Work on the book of weird, covering a century and clocking in at 750,000 words, continues apace. We’ve recently acquired stories from writers like Shirley Jackson, Merce Rodoreda, Jamaica Kincaid, Leonora Carrington, Angela Carter, Octavia Butler, Michal Ajvaz, Murakami, Joanna Russ, Bruno Schulz…well, the list goes on and on.
Some writers don’t fit, or their short fiction turns out not to be of the same quality as their novels. Some obscure writers do more than hold their own against the better known. Some classics continue to hold up and others don’t. For example, Robert Howard might’ve worked in his swords-and-sorcery mode but we’re not including that strand, and his real-world stories, the best ones, are, quite frankly, either too pulpy or too filled with the kind of reactionary elements that you can’t ignore.
Above all else, it’s important to note that this antho covers “the weird” and “weird”, not horror. Not dark fantasy. Not urban fantasy. And the only exceptions to needing some inexplicable/supernatural element are the threads we’re calling “weird ritual” and “SF weird” (Martin’s “Sandkings” is a good example of the latter).
Perhaps the most pleasure we’ve had in editing this anthology is being able to “rescue” a few writers who deserve to be better known and who, in the context, of our anthology can now hopefully be re-evaluated.
Not to mention, using chronological order really can be a powerful tool. This is by no means an antho of international fiction, but we do have some variety there. Just seeing juxtapositions like this from early in the antho makes us happy:
1912: Gustav Meyrink, â€œThe Man in the Bottleâ€
1913: Georg Heym, â€œThe Dissectionâ€
1916: Rabindranath Tagore, â€œThe Hungry Stonesâ€
1918: A. Merritt, â€œThe People of the Pitâ€
1918: Ryunosuke Akutagawa, â€œThe Hell Screenâ€
1919: Francis Stevens, â€œUnseenâ€”Unfearedâ€
1919: Franz Kafka, â€œIn the Penal Colonyâ€
1921: Stefan Grabinski, â€œThe White Weyrakâ€
1926: H.F. Arnold, â€œThe Night Wireâ€
1929: H.P. Lovecraft, â€œThe Dunwich Horrorâ€
1930: Margaret Irwin, â€œThe Bookâ€
1931: Hagiwara Sakutoro, â€œThe Town of Catsâ€
This actually omits a couple of other stories from that time period that we’re including (but would rather keep as a surprise for now), but gives a good example of how these juxtapositions can give an idea of how writers in very different places were doing that might’ve had synergy, although the English translations of some of this material came later. It’s worth noting that Francis Stevens was the pen name of Gertrude Mabel Barrows.