Several years ago John Pelan and I were shooting pool at Sammy C’s in Gallup, New Mexico. As usual, he was running the table, and also as usual we were shooting the shit about Weird Fiction. I put forth the proposition that H.P. Lovecraft’s oeuvre really only offered at most half a dozen or so genuinely great stories, and after that the drop-off comes on steep as the continental shelf—for the record, my picks are “The Colour Out of Space,” “The Dunwich Horror,” “The Call of Cthulhu,” “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” “The Outsider,” and maybe “The Music of Erich Zann.” I’m open to a discussion of “Pickman’s Model,” “The Festival,” and maybe a few others, but that’s pretty much it. Continue reading
Gerald Kersh’s “Men Without Bones” presents a virtual case study in the awkward position of midcentury Weird Fiction. A truly—literally—pulpy tale, its original publication in 1954 came not in Weird Tales but in Esquire. By that time the pulps themselves were moribund, while new markets were arising. Michael Kelly and I recently discussed on The Outer Dark how mainstream literary journals are currently publishing some of the best Weird Fiction, but here we find ourselves more than 60 years back with a classic of unfiltered cosmic horror in a magazine whose literary reputation was already established by authors including Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Gide. Despite such an auspicious initial placement, regardless of at least two dozen reprints since, or the fact that it remains in print today, I will wager “Men Without Bones” remains unknown to much of The Weird’s contemporary readership. Continue reading
The “New Weird” is a literary genre that began in the 1990s and is known for breaking down the barriers between fantasy, science fiction, and horror. While Lovecraft and other early weird authors had some notable influence on this genre, it has proven a powerful entity unto itself with many writers of new weird fiction like China Miéville and Jeff VanderMeer and numerous others–including members of this panel! What are the challenges and rewards of subverting genre cliches? What are the challenges and rewards of mixing different elements of speculative fiction? Who are some of the best new weird fiction writers today? How can more diverse voices be encouraged and diverse fans be included?
Moderator: Anya Martin
Panelists: S.J. Bagley, Lois Gresh, Scott Nicolay, Vincent H. O’Neil, Joe Pulver, Jeffrey Thomas
Link to Project iRadio broadcast here .
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iTunes download available here.