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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #11
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Re: Horror or Weird Fiction

Quote Originally Posted by Gnosticangel View Post
Mr. Veech wrote, "Certainly, there are always exceptions. However, I think the "masters" worked firmly within the Gothic tradition on some level. I think Poe, Machen, Blackwood, James, Bierce, Lovecraft, Aickman, and Ligotti fit the description well."

As I love these great Gothic writers above all, I would agree completely with this except that the area of "exceptions" contains some rather large categories, from the Symbolists and Decadents, to the Fabulists, and on through Magical Realism.

Perhaps everyone doesn't see these as part of Weird Fiction, but surely Rodenback, Husymans, Quiroga, Calvino, Borges, Buzzati, CA Smith, Lafcadio Hearn, Michael Cisco and Rhys Hughes belong there, to name just a few?
I see your point. Let's make a new label - Damn Good literature.

But what is the distinguishing characteristic of the Weird? Concepts are perhaps insufficient.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #12
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Re: Horror or Weird Fiction

Quote Originally Posted by Gnosticangel View Post
[I]Perhaps everyone doesn't see these as part of Weird Fiction, but surely Rodenbach, Huysmans , Quiroga, Calvino, Borges, Buzzati, CA Smith, Lafcadio Hearn, Michael Cisco and Rhys Hughes belong there, to name just a few?
Pretty sure Rhys would object to being labeled Weird. It'd make more sense to call him Pleasant since he takes care of his diet and physical health and mostly writes pleasing stories without much conflict. Examples would be his recent books Cloud Farming in Wales and World Muses.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
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Re: Horror or Weird Fiction

Quote Originally Posted by Justin Isis View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Gnosticangel View Post
[I]Perhaps everyone doesn't see these as part of Weird Fiction, but surely Rodenbach, Huysmans , Quiroga, Calvino, Borges, Buzzati, CA Smith, Lafcadio Hearn, Michael Cisco and Rhys Hughes belong there, to name just a few?
Pretty sure Rhys would object to being labeled Weird. It'd make more sense to call him Pleasant since he takes care of his diet and physical health and mostly writes pleasing stories without much conflict. Examples would be his recent books Cloud Farming in Wales and World Muses.

Cloud Farming has conflict, at least. And would Call of the Rhys the core of the
Weird and Snuggly. And World Muses was first published by a major modern exponent of that essence in Weird & Horror. Indefinable. Separate yet Fused.

My list that has been at the head of my review site:

“HAWLISM: the gestalt of gestalt.
(Scientology, literally the knowledge of knowledge…)
Among many many others, the gestalt or holism of Flannery O’Connor, Steve Rasnic Tem, Melanie Tem, Truman Capote, Thomas Ligotti, Malcolm Lowry, HP Lovecraft, Robert Aickman, John Cowper Powys, GK Chesterton, Paul Auster, Brian Aldiss, Silvina Ocampo, Avalon Brantley, Quentin S. Crisp, Brian Howell, Damian Murphy, Alisdair Gray, Denis Diderot, Kazuo Ishiguro, Thomas Mann, John Howard, Joel Lane, Stephen King, Rhys Hughes, Mark Valentine, Jeff VanderMeer, Leena Krohn, Elizabeth Bowen, Clarice Lispector, Virginia Woolf, the current contemporary Weird writers of USA and UK, the important press output of TTA, Ex Occidente, Sarob, Egaeus, Eibonvale, Swan River, Undertow, Zagava, Tartarus….”

MY WEBSITE: www.nemonymous.com
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #14
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Re: Horror or Weird Fiction

Ps
From my review in July of Cloud Farming in Wales -

“I feel degraded simply reading that. I think the knot I’m seeking in this work is a pessimistic one that has not been seen within this author before. Not a jokey pessimism. That is a common Rhysian trait in his work. But real pessimism. Perhaps held secretly until now? He tries to hide it in this section of pages by a reprise of his Lovecraft scorn and skeleton trope I have seen before. I tried to laugh, but couldn’t. [...]
And I believe I have now reached that aforementioned knot, or knots, as in a translation of ‘ligotti’? This is probably the darkest and strongest piece of writing, outside of his matchless absurdist brilliance, that I have ever seen from this author.”

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #15
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Re: Horror or Weird Fiction

The term I generally use now is Fantastika and I do so because John Clute suggested it as an appropriate word for the kind of fiction I like to write. I also still like the term "speculative fiction" provided there really is speculation in the fiction described thus. I have never thought of myself as a horror writer.

But I might be inclined to think of myself as a weird fiction writer, except that the word Weird seems to have acquired a very specific meaning, but I am unsure what that meaning is. I was told by Jeff VanderMeer when he was assembling the stories for his anthology The Weird that the reason he wasn't including my work is because it is 'weird' but not 'Weird'. The difference still baffles me.

