Testing the Weird

I might as well give up and admit it–chances are there are going to be a lot of posts on weird fiction here while Ann and I work on this big book of, erm, weird fiction. It’s a good outlet for what’s an intense, satisfying, at times frustrating, and epiphanal project. The book will cover roughly a century, from about 1910 to the present-day. I see it as primarily post-WWI to 2009, but there may be some slight slippage. It’s not a best-of, per se, in that a true best-of for a century seems to me a ludicrous idea, but it’s also not just a history of the weird through fiction, in that we’re uninterested in including something solely because it has been dubbed “influential,” or as loose a group of stories as a “treasury”, which is often another way of saying “these are just my favorite favorites.”

In past posts, I’ve mostly described the grinding process of trying to read everything, in part to blow off steam from some tight deadlines. But there’s a lot of process here, too, which I haven’t mentioned. We’re more or less testing the weird, and setting up some limits and parameters to give the anthology focus while not being so intent on focus that it means excluding some things that our gut tells us should be in the anthology. (Two definite areas outside of our mission: straightforward fairy tales, no matter how grim, and horror fiction, predominantly from late 1980s/early 1990s, that has not even a whiff of the inexplicable.)

[Read more…]

Bring Me the Head of Leopoldo Lugones’ Bloat-Toad!

Sigh. That there could be a story called “The Bloat-Toad” and I have not read it. But must order a story collection to read it. What if it turns out to be bloat and toad in name only? What if it is feh?

Random Thoughts for a Monday

(Some of the more interesting stuff encountered or re-read in the last few days while working on the big book of weird fiction; couldn’t find the Jamaica Kincaid collection to add it to the shot.)

I’m sick of internet kerfuffle, so I’m avoiding it this week. It’s not for lack of sympathy, but for lack of time and lack of energy and also because it’s getting more and more depressing for me personally to emphasize the negative when there is a lot of non-polarizing positive out there that needs support. (Like, GO BUY A BOOK FROM AQUEDUCT PRESS RIGHT NOW! Okay?)

Me, I’m practically ancient now–a half-senile writer with deadlines on various projects between now and May 1st who is slowly “deliquescencing” into that comfortable stage between Young Turk and Old Fart. The world is just one big story, just composed of books, just composed of paragraphs and sentences.

I don’t know how much Ann and I read this weekend, but it was a lot–not just for weird but Clarion submissions and much more. One thing all of this affirmed for both Ann and me: Caitlin R. Kiernan has written so many amazing horror/dark fantasy stories that it’s going to be hard to choose just one.

Meanwhile the first–check out Mark Teppo on the Nature of Magick.

Meanwhile the second–check out Booklifenow, where Tamara Kaye Sellman will be guest blogging this week. Next week, Cynthia Ward and Nisi Shawl.