Possibly the most enjoyable read for me in 2011 was Jeff VanderMeer's The Third Bear. It blended weird with brilliant prose and wonder, and I think fondly of the book. Today, Jeff VanderMeer and Eric Orchard have released Part 1 of 3 collaboration to re-tell a short story from The Third Bear titled "The Situation." From my review,
"The Situation" is baffling. Part office-life, part post-apocalyptic, part Idon'thaveaclue, this story sealed the deal for me. I read it after reading "The Third Bear" (which I recommend you do as well, even though it doesn't follow the story in the layout of the book) and noticed a few coincidences that I could not ignore. I'm not sure at all how to describe what's going on in this story, but I highly recommend you read it.The artwork by Orchard is phenomenal. It's style fits exactly how I imagined VanderMeer's world, capturing both the mood of the story and the horrifying beauty described therein. If you've not read VanderMeer's book, then you really should. It's so unlike anything else I've ever read. What's more, if you love good art and a captivating story, then check out Tor.com's "The Situation." No background knowledge is necessary to enjoy the tale, though it probably makes understanding it a little easier. I'm looking forward to seeing the remainder of the story.
Images are from Tor.com, created by Eric Orchard. For more, follow the link here. And while you're at it, Ken Scholes' If Dragon's Mass Eve Be Cold and Clear was another excellent freebie posted up on Tor.com. Part post-apocalyptic, part haunting tale of hope, this story had Santa as a sword-wielding, Christ-like myth. I thought it would be silly. I was dead wrong. Just reminds me that I really need to read Scholes' novels, as I've been more than pleased with his shorts I've read.