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Since its inception in 2008, Underland Press has illustrated-by the small run of superior books it has so far published-the value of having a strong and individual creative vision guiding an enterprise, in place of a diffuse and lowest-common-denominator corporate consensus.
Underland is the brainchild of Victoria Blake, previously an editor for the prose-centric offerings at Dark Horse Comics. With modest capital, intelligent publicity, and a keenly refined taste, Blake has assembled a roster of first-class fantastical authors, all with an eye toward bringing the reader "macabre monsters and magic and men with nothing to lose." The fourth book in her line, Jeff VanderMeer's Finch, has perhaps garnered the most attention, due in part to an ingenious DIY booktour engineered by the author. But the other items in Underland's catalogue also stand out as lively, arresting publications.
After the success of their fourth novel release, VanderMeer's Finch, Underland followed up with a volume of short fiction, Real Unreal: The Best American Fantasy 3, edited by Kevin Brockmeier. It seems a cannily tendentious move, a banner proudly hoisted aloft to indicate the press's desire to blur boundaries. Brockmeier himself is an author who straddles genre and mainstream camps, and his choices for the year's outstanding stories of the fantastic illustrate the varieties of interstitial goodness being published these days. In a grand ecumenical literary carnival, David Ackert (two published stories in his CV) stands next to Stephen King, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fictionconverses with The Kenyon Review, and dainty allegories mingle with pulpish superheroes.
--From Paul Di Filippo's "Small Press Spotlight" column on Barnes & Noble Review