December 14, 2019, 03:53:45 PM

Author Topic: What is Weird Fantasy?  (Read 6263 times)

Offline AnneLyle

Re: What is Weird Fantasy?
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2011, 03:14:24 PM »
To me, (New) Weird seems to be about subverting genre stereotypes and messing with reader expectations, to present an uncomfortable, even unsettling reading experience. In that sense it's more "literary", more experimental and thus frequently not to the taste of the mass of readers.

You can stray a long way off the beaten path of epic/urban fantasy without ever writing "New Weird", if your main aim is still to entertain rather than shake up your readers.

(And I say this as someone who falls firmly into the "entertainment" camp.)
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Offline Eclipse

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Re: What is Weird Fantasy?
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2019, 08:26:53 AM »
What’s the difference between new weird and old weird
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Offline Yora

Re: What is Weird Fantasy?
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2019, 10:26:40 AM »
I looked into that a few years back. I can't remember what I learned about New Weird, but my conclusion was that it's not really a thing. It was just a self-promotion marketing term that didn't catch on.
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Offline cupiscent

Re: What is Weird Fantasy?
« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2019, 11:10:23 AM »
Skimming through this was actually fascinating, because I got irritated with Mieville calling himself "New Weird" because it seemed to be setting his work apart from that of, for instance, M John Harrison, to whom I felt he owed a significant creative debt. But looks like actually they're both part of the New Weird movement, set aside from "pre-Tolkien" writing in a not dissimilar vein.

I was looking into "New Weird" recently when I was researching for that "Secondary world fantasy in modern settings" panel I was doing for the local convention. What I kept hitting time and again was that what we were looking at - Max Gladstone, Robert Jackson Bennett, Lara Elena Donnelly, etc - was solidly fantasy, whereas the work of Harrison and Mieville (and perhaps Vandermeer fits in here as well?) was more blurring the line on fantasy and horror--it was substantially darker. (Though I think Anne Lyle is also right in that there's a more literary bent to it as well.)

Offline Dan D Jones

Re: What is Weird Fantasy?
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2019, 12:41:35 AM »
So basically we don't quite know? LOL

But some intelligent replies. 

Don't like how its being used as a catch all term for any fantasy that can't easily be defined, seems very lazy to me, but the Lovecraft definition makes a lot of sense. 


I hate "subgenre-ing" for that reason.  Steampunk is a particularly annoying one because it has no bearing on the kind of book it is.  You can have steampunk in the wild west, in the future, in an alternate reality... does the classification of steampunk indicate whether I'll like it or not?  Not at all!

Is there any system or level of classification that escapes that problem? Steampunk is a sub-genre of fantasy. If there are some steampunk books you don't like and steampunk is a form of fantasy, then clearly there are some fantasy books you don't like. So labeling a book 'fantasy' doesn't indicate where you'll like it or not.

There is nothing which indicates whether I'll like a book other than me picking up the book and trying it. That includes the books subgenre, genre, author, editor, or how a particular reviewer felt about the book.

This is also why I tend to think of subgenres as attributes rather than distinct categories. A book can be both steampunk and paranormal romance, just as something can be both warm and dry. If you don't care for romance, you might not be attracted to a steampunk paranormal romance but may thoroughly enjoy a steampunk adventure novel.

Offline Bender

Re: What is Weird Fantasy?
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2019, 01:40:00 AM »
This is also why I tend to think of subgenres as attributes rather than distinct categories. A book can be both steampunk and paranormal romance, just as something can be both warm and dry. If you don't care for romance, you might not be attracted to a steampunk paranormal romance but may thoroughly enjoy a steampunk adventure novel.

Not sure I subscrbe to that. An attribute is a quality or part of the book, not a genre. A book can fall under multiple categories, steampunk being one of them. Nothing wrong with a steampunk romance. Like Marvel movies fall under Action, Adventure and Comic categories. Categories are not mutually exclusive.

Sword and Sorcery and Steampunk are setting genre classes. Epic and Grimdark are type classification etc etc
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