The New Weird
movement is a post-modernist take on certain kinds of literary genre fiction. In a nutshell, it's a specific genre of Scifi/Fantasy/Horror literature that does not follow the conventions of derivative Sci-Fi
, without being an outright parody or deconstruction
. Similar to the New Wave Science Fiction
movement of The Sixties
, but it took off in the mid-nineties
, and was at its peak in the early-to-mid Turn of the Millennium
New Weird incorporates elements from certain genres, but tries to avoid being typecast as stereotypical examples of any of them. The purpose of the movement is partly as backlash against the lack of respect that sci-fi, fantasy and horror works get
. Proponents of New Weird are of the not unreasonable belief that the reason genre fiction is held in such low regards is because it caters to a very specific audience who likes to read the same sorts of things. The word "Fantasy" becoming almost a brand name
that invokes the idea of pseudo-Europeans living in medieval times
using sorcery while Tolkienesque
elves and/or dragons putter around somewhere in the background. Sci-fi and Horror share similar fates, just with different connotations (spaceships, aliens and explosions for the former; serial killers, monsters and the undead for the latter). Some writers in the genre are playing right into the Sci-Fi Ghetto
themselves, with the belief that any Science Fiction
that does not involve spaceships, robots and lasers must be an entirely new genre, or that any Science Fiction
have such elements is bad by default.
Genres such as Romance
or Historical Fiction
do not lend themselves as well to the concept of New Weird. Writing characters in a non-mundane setting would end up with the work in question being recategorized as science fiction or fantasy.
Works in the New Weird
genre are therefore, heavy in their use of Deconstructor Fleets
and Mind Screw
. Some of them may even take on a disdainful stance
against the genres they hailed from, with liberal amounts of Take That
. New Weird fiction will often — but does not have to — take place in an Urban Fantasy
setting. For some reason, the various "punk
" subgenres are acceptable, if not downright embraced in New Weird fiction. For the most part, anything goes as long as it doesn't Follow the Leader
. Some discussion of the genre jumping off of a messageboard thread aimed at hashing out what the term means is available here
; the thread itself was started by M. John Harrison, whose Viriconium books are at least influential on the genre and are probably examples of it.
See also, Sci-Fi Ghetto
, Speculative Fiction
, New Wave Science Fiction
, and Genre-Busting
. Not to be confused with Bizarro Fiction
, Weird Science
, or Weird West
. Compare Myth Punk
which also involves Post Modernism
, Mind Screw
, an affinity for the punk genres, and an aversion
to following Tolkien
- Mark Z. Danielewski:
- Most of Jasper Fforde's work is this.
- The novels and stories of Caitlin R. Kiernan.
- Thomas Ligotti is often considered part of the New Weird, though his work is usually far less overtly post-modern than his contemporaries', with a few exceptions. Ligotti's short story Vastarien is something of a Trope Codifier for the kinds of odd settings popular in New Weird.
- China Miéville:
- Some of Haruki Murakami's novels, such as:
- Vurt and related novels by Jeff Noon.
- WH Pugmire, writer of prose poems, short stories, and novellas based on the Cthulhu Mythos.
- Some of Dan Simmons' work can also fall into this, since he definitely blends and deconstructs and blends the types speculative fiction in all of his works; on the other hand, the end result tends to end up looking enough like science fiction or horror that it can be put into one of those categories.
- Author Johanna Sinisalo does this genre among other fantasy.
- The works of Ann and Jeff VanderMeer:
- Ryogo Narita:
- Jeffrey Ford