Customer Review

10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag of Wriggling Treats, June 17, 2009
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This review is from: The New Weird (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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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 6, 2012 12:21:21 PM PST
Dingfelder says:
I think what happens sometimes is that editors can't get the rights to certain stories they may have wanted, so have to make do somehow with others. A story may be too expensive, or the rights may be quite tangled up, or the copyright holder may simply be uninterested in having a story in a particular anthology for whatever reasons of his own.

I don't know if that happened here -- I don't own this anthology -- just something I've seen some editors and authors mention before.

The editors Vandermeer have another anthology of The Weird out -- I guess you could call it "The Old Weird"? -- that has plenty of exceptional stories in it. I can't speak for all of the stories in it as it is well over a thousand pages and I don't intend to read it straight through. But to me it was worth the relatively high price, and has some stories that are very hard to find elsewhere. You might want to give that one a try, regardless how you feel about this collection.
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