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October 31, 2011 3:44 PM   Subscribe

After the, aheh, weirdness surrounding Ann Vandermeer's departure from Weird Tales (Previously), Jeff and Ann Vandermeer have now released the succinctly titled compendium of weird fiction, "The Weird," covering 100 years and 750,000 words of weird fiction. The hitherto-silent "companion site," Weird Fiction Review, launches today, revealing itself to be a bit of an all-purpose blog about fiction as well as general strangeness and affiliated oddities. posted by Scattercat (27 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
There is a great podcast with Ann and Jeff here... going by it the anthology sounds great.
posted by Artw at 3:49 PM on October 31, 2011

This is just to say I like Ann and Jeff a lot. Like a lot a lot.
posted by The Whelk at 4:08 PM on October 31, 2011

I saw them talk two years ago at Capclave and they were terrific. Before that, I was kind of skeptical about steampunk generally, but they were just so sharp and discerning and awesome that they helped win me over. Glad to see this new project.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:50 PM on October 31, 2011

Still kind of Skeptical about it, TBH, but Ann and Jeff are cool.
posted by Artw at 7:32 PM on October 31, 2011

This anthology excites me for five reasons

a) it works pretty hard on gender parity
b) it works pretty hard at mixing hi/lo canon work without making a big deal about it
c) serious essays by Morcock and Meville on what weird means
d) the new translations, and the work from Central Europe, India, Indoesia, Japan, Benin and Nigeria.
e) it just seems to be a solid work of scholarship

when is it coming out and how much
posted by PinkMoose at 7:50 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

and i am really intriuged by the idea of Kafka and Lovecraft as the two poles of weird--it makes perfect sense, but i dont think ive seen it articulated
posted by PinkMoose at 7:52 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

After looking over the inclusions I was about to say that it seemed like a good effort but, really, you need to include Sandkings in something like this. Luckily I did a quick CTRL-F and, hey, there it was! Nice.

The breadth of authors represented seems comprehensive but the choice of stories looks highly idiosyncratic to me. Why that particular Ellison or Tiptree? The Ellison choice in particular seems strange. I mean, 1988? Ellison? Secondly, why is Harrison represented twice? Hell, Lovecraft, Kafka, Peake, etc etc are all only given one slot. Is Harrison really so prominent as to be the only author with two stories?

Nitpicks aside this looks like a great anthology.
posted by Justinian at 8:06 PM on October 31, 2011

Did you not expect idiosyncratic choices in an anthology of weird fiction?
posted by broken wheelchair at 10:04 PM on October 31, 2011

There's actually a fair bit about the selection process in that podcast I linked.
posted by Artw at 10:11 PM on October 31, 2011

This looks really fun. The only one in it that I've read is the Kelly Link one, and I remember enjoying it but have no memory whatsoever of what happened in it, so it will be a good reread. It is, however, unfortunate that it looks like a mere book, and not a book with a locking mechanism on the side and a giant tentacle coming out.

Also dude aren't you the Scattercat from the Escape Artists forums? I hear you mentioned on feedback all the time. Small internet world.
posted by NoraReed at 12:24 AM on November 1, 2011

Yup, same Scattercat. I blather on fairly relentlessly unless smarter people are around to shut me up. Thus, I'm much quieter on MetaFilter than on a relatively small forum like Escape Artists.
posted by Scattercat at 2:02 AM on November 1, 2011

Hey, all. I will appear here briefly like a wraith and then disintegrate into a flock of tiny ravens.

Just want to correct a couple errors of fact. Sandkings is in the anthology and Harrison isn't the only writer with two stories in the book.

Re the other stuff--we hope there will be debate about some of the story selections as that just dislodges even more great reading suggestions--and in fact we'll be spotlighting tons of stuff not in the antho on Re our thought process...Tiptree didn't write much truly weird fiction. Ellison in 1988 wrote a great weird story--what comes after heydays are not maydays. The other option was I Have No Mouth, but that's as SFnal as it is weird and also reprinted much more frequently. Kafka and Lovecraft are given one shot because they're ubiquitous everywhere and so easily available. Jean Ray, for example, has two stories in there because they're not so available. And Jeff Ford has two because his truly "weird" fiction is very short, so neither piece is over 2,500 words.

