The Weird by Ann Vandermeer

a review by Ant, in the genre(s) Fantasy, Weird Fantasy . Book published by Corvus Books in October 2011

The Weird is a landmark tome of leviathan proportions, gathering together the best weird fiction from the last 100 years or so (beginning in 1908) from some of the most talented people that ever put pen to paper. It's difficult to convey just how much information is contained in this truly gargantuan book but let me try and set the scene.

1152 pages; but these aren't paper back sized pages - this is not only as thick as a brick but as large as a hardback and wider than most - contained within are 110 different stories which total over 750,000 words. It has a foreword by one of the great fantasy writers who dabbled in weird - Michael Moorcock and with an afterword by the king of "new weird", the most eloquent China Miéville.

It's also introduced by the world's most eminent caretaker of weird fiction Ann Vandermeer, winner of the Hugo and editor of the longest running weird fiction magazine "Weird Tales" which was founded way back in 1923. Along with her very well respected and award winning husband Jeff Vandermeer they have compiled and edited this collection, this veritable bible of the strange.

The introduction gives a fascinating abridged history of weird fiction and provides some insight into just how knowledgeable about the subject Ann really is, I felt quite humbled and more than a little excited about the content within and believe me you will not be disappointed.

I am still quite shocked at just how many stories are contained within the book, it's simply incredible and the author list read's almost like a who's who of fiction - it's like having a whole library contained within one volume. Admittedly it is a pretty eclectic mix, which is understandable considering the common theme.

I was also surprised by some of the authors that have actually written stories within this genre. While some are well known to have done so, such as HP Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Frank Kafka, China Miéville, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Stephen King and Mervyn Peak (to name just a few) others are not so obvious like George R.R. Martin (not someone I associate with the genre), William Gibson and Michael Chabon.

It isn't limited to the UK/US either - there are stories from over eigh­teen nation­al­i­ties including Hagi­wara Sakutoro, Franz Kafka, French author Claude Seignolle, Catalan writer Merce Rodor­eda, Italian Luigi Ugolini and Austrian Alfred Kubin - amongst others.

As mentioned the actual stories included are a wide mixture of styles but each has clearly been very carefully considered to offer the best examples of weird fiction short stories through the years and have been sorted from the oldest, beginning with an extract from Alfred Kubin's 1908 novel Die Andere Seite (The other Side) to the newest published just last year - K.J. Bishop's short story Saving the Gleeful Horse.

If I hadn't already received this book for review I would be adding it to my Christmas list and it is a book that I would recommend to one and all, a Weird Christmas to everyone!

The List in full:

