The Weird

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The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories
TheWeirdAnthologyCover.jpg
Author Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (editors)
Country United States
Language English
Genre Weird fiction (anthology)
Publisher Tor Books
Publication date
8 May 2012
Media type Hardcover, paperback, e-book
Pages 1,152
ISBN 9780765333605

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories is an anthology of weird fiction edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer.

Published on 8 May 2012, it contains 110 short stories, novellas and short novels. At 1,152 pages in the hardcover edition, it is probably the largest single volume of fantastic fiction ever published, according to Locus.[1]

Contents[edit]

The editors' object in publishing The Weird was to provide, through its contents, a comprehensive definition of "the Weird", a type of fiction that their introduction describes as "as much a sensation"—one of terror and wonder—"as (...) a mode of writing", and as a type of fiction that entertains while also expressing readers' dissatisfaction with, and uncertainty about, reality.[1] To that end, The Weird includes works that range from fantasy, science fiction and mainstream literature "with a slight twist of strange", but it also amounts, according to The Guardian, to "a history of the horror story".[2]

The editors limited their chronologically ordered collection to fiction from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and largely avoided including stories focusing on tropes of the horror genre such as zombies, vampires, and werewolves, to highlight what they considered the Weird's innovative qualities.[1] To cover the genre comprehensively, they commissioned original translations of, among others, works by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Michel Bernanos, Julio Cortázar and Georg Heym.

The anthology contains the following works:[3]

The introduction notes that certain stories were not included because of problems with obtaining the reproduction rights, but that the editors considered these stories as an extension of the anthology: Philip K. Dick's The Preserving Machine, J. G. Ballard's The Drowned Giant, Gabriel García Márquez's A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings and Otsuichi's The White House in the Cold Forest.

Reception[edit]

The anthology was well received by reviewers from the Financial Times, who called it an "authoritative" representation of weird fiction,[4] the San Francisco Chronicle, who considered that the volume's broad range of authors proved that "the bizarre and unsettling belong to no one race, country or gender"[5] and Publishers Weekly, who characterized it as a "standard-setting compilation" and a "deeply affectionate and respectful history of speculative fiction’s blurry edges".[6]

Locus magazine's reviewer noted that the anthology's chronological order allowed the reader to construct a "fossil record" of the Weird's evolution. He wrote that its broad geographical scope made noticeable the distinct traditions of English-language weird fiction, which depict the "eruption of the inexplicable into meticulously ordered realities", and the traditions represented by many translated works, whose cultures are more thoroughly grounded in folklore and mythology, or which resist a Western impulse toward rationalism and realism.[1] Damien Walter, writing for The Guardian in a pastiche of the genre's style, warned of "the madness of the many authors contained in its pages and clearly inhuman determination of its 'editors'", prophesying that "Soon the chrysalid will form, and The Weird itself will burst into the world as a radiant winged moth of metaphysical doom!"[7]

The Weird received the British Fantasy Award for best anthology in 2012.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Dziemianowicz, Stefan (20 July 2012). "Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews The Weird". Locus. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Brown, Eric (23 December 2011). "Science fiction roundup – reviews". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Copied, excepting the translators' names, from: VanderMeer, Jeff (30 August 2011). "Table of Contents: The Weird, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer". Ecstatic Days (blog). Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Lovegrove, James (18 November 2011). "The Weird". Financial Times. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Berry, Michael (16 July 2012). "Science fiction and fantasy book reviews". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  6. ^ "The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  7. ^ Walter, Damien (18 November 2011). "Beware The Weird!". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 July 2012.