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Old 03-02-2007   #1
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Weird Fiction, New & High Weird, Psycho-fantasy...

Which one from these related terms best describes fiction that you enjoy reading?

WEIRD FICTION

Quote
As Lovecraft points out in his essay “Notes on Writing Weird Fiction”:

Each weird story - to speak more particularly of the horror type - seems to involve five definite elements: (a) some basic, underlying horror or abnormality - condition, entity, etc. - , (b) the general effects or bearings of the horror, (c) the mode of manifestation - object embodying the horror and phenomena observed - , (d) the types of fear-reaction pertaining to the horror, and (e) the specific effects of the horror in relation to the given set of conditions.
[…]Atmosphere, not action, is the great desideratum of weird fiction. Indeed, all that a wonder story can ever be is a vivid picture of a certain type of human mood. The moment it tries to be anything else it becomes cheap, puerile, and unconvincing. Prime emphasis should be given to subtle suggestion - imperceptible hints and touches of selective associative detail which express shadings of moods and build up a vague illusion of the strange reality of the unreal. Avoid bald catalogues of incredible happenings which can have no substance or meaning apart from a sustaining cloud of colour and symbolism.
NEW WEIRD (coined by China Mieville)

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The New Weird is an avant-garde literary movement or literary genre that may or may not be presently in progress. The writers involved are mostly novelists who are considered to be parts of the science fiction or speculative fiction genres. The only author all critics agree on as a "New Weird" writer is China Miéville, who self-describes as such. Other writers who have been variously described as "New Weird" include Steve Cockayne, Storm Constantine, M John Harrison, Mary Gentle, Ian R. MacLeod, K.J. Bishop, Thomas Ligotti, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Jeffrey Ford, Kathe Koja, Hal Duncan, Justina Robson, Steph Swainston, and Jeff VanderMeer. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Weird)
HIGH WEIRD (introduced by Neddal Ayad):

Quote
[…] the High Weird, as opposed to the New Weird or any of the other SF/Fantasy/Horror subgenres is writing that while very much in the Lovecraft/Poe mode a) Takes the material seriously, but not to the point of parody; there is room for humour, but it's often subtle and slightly ironic, but not the strain of self-mocking, self-referential postmodern irony that is so prevalent in a lot of genre fiction. b) The style is dense, almost baroque, and reminiscent of writing from the mid-19th to the mid 20th century, but realizes that the language and froms have changed so it doesn't feel aged or stilted. c) A sense of creepiness verses horror or terror. d) More than anything it evokes a dream-like sense of dislocation, a feeling of perpetual twilight. A sense that things aren't quite right, and in fact that certain things may be extremely wrong but that there's really nothing to be done about it. )

PSYCHO-FANTASY (coined by Stefan Grabinski)

Quote
Fantasy that is psychological, scientific-philosophical or metaphysical and its main motive power is the human soul and its mysterious powers. Contrary to straightforward fantasy fiction in which we can usually find elements of playful imagination invading the external world, such as angels, demons, monsters and other supernatural beings, in psycho-fantasy the fantastical element originates "inside the characters" and is provoked by incidents, which at first are considered as usual/normal and which later trespass the boundaries of the impossible. In the end the characters are engulfed in an alien world, which in its wonder or horror goes beyond anything described in conventional fantasy.
MAGIC REALISM

Quote
The following elements are found in many magical realist works.
• Fantastic elements, which may be intrinsically plausible but are never explained.
• Characters accept rather than question the logic of the magical element.
• Exhibits a richness of sensory details.
• Uses symbols and imagery extensively.
• Emotions and human sexuality as a social construct are often developed in great detail.
• Distorts time so that it is cyclical or so that it appears absent. Another technique is to collapse time in order to create a setting in which the present repeats or resembles the past.
• Inverts cause and effect, for instance a character may suffer before a tragedy occurs.
• Incorporates legend or folklore.
• Presents events from multiple standpoints - ie. alternates detached with involved narrative voice; likewise, often shifts between characters' viewpoints and internal narration on shared relationships or memories.
• Mirrors past against present; astral against physical planes; or characters one against another.
• Open-ended conclusion leaves the reader to determine whether the magical and/or the mundane rendering of the plot is more truthful or in accord with the world as it is.
• Owns differing properties of magic and realism at the same time, while incorporating the two together often seamlessly.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_realism)
MAGIC FICTION (introduced by DF Lewis)

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Fiction that creates reality from fiction. More about it here: http://weirdmonger.blogspot.com/2006/04/fiction.html
OMINOUS IMAGINATION (also by DF Lewis):
Des writes:

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“My greatest love in fiction is the 'Horror/Dark Fantasy' core that I find in most sorts of literature, old and new, literary and otherwise.

For me, this core should be and is being expanded by the current vogue in fiction genre-crossing and genre-betweening (Interstitiality), i.e. acting like a magnet, and making other fiction traditions conducive to the 'Horror' spirit or, as I would like it to be called, The Ominous Imagination. Indeed, I believe, most good fiction is (and has always been) imbued with and steeped in this type of imaginative spirit, in any event.

This is really what, when articulated, I have been trying to do in ‘Nemonymous’, especially if you ignore its radical aspects of Anonymity etc. for a moment. All issues contain stories each of which are representative of a different fiction genre/tradition as well as stories that, actually within themselves, contain various genres/traditions -- but all, inevitably, with the Ominous Imagination.

