Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bookworming: The Weird

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, Jeff VanderMeer, ***
This anthology is an overview of "weird fiction", and it is quite the tome. It was my 2012 selection for something to read during October. I neglected to take into account its sheer size. As with most anthologies, there were stories that I took to and those that I didn't care for. Most of the works fall squarely into the horror realm, though not all of them. It contains stories from the famous masters, from King to Lovecraft, and to its credit several authors from countries outside the usual American/European axis. Generally good reading, but often quite heavy going as the weird by its nature requires something of a deliberate pace.

I am not educated enough to speak to how comprehensive an overview of its chosen mode it provides, but it certainly has a good selection of authors to choose from, with enough different story types that you will likely find something you have not encountered before. The one caveat I have is this: it lives up to the subtitle. This is dark, often unsettling (or unsettled) stuff. It took me months to finish for much the same reason I can't marathon episodes of the original "The Twilight Zone". It's heavy reading. Which, I suppose, is rather the point.

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