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The Order of Oddfish


A Glorious Fish, and Korsakov’s Light-Up Digestion

May 14, 2010

Hey! This weekend I’m appearing at the 5th Annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival in Rochester, NY with such YA luminaries as Laurie Halse Anderson, Holly Black, Barry Lyga, and yes, the shameless Terry Trueman, who I reveal here, still owes me $134.43.

digestion daylight

Here are two of the strangest, most spectacular pieces of art in the Order of Odd-Fish fan art gallery show in April. To the left, I join Georgia Greenberg with her fish that ate up Korsakov’s plane and later spewed it into Eldritch City. On the right, by Megin Wardle, a model of Colonel Korsakov’s digestion, complete with oracular messages!

Let’s take a closer look at Georgia’s fish:

Georgia stretched iridescent, semi-transparent green glittery fabric over a copper frame to create the fish. And inside its belly (hanging on fish line) we can spy Korsakov’s plane and the Odd-Fish lodge! We hung this in the middle of the gallery, and it was a fantastic centerpiece of the show.

In this shot, you can actually see Korsakov’s plane and the Odd-Fish lodge (which says “Odd-Fish Ostriches Only” on the roof):


I met Georgia Greenberg through my protegee Freya. The whole Greenberg family is my personal version of The Incredibles. The father Mark was in one of my favorite bands from the 90s, the Coctails, and now runs Mayfair Recordings, making music for the likes of the Cartoon Network, occasionally helping record a legend like Mavis Staples, and putting out albums of great children’s music. Mark’s wife Anne-Marie is an artist (here’s her blog, and you can find her work on Etsy) and Georgia’s brothers August and Frankie are a ball. Here’s a video of when they made sushi out of candy. Can the Greenbergs please adopt me?

Here Mark animates the fish sculpture to the theme of Jaws:

Next: Megin Wardle’s piece, entitled An Illuminated Scale Model of Colonel Korsakov’s Wondrous Digestion. This one caused many a gasp of wonderment at the show.


Upon opening Korsakov’s illuminated digestion, one finds four spools from which one may unroll ticker-tape of its infallible advice. Here are what the four spools of advice said:

1. Hark! Peril yonder! Plum pudding required to ascertain coordinates.

2. Intestines decalibrated. Message unclear. Need more ham.

3. Bountiful boons abound. Fancy meats recommended to bolster advantage.

4. Emergency! Surrounded by enemies! Excellent time for eggs.

It is not often that an author is given the opportunity to eavesdrop on his own character’s digestion. What a fantastic, strange, and brilliant piece! I love the drooping, trailing intestines, the delicate papier-mache of the stomach itself, and the supernatural glow of the light. I am currently cherishing this as the World’s Awesomest Lamp at my house.

I’ve been friends with Megin for nearly ten years. Totally coincidentally, in the past year or so, we both ended up working at the University of Chicago. I maintain the software that keeps track of grant proposals and awards, but Megin’s an actual scientist (a Ph.D!) who studies the social effects of alcohol on humans. For many years Megin has brought volunteers into her lab, given them alcohol, and then asked them questions. In the name of science!

Megin has attended my previous Dome of Doom parties, and so she came prepared to fight. Megin came costumed as a School of Fighting Jellyfish, and went quite far in the tournament. Here she is:

Thank you, Megin and Georgia! I’m lucky to know you, and I’m honored you made such amazing, mind-bending art for the show.