China Miéville & the New Weird…. Good fiction has an uncanny quality; and that’s enough to make it ‘fantasy’ and ‘mainstream’ at the same time. Let’s go out there, we might say, meaning, into this mainstream arena, and make the readers uncomfortable. Instead of splitting hairs let’s do some acts of the countermundane.
Long Live the New Weird.
It’s certainly true that we are living with some of our finest sf/fantasy writers and the phenomenon known as the ‘New Weird’ is a useful (as long as you don't take it too seriously) catch-all title for some very different books which have in common only that they are written by ferociously talented people who are describing the world they live in in terms of the products of fertile imaginations.
The instant gratification that came from entering my credit card details one minute, and in the next reading my freshly downloaded piece of ‘New Weird’, was a joy in itself, but when I went back for more I was disappointed.
Edgy, urban fiction with a visceral immediacy, the New Weird has descended from classic fantasy and dime-store pulp novels, horror and detective comics, thrillers and noir. All grown-up, it emerges from the chrysalis of nostalgia as newly literate, shocking, and utterly innovative.
Didn’t Aleister Crowley proclaim that ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law’? That, at least to me, is the haiku version of the central theoretical principle of the New Weird? Why should writers be bound by anything but the outer limits of their own imaginations? Why should fantasy be bound by pseudo-mimetic realism? Why not take the reader beyond even a consistent fantasy reality?
Between the New Wave and the New Weird come the three ‘punks’, cyberpunk, splatterpunk and steampunk, and their relationship to the preceding and subsequent movements cannot be overlooked.
M. John Harrison, introduction to a China Miéville novella
Last modified 2021-11-04 18:02:04
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.