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Old 12-01-2016   #11
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Re: PC trashing of Weird Fiction

I listened to about half of it and was bored out of my mind. It sounded like a group of people sitting around talking about things they are ultimately ignorant of and uneducated in. Comparing Ligotti to "a bright teenager who has read a lot of Beckett" pretty much sums up the mental framework from which these people speak. Not worth the time, in my opinion.
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Old 12-01-2016   #12
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Re: PC trashing of Weird Fiction

Mr. Veech wrote, "... I actually dislike the title "weird fiction." I'd prefer to call it something else, but I don't know what exactly what. The title "weird" automatically implies something like an obscure subgenre for maladaptive individuals."

Agreed, Mr. Veech! While I love the genre of "weird fiction," I'm also uncomfortable with its current name. I prefer "supernatural fiction" but I know that leaves too much out, while the wonderful term, "Phantastique," overstates things. Other times I wonder if "uncanny literature" is better.

None of this is very important, not until one attempts to describe what they are reading to someone who has never experienced it, when it can be become quite problematic.

Thanks to all for an interesting thread.
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Old 12-02-2016   #13
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Re: PC trashing of Weird Fiction

I maintain that this term in its current sense is nothing but a marketing category that has presumably made a fair amount of money for certain anthologist/editor/promoter types, but which is really all but meaningless as a general descriptor. I also disapprove of the trend towards yoking disparate writers together, which might seem broad-minded and inclusive on the surface, but which often ends up as a totalizing cheat (i.e. a Japanese short story writer from 100 years ago who occasionally wrote ghost stories, a Kenyan experimental novelist from the late 90s, and some random American werewolf story writer are not all "Weird Fiction," unless you just don't care about specificity or context at all). If Borges and a TOR steampunk novel are both "Weird Fiction," then it makes it difficult to meaningfully discuss anything. In terms of this site, "horror" and "ghost stories" would usually be better terms for what it seems people are talking about. I think if you're discussing Benson, Saki, etc. you might as well just say "Edwardian ghost stories," just as if you're talking about books by Caucasian fathers containing generally realistic narratives with "literary" character development contrasting with some kind of uncanny or intrusive supernatural elements (i.e. the 3Ps: paleness, paternity and pareidolia), you're in fact talking about White Dad Fiction.
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Old 12-02-2016   #14
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Re: PC trashing of Weird Fiction

I listened to it in the end. I think the bit I enjoyed most was the brief etymology at the beginning mentioning the Anglo-Saxon 'wyrd', which I already knew about.

For the rest, it largely seemed structured so as to allow the uninterested main presenter a few stale quips. But that's the BBC, whose motto might be, "Be supercilious, and if you can't be supercilious, be facile."

"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy
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Old 12-02-2016   #15
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Re: PC trashing of Weird Fiction

Weird fiction is becoming a business with a lot of people's money involved. Can anybody think of a large scale small press fiction movement with such a dedicated following? Can anybody even think of another current large scale small press fiction movement!?

The term weird fiction is practically meaningless at this point. When the New Weird happened anything with a supernatural or fantasy element was lumped in arbitrarily. I still have no idea how half of that stuff counted. Since then the tide has turned and weird fiction simply means 'cosmic horror' in the eyes of most.

The only reason I employ the term 'weird fiction' in conversation is that it saves time I could spend more accurately conveying the fiction I'm talking about in an impressionistic portmanteau expressing the nigh ineffable mood I chase in fiction – best exemplified by masters such as Aickman or Saki, including in their non-supernatural or non-horror stories.

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Last edited by James; 12-02-2016 at 08:44 AM..
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Old 12-02-2016   #16
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Re: PC trashing of Weird Fiction

I fail how to see that this is a "politically correct trashing" of weird fiction. The host didn't seem to be that very knowledgeable about the subject while the guests were decent. I liked how they made the distinction between the "scientific weird" and "mystical weird" at least. They simply pointed out the fact how Lovecraft was indeed racist and xenophobic (no one disputes this), and how this differs from newer, politically charged writers like Mieville. Did they discredit all of his work because of this? Not at all. Mark Samuels seems like he really wants to believe that weird fiction is a victim of leftist "SJWs" and political correctness.
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Old 12-02-2016   #17
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Re: PC trashing of Weird Fiction

It's not perfect (and labels can't be) but the prominence of "weird fiction" means I can read more horror without so many stories about serial killers getting in the way.

I think Samuels mischaracterizes Mieville, who has always insisted he is a fan of lots of bigot writers.
What's so dangerous about a Marxist critique? And how is it similar to saying Harry Potter will endanger the souls of young people?

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Old 12-02-2016   #18
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Re: PC trashing of Weird Fiction

I think there is a real problem with political correctness and shallow identity politics in the weird fiction community, and I am sympathetic to Samuels as I can totally 100% believe he would lose out on certain opportunities for his beliefs, but he does sort of obscure his points with the high doses of paranoia and a flat out lack of research regarding Marxism.

I do think if he were better known (only a matter of time) he would be blacklisted from many anthologies for his views. His indignation isn't entirely groundless. I just wish he'd learn to focus it instead of believing in some global leftist conspiracy, which in the wake of Trump and Brexit doesn't hold any water.

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Old 12-02-2016   #19
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Re: PC trashing of Weird Fiction

Perhaps he has been effectively blacklisted and that's why he talks about it so much?

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Old 12-02-2016   #20
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Re: PC trashing of Weird Fiction

Quote Originally Posted by nihilsum View Post
I fail how to see that this is a "politically correct trashing" of weird fiction. The host didn't seem to be that very knowledgeable about the subject while the guests were decent. I liked how they made the distinction between the "scientific weird" and "mystical weird" at least. They simply pointed out the fact how Lovecraft was indeed racist and xenophobic (no one disputes this), and how this differs from newer, politically charged writers like Mieville. Did they discredit all of his work because of this? Not at all. Mark Samuels seems like he really wants to believe that weird fiction is a victim of leftist "SJWs" and political correctness.
Samuels is a paranoid fundie, what he sees/hears is what he WANTS to see and hear. His version of world is filled with "marxists" and "SJWs" trying to ruin honest hard-working white christian writers like him, hence he'll see examples of that everywhere...


Quote Originally Posted by Robert Adam Gilmour View Post
Perhaps he has been effectively blacklisted and that's why he talks about it so much?
Right, explains why his fiction keeps appearing in various anthologies. Real efficient brand of blacklisting, that.

Quote Originally Posted by Robert Adam Gilmour View Post
And how is it similar to saying Harry Potter will endanger the souls of young people?
Cheap psychological games. You've probably noticed how some alt righters love to use "far left = religious right" analogy in order to make people more sympathetic to their anti-left, anti-"SJW", positions, as young people spending their time online are less than likely to have high opinions about religious right.
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