By Michelle Irby
This post could really be three separate posts. But, guess what, I’m editing New Zenith Magazine and I just don’t have time to write three separate posts. You’ll be lucky if I even get it thoroughly edited. However, an excellent blogger followed this blog and addressed a topic near and dear to my heart. I was feeling a bit more vindicated in my views now that there is one more person who shares them. The topic of which I speak is “The Weird”. So this is part book review, part pat on the back and part educational. My input will be limited because I feel the other two sources have made a discussion far more eloquent then I ever could.
First I would like to say I love “The Weird”. From a young age I found a thrill in coming into my dark room. I knew I couldn’t turn the light out from my bed, believe me I tried. Nor could I shut the slightly cracked closet which peered menacingly at me from the opposite corner of my room. I’m sure many of us have had the same feeling and solution. I’d take a running start then fly across the open space between myself and my bed then land diving under the covers pillow armor in place. Then for the closet, I’d launch a stuffed animal hand grenade at the door in hopes of closing the closet. Thus I would ensure protection against otherworldly portals contained within, or imprisoning the boogie-man until morning when he couldn’t get me anymore.
I have been reading from a young age. Lovecraft has undeniably been a part of my library since the early 80’s, when I was a mere seven years old. The reason we all delight in horror, fantasy and the weird is because there are just things that can’t be explained. Those phantoms inhabit the dark corners of the world, and in the minds and hearts of men. We all experience moments of paralyzing fear which exists only for the blink of an eyelash. A shiver racks our spine, climbing all the way to the base of our brain where sensibility can’t get a foot-hold. It all seemingly has no apparent cause but for a moment we revel in the thrill and become for at least a few minutes a tad bit more cautious.
People love to be scared. They seek satiation of their curiosity, even though whatever they are investigating may be dangerous. The thrill lies within that threat of possible danger. We all investigate the weird sound we hear coming from the darkness. We drive by that supposedly haunted house at night, on the edge of town, just to have a look.
I don’t care how scientific or reasoning you are, we all have fear of the unknown and feel the rush of adrenalin coursing through our veins.
No matter what form it takes we all endeavor to feel that thrill whether it’s checking out our dark basement or reading a scary story in the dark or climbing aboard the newest highest, fastest backwards rollercoaster on the planet. So don’t dare tell me that horror, fantasy, or the weird is for children, the weak-minded individuals, or red-necks, because we are all human. We all seek understanding of the unknown and we all fall victim to our own inner fear. And the healthy ones embrace our fear and run with it.
So having said that I’d like to introduce you to two sources that discuss this topic. Below is a link to a post which I will reblog here.
This is a discussion of The Weird and its confusion and incorrect categorization in fiction mostly as horror. I admire the academic way this post is constructed. Great job, K. C. Redding – Gonzalez You are my hero. The name of the blog where I found this article is called Zombie Salmon (the Horror Continues) I spent some time reading this blog and it is worthy of regular reading. zombiesalmonthehorrorcontinues.wordpress.com
The next source is a book which discusses this same said topic and is a giant wonderful compendium of all that is weird throughout the past 100 years. These two editors Ann and Jeff ZanderMeer are also two of my personal heroes because they put most of my favorite weird in one giant lovely book. Everyone who loves “The Weird” should own this book.
By Ann & Jeff VanderMeer
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 its practitioners include 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 biggest, boldest, and downright most peculiar stories from the last hundred years bound together in the biggest Weird collection ever assembled. If you would like to visit Ann and Jeff VanderMeer here is their site