Sunday, February 24, 2008

The New Weird Abroad and in a Pod

Here's one heck of a review from the Guardian Unlimited Book Review for The New Weird:

In the beginning, there was the "Old Weird", the fiction of HP Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, precursor of the modern horror genre: the aim was to scare and disturb, with the monsters very often offstage entirely. In his introduction to this anthology, co-editor Jeff VanderMeer argues that the New Weird, developed since the 1980s but crystallised more recently by the popularity of China MiƩville's Perdido Street Station, is a transgressive horror, a type of fiction repurposed to focus on the monsters and grotesquery but not the scare itself. It is a genre that defies genre boundaries, embracing a range of writing from in-your-face horror through fantasy and science fiction to mainstream, the common element being the author's willingness to "surrender to the weird", to use the conventions of pulp fiction to locate literature, and to apply literary sophistication to genre landscapes. This volume, bringing together stories and essays by such writers as MiƩville, M John Harrison, Kathe Koja and Michael Moorcock, is an ideal primer to a movement that dominated genre awards for several years. It is also a damned fine read. -Keith Brooke

***

I'm good with "an ideal primer" and "a damned fine read." Them Brits have damned fine taste in literature.

For a more auditory take, here's a podcast of Jay Lake interviewing Ann and Jeff VanderMeer about Weird Tales, Ministry of Whimsy Press, the New Weird and Steampunk (both the movements and the anthologies). Sounds like the three of them are having quite the time at the South Carolina Book Festival.

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