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The New Weird by Ann VanderMeer

The New Weird (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Ann VanderMeer (Editor), Jeff VanderMeer (Editor)

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4341437,688 (3.65)27
Presents a collection of stories from the "new weird" genre--a overlap of science fiction, fantasy, and horror--from some of its well-known writers, along with commentaries and a story featuring emerging authors within the genre.
Title:The New Weird
Authors:Ann VanderMeer (Editor)
Other authors:Jeff VanderMeer (Editor)
Info:Tachyon Publications (2008), 414 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The New Weird by Ann VanderMeer (Editor) (2008)

  1. 00
    Perdido Street Station by China Miéville (davisfamily)
    davisfamily: A great example of the New Weird genre. Great Characters and a unique setting, not quite steampunk and not quite science fiction.
  2. 01
    Steampunk by Ann VanderMeer (Dead_Dreamer)
    Dead_Dreamer: A few of THE NEW WEIRD's authors return to describe a steam-powered era that never was: Jay Lake, Paul Di Filippo and Michael Moorcock.

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» See also 27 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
"The Luck in the Head," by M. John Harrison (1984): 6.75
- This kind of surrealist speculative fiction can be as dull, and digressive, and masturbatory as a jam band: description for the sake of description; a kind of mad-hatter obscurantism for its own sake; endless table turning to take up space. What's it do well? What all those of this ilk that do anything well do well: the random vivid scene or image, which works especially well because it can wrench some unexpected human fellow feeling or emotional resonance or clear vision out of a surrounding morass of dippidy-do as meaninglessness. The question with all of these always is: how many of those moments do you get? Therein lies the score.

"In the Hills, the Cities," by Clive Barker (1984): 8.75
- This story's got me all over the place. I've vacillated wildly over my final thought of the thing. Regardless of what this ultimate evaluation would be, several other things became clear to me: 1) Barker holds no appeal for me as a stylist. There are numerous unskilled stylists in my genre reading, and in general, but he's not so much in this camp, as his prose has a sturdy, clean purple-ness that is far from unpracticed or bland. Yet, it's simpy over-wrought in the most spartan way possible, and I feel that as I read; 2) The skill, however, comes in the way this prose seems ideally conducive to expressing the very sort of phantasmagoria he's interested in -- bodily contortions, the insides out, the outside more than itself; it's a particularly human-centered horror fascination [as opp., obviously, to those more intrigued by the cosmic or the supernatural], meaning both in the physical, corporeal sense, as well as the humanistic, or concern with the emotions and thought worlds of humans, sense--thus, I think, the ultimately successful [although I could very easily be persuaded otherwise by someone (indeed, this was the larger stumbling block on my road to figuring out my feelings here)] connection between the ultimate/sublime horror in the story with the blunt sex and carnal body-ness of the opening lover's quarrel and lover's fucking between the men at the beginning. Was this overlong? Was this disconnected from the story? Who knows, but, in the ultimate 'becoming' at the end of the story, we see themes from "Jacqueline Ess" repeated, i.e. submission to a larger, more powerful, carnal force. The extinguishing of banal desire in abeyance to the dictates of something larger than yourself. Read what we will into this in terms of queer or heterodox sexuality. Regardless, simply going with it casts an effective enough spell.
  Ebenmaessiger | Oct 9, 2019 |
This was a very interesting examination of the New Weird as a genre movement (or potential movement?) The first two sections of the anthology included a variety of short stories, which of course are the main draw to the book. The stories were hit or miss for me; I liked most of them to some degree, although one of them (unfortunately the first story in the book, which made me hesitant initially) my brain just repeatedly rejected and I eventually had to DNF. That said, a few of these stories I'd have given 5 stars, and the majority fell somewhere in the 3 or 4-star range of enjoyment. I'd imagine that there's something in here for everyone (unless you're really not into the idea of weird fiction, in which case, what are you doing reading this review in the first place, silly?)

The next section included and excerpt from an internet message board conversation that initially sparked the idea for the anthology as well as several non-fiction essays written by a various authors and editors discussing whether or not they believe in the New Weird as a movement in general and, in the case of a series from foreign editors, what their perception is of the New World's presence in their country. This I found interesting from the perspective of a writer, but if I didn't write I probably would have skipped it.

The last section is actually a "round robin"-style story where seven authors got together and took turns adding onto a New World story, telling their own mini-narratives within a world of their shared creation. I did not try to internally rate this section because it was more experimental, but the story was an interesting read, if unique in its structure.