"Nothing can be known, not even this." - Carneades
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #16
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Re: Horror or Weird Fiction

@ Justin

This idea of the Pleasant sounds intriguing, especially as it relates to the more traditional examples of the Weird. The very notion itself sounds very challenging to me. I believe that writing fiction, especially anything related to the supernatural or weird, is an unnatural act. It's as if the writer is one who has discovered a way to defy his or her biological programming. Self-denial, in other words, is something that accompanies the actual act of writing itself, so it tends to attract those who are already "sick" in some way. A "healthy" individual would, at least to my mind, preoccupy themselves with other matters. I personally can't imagine writing fiction if I were somehow content with existence.

On a more practical level, the amount of actual time required to write involves sacrificing certain things, things which most are not willing to give up. Every choice I make automatically excludes a thousand other choices I could have made. For example, there's no point in telling someone who aspires to get a PhD that they can also get married, have children, and pay off the mortgage on a nice house. All of the above might occur in a person's lifetime, but it's highly doubtful.

I just assumed a poor diet and continual sickness are some of the hidden costs of writing, assuming you're not Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. If a writer takes things too far, there's plenty of empirical data which suggests the bottle and/or the noose awaits them. But I suppose that's natural because of how unnatural the writer was to begin with.

@ Rhys

I'm curious to know if the Pleasant makes any accommodations for the sublime, i.e., the feeling of being confronted by something (usually terrible) which is capable of revealing how insignificant the one who experiences it is.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #17
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Re: Horror or Weird Fiction

Quote
I'm curious to know if the Pleasant makes any accommodations for the sublime, i.e., the feeling of being confronted by something (usually terrible) which is capable of revealing how insignificant the one who experiences it is.
That's a theme I am just not particularly interested in, though it is at the core of much weird fiction, modern weird fiction at any rate (and by 'modern' I mean post-Lovecraft, CAS, Aickman, etc).

We may very well be insignificant on a cosmic scale, by an objective evaluation, but the very notions of 'cosmic scale' and 'objective evaluation' are human-centred. They are concepts invented by humans. I just don't think it is possible to feel that one is insignificant, even if one can agree intellectually that yes, we are. Or rather, if you have reached the stage where you feel that you are insignificant, then you have acquired what Yalom calls the 'nebula eye' and essentially you are depressed, physiologically or spiritually. This kind of theme is something that Ligotti handles well. I can appreciate him doing it, also Cioran, etc, but it's not something I do, or have any desire to do. It seems to me that if we are cosmically insignificant, then our realization that we are cosmically insignificant is also cosmically insignificant, and the only recourse left to us at this stage is irony, self-irony and outwardly directed irony.

One can accept the truth that one is insignificant but also understand that one is a part of the universe nonetheless; and to feel that one is a genuine part of the universe (however small a part doesn't matter) one is required to become more physically attuned to life, because life is a physical thing. The cure for existentialist angst is to get out of the chair and climb a mountain. The experience won't make you any more significant in objective terms, but why should that matter? The point is that you will stop worrying so much, because the mind is not merely an epiphenomenon of the brain but an all-over experience that involves what you do as well as what you think.

We are insignificant cosmically, yes, but we are also a cog in the cosmos and the cosmos is all one, and the cosmos is God, for want of another word.

This doesn't really answer the question, but it does show that personally I don't feel an excessive urge to make any sort of accommodation with the theme of cosmic insignificance. Others can do that, and they do and will.

"Nothing can be known, not even this." - Carneades
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #18
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Re: Horror or Weird Fiction

@ Rhys

Wittgenstein's preferred way to handle traditional philosophical problems was to circumvent them by demonstrating how they were pseudo-problems. Similarly, It seems that the Pleasant is not concerned with directly challenging the philosophical pessimist (someone interested in the sublime) within the same conceptual space.

Goethe seems to me a perfect candidate for representing the Pleasant.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #19
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Re: Horror or Weird Fiction

Indeed! But I just can't see how the sincere pessimist can be challenged to anything. The pessimist would assume he would lose and would thus decline. Or if he accepted and somehow won, then he would lose faith in his pessimism and be forever pessimistic about the worth of pessimism, thus rendering him simultaneously more and less pessimistic. Paradox overload!

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #20
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Re: Horror or Weird Fiction

Quote Originally Posted by rhysaurus View Post
...
We may very well be insignificant on a cosmic scale, by an objective evaluation, but ...
A very good and interesting argument by rhysaurus! ... As opposed to self-destructive nihilism, that often puts forth a pessimistically tilted misinterpretation of cosmicism (even though such tainted passions can be quite enjoyable in a horror literature perspective, when you need to hold up a mirror to your own nightmares).
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