And I'll retire now to my Weird lair and sully this thread no longer--except to say thanks so much for the interest!

posted by JeffVan at 3:33 AM on November 1, 2011 [10 favorites]

Metafilter's own Jeff VanderMeer!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:20 AM on November 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

Not had the pleasure of meeting Ann, but just wanted to embarrass Jeff a little more by mentioning that I've rarely met someone so generous with his time and his knowledge and his goodwill. All of which is only tempered by the fact that to fit in all the things that he's involved with, he must be in league with forces so dark that human imagination cannot even um, imagine them.

The anthology looks spectacular. Delighted to see The Willows in there - I first read it when I was a teenager, coming down with flu. I had that drowsy, disassociated feeling of a fever coming on, the world already seemed...different. Don't think a story has ever made a bigger impact on me.
posted by reynir at 12:38 PM on November 1, 2011

That's awfully kind!

(The *real* story of the Weird--the full backstory on permissions, etc.--can only be published after we are dead, alas.)

The Willows is the oldest story in there but it still feels fresh.

posted by JeffVan at 1:59 PM on November 1, 2011

The Willows feels more modern than most of Lovecrafts stuff, despite having inspired it. Definately worthy of the anthology.

I think I may have to just go ahead and buy this.
posted by Artw at 2:47 PM on November 1, 2011

posted by zarq at 3:16 PM on November 1, 2011

JeffVan, If you are still checking in - There was mention of chasing down the electronic rights in the Sofanaust podcast, is an ebook edition on the way?
posted by Artw at 3:23 PM on November 1, 2011

Ann Vandermeer puts together a mean anthology. Thematically and content wise, they're always dead on. Several of the best new author's I've discovered over the last few years have been because of her.

On the off chance Jeff comes back and wants to share anonymous internet guy's comment with Ann: Thanks Ann!
posted by Gygesringtone at 3:52 PM on November 1, 2011

I'll guide Ann here.

Yes--there is going to be an ebook, but the anthology is so massive and was just finalized for the print version 8 weeks ago. So I imagine they are really enjoying putting it in a different layout and coding it. And by "enjoy" I mean "suffering excruciating and mind-stabbing pain."

posted by JeffVan at 4:23 PM on November 1, 2011

Just want to correct a couple errors of fact. Sandkings is in the anthology

Well, to be fair, what I said was that I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that Sandkings was in the anthology. So that wasn't an error.
posted by Justinian at 5:07 PM on November 1, 2011

(But upon review I do see that Jean Ray also has two stories along with Harrison. Never read them. Which is likely a common experience and so the anthology will be introducing them to a lot of readers).
posted by Justinian at 5:10 PM on November 1, 2011

Oh, sorry Justinian--I thought you were saying you were viewing it somewhere online since it wasn't going to be in the collection.

Re Harrison--there was a story we wanted but the rights were tied up and no other one story represented him properly. It definitely is a decision folks could nick us on, I suppose.
posted by JeffVan at 6:51 PM on November 1, 2011

I read "Jean Ray" and the first thing that comes to mind is Timecube. I've been on the internet for too long.
posted by JHarris at 8:10 PM on November 1, 2011

I'm a lot more familiar with Harrison than Jean Ray which is probably not surprising for an English speaker. His Viriconium sequence is my personal favorite. But I hadn't considered something you said earlier in this thread, namely that, sure, folks like Kafka or Lovecraft could have any number of stories in such an anthology but much of the audience can find those stories quite easily and many will already be familiar with them. The reader doesn't gain nearly as much from simply re-reading an anthology of stories he or she is already quite familiar with even if seeing them in a new context can shine new light on them.

I'm sure it's a difficult balance to maintain between familiarity and obscurity.
posted by Justinian at 8:17 PM on November 1, 2011

(oops, the above was directed to JVDM. That'll learn me not to quote.)
posted by Justinian at 8:18 PM on November 1, 2011

The only thing I've read by Jean Ray was "The Last Traveler" which was really scary. It's about a winter guest being stalked by an invisible revenant through the rooms and halls of a shuttered hotel, and the writing makes great use of creepy sound in darkness, as the slow, heavy, dragging footsteps ascend the stairs towards poor Mr. Buttercup hiding in terror. It only appears in the Ghosts anthology edited by Marvin Kaye, to mention a name that the Vandermeers are probably sick of hearing. :-)
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 8:38 PM on November 1, 2011

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