In general, I think this book makes a good introduction to weird fiction (at least as it stood in the 2000's) and could also serve as a text of sorts for a writer interested in expanding their writing in that direction (keeping in mind that part of the argument of the non-fiction part of this book in the first place is that an over-emphasis on labels can be dangerous because writers shouldn't be writing to fill a specific genre but rather to tell a specific story). ( )
  NovelInsights | Sep 21, 2019 |
I enjoyed the stories, but I didn't really enjoyed the essays around them. ( )
  adamwolf | Jan 4, 2017 |
Overall, not a bad anthology, mixing elements of horror, sci-fi and fantasy. Most of the stories are not original to this book, so if you're a fan of the authors, it's likely you've read them before. They tend toward the dark, extreme and often grotesque and disgusting, so if that's not your scene, you probably won't enjoy.
My main issue with the book is its tendency toward navel-gazing. It should have just stuck with presenting the work, rather than going on and on about how to define the term "new weird," reprinting online forum arguments, and asking random industry people what they think of it. The introduction is also 'weirdly' full of China-Mieville-hero-worship. Not that Mr. Mieville doesn't necessarily deserve it, but it was slightly odd. Basically, I don't care about ultra-narrow genre-defining; let's just skip to the stories, and let them speak for themselves!


“The New Weird: ‘It’s Alive?’ Jeff VanderMeer

M. John Harrison “The Luck in the Head”
Michael Moorcock “Crossing into Cambodia”
Clive Barker “In the Hills, the Cities”
Simon D. Ings “The Braining of Mother Lamprey”
Kathe Koja “The Neglected Garden”
Thomas Ligotti “A Soft Voice Whispers Nothing”

China Mieville “Jack”
Jeffrey Thomas “Immolation”
Jay Lake “The Lizard of Ooze”
Brian Evenson “Watson’s Boy”
K .J. Bishop “The Art of Dying”
Jeffrey Ford “At Reparata”
Leena Krohn “Letters from Tainaron”
Steph Swainston “The Ride of the Gabbleratchet”
Alistair Rennie “The Gutter Sees the Light That Never Shines” (original)

“New Weird: The Creation of a Term”
Michael Cisco “‘New Weird’: I Think We’re the Scene”
Darja Malcolm-Clarke “Tracking Phantoms”
K. J. Bishop “Whose Words You Wear”
“European Editor Perspectives on the New Weird” (featuring the views of Michael Haulica from Romania, Martin Sust from the Czech Republic, Hannes Riffel from Germany, Konrad Waleski from Poland, and Jukka Halme from Finland)

Laboratory (Original round-robin story)

“Festival Lives”

Preamble: Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
View 1: “Death in a Dirty Dhoti” Paul Di Filippo
View 2: “Cornflowers Beside the Unuttered” Cat Rambo
View 3: “All God’s Chillun Got Wings” Sarah Monette
View 4: “Locust-Mind” Daniel Abraham
View 5: “Constable Chalch and the Ten Thousand Heroes” Felix Gilman
View 6: “Golden Lads All Must…” Hal Duncan
View 7: “Forfend the Heavens’ Rending” Conrad Williams

Recommended Reading
Biographical Notes
( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Individual story ratings for the fiction. I did not care much for the genre discussion pieces in between.

M. John Harrison – "The Luck in the Head" (***)
Clive Barker – "In the Cities, the Hills" (**)
Michael Moorcock – "Crossing into Cambodia" (***)
Simon D. Ings – "The Braining of Mother Lamprey (****)
Kathe Koja – "The Neglected Garden" (**)
Thomas Ligotti – "A Soft Voice Whispers Nothing" (***)
China Miéville – "Jack" (***)
Jeffrey Thomas – "Immolation" (****)
Jay Lake – "The Lizard of Ooze" (***)
Brian Evenson – "Watson's Boy" (****)
K .J. Bishop – "The Art of Dying" (***)
Jeffrey Ford – "At Reparata” (***)
Leena Krohn – "Letters from Tainaron" (**)
Steph Swainston – "The Ride of the Gabbleratchet" (***)
Alistair Rennie – "The Gutter Sees the Light That Never Shines" (****)
Laboratory (Original round-robin story) "Festival Lives" (**)

On the whole this was certainly worth reading but never great. ( )
  igorken | Jul 22, 2014 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
VanderMeer, AnnEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vandermeer, JeffEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Abraham, DanielContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Barker, CliveContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bishop, K. J.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cisco, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Di Filippo, PaulContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Duncan, HalContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Evenson, BrianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ford, JeffreyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gilman, FelixContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harrison, M. JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ings, Simon D.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Koja, KatheContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Krohn, LeenaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lake, JayContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ligotti, ThomasContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Malcolm-Clarke, DarjaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Miéville, ChinaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Monette, SarahContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moorcock, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rambo, CatContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rennie, AlistairContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Swainston, StephContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thomas, JeffreyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Weisman, JacobSeries Editorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams, ConradContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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An anthology of stories belonging to the "New Weird" genre.
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