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The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories Hardcover – May 8, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In the 1990s, a new kind of genre story seemed to have sprung up. It was frightening but seldom gory; either not quite as realistic as or less fantastic than it initially promised; very short on monsters no matter how monstrous it got; eerie but just about never ghostly (at least, no ghosts horned into the act); creepy even when it decided to be funny; and un-, far more than super-, natural. The VanderMeers, wife and husband editors of this doorstopper, were in the front rank of those fostering what Jeff explains in the introduction was actually a revival of a fictional manner with roots in the early twentieth century and grand masters who spent their lives ignored and unpublished while setting standards for the manner in America and Europe, respectively. Those two were, of course, H. P. Lovecraft and Franz Kafka, a classic by each of whom—“The Dunwich Horror” and “In the Penal Colony”—appears herein alongside other stellar performances by writers who have faded from top best-sellerdom into obscurity (F. Marion Crawford, Hugh Walpole); are literary stars of the highest magnitude (Rabindranath Tagore, Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Jorge Luis Borges); live through only one unforgettable story; and who busily augment the worldwide catalog of weird stories as this is written (most of the contributors). No popular-fiction library should not have this treasure trove. --Ray Olson


Praise for THE WEIRD:
“What is good about the majority of these stories is precisely that they leave you with many more questions than answers, the mark, in my view, of a superior kind of fiction... It does, in fact, what most of our best fiction does, irrespective of category.” —Award-winning author Michael Moorcock, from his introduction

“These texts, dead and/or not, burrow, and we cannot predict everything they will infect or eat their path through. But certainly your brain, and they will eat the books you read from today on, too. That is how the Weird recruits.” —China Miéville, bestselling and award-winning author of Embassytown, from his afterword

“Studded with literary gems, it’s a hefty, diligently assembled survey of a genre that manages to be at once unsettling, disorientating and bracing in its variety.” --James Lovegrove, Financial Times

“It’s a tremendous experience to go through its 1,126 pages… there are so many delights in this that any reader will find something truly memorable.” --Scotland on Sunday

“Readers eager to explore a world beyond the ordinary need look no further.” --Time Out

An anthology of writing so powerful it will leave your reality utterly shredded… Give yourself to the weird! Hurl your puny mortal body through the portal the VanderMeers have opened for you, join your lord the Miéville on the other side, give your heart and soul to the saints that stand at his feet, to the mad prophets that have prepared you for his coming. Open the pages of the new gospel of The Weird.” --Guardian.co.uk

“Unmissable!” – The Guardian

“The definitive collection of weird fiction… its success lies in its ability to lend coherence to a great number of stories that are so remarkable different and yet share the same theme.” --TLS


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1152 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765333600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765333605
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 2.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #388,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Regarding the book itself, I'd be absolutely shocked if it does not win the World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology. This is one of the strongest collections of Weird Fiction I've ever seen in my life. I don't consider myself an expert in this field but I think I've been around the block enough to not be considered an amateur either. This is the best collection of weird/strange fiction since David Hartwell's The Dark Descent. There have been some absolutely outstanding anthologies in the time between Dark Descent and The Weird (e.g., Sarrantonio's 999, Datlow's Year's Best Horror Series, and Pelan's Century's Best Horror Fiction which came out this year). However, I remain adamant that the VanderMeer's have created a truly awe-inspiring collection that has no peer since Dark Descent. 50 years from now it will be held in the same category as Wagner and Wise's Great Tales of the Supernatural. This is an incredible feat given the absolutely outstanding anthologies that have come out in recent years (e.g., Dead But Dreaming, anything by John Joseph Adams, and, bears repeating, Pelan's two volume Century's Best Horror Fiction). To me, it solidifies my belief that we are in one of the most exciting and impressive literary eras for Weird Fiction.

Although it is hard, I will try to pause my praises for this book and get to the reason you are reading this: How's the Kindle Version hold up and is it worth the $15? The answer is Great! and Yes! I'll elaborate. To give a little background, I have a Kindle Fire but from what I understand the book will look the same on a regular Kindle or IPad or whatever format you tend to read your e-books on.

First, the Amazon "Click to Look Inside" function does NOT do the Kindle version justice.
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Format: Hardcover
When I first saw the box containing this book, I got excited. Then I opened the box, saw the cover with the Lovecraftian cover and some of the contributors and gave a squee of excitement. Then I read the index. My first response was "I am in love!" This is not just another anthology, with representative samples form 1908-2010 the VanderMeer's managed to give us a sense of the evolution of the horror/thriller genres. If you read "The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles" by Lord Dunsany, you will be happy to know that there is another tale dealing with the Gnoles. You will also be pleasantly surprised by the translated stories, too. A worldwide tour de force of the wonderfully weird with translated tales from as far afield as Germany, Russia, Iran and China not just limited to the English speaking world as most of these collections tend towards, also refusing to limit themselves to the usual vampire, werewolf, zombie and sex stories. While these genres are enjoyable I their own right, it is nice to see a collection not limited to the themes that have permeated the horror/thriller section of the book stores. With contributions from the premier authorities of the eerie tale such as Saki, Lovecraft, Bradbury, Campbell, Ellison, King, Gaiman and many more, the VanderMeer's do their best to find new stories and new authors that you may not have been introduced to before and it is well worth the time to meet the group. If you loved the delightful creepiness of The Twilight Zone, the weirdness of Fringe and wish to expand your collection and enjoyment with something that manages to stay pretty strong throughout and different from the normal, run of the mill stories, then you will definitely want to add this to your collection. I did receive this book to do a review (but still loved it!)
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Format: Hardcover
I haven't actually read every page of The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, yet I'm giving it my highest recommendation. Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Master and Mistress of Weird, The Weird is 1126 pages long and should really be considered a textbook of weird fiction. It contains 110 carefully chosen stories spanning more than 100 years of weird fiction. Here's what you can expect to find in this massive volume:

A "Forweird" by Michael Moorcock gives us a brief history of the weird tale, discusses how it has defied publishers' attempts to categorize it into neatly-bordered genres, and gives examples of writers who are revered by modern readers but whose weird fiction caused them to be marginalized during their lifetimes. Moorcock also attempts to explain why we like weird fiction and relates the affinity for strange tales, at one time or other, to the popularity of psychoanalysis, the development of easily-consumed mass communication, and the desire to rock the literary boat once in a while when genres become staid. Or, Moorcock suggests, perhaps we just occasionally like to be disturbed.

Next, Ann and Jeff VanderMeer's introduction begins to define "Weird" by reminding us of H.P. Lovecraft's 1927 definition: "something more than secret murder, bloody bones, or a sheeted form clanking chains." The VanderMeers suggest that weird stories are dark and make us uneasy, but can at the same time be beautiful. They also discusses the influences of surrealism, Decadent Literature, New Wave and Gothic and then offers a detailed history and evolution of the weird tale with recommended authors and stories (most of which are included in this volume).
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