This book touts itself as “The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction,” and that’s an accurate statement. In fact, the illustrations were really what set this book apart. Vandermeer offers great advice concerning fiction writing, but to be honest, it’s fairly standard if you read many books concerning the topic. The illustrations, however, were weird, unique, and beautiful. Additionally, though they came from many different sources, they each served to reinforce what ever point Vandermeer made. By the way, just so you know, he uses examples from his own fiction quite a bit.
Furthermore, Vandermeer collected vignettes from various sources focusing upon authors and their advice or thoughts concerning the craft. These were a delight to read, especially Neil Gaiman’s. Other notable authors include George R.R. Martin, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Peter Straub.
All in all, if you’re looking for an unconventional book to help you hone your fiction writing, Wonderbook fits the bill. Even if you don’t find Vandermeer’s insights stimulating, the illustrations should serve to inspire you.