The New Weird

The New Weird is a new movement in SF - OR IS IT? It's certainly being talked about as The Future Of SF. Unless you're Paul Di Filippo, in which case you're more into Ribo Funk.

Not everyone is convinced:

(Paper Sky/Blue Jo is Jo Walton, winner of the John W Campbell Award a couple of years ago.)

And also:

"The new crop of kids writing today are led to believe that it is all the rage to write cross-genre short fiction, to "blur the boundaries." They think it's cool, and an end all and be all to do this. What they don't realize is that when the boundary between (let's say) mainstream short fiction and SF short fiction is blurred, SF is by definition diluted, and weakened."

There is some interesting discussion of The New Weird on The Third Alternative webboards; four threads in M John Harrison's section of the board, all titled The New Weird (or variations thereof). In order:

All these links are dead because the message board has moved. The adminstrator of the new board will repost threads on request.

It starts out as a discussion about whether there's a new movement in SF and, if so, how you define it (with the assumption that there is - very Wittgenstein's ladder). About a third of the way down the first page, they start talking about how they could define it, and what's going to happen when this new movement collides with the mainstream. If it takes off in the way that, say, Cyber Punk did, this is going to be one hell of a historical document. Contributors include M John Harrison, Justina Robson, Alastair Reynolds, Paul Mc Auley, Charlie Stross, Gabe Chouinard, Farah Mendlesohn, Richard Morgan and China Mieville. Some of those names may be spelt wrong.

We have The New Weird Annotations to accompany this.

'A style is named it's dead.' (Bis, c. 1997) - This is covered in the above discussion.

TL thinks 'weird is the new weird packaged in a new binding'. Shurely The New Weird is The Old Weird? packaged in a new binding?

TA thinks it's good that 'The New' is still the new 'The New'.

The Third Alternative 35 (summer 2003) has a guest editorial from China Mieville covering, you guessed it, TNW:

"Something is happening in the literature of the fantastic. A slippage. A freeing-up. The quality is astounding. Notions are sputtering and bleeding across internal and external boundaries. Particularly in Britain, where we are being reviewed in the papers, of all things, and selling copies, and being read and riffed off by yer actual proper literary writers. We are writing books which cheerfully ignore the boundaries between SF, fantasy and horror. Justina Robson, M John Harrison, Steve Cockayne, Al Reynolds, Steph Swainston and too many others to mention, despite all our differences, share something. And our furniture has invaded their headspace. From outside the field, writers like Toby Litt? and David Mitchell? use the trappings of SF with a respect and facility that has long been missing in the clodhopping condescension of the literati."

Is 'Al Reynolds' Alastair Reynolds? yes What exactly's weird about his stuff?

It's logically impossible: Space Opera and yet good at the same time!

Holy subgenre identity crises, batman!

Tue, 06 Jan 2004 14:37:57 GMT Front Page Recent Changes Message Of The Day