  • Alfred Kubin The Other Side (1908)
  • F. Marion Crawford The Screaming Skull (1908)
  • Algernon Blackwood The Willows (1907)
  • Saki Sredni Vashtar (1910)
  • M.R. James Casting the Runes (1911)
  • Lord Dunsany How Nuth Would Have Practiced his Art (1912)
  • Gustav Meyrink The Man in the Bottle (1912)
  • Georg Heym The Dissection (1913)
  • Hanns Heinz Ewers The Spider (1915)
  • Rabindranath Tagore The Hungry Stones (1916)
  • Luigi Ugolini The Vegetable Man (1917)
  • A. Merritt The People of the Pit (1918)
  • Ryunosuke Akutagawa The Hell Screen (1918)
  • Francis Stevens Unseen-Unfeared (1919)
  • Franz Kafka In the Penal Colony (1919)
  • Stefan Grabinski The White Weyrak (1921)
  • H.F. Arnold The Night Wire (1926)
  • H.P. Lovecraft The Dunwich Horror (1929)
  • Margaret Irwin The Book (1930)
  • Jean Ray The Mainz Psalter (1930)
  • Jean Ray The Shadowy Street (1931)
  • Clark Ashton Smith Genius Loci (1933)
  • Hagiwara Sakutoro The Town of Cats (1935)
  • Hugh Walpole The Tarn (1936)
  • Bruno Schulz Sanatorium at the Sign of the Hourglass (1937)
  • Robert Barbour Johnson Far Below (1939)
  • Fritz Leiber Smoke Ghost (1941)
  • Leonora Carrington White Rabbits (1941)
  • Donald Wollheim Mimic (1942)
  • Ray Bradbury The Crowd (1943)
  • William Sansom The Long Sheet (1944)
  • Jorge Luis Borges The Aleph (1945)
  • Olympe Bhely-Quenum A Child in the Bush of Ghosts (1949)
  • Shirley Jackson The Summer People (1950)
  • Margaret St. Clair The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles (1951)
  • Robert Bloch The Hungry House (1951)
  • Augusto Monterroso Mister Taylor (1952)
  • Amos Tutuola The Complete Gentleman (1952)
  • Jerome Bixby It's a Good Life (1953)
  • Julio Cortazar Axolotl (1956)
  • William Sansom A Woman Seldom Found (1956)
  • Charles Beaumont The Howling Man (1959)
  • Mervyn Peake Same Time, Same Place (1963)
  • Dino Buzzati The Colomber (1966)
  • Michel Bernanos The Other Side of the Mountain (1967)
  • Merce Rodoreda The Salamander (1967)
  • Claude Seignolle The Ghoulbird (1967)
  • Gahan Wilson The Sea Was Wet As Wet Could Be (1967)
  • Daphne Du Maurier Don't Look Now (1971)
  • Robert Aickman The Hospice (1975)
  • Dennis Etchison It Only Comes Out at Night (1976)
  • James Tiptree Jr The Psychologist Who Wouldn't Do Terrible Things to Rats (1976)
  • Eric Basso The Beak Doctor (1977)
  • Jamaica Kincaid Mother (1978)
  • George R.R. Martin Sandkings (1979)
  • Bob Leman Window (1980)
  • Ramsey Campbell The Brood (1980)
  • Michael Shea The Autopsy (1980)
  • William Gibson/John Shirley The Belonging Kind (1981)
  • M. John Harrison Egnaro (1981)
  • Joanna Russ The Little Dirty Girl (1982)
  • M. John Harrison The New Rays (1982)
  • Premendra Mitra The Discovery of Telenapota (1984)
  • F. Paul Wilson Soft (1984)
  • Octavia Butler Bloodchild (1984)
  • Clive Barker In the Hills, the Cities (1984)
  • Leena Krohn Tainaron (1985)
  • Garry Kilworth Hogfoot Right and Bird-hands (1987)
  • Lucius Shepard Shades (1987)
  • Harlan Ellison The Function of Dream Sleep (1988)
  • Ben Okri Worlds That Flourish (1988)
  • Elizabeth Hand The Boy in the Tree (1989)
  • Joyce Carol Oates Family (1989)
  • Poppy Z Brite His Mouth Will Taste of Wormwood (1990)
  • Michal Ajvaz The End of the Garden (1991)
  • Karen Joy Fowler The Dark (1991)
  • Kathe Koja Angels in Love (1991)
  • Haruki Murakami The Ice Man (1991)
  • Lisa Tuttle Replacements (1992)
  • Marc Laidlaw The Diane Arbus Suicide Portfolio (1993)
  • Steven Utley The Country Doctor (1993)
  • William Browning Spenser The Ocean and All Its Devices (1994)
  • Jeffrey Ford The Delicate (1994)
  • Martin Simpson Last Rites and Resurrections (1994)
  • Stephen King The Man in the Black Suit (1994)
  • Angela Carter The Snow Pavilion (1995)
  • Craig Padawer The Meat Garden (1996)
  • Stepan Chapman The Stiff and the Stile (1997)
  • Tanith Lee Yellow and Red (1998)
  • Kelly Link The Specialist's Hat (1998)
  • Caitlin R. Kiernan A Redress for Andromeda (2000)
  • Michael Chabon The God of Dark Laughter (2001)
  • China Mieville Details (2002)
  • Michael Cisco The Genius of Assassins (2002)
  • Neil Gaiman Feeders and Eaters (2002)
  • Jeff VanderMeer The Cage (2002)
  • Jeffrey Ford The Beautiful Gelreesh (2003)
  • Thomas Ligotti The Town Manager (2003)
  • Brian Evenson The Brotherhood of Mutilation (2003)
  • Mark Samuels The White Hands (2003)
  • Daniel Abraham Flat Diana (2004)
  • Margo Lanagan Singing My Sister Down (2005)
  • T.M. Wright, The People on the Island (2005)
  • Laird Barron The Forest (2007)
  • Liz Williams The Hide (2007)
  • Reza Negarestani The Dust Enforcer (2008)
  • Micaela Morrissette The Familiars (2009)
  • Steve Duffy In the Lion's Den (2009)
  • Stephen Graham Jones Little Lambs (2009)
  • K.J. Bishop Saving the Gleeful Horse (2010)

Written on Wednesday 30th November 2011 by . 5 Star Rating

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The Weird, a novel by Ann Vandermeer

Book Details

  • The Weird
  • Publisher: Corvus Books
  • ISBN: 9781848876873
  • Published:
  • Pages: 1152
  • Format reviewed: Paperback
  • Review date: November, 2011
  • Language: English
  • Age Range: N/A