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Photos and Plastic Alien Babies

The Project
After reviewing the photos for the VanderPhoto section of this web site, I thought it might be wise to include photos of other writers. Coincidentally, I had—for reasons too convoluted to explain—a surplus of plastic alien babies (see photo). Therefore, I decided to combine my desire for writer photos with my need to divest myself of extra plastic alien babies. So I drafted a letter (see below) and sent it, along with a disposable camera, an alien baby, and a self-addressed stamped envelope, to the following writers: Martin Amis, A. S. Byatt, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Ian M. Banks, Thomas Ligotti, Elizabeth Hand and Paul Di Filippo. (I also sent the package to a meerkat farm in California, along with a donation for their nonprofit endeavors, just for the sake of variety.) As the responses come pouring in, I will provide periodic updates on the success of the project. If it takes off, I anticipate sending similar packages to individuals in the entertainment industry, carpentry, architecture, etc.
- Jeff VanderMeer

The Letter
Dear Writer (or Meerkat Farm Proprietor):

Greetings! You may be wondering, having opened this package, why I have sent you a plastic alien baby and a disposable camera. It may not help to know that I too am wondering why, but let me assure you that it all seemed like a good idea at the time.

To explain: my new author web site has a section for author photos. Upon reflection and much deep thought, I decided it might be nice to have photos of and by other writers. So I made a list of some of my favorite writers (mostly living, although I have also sent this package to the grave sites of Nabokov and Poe) and you were on it.

If, by this point, you don't think I am completely nuts, I'd be honored if you would use up the roll of enclosed film on pictures of yourself, your writing space, your neighborhood, your friends, etc., and send it back to me in the enclosed self-addressed stamped envelope. One final request: although the plastic alien baby was primarily included to get your attention, could you please include it (for purposes of scale) in at least one photo?

I would like to emphasize that this is NOT an attempt to obtain free advertising for the alien babies (they certainly need no help from me). Nor is it an attempt to obtain free advertising for my author web site. I will happily just keep the photos in my collection, off the web site, or include them on my web site but NOT advertise their presence in any way.

If, however, I have your permission to post select photos on my web site, along with information on your own endeavors (as well as links to your own sites or to further information about you), I would be truly grateful. Consider it a photographic interview that you conduct yourself, for inclusion on a fun and informational web site.

If you decide you'd rather not be a party to this madness, keep both the camera and the perfectly innocent alien baby as my apology for having intruded upon your privacy.

Thank you for reading this letter to the end rather than simply tossing it in the wastepaper basket (which is what I might have done had I been in your position).


Jeff VanderMeer

P.S. If you would like to visit my web site first, the URL is: www.vandermeer.redsine.com. Please access VanderWorld and then the VanderPhoto section. There, in a slight deja vu effect, you will find this letter, among other things.



The Photos

AB visits Australia:
Part II: KJ Bishop

AB visits Thailand

AB visits Finland

AB visits Australia:
Part I: Anne Sydenham

Jeffrey Thomas, Scott Thomas, and Friends

Alien Baby in Prague



The Alien Baby Takes A U.K. Vacation

Jeff, Ann & Erin's U.K. Vacation

The Alien Baby's Literary Tour of the U.K.

The Alien Baby's Visit to Disney's Epcot

The World Fantasy Award

The Alien Baby Visits The Office

The Alien Baby's Tour of Jeff's House

Paul Di Filippo

Brian Stableford

Ramsey Campbell

Medieval Times

World Horror Convention