After the untimely demise of Argosy Quarterly—confirmed in late fall of last year after a long gap between issue three and the planned issue four—Jeff VanderMeer’s agent, Howard Morhaim, brought our attention to an unpublished story meant for publication in that journal. We decided to publish it as a public service, and out of respect for James Owen, who has been unavailable for comment. The opinions and facts related in “Errata” in no way reflect the views of Tor.com or its parent company. We have included the note originally intended to be published with the story for contextual reasons.
—Tor.com Management Services
When I received Jeff VanderMeer’s “story,” reproduced below, my first impulse was to forward it to the writer’s family, to whom it might be more relevant than to the readers of Argosy. (The two photographs that accompanied the story—one of a kitchen freezer and the other of a waterlogged lobby—were more than a little disturbing to both myself and my wife, and I have declined to reproduce them within these pages.)
Unfortunately, my brother James had been quite explicit when he called to check on the progress of the issue two weeks before Mr. VanderMeer’s story arrived. He insisted that I include the story in the magazine “no matter how unorthodox it may appear to be.” At James’ request, I had already slapped—rather bemusedly—some images of farm equipment and seals into the allotted space in the main volume ready to be replaced with the tardy story whenever it came in. According to James, VanderMeer’s story “must be published both in the magazine and in a separate chapbook entitled simply Errata.” James pays the bills, so despite any instincts to the contrary, I have no choice but to publish this “story” as he desires—although that doesn’t mean I have to do so without comment or warning to the reader.
In short, whether you, as a reader, should have to endure the ramblings contained in this chapbook is an individual decision. I have no such freedom in deciding whether or not to publish it. I do know that there is little chance that the original title of this “story”—“A Literary Work of Great Import and Inestimable Redeeming Value”—will strike anyone as anything other than a pathetic joke.
I haven’t heard from James since that last phone call about Errata. As a result, the burden of finishing this issue of Argosy has fallen on my shoulders. I have already left a message for James letting him know that this is the last time I plan to involve myself with Argosy.
This kind of behavior is too eccentric to be considered professional.