My friends, noted authors, editors, reviewers and cheese removers (long story), Ann and Jeff VanderMeer have been working on a stonkingly massive new anthology for Corvus Books, The Weird, a truly enormous collection which takes in an incredibly diverse array of writers, from HP Lovecraft to Neil Gaiman, Haruki Murakami to Clive Barker, Ray Bradbury, Lord Dunsanay, Harlan Ellison, Angela Carter, M John Harrison, MR James, Franz Kafka, Margo Lanagan, Kelly Link, China Mieville and many more, taking in over a century of weird fiction, sixteen nationalities (including some brand new translations) and incorporating “Strands of The Weird represented include classic US/UK weird tales, the Belgian School of the Weird, Japanese weird, Latin American weird, Nigerian weird, weird SF, Feminist weird, weird ritual, general international weird, and offshoots of the weird originating with Surrealism, Symbolism, and the Decadent movement.”
Tomorrow Jeff and Ann will be our guests, telling us more about The Weird anthology and how they put it together, but today we have a special treat – I’ll let Ann and Jeff explain: “To celebrate the release of the anthology The Weird, and as part of the launch of Weird Fiction Review (launching today, appropriately), Ann and Jeff VanderMeer commissioned a comic about reading the book. What is The Weird? Over one hundred years of weird fiction collected in a single volume of over 750,000 words, from around 1908 through 2010. Eighteen nationalities are represented and seven new translations were commissioned for the book, most notably definitive translations of Julio Cortazar’s “Axolotl” and Michel Bernanos’ short novel “The Other Side of the Mountain” (the first translations of these classics in over fifty years). Not to mention contributors such as Neil Gaiman, Angela Carter, Shirley Jackson, George R.R. Martin, Stephen King, Kelly Link, Haruki Murakami, and over 100 more.
The comic is by a recent graduate of Clarion 2010, Leah Thomas. She is a huge reader of fantastical fiction and the VanderMeers say “we wanted to see how one of the next generation of up-and-coming writers would react to encountering many of the classics in The Weird for the first time.” In Thomas’ case, she read through the majority of stories in the anthology and pulled out those she felt had dramatic potential for a comic. Then she created a frame for the comic that illuminates the stories in some way while also telling the tale of Mary and Ed, who embark on a dark quest related to something sinister connected to The Weird anthology. Along the way they encounter many monsters and delve into the mystery of Ed’s possible past as a character in The Weird.”
“This is the first episode of a projected 12-episode series that will run every Monday at Weird Fiction Review. The stories referenced in it are by Alfred Kubin and F. Marion Crawford. Alfred Kubin (1877 – 1959) was a visionary Austrian writer and artist whose masterpiece was the novel Die Andere Seite (The Other Side), first published in 1909. The Other Side is a dystopic fantasy set in a strange and oppressive city. In the excerpt reprinted in The Weird, the narrator describes a strange sleeping sickness and the beginning of the ruination of the city. Meanwhile, F.(rancis) Marion Crawford (1854 – 1909) was an Italian-born American writer noted for his classic weird and fantastic stories, including “The Upper Berth” (1895), “For the Blood is the Life” (1905), and the story included in The Weird, the lively and horrific “The Screaming Skull” (1908).”