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"This is not for you."

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 Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror, without being an outright parody or deconstruction. Similar to the New Wave Science Fiction movement of The '60s, 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 regard 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 that does have such elements is bad by default.

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.note  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.

Genres such as Romance or Historical Fiction normally do not lend themselves as well to the concept of New Weird, as merely writing characters in a non-mundane setting would end up with the work in question being recategorized as science fiction or fantasy. That said, the two are common blender-fodder as ways to put twists on other genres- say, for instance, the courtship of two Eldritch Abominations as observed by villagers in 1500s China.

Overlaps, but is distinct from Science Fantasy (which features blends or oscillations between those two genres) and Bizarro Fiction / Cult Classics. Compare with Deconstruction, Mythpunk (which also involves Postmodernism), Mind Screw, New Wave Science Fiction. Contrast with Zeerust. See also Genre-Busting, Sci Fi Ghetto, Speculative Fiction, Weird Science, and Weird West.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Chainsaw Man has one of the most bizarre interpretations of demons in Manga: Monsters born of and wielding powers themed humanity's greatest fears. While the concept sounds simple at the surface, the setting's Alternate History means that most powerful Devils have fairly odd themes; the current most dangerous Devil in existence is Gun, a massive, vaguely humanoid torso made from screaming human faces and rifles who killed hundreds of thousands of people the moment it emerged and left all of humanity so terrified of firearms that it rode a feedback loop to godlike power. This was not the divergence point that made it an alternate history — the world is different because the Chainsaw Devil, the previous incarnation of the titular Chainsaw Man and itself a Devil of incredible power, made a name for itself slaying and eating other Devils, wiping not only them from existence but also the very concepts they represented. Many of humanity’s greatest horrors, such as nuclear weapons, World War 2 and the Nazi Party, and AIDs were among the consumed (alongside stranger things that don’t exist in our world, either), have been utterly erased from history thanks to it.
  • Dorohedoro features the interactions of three worlds each with their own rules. The Hole clings to post-apocalyptic science in a world that failed to defeat its invaders, Sorcerers who cast magic with smoke produced by their bodies, whose own world is run by a mafia don who uses mushroom magic, and then there's the demons from Hell. An amnesiac victim of sorcery with a resulting lizard head looking for revenge and a gyoza chef with a dark past are only the start of a large cast of characters.
  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure. The powers of the setting are strange manifestations of Psychic Powers, often with niche and counterintuitive abilities that can still prove deadly in practice, backstory that involves Vampires, ancient gods, ancient gods who are vampires, and Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, most of which are wholly irrelevant to the plot of any given part. The Alternate Continuity SBR Universe takes it up a notch, averting No Such Thing as Wizard Jesus by having his corpse able to grant specific psychic powers, rock formations and fruits that can fuse souls, and unexplained rock people as well as their pets.
  • Samurai 8: The Tale of Hachimaru by Masashi Kishimoto is a line-blurring Science Fantasy story about Cyborg Samurai who wield Soul Power and are empowered by a War God to defend the galaxy from the forces of evil.

    Comic Books 
  • The Department of Truth is a Supernatural-Thriller with elements of Cosmic Horror thrown in. Set in a world where if enough people believe something, it makes it so that it's true, with conspiracy theories being the most prevalent danger to the Earth due to the sheer number of horrible things people believe exists or is happening. The titular Department is tasked with lessening the chances of this happening, as well as hunting down monsters and anomalies this creates.
  • Brandon Graham: Multiple works of his such as King City, Multiple Warheads, and Prophet have elements that defy explanation, but make sense in context.
    • King City has a drug that slowly turns users' bodies into more of that drug.
    • Multiple Warheads has characters use a water purity detector able to identify lingering radiation, war poisons, and black magic.
  • The Nikopol Trilogy by Enki Bilal, of which Immortal was partial film adaptation, has Egyptian gods showing up at a futuristic dystopian Paris, as experienced by Human Popsicle Nikopol when he gets possessed by Horus.
  • Saga: The comic uses a blend of Science Fantasy that blurs the lines of both, focusing on a couple on the run from their families, who are on opposites sides of a galactic war. It's never explained if the world has actual aliens, genetically engineered humans from a post-singularity, or is an another dimension; as the Earth is never mentioned, despite obvious cultural trends, which could even be a form of Bowdlerisation for benefit of the audience.
  • The Sandman (1989) by Neil Gaiman: A fantasy comic set not so much in any specific setting of fantasy, but within the realm of fantasy itself. The gods and fantasy races are bit players and the protagonist is the Anthropomorphic Personification of dreams and stories themselves. The malleability of what we understand as 'reality' is a recurring theme.
  • Shutter: Written by Joe Keatinge and illustrated by Leila del Duca, the comic features a bizarre version of New York with an assortment of intelligent nonhuman species and strange technology, like airships and giant-eagle carried gondolas.

  • China Miéville purposefully avoids writing Tolkien-style fantasy, preferring to invent his own sorts of worlds and fantasy creatures (along with a heavy Marxist bent). This has made him a leading figure in the New Weird movement.
  • Daniel Pinkwater can be considered a kid's version of this. His books incorporate a blend of science fiction and supernatural elements in a way that's not defined by any of them, with aliens, werewolves, ghosts all interacting in a World of Weirdness that's also filled with mundane yet eccentric characters. Plots are inspired by old Weird Science radio, film and television, which are also frequently referenced.
  • Dan Simmons. His work can also fall into this, since he definitely blends and deconstructs and blends the types of 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.
  • Frances Hardinge veers into this territory, with some books (A Face Like Glass, Cuckoo Song) more so than with the others.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Annihilation (2018) is loosely based on the 1st book of the New Weird Southern Reach Trilogy and while it still features the alien altered "Area X", mutated life and strange phenomenon - there were elements missing from the novel such as the team needing to use obsolete equipment.


