Noah Berlatsky at the LA Times:
“They could never believe in a giant fish that holds a whole world. They’d laugh. They’d scoff. Even if they saw it, they wouldn’t believe it. That is why the human race is dying — too limited an imagination.”
The above quote from Jeff VanderMeer’s first novel, 2003’s “Veniss Underground,” is a kind of statement of purpose for his career. As one of the leading writers of the New Weird, VanderMeer has taken it as his aesthetic and ethical task to push the bounds of the imagination to bizarre, absurd and disgusting extremes.
A new edition of the book, including related stories, fragments and commentary by VanderMeer, shows how consistent his methods and goals have remained over the last 20 years. It also shows, however, that even as he’s grown into a bigger fish, he’s become — admirably and definitively — weirder.