New Weird : Overview
If you’ve come across the term “New Weird”, it’s not surprising that it would lead you to wonder what it means. It seems to point to a new genre or classification but of what? Is it something that pertains to science fiction, fantasy, horror or it’s a mixture of all three? If you’re looking to broaden your choice in books and literary work, you may want to take a look at what New Weird is all about.
What is New Weird?
The term new weird is something relatively new although it has its roots in the weird fiction genre as popularized by the H.P. Lovecraft and Arthur Machen just to name a few. To understand the concept of new weird, you have to look at its predecessor, weird fiction. Weird fiction is simply a genre that blends the supernatural, mythical and scientific which at that time (early 20th century) was considered separate from the horror and fantasy genres.
Thus, New Weird is something akin to a revival of weird fiction except that it can usually cross genres with some authors blending horror with fantasy, science fiction in a setting that can be as real or as imaginary as the writer decides.
One of the notable authors of this genre is Jeff Vandermeer whose own contributions to the literature helped spur the popularity of the New Weird genre. He, together with his wife Ann, edited and released “The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories” which is basically a collection of 100 years of weird fiction with 110+ stories from literary legends, including Angela Carter, Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman, George R. R. Martin, Stephen King and a host of other writers that span weird tales from practically every literary source – Japanese, Latin American, Nigerian and more.
Another writer that fondly describes his work as weird fiction is China Tom Mieville (who also wrote the afterword in Vandermeer’s “The Weird”) who credits his influence in writing weird fiction to the likes of Michael moorcok, Tim Powers, H. P. Lovecraft and Gene Wolfe. Almost all his novels have won awards for in the Best Novel and Best Fantasy genres like Perdido Street Station won the 2001 Arthur C. Clarke Award and the 2001 British Fantasy Award. Another novel, The Scar, won both the 2003 British Fantasy Award and the 2003 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel.