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The New Weird Paperback – February 1, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 414 pages
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications (February 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781892391551
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892391551
  • ASIN: 1892391554
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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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From Booklist

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

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Customer Reviews

Some individual stories are interesting, but the collection is gormless, without any clear unifying ethos.
Kevin L. Nenstiel
It takes time and much description and action to show a complete world - and many more words than will fit within the confines of a story.
Terry Weyna
A nudge in the direction to the archived discussion in the foreward would have sufficed vice reprinting it as an entire chapter.
Steven Warfield

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 10, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
In April 2003, M. John Harrison created or appropriated a new genre category called "The New Weird" and tried to kick-start discussion on the internet. Ann and Jeff VanderMeer bring that discussion into the real world where we generalists can join in. But if this book is anything to judge by, "The New Weird" is a make-work label designed to give C-list writers something to talk about, and to sell books to gullible japes like me.

Jeff VanderMeer, in his introduction, spews a lot of post-grad lit major gibberish to persuade us not only that this new category exists, but that it's already dead and he has the right to perform the post-mortem. He claims it's the rightful inheritor of sci-fi's New Wave and the innovative grotesque horror/fantasy of the 1980's. But he never says what New Weird is. And the main text of the book probably shows why.

The editors start with what they call "Stimuli," a selection of stories that nourished the New Weird ethos. But for the most part I can't tell the difference between them and the Old Weird. These authors, including Michael Moorcock, Kathe Koja, and Clive Barker, appear to channel Lovecraft, Poe, and Shirley Jackson. This reads like the Old Weird's Greatest Hits.

But these stories are masterful compared to the section labeled "Evidence." I beg, implore, and defy anyone to explain what makes these stories either New or Weird. Jeffrey Thomas' "Immolation" is bog-standard sci-fi. K.J. Bishop's "The Art of Dying" and Jeffrey Ford's "At Reparata" are fantasies. Apart from a playful attitude toward events, there's little innovative or Weird about these stories

The tales by Brian Evenson, Steph Swainton, Leena Krohn, and Alistair Rennie are--not to generalize--crap.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Steven Warfield on April 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
A very uneven collection. There were several stories that really stood out which made me want to see more of the authors' work - the ones by Miéville, Swainston, Lake and Rennie in particular - but the rest were largely forgettable.

The forgettable ones usually tended to veer between being strange to the point of plotless (say, "Watson's Boy" by Evenson) or just plotless description ("The Art of Dying" by Bishop").

I'm also not entirely certain that the discussion of "What IS the 'New Weird'?" as a genre really added anything to the tome, as there was no clear cut definition nor concurrence as to if 'New Weird' can be classified, if it has past us by already, or if it is ongoing. A nudge in the direction to the archived discussion in the foreward would have sufficed vice reprinting it as an entire chapter.

On the plus side, I now have more promising authors' short story collections to look for.
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19 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Blue Tyson on March 22, 2008
Format: Paperback
I thought this anthology would be interesting, and it doesn't disappoint.

There's an introduction by VanderMeer, J. To sum that up he says wants to provide a rough guide to the New Weird, acknowledging that it is quite possibly a past history thing.

On the rest of the non-fiction, there is part of a forum discussion from a few years ago, wherein the existence or not of the topic is debated. Amusingly, Jonathan Strahan calls it a load of old cobblers, then over the page comes up with this very anthology title (and also sort of implies that the New Space Opera might be something similar, and goes on to produce a great anthology titled exactly that, too). A kiss of life Super Editor, perhaps, is he?

There are some essays by others talking about the subject, and also some European editors, some from more Eastern Europe, and a German, talking about this sort of fiction in their countries and how it does commercially. The Czechs hung a fiction line of it that has done well, and not so good in dour Germany, it seems.

On the fiction front, things go from the fabulous find of a story about Jack Half-A-Prayer from China Mieville's New Crobuzon, to a poor excerpt from a novel by Steph Swainston. She is one of the names invoked along with Mieville, Di Filippo, and Bishop (whose story is rather good, and I had read before), as being part of the early moment of this stuff, around Perdido Street Station time. However, the Swainston excerpt isn't from the book mentioned - perhaps that one is better, being as it appears the first in a trilogy, and higher rated and more widely held on librarything, too. However, her writing in this excerpt isn't within a bulls roar of any of the others mentioned.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful By W.W. on June 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
Okay, here goes:

The New Weird: three-quarters anthology, one quarter manifesto.

There are a few good stories in here, like Clive Barker's much reprinted, "In the Hills, the Cities," Koja's (whose work I always love) "The Neglected Garden." I was pleasantly surprised by Brian Evenson's "Watson's Boy," and really enjoyed the psychological truth of Jeffrey Ford's "At Reparata." Jeffrey Thomas's "Immolation," and China Miéville's "Jack" were also very satisfying. Last, but not least though, is Ligotti's "A Soft Voice Whispers Nothing," which was very finely done.

The other stories, even the one by grand master Michael Moorcock, aren't so great; in fact, they're pretty bad. Their main problem: their bloat. Their unnecessary lengths are mostly due to self-indulgence, a relishing in a "weirdness" that screams of gimmickry--an ersatz "weirdness" that bulges, bottlenecks, and outright chokes their narratives in the most irritating of places. It's as if they were all saying, "Look, ma'! I can write WEIRD!" Please.

Just for the record, no one did the "new" weird like that old (now deceased) giant, J.G. Ballard. It may seem unfair to compare any of these artists with a virtuoso like Ballard, but, let's face it. Sometimes what's "new" isn't always better. Why would the editors print a much reprinted tale like Barker's, but not a one by Ballard? It's not like Barker's story came out yesterday. (And this is why the whole "New Weird" manifesto strikes me as being self-inflated and outright dishonest: it's not "new" at all! And how long has steampunk been around?) In my humble opinion, J.G. Ballard is the gold standard when it comes to this "new" genre, but, then again, he's so sui generis, I don't know.

Buy this one used or check it from the library.
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