- File Size: 3153 KB
- Print Length: 1153 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; First edition (January 24, 2012)
- Publication Date: January 24, 2012
- Sold by: Macmillan
- Language: English
- ASIN: B006TXZD3G
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,081 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories Kindle Edition
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Alfred Kubin, “The Other Side” (excerpt), 1908
F. Marion Crawford, “The Screaming Skull,” 1908
Algernon Blackwood, “The Willows,” 1907
Saki, “Sredni Vashtar,” 1910
M.R. James, “Casting the Runes,” 1911
Lord Dunsany, “How Nuth Would Have Practiced his Art,” 1912
Gustav Meyrink, “The Man in the Bottle,” 1912
Georg Heym, “The Dissection,” 1913
Hanns Heinz Ewers, “The Spider,” 1915
Rabindranath Tagore, “The Hungry Stones,” 1916
Luigi Ugolini, “The Vegetable Man,” 1917
A. Merritt, “The People of the Pit,” 1918
Ryunosuke Akutagawa, “The Hell Screen,” 1918
Francis Stevens, “Unseen---Unfeared,” 1919
Franz Kafka, “In the Penal Colony,” 1919
Stefan Grabinski, “The White Weyrak,” 1921
H.F. Arnold, “The Night Wire,” 1926
H.P. Lovecraft, “The Dunwich Horror,” 1929
Margaret Irwin, “The Book,” 1930
Jean Ray, “The Mainz Psalter,” 1930
Jean Ray, “The Shadowy Street,” 1931
Clark Ashton Smith, “Genius Loci,” 1933
Hagiwara Sakutoro, “The Town of Cats,” 1935
Hugh Walpole, “The Tarn,” 1936
Bruno Schulz, “Sanatorium at the Sign of the Hourglass,” 1937
Robert Barbour Johnson, “Far Below,” 1939
Fritz Leiber, “Smoke Ghost,” 1941
Leonora Carrington, “White Rabbits,” 1941
Donald Wollheim, “Mimic,” 1942
Ray Bradbury, “The Crowd,” 1943
William Sansom, “The Long Sheet,” 1944
Jorge Luis Borges, “The Aleph,” 1945
Olympe Bhely-Quenum, “A Child in the Bush of Ghosts,” 1949
Shirley Jackson, “The Summer People,” 1950
Margaret St. Clair, “The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles,” 1951
Robert Bloch, “The Hungry House,” 1951
Augusto Monterroso, “Mister Taylor,” 1952
Amos Tutuola, “The Complete Gentleman,” 1952
Jerome Bixby, “It's a Good Life,” 1953
Julio Cortazar, “Axolotl,” 1956
William Sansom, “A Woman Seldom Found,” 1956
Charles Beaumont, “The Howling Man,” 1959
Mervyn Peake, “Same Time, Same Place,” 1963
Dino Buzzati, “The Colomber,” 1966
Michel Bernanos, “The Other Side of the Mountain,” 1967
Merce Rodoreda, “The Salamander,” 1967
Claude Seignolle, “The Ghoulbird,” 1967
Gahan Wilson, “The Sea Was Wet As Wet Could Be,” 1967
Daphne Du Maurier, “Don't Look Now,” 1971
Robert Aickman, “The Hospice,” 1975
Dennis Etchison, “It Only Comes Out at Night,” 1976
James Tiptree Jr., “The Psychologist Who Wouldn't Do Terrible Things to Rats,” 1976
Eric Basso, “The Beak Doctor,” 1977
Jamaica Kincaid, “Mother,” 1978
George R.R. Martin, “Sandkings,” 1979
Bob Leman, “Window,” 1980
Ramsey Campbell, “The Brood,” 1980
Michael Shea, “The Autopsy,” 1980
William Gibson/John Shirley, “The Belonging Kind,” 1981
M. John Harrison, “Egnaro,” 1981
Joanna Russ, “The Little Dirty Girl,” 1982
M. John Harrison, “The New Rays,” 1982
Premendra Mitra, “The Discovery of Telenapota,” 1984
F. Paul Wilson, “Soft,” 1984
Octavia Butler, “Bloodchild,” 1984
Clive Barker, “In the Hills, the Cities,” 1984
Leena Krohn, “Tainaron,” 1985
Garry Kilworth, “Hogfoot Right and Bird-hands,” 1987
Lucius Shepard, “Shades,” 1987
Harlan Ellison, “The Function of Dream Sleep,” 1988
Ben Okri, “Worlds That Flourish,” 1988
Elizabeth Hand, “The Boy in the Tree,” 1989
Joyce Carol Oates, “Family,” 1989
Poppy Z Brite, “His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood,” 1990
Michal Ajvaz, “The End of the Garden,” 1991
Karen Joy Fowler, “The Dark,” 1991
Kathe Koja, “Angels in Love,” 1991
Haruki Murakami, “The Ice Man,” 1991 (translation, Japan)
Lisa Tuttle, “Replacements,” 1992
Marc Laidlaw, “The Diane Arbus Suicide Portfolio,” 1993
Steven Utley, “The Country Doctor,” 1993
William Browning Spenser, “The Ocean and All Its Devices,” 1994
Jeffrey Ford, “The Delicate,” 1994
Martin Simpson, “Last Rites and Resurrections,” 1994
Stephen King, “The Man in the Black Suit,” 1994
Angela Carter, “The Snow Pavilion,” 1995
Craig Padawer, “The Meat Garden,” 1996
Stepan Chapman, “The Stiff and the Stile,” 1997
Tanith Lee, “Yellow and Red,” 1998
Kelly Link, “The Specialist's Hat,” 1998
Caitlin R. Kiernan, “A Redress for Andromeda,” 2000
Michael Chabon, “The God of Dark Laughter,” 2001
China Mieville, “Details,” 2002
Michael Cisco, “The Genius of Assassins,” 2002
Neil Gaiman, “Feeders and Eaters,” 2002
Jeff VanderMeer, “The Cage,” 2002
Jeffrey Ford, “The Beautiful Gelreesh,” 2003
Thomas Ligotti, “The Town Manager,” 2003
Brian Evenson, “The Brotherhood of Mutilation,” 2003
Mark Samuels, “The White Hands,” 2003
