Sunday, July 30, 2017

From the One and Only Steve Rasnic Tem

From Facebook:

"A couple of people who were at the "weird fiction" panel at WFC have asked me to post my definition of "the weird." I first wrote this down after reading through all the stories in the Vandermeers' THE WEIRD anthology. It takes an idea or two from their intro, combined with my raw reaction to the stories, with a few ideas thrown in while I prepared for the panel. It's not intended as a comprehensive critical definition--it reflects my taste, and my writing practice more than anything else."

"Definition of THE WEIRD: Dark fiction which eschews traditional tropes such as vampires, werewolves, etc. in favor of personal & idiosyncratic perceptions of the strange. Many of these tales seem to come from a broken place and are imbued with threads of sadness. This is also a literature which more clearly reflects the influence of surrealism, absurdism, & decadent literature.
In the best of these stories impossible or highly improbable things occur & yet they have this unmistakable ring of profound truth—I think this is key. We respond to this contradiction in various ways—fear/anxiety, humor, spiritual awe, sadness—this range of response is what distinguishes weird fiction from horror."

"In less successful stories the events seem arbitrarily strange, disconnected from real human concerns. In a sense, they lack a necessary foundation of realism."

"Although weird fiction seems to be almost 100% dark fiction, I wonder if this has to be the case. Given the premise that these are “impossible events which are true,” wouldn’t it be possible to have a variety of weird fiction which we respond to with joy and enthusiasm? Alice in Wonderland was suggested. Are there others? Or perhaps “weird fantasy” would be a better name for these?"

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