How do we define weird fiction?

I like the idea of supporting and promoting weird fiction. Of course, how we define weird fiction may be vastly different, although intuitively we all know what weird fiction is. Or do we?

For me, weird fiction is fiction that follows its own logic, with a narrative path that may differ greatly from the usual. Often it’s fiction from another country/culture, and not necessarily just books. Film narrative varies a lot from country to country (Chinese films, Russian films, European films as opposed to Hollywood ones and so on). There may be a beginning, development and ending…or there may not be. Or not in this order.

How do you define weird fiction?

From time to time, I will share here a few links to interesting, weird, different fictions as I find them.

I found an article in LOCUS MAGAZINE, by writer and blogger Harry Markov, about a  short stories’ collection by Bulgarian writer Angel G. Angelov: The Act of  Walking on Water (2009). The collection sounds really interesting, and if you don’t know Locus Magazine, do keep an eye on it for science fiction and fantasy news and interviews and more in between.

Markov says of Angelov’s stories:

Angelov grows in magnitude and fuels stories with a unique brand of intellectual erotica, philosophical monologues and warped realities…..with a slight nod to the Lovecraftian philosophy of cosmicism.

Now, anyone that hints at Lovecraftian’s cosmicism is someone I’d like to read. I hope this collection gets translated into English (my chances of learning Bulgarian are very slim).

 

Another good place to find interesting and weird fiction is Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading.

Among the latest offering, a series of short stories by Alex Epstein’s, from his collection: For My Next Illusion I Will Use Wings caught my attention. It’s a very good example of what can be done with flash fiction / micro fiction.

[Alex Epstein] performs an act of distillation, capturing the very essence of fiction.

Epstein’s collection has been translated into English, so I hope to put my hands on it at some point! It makes me think of author Lydia Davis‘ style of writing and preference for short, and extremely short in some cases, fiction.

My style is a reaction to Proust’s long sentences

That’s what Davis says of her choice of short narratives in this Guardian interview. I personally loved Proust’s long sentences, but I also love Davis’ ability to be essential.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “How do we define weird fiction?

  1. MJ Nicholls

    If weird isn’t used in a derogatory sense, like “experimental” (implying a failure) , I’d say anything formally, structurally, stylistically original or different, something that it striking in its approach from the first few pages.

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    • Oh, I like that:

      ‘something striking in its approach from the first few pages’.

      And no, no, I didn’t mean to use weird in a derogatory way. I used the sentence as it was in the article quoted, maybe I should have make it clear it was meant in a ludic, appreciative way 🙂

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  2. I’d recommend The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer. That monstrous tome includes fascinating essays on what weird fiction is as well as hundreds of stories that exemplify weird fiction.

    I’d also suggest The Dark Domain by Stefan Grabinski. It’s… weird. That’s all I can say.

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