Daniel Abraham, “Flat Diana,” 2004
Margo Lanagan, “Singing My Sister Down,” 2005
T.M. Wright, “The People on the Island,” 2005
Laird Barron, “The Forest,” 2007
Liz Williams, “The Hide,” 2007
Reza Negarestani, “The Dust Enforcer,” 2008
Micaela Morrissette, “The Familiars,” 2009
Steve Duffy, “In the Lion's Den,” 2009
Stephen Graham Jones, “Little Lambs,” 2009
J. Robert Lennon, “The Portal,” 2010
K.J. Bishop, “Saving the Gleeful Horse,” 2010
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I wrote a story-by-story review of this on LibraryThing - but apparently it exceeds Amazon's character limit, so you'll have to go there to read it.
Complaints? The VanderMeers could have trimmed some mediocre authors who reused tropes that better writers had used earlier. On the other hand, by starting in 1908, they left out great writers and great stories. I feel that the weird tradition began in the 1890s, with Vernon Lee, Ambrose Bierce, Robert Chambers, and especially, Arthur Machen. Is their a better weird rite tale than "The White People?"
This is a collection of stories of varying length, rather than a single ongoing narrative. The common thread tying all these stories together could be defined as ‘weird fiction across borders and through the ages’. The stories are arranged in chronological order, by and large. Stories from different writers in the same time period are then organized geographically. This allows us to not only get exposed to some of the big name authors you’d expect—HP Lovecraft, August Derleth, Clive Barker, Steven King, George RR Martin, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell—but also the writers that inspired them, the writers they inspired, and even others who’re obscure but definitely contributors to the field as a whole.
What was most interesting was to see how geography and time period affect one’s writing. There are marked differences in the story-telling tropes and styles from the Far East, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa, when compared to the stories from North America and England that I’m used to. In addition, punctuation and storytelling conventions from the 1920s onwards made those stories more accessible to read, at least for me.
The variety of different stories on hand means that there will be some hit and miss depending on readers. The sheer variety of stories on hand means I can’t review all of them. Suffice to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this collection, and have chosen a few stories to focus on. These are the ones that stood out as being good, good in some respects, or ones I didn’t enjoy.
Bloodchild – Octavia E. Butler
My favourite story of the lot. Human beings are livestock for a parasitic species, but a bizarre symbiosis fueled by emotional bonding raises questions of complicity. Gripping, well-paced, reveals subtly timed.
The Belonging Kind – William Gibson and John Shirley
Ever wonder about those people who seem to fit in effortlessly wherever they go, or the crowd that seems to frequent your favourite haunts? What if they weren’t people? Another firm favourite of mine, probably number 2 on the list.
The Function of Dream Sleep – Harlan Ellison
McGrath awakes to see a small mouth closing in his side. Thus begins a journey into all manner of strange and chilling things. Perhaps over the top for some but I really liked this one.
The Boy in the Tree – Elizabeth Hand
Doctors develop a new treatment where emotionally dead empaths can take the emotions and trauma out of memories and dreams. This concept and setting was engrossing on its own, making this story one of my top 5 easily, but the addition of supernatural elements threw me off a little.
Shades – Lucius Shepard
A Vietnam War veteran returns to the former war zone to confront scientific experiments with the ghosts of fallen soldiers, the most recent of whom was his comrade. Fantastic stuff.
Window – Bob Leman
Scientists create a window into another time—or, possibly, some place stranger. Enjoyed the punch, when it came.
The Psychologist who Wouldn’t Do Awful Things to Rats – James Tiptree, Jr.
A psychologist who faces the collapse of his post-graduate project because he’s not prepared to include cruelty in his experiments has a spiritual awakening. Also one of my favourites because of how visceral it is.
The Cage – Jeff Van Der Meer
One of the compilers of the anthology has his own story in here. Seems a little cheeky. The story is well worth it, very atmospheric. The prose is very descriptive, making your senses come alive, and the story is haunting. Set in a fantasy city, following a dealer in antiquities who acquires a cage that mystifies and terrifies in equal measure.