Those who publish genre-specific outlets in the Horror fiction field, for example, perhaps allow the hard-fought beach-heads of 'Horror/Dark Fantasy' to crumble and separate out, thus allowing these particles of fiction already gathered for the 'Horror/Dark Fantasy' core to escape from that core because such genre-narrowing outlets tend to crystallise that core AS a core rather than as a magnet.”
GHOST STORY

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A ghost story may be any piece of fiction, or drama, that includes a ghost, or simply takes as a premise the possibility of ghosts or the belief of some character(s) in them.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_story)
BIZARRO FICTION

Quote
Bizarro is a nonsense genre of transgressive, underground literature. While there is a long history of such work in popular culture, the term Bizarro is best applied to contemporary works of art in this vein. Bizarro literature encompasses many writing styles and sub-genres including splatterpunk and new absurdism.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bizarro_fiction)

"In my imagination, I have a small apartment in a small town where I live alone and gaze through a window at a wintry landscape." -- TL
Confusio Linguarum - visionary literature, translingualism & bibliophily
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Old 03-02-2007   #2
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Re: Weird Fiction, New & High Weird, Psycho-fantasy...

Fascinating collation, above. Thanks.

Will have to dwell on this and percolate....

Meanwhile some more public notes on 'High Weird':
http://p081.ezboard.com/High-Weird/f...picID=36.topic

====
Also 'Wordy Weird' (!)
http://weirdmonger.blogspot.com/2006...rdy-weird.html
http://weirdmonger.blogspot.com/2006...rdy-weird.html

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Old 03-03-2007   #3
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Well, I've dwelt ... and I've percolated ... through a night of wakeful storms ... and despite, loving all the other 'definitions' for what I enjoy reading, I like 'High Weird' most of all.
This decision was swung by the post (shown below) on the 'Interstitial' thread linked from my previous post (which I had completely forgotten!).

Meanwhile, I'd love to hear of other people's 'decisions' regarding YH's 'menu' of Weirds.

des

================
'High Fantasy' is a term that has existed for quite some considerable time.

A definition I've found on the Internet:

"High Fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy fiction that is set in invented or parallel worlds. These stories are serious in tone, often epic in scope, dealing with themes of grand struggle against supernatural evil forces. Other typical characteristics of high fantasy include fantastical races (such as elves and dwarves), magic, wizards, invented languages, coming-of-age themes, and multi-volume narratives."


High Weird, by contrast, is one, perhaps, where similar forces work within inner space: the parallel worlds that co-exist within a single mind, thus the grand struggle crushed into a smaller space: fragments: shards; internal selves instead of elves: a diaspora that is in-turning, in-growing; the coming of no age because no age is quite right to be; self-mockery as a seriously ruthless, paradoxical, finally hopeless, attempt to be single-minded.


=============
PS: YH's link for 'magic fiction' was my first attempt at exploring that. The thread here on TLO, however, is more up to date and gives (in its later stages) due reference to TL for the quote from 'Vastarien':-
http://www.ligotti.net/viewtopic.php?t=872

MY WEBSITE: www.nemonymous.com
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Old 03-03-2007   #4
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Re: Weird Fiction, New & High Weird, Psycho-fantasy...

I write Gothic Realism, as per this dictum from William James:

"Nature is everywhere gothic, not classic. She forms a real jungle, where all things are provisional, half-fitted to each other, and untidy."

So, to be realistic, one must be gothic, n'est pas?
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Old 06-19-2007   #5
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Re: Weird Fiction, New & High Weird, Psycho-fantasy...

That remark about the jungle reminds me of a childhood book entitled Where the Wild Things Are.
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Old 06-19-2007   #6
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Re: Weird Fiction, New & High Weird, Psycho-fantasy...

A wonderful list of the names that some apply.

New Wave Fabulism, Slipstream, Fantastique and InfernoKrusher also come to mind.

For what it might be worth, I'm reasonably certain that M. John Harrison came up with "The New Weird" and that China Mieville popularized the use of the term. This may be because lots of people listen to Mr. Mieville.
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Old 06-19-2007   #7
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Re: Weird Fiction, New & High Weird, Psycho-fantasy...

A new one was created today:
weirderature
used by an author from Zencore describing the whole contents of the anthology.

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Old 01-09-2008   #8
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Re: Weird Fiction, New & High Weird, Psycho-fantasy...

This essay on the 'New Weird' movement by Michael Cisco ...

http://www.themodernword.com/columns/cisco_001.html

...got me thinking about artistic/literary movements in general, and in particular, how and why they form. For example, do movements start with just one or two people who have a new and interesting idea who are then imitated or improved upon by others? Or is it more a case of where conditions are just right, say, politically, socially, or technologically for a new movement to take form, and so it does. Perhaps it's the artistic sensitive types who can read and decipher the aether, distill the zeitgeist of a given age, and give it voice. Maybe this is why seemly similar works seem to appear almost spontaneously and often independently of each other. I've noticed this with music genres too.

"Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough." Mark Twain

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Old 01-10-2008   #9
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Re: Weird Fiction, New & High Weird, Psycho-fantasy...

There's something Jungian about art movements as if we all start them, a few doing it consciously, the rest quite unconsciously.

I started 'Zeroism' in 1967.

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Old 10-05-2008   #10
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Re: Weird Fiction, New & High Weird, Psycho-fantasy...

To everybody interrested in the New Weird I strongly recommend Ann and Jeff VanderMeer's anthology The New Weird. http://tachyonpublications.com/book/New_Weird.html?Session_ID=new
It features stories by writers and influences of the New Weird (including Ligotti's A Soft Voice...),
different opinions on the genre (includion Cisco's essay from above) and a New Weird Round Robin
by newer authors.
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