From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The VanderMeers (Best American Fantasy
) ably demonstrate the sheer breadth of the New Weird fantasy subgenre in this powerful anthology of short fiction and critical essays. Highlights include strong fiction by authors such as M. John Harrison, Clive Barker, Kathe Koja and Michael Moorcock whose work pointed the way to such definitive New Weird tales as Jeffrey Ford's At Reparata and K.J. Bishop's The Art of Dying. Lingering somewhere between dark fantasy and supernatural horror, New Weird authors often seek to create unease rather than full-fledged terror. The subgenre's roots in the British New Wave of the 1960s and the Victorian Decadents can lend a self-consciously literary and experimental aura, as illustrated by the laboratory, where more mainstream fantasy and horror authors, including Sarah Monette and Conrad Williams, try their hands at creating New Weird stories. This extremely ambitious anthology will define the New Weird much as Bruce Sterling's landmark Mirrorshades
anthology defined cyberpunk. (Mar.)
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The title of this collection of stories, essays, and online discussion threads refers to a subgenre of modern horror that has roots in New Wave literature and the off-kilter fantasy spawned by Weird Tales. In contrast to the eerie nostalgia of Bradbury or the haunting supernaturalism of Lovecraft, the New Weird more often leans toward grotesque urban noir and cross-genre experimentation. The contributors here constitute a multitalented lineup ranging from such veterans as Clive Barker and Michael Moorcock to rising stars, such as Jay Lake and Alistair Rennie. Kathe Koje’s “The Neglected Garden” follows the transformation of a spurned lover who takes revenge by crucifying herself on her ex’s wire fence. China Miévelle, whose celebrated Perdido Street Station (2000) epitomizes the subcategory’s visceral blend of fantasy and realism, contributes a gritty tale about the veneration and inevitable capture of an outlaw cyborg. In the anthology’s final section, an experimental collaboration between seven authors embellishing a plot hatched by Paul DiFillipo exemplifies the New Weird’s propensity for pushing the boundaries of literary invention. --Carl Hays