The Dunwich Horror – HP Lovecraft
A good choice of story, as Lovecraft can be hit and miss. The best story in the anthology for dark dealings with the great beyond, eldritch ritual and familial secrets from the backwater. Though these may be Lovecraftian tropes, they’re still elements I enjoy in a tale, and this story of his delivers.
The Town Manager – Thomas Ligotti
Weird in the bizarre, surrealist sense. Like a more contemporary Kafka, but I found the pay-off here much more rewarding. Set in a world in which town managers wield power and influence, yet remain shrouded in mystery.
The Penal Colony – Franz Kafka
Kafka is very hit and miss for me. I was very ambivalent about this story, in which a visitor to a penal colony observes its general corruption and degradation.
The Beak Doctor – Eric Basso
The only story I couldn’t finish. Prose is beautifully hypnotic and descriptions rich. The punctuation conventions, dream-like narrative and shifting viewpoints made me lose cohesion, and I admit I didn’t quite follow what was going on. Well written, but I gave up after trying to get through it twice.
The Hospice – Robert Aickman
A man’s car breaks down and he seeks shelter in a strange hospice. Interestingly strange, but didn’t feel like it had much point and thus lacked a satisfying conclusion.
Tainaron: Mail From Another City – Leena Krohn
A story written in letters from a city of insects on an alien world. It goes on for rather too long, and the letters don’t seem to build to a cohesive whole.
Finally, for the collection as a whole…
Is It Well Written: Yes
Did I Enjoy It: Yes
Minor Niggles: A variety of stories so not all are guaranteed to please. About 3-7 out of 110 that I wasn’t too fond of.
Top international reviews
The organization is chronological, and the book stands a single-volume education on stories with weirdness, bizarreness, or surreality at their heart. I used the term “cross-cutting subgenre” to describe the theme, and, I’m not sure I even understand what I meant, but these stories have a super-genre – e.g. horror or literary – but they necessarily have this element of strangeness. In other words, while some of the stories might be labeled “horror,” that genre classification is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for inclusion. Many of the stories aren’t particularly dark, and just because a story horror doesn’t mean that it’s weird enough to be included. The stories generally take place in a world that is recognizable, but with a hint of the surreal and with some level of strategic ambiguity as to the nature of that surreal element. This allows the collection to include examples as dark and visceral as “The Brotherhood of Mutilation” by Brian Evenson or as quirky and amusing as “The Sea Was Wet as Wet Could Be” by Gahan Wilson.
I couldn’t possibly go through all 110-ish of these stories, but will say that it’s a phenomenal collection. If I had to make my own personal top ten list it would be (in no order but the one in which the stories came in)
1.) “The Spider” by Hanns Heinz Ewers: A man moves into a room under the pretext of investigating a string of suicides only linked by residence within the apartment.
2.) “The Night Wire” by H.F. Arnold: A man in a newspaper office with a gift for simultaneously transcribing from two wires receives incoming reports of an ominous fog.
3.) “The Mainz Psalter” by Jean Ray: A mysterious ship journey ventures into bizarre territory and the crew starts disappearing one-by-one, leaving nothing more than gruesome stains.
4.) “The Crowd” by Ray Bradbury: A man tries to understand how a crowd seem to form almost instantaneously at the site of a car accident that he survived.
5.) “Sand Kings” by George R.R. Martin: A nasty little man buys some otherworldly pets that prove difficult to maintain.
6.) “Bloodchild” by Octavia Butler: In a recurring theme for Butler, she writes about an alien species that appears to be beneficent toward humans, but shows that where a power disparity exists beneficence is an illusion.
7.) “Shades” by Lucius Shepard: A Vietnam vet turned journalist returns to Vietnam on a story about one of the men who died in his unit.
8.) “The Diane Arbus Suicide Portfolio” by Marc Laidlaw: A renown photographer somehow has her own suicide photographed and this leads to questions of the nature of art and the degree of passion it evokes in people.
9.) “The Brotherhood of Mutilation” by Brian Evenson: A man who self-cauterized his own amputation in order to kill the man who cut his hand off is drawn into the shadowy world of a bizarre cult who honor voluntary (and unnecessary) amputations.
10.) “Flat Diane” by Daniel Abraham: A father helps his daughter send out a picture cutout of herself for a school project. His daughter inexplicably starts experiencing PTSD like symptoms around the same time the father starts getting disturbing anonymous photos through the mail.
I don’t know how representative my top ten list is, but hopefully it gives one an idea of the nature of stories included. Though, as I said, it’s hard to give nutshell commentary on such a diverse work. It was even hard to come up with a top thirty, there were so many great inclusions.
I’d highly recommend this book if you at all enjoy weird tales. I got a copy on Amazon at a bargain price, especially considering that this is about four books worth of great stories.
I like the stories, only thing I would mention is the font is a bit small.
Shipped quickly and safely. Very good price too.
Looking forward to reading this compendium