolescence of its methods of representing itself in this altered world.  In Robertson’s reading it becomes startlingly clear that certain fiction, especially when willing to abandon humanist assumptions about history, has the power to not simply show us a world “out there” but to actively participate in that world. As realist fiction and even science fiction conventionally reduce the scale and complexity of the Anthropocene to human-sized dimensions, None of This Is Normal shows how VanderMeer’s work conjures what Robertson calls a “fantastic materiality”: a reality that stands apart from us as a model of thinking, irreducible to our own.


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How the otherworldly worlds created by the author of the Southern Reach Trilogy speak to—and even affect—our own If ever a moment and a writer were made for each other, that time is now and Jeff VanderMeer is that writer. Reaching more and more readers as his fantastic fiction delves deeper and deeper into the true weirdness of our day, VanderMeer presents a unique opportu How the otherworldly worlds created by the author of the Southern Reach Trilogy speak to—and even affect—our own If ever a moment and a writer were made for each other, that time is now and Jeff VanderMeer is that writer. Reaching more and more readers as his fantastic fiction delves deeper and deeper into the true weirdness of our day, VanderMeer presents a unique opportunity to explore the cultural frictions and fault lines in today’s—and tomorrow’s— literary landscape.  In the first book-length study of this provocative writer, Benjamin J. Robertson focuses on the three major series that have propelled VanderMeer to prominence (his Vennis fictions, Ambergris novels, and Southern Reach Trilogy) as well as his recent stand-alone novel Borne. Most salient for Robertson is how VanderMeer grapples with the transformation of human meaning and being in the contemporary moment. None of This Is Normal reveals how VanderMeer creates fictions that directly address our Anthropocene epoch, in which humanity must reckon with the unprecedented nature of its impact on the environment and with the consequent obsolescence of its methods of representing itself in this altered world.  In Robertson’s reading it becomes startlingly clear that certain fiction, especially when willing to abandon humanist assumptions about history, has the power to not simply show us a world “out there” but to actively participate in that world. As realist fiction and even science fiction conventionally reduce the scale and complexity of the Anthropocene to human-sized dimensions, None of This Is Normal shows how VanderMeer’s work conjures what Robertson calls a “fantastic materiality”: a reality that stands apart from us as a model of thinking, irreducible to our own.

48 review for None of This Is Normal: The Fiction of Jeff VanderMeer

  1. 5 out of 5

    rebecca

    Ben Robertson is an insightful, deliberate scholar of the Weird. As this is the first booklength effort to explore ways in and out and possibly in between the layers of reality inherent in both the works of Jeff Vandermeer and the academic literature on critical literary analysis, it isn’t possible to locate Robertson’s book in relationship to other Vandermeer analysis, but I consider it a useful and interesting entry point into the critical theory work on fiction and the environment and horror Ben Robertson is an insightful, deliberate scholar of the Weird. As this is the first booklength effort to explore ways in and out and possibly in between the layers of reality inherent in both the works of Jeff Vandermeer and the academic literature on critical literary analysis, it isn’t possible to locate Robertson’s book in relationship to other Vandermeer analysis, but I consider it a useful and interesting entry point into the critical theory work on fiction and the environment and horror in the modern world.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Justin Groot

    Fascinating even though I only understood maybe 65% of it!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    Mr. Robertson occasionally flirts with coherence, but if you're looking for intelligible commentary on the writings of Jeff Vandermeer this book, unfortunately, is not it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sean Guynes

    A thorough and compelling reading of VanderMeer's oeuvre, and why he--and literature, more generally--matter.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sheri Konschak

    Not a genre I read. I won this book in a Good Reads giveaway or I would not have it. I plan on donating it to my local library. I'm sure there's someone interested in this kind of book. I rated it low but only because I didn't read it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    spooky blossom.

  7. 5 out of 5

    mh

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emma Knickelbine

  9. 5 out of 5

    Petronella

  10. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Cheresnick

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ronan Johnson

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    Mariah Edwards

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kes Radford

  16. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cody Foster

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paperclippe

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

  20. 4 out of 5

    Vladimir

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Loretta Gaffney

  23. 4 out of 5

    Catherben

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fabio

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

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    Gabby-Lily Raines

  27. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kim Ellis

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    Judy

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    Charissa Rate

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    Kitten Foxx

  32. 5 out of 5

    Micielle

  33. 5 out of 5

    Haley

  34. 4 out of 5

    Emily

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    Ann Ellis

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    Lourdes Rivera

  37. 5 out of 5

    Stile Teckel

  38. 4 out of 5

    Karl Stenger

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    Cassie Lynn

  40. 5 out of 5

    Fran Whitley

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    Melly Mel

  42. 5 out of 5

    J. Harding

  43. 5 out of 5

    Karyn Palmer

  44. 5 out of 5

    Lou

  45. 5 out of 5

    Barbie Campbell

  46. 5 out of 5

    F

  47. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  48. 4 out of 5

    Yusuf Nasrullah

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