About the book
A landmark, eclectic, leviathan-sized anthology of fiction’s wilder, stranger, darker shores. From Lovecraft to Borges to Gaiman, a century of intrepid literary experimentation has created a corpus of dark and strange stories that transcend all known genre boundaries. Together these stories form The Weird and amongst its practitioners number some of the greatest names in twentieth and twenty-first century literature.
Exotic and esoteric, The Weird plunges you into dark domains and brings you face to face with surreal monstrosities; you won’t find any elves or wizards here… but you will find the boldest and downright most peculiar stories from the last hundred years bound together in the biggest Weird collection ever assembled.
The Weird features an all star cast of authors, from classics to international bestsellers to Booker prize winners. Here are Ben Okri and George R.R. Martin, Angela Carter and Kelly Link, Franz Kafka and China Miéville, Clive Barker and Haruki Murakami, M.R. James and Neil Gaiman, Mervyn Peake and Michael Chabon, Stephen King and Daphne Du Maurier.
This book was sent as a review copy by the publisher.
How on earth are you supposed to review a book like this? I mean, really. There aren’t any guidebooks, though I wish there was. This review will probably be one of my shorter ones because really… what can I say about something this sprawling?
The Weird is… amazing. There’s really no other word for it. The size is amazing. The stories are amazing. The theme is amazing. The cover art is amazing. Not only that but the VanderMeer’s have packed this gigantic volume of stories spanning a vast amount of time from the early 1900’s to now. The stories are in chronological order with the oldest first, working up to the modern day. The authors featured in this anthology will attract your attention. There are some heavy hitters in here like George R. R. Martin, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee, Ray Bradbury, China Mieville (of course) and more, complete with a “Forweird” and “Afterweird” – both of which are quite thoughtful, eye opening and worth reading.
This book is over 1000 pages long; most of them are covered in rather small font and two columns of text. Now, that might sound like a huge investment to some readers, and it really is, but it’s an investment of time that’s incredibly worth it. I will admit that I haven’t yet read every single page of this book, but that’s not stopping me from reviewing it. The Weird is one of those books that is best savored slowly. I’ve been picking out stories here and there that seem to fit my mood and reading them in whatever random order I choose. That seems to be the right way to do it. Let me assure you, there really is a story that fits every mood.
The stories themselves are shockingly diverse. Some are dramatic, some are thrilling, some are just, well, weird. That’s part of what is so addicting about The Weird. You’re never really sure what direction any of the stories are going to go. There’s something incredible about reading a story and not being able to predict any part of it. It’s noteworthy that Ann and Jeff VanderMeer have packed this massive volume full of stories like that.
The large span of time covered really shows the reader how the weird genre has evolved over time. Furthermore, the stories from the early 1900’s are just as easy to enjoy and appreciate as the ones from the current day. Though some of them have been translated, such pains were taken with the translations that, unless you know which has been translated, you really couldn’t tell just by reading them (I’m always nervous about reading translated work, for some reason).
The Weird is one of those anthologies that is a must-own for speculative fiction fans. This isn’t just an anthology, but it’s an incredible historical accounting of how the genre has evolved over time. Plus, I’m not sure where else you can find so many amazing authors and astounding stories packed into one volume. Yes, the book is huge. Yes, the font is small and yes, it will take you a long time to read the whole thing but who cares? The Weird is absolutely astounding and a true must-own for any serious genre fan.