Aguirre, Forrest

views updated

Aguirre, Forrest


Married; children: four. Education: Brigham Young University, B.A.;University of Wisconsin, M.A.


Home—Madison, WI. Office—c/o Author Mail, Raw Dog Screaming Press, 5103 72nd Place, Hyattsville, MD 20784.


Writer, editor.


World Fantasy Award for best anthology, 2003, for Leviathan 3: Libri Quosdam ad Scientiam, Alios ad Insaniam Deduxere.


(Editor, with Jeff VanderMeer) Leviathan 3: Libri Quosdam ad Scientiam, Alios ad Insaniam Deduxere, Ministry of Whimsy Press (Tallahassee, FL), 2002.

The Butterfly Artist (chapbook; stories), Flesh and Blood Press (Bayville, NJ), 2002.

(Editor) Leviathan 4: Cities, Night Shade Books (Portland, OR), 2004.

Fugue XXIX, Raw Dog Screaming Press (Hyattsville, MD), 2005.

(Editor, with Deborah Layne) The Nine Muses,Wheatland Press (Wilsonville, OR), 2005.

Author's work has appeared in literary journals, including Notre Dame Review, Exquisite Corpse, and theJournal of Experimental Fiction.


Forrest Aguirre is an award-winning writer and editor of speculative fiction. He edited the fiction collection Leviathan 3: Libri Quosdam ad Scientiam, Alios ad Insaniam Deduxere with Jeff VanderMeer, and it the World Fantasy Award for best anthology. The collection contains the work of avant-garde writers such as Rikki Ducornet and Lance Olsen, and contemporary American and British authors, including Michael Moorcock, Brian Stable-ford, and Jeffrey Ford, whose stories were praised by a contributor to Publishers Weekly for their "postmodern playfulness and solid storytelling." Aguirre was the sole editor of Leviathan 4: Cities, and his own fiction has been published in the collections Fugue XXI and The Butterfly Artist.Additionally, Aguirre and Deborah Layne edited The Nine Muses, a collection of stories written by women that explore the creative process.

Aguirre's work as an editor has influenced his writing, as he explained to Trent Walters in an interview for the online journal SF Site."Editing the work of others has been the best writing workshop I never attended. … My immersion into editing Leviathan 3 gave me the experience to quickly identify sloppiness in writing." Aguirre admits his writing is hard to categorize. "Is it postapocalyptic science fiction? Surrealism? Horror? Romance? Heck, I don't even know," he told Walters. Many of his stories take place in Africa or include characters from Africa, and Aguirre himself speaks Swahili and has a master's degree in African history.

Writing in the Review of Contemporary Fiction, Steve Tomasula characterized the literary style of Leviathan 3 as similar to the fiction of Jorge Borges and Umberto Eco and to cubist art, calling it "a potent antidote to the quotidian thinking (and writing) that infuses much of mainstream life." In editing Leviathan 4, Aguirre departed from the previous volume's "darkly beautiful surreal stories," as he dubbed the anthology's style in the Walters interview. He explained to Fantastic Metropolis contributor Jeffrey Thomas that he had moved toward "a more formally experimental tack" in Leviathan 4. "Since cities are collections of structures," he explained to Jeff VanderMeer in an interview for the online site VanderWorld, "I wanted a wide variety of narrative structures in this anthology, something that reflected the complexity of cities within the book itself." The result is a collection featuring long stories by Stepan Chapman, Ben Peek, K.J. Bishop, Ursula Pflug, and others that are "elaborately, illogically, episodically, achronologically dreamlike," according to Ray Olson in Booklist. One story concerns a city of stuffed animals; another involves Mark Twain's vision of Sydney, Australia; and still another describes the rise and fall of a man who sells bottles to hold the souls of dead people. A writer for Publishers Weekly praised the collection as "solid" and called Aguirre's editorial hand "restrained."

Fugue XXI collects twenty-nine of Aguirre's stories, most of them short sketches, including "The Butterfly Artist," in which an illustrator discovers a new animal species in a postapocalyptic world. The story evolved from the remains of two previous works Aguirre had written, one about thePapilio odius butterfly and another about a Venetian masquerade. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly applauded Aguirre's "arresting and provocative perspectives" in the collection.

Aguirre believes his roles as editor and author have reinforced one another. "The thing I'm taking with me," Aguirre told VanderMeer, "is my own editorial ‘voice.’ It is … similar to finding my voice as a writer. … I now have a process, a way of going about my editorial work and … a sense of how I want my editing to feel—a flow, a groove, an oeuvre. Ultimately, I want people to pick up an anthology I've edited and, without seeing my name on the cover, say ‘Hey, this seems like a Forrest Aguirre anthology.’"



Booklist, July, 2002, Ray Olson, review of Leviathan 3: Libri Quosdam ad Scientiam, Alios ad Insaniam Deduxere, p. 1833; October 15, 2004, Ray Olson, review of Leviathan 4: Cities, p. 395.

Publishers Weekly, July 8, 2002, review of Leviathan 3, p. 36; October 18, 2004, review of Leviathan 4, 52; October 24, 2005, review of Fugue XXIX,p. 44.

Review of Contemporary Fiction, spring, 2003, Steve Tomasula, review of Leviathan 3, p. 149.


Fantastic Metropolis, 16, 2002), Jeffrey Thomas, interview with Forrest Aguirre.

SF Site, (January 21, 2004), Trent Walters, "A Conversation with Forrest Aguirre"; (June 29, 2006), William Thompson, review of Leviathan 3.

Tangent Online, (November 9, 2002), Jay Lake, review ofLeviathan 3.

VanderWorld, (June 29, 2006), Jeff VanderMeer, interview with Forrest Aguirre.

About this article

Aguirre, Forrest

Updated About content Print Article