By Perpetual Murray
*** This post first appeared in The Tampa Review Online
Enthusiasts of supernatural literature must be ecstatic over the May 2012 release of the first U.S. edition of The Weird, (A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories), edited by Hugo Award winner, Ann VanderMeer and World Fantasy Award winner, Jeff VanderMeer. Published by Tom Doherty Associates, The Weird is an anthology of 110 stories by a stellar line-up of authors from all over the world and across centuries.
Here is how varied the spread of stories, authors and subgenres of weird fiction this book holds: There’s everything from the 1907 supernatural horror story, “The Willows,” by Algernon Blackwood, the English writer said to have helped usher in the modern era of weird fiction, to “Worlds That Flourish,” by iconic Nigerian writer of African magic realism, Ben Okri. American horror novelist Shirley Jackson’s “The Summer People,” also features, as well as “The Colomber,” by Italian novelist and short story writer, Dino Buzzati, and not to mention “Saving the Gleeful Horse,” the 2010 story by Australian writer K.J. Bishop.
I must admit that until I picked up The Weird, paranormal literature never appealed to me. Yet, when I saw this voluminous book and read that inside were tales by some authors I know, such as Franz Kafka, Stephen King, Angela Carter, Jamaica Kincaid, Jorge Luis Borge and Joyce Carol Oats, to name a few, I had to read it.
Now, I’ve picked up new favorites, among them Mervyn Peake, whose story, “Same Time, Same Place,” about a smitten 23 year-old man who decides to marry a mysterious woman after eight dates – with weird consequences – has left me wanting to read (or tell) the story to anyone who will care to listen.
If I’ve piqued your curiosity, you can learn more about The Weird as well as Ann and Jeff VanderMeer on www.weirdfictionreview.com