  • Jeff VanderMeer's Ambergris series mixes horror, Science Fiction and, later, police procedural set after an invasion by fungoid aliens, the Fanaarcensitii (aka Gray Cap). Once our mushroom overlords take over, society and law enforcement change.
  • ''Atlan' and its sequels' by Jane Gaskell. An ur-example. While not exactly postmodern, these novels, published between 1965 and 1977, paint a Theosophy-derived setting with a Gothic brush, resulting in a perilous journey through a truly otherworldly Lost World.
  • The Bas-Lag Cycle by China Miéville is seen as the Trope Codifier for New Weird, establishing New Weird's often heavy use of Steampunk or Clockpunk. The world of Bas-Lag is a setting where opening other dimensions is a common thing, alien creatures roam about, magic exists, humans can be made into steam-powered cyborgs and the tyrannical steampunk city of New Crobuzon looms over everything.
    • Perdido Street Station: Probably the most famous New Weird story ever written. A bird-man, whose wings have been removed, goes to a notorious alchemist (who's in relationship with a beetle-headed woman) to get his wings regrown. This will lead to an invasion of New Crobuzon by soul-sucking giant insects.
    • The Scar: A rebel against New Crobuzon ends up with pirates on a sailing city dragged by an otherdimensional sea monster.
    • Iron Council: Rebels against New Crobuzon ride a perpetually moving train that houses the leaders of the rebellion.
  • Borne, and its prequel short story "The Situation", by Jeff VanderMeer are set in a city where the tropes of cyberpunk are given an organic twist with animal- and insect-based Bio Tech, such as censor slugs that filter their wearer's perceptions, rabbits that serve as employee files, and memory beetles.
  • Rjurik Davidson's Caeli-Amur stories feature philosopher-assassins, Minotaurs born from rocks, and an industrial society on the verge of exploding due to the exploitation of a Body Horror other-dimensional sorcery.
  • The Castle Cycle series from Steph Swainston (which are collected in the Castle Omnibus) features a society that's stuck between the Medieval and Clock Punk and humanlike races (the protagonist is a drug-addled hybrid of the two near-human races). There's an unending Bug War between the ageless champions of an Immortal Ruler and an army of giant insects who have even shown up in other dimensions. Additionally there's a plane of existence, where the dying may find a second life.
  • In Chasing the Moon, Diana finds herself tricked into being the Warden of an Eldritch Abomination with a bottomless appetite when she moves into a new apartment. After managing to escape from what would have been lifelong imprisonment in her new apartment, she finds that she is now between realities. This means she sees the world for what it really is, meaning she sees monsters of all kinds everywhere, learns how to temporarily alter reality to her own whims, winds up collecting monsters as though they were Pokémon and lives in an Apartment Complex that works as a Cosmic Keystone opening portals to other worlds. While the novel has a lot of Cosmic Horror elements to it, the book is ultimately a Comic Fantasy that takes tropes associated with the genre — Eldritch Abominations, the Cults that worship them, Eldritch Locations, mankind's inability to cope with the true unknowable scope of the universe — and deconstructs them in a way that makes it more comically absurd than dread-inspiring.
  • The Deepgate Codex by Alan Campbell involves a Steampunk world where Heaven has been locked off by the supreme goddess of the world, dooming everyone who dies to Hell or undeath. The city of Deepgate is suspended by three massive chains over a massive chasm and uses lobotomized assassins, angelic descendants of a renegade god and chemical weapons to wage war with tribes of a desert nation. Alan Campbell's other non-Deepgate stories also feature steampunk/fantasy New Weirdness.
  • Dusk and Dawn and subsequent other "Noreela" stories from Tim Lebbon is a mix of Dark Fantasy and Science Fantasy where magic has gone away leading to a new dark age before coming back. Besides the two main novels, there have been a number of short stories which features "mundane" lives of random inhabitants or the horrific situations that can occur in the strange and terrible land of Noreela and novels which include such things as a Dark Fantasy Alien Invasion. His other books Echo City and The Heretic Land aren't Noreela stories but have a similar New Weird vibe.
  • K.J. Bishop's The Etched City feature two ex-rebels who go on their separate paths to a place that's a mix of the Middle East and the Wild West, supernatural elements make their way in when one ex-rebel turned nurse trying to discover why her ward has an unusually high number of deformed births. The book features such oddities as meat sculptures coming to life and etc.
  • Going Bovine by Libby Bray. While the author might not have written in this genre on purpose, the book refuses to have a discernible spot on the Sliding Scale Of Science Fiction Vs Fantasy and makes mention of dark matter, multiple universes, angels, and gods.
  • Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast sequence served as major inspiration and ur-example.
  • His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman is a realistic world where magic and Celestial Bureaucracy has influenced history. Popular genre conceptions are challenged.
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski is about Johnny Truant, writing about the mysterious death of a film critic named Zampaño, reviewing a Found Footage movie called The Navidson Record, supposedly based on a true story about a family whose house grows into a renegade labyrinth, which does not exist (and yet has a pernicious influence on every level of the narrative) and may or may not also be the World Tree and/or a book called House of Leaves.
  • The Iron Dragon's Daughter by Michael Swanwick, involves a little girl taken to Fairyland where she's put to work in a factory to make robot dragons. One of these dragons "adopts" her for purpose of eventually warring with the goddess of creation.
  • Jackelian Series by Stephen Hunt takes place in a steampunk/pulp fantasy world with the focus involving the country of Jackals, an analogue to to Victorian England but one where a French Revolution-style uprising took place and has reduced to the monarchy to a scapegoat position complete with ceremonially mutilated rulers.
  • Bob Shaw's Land And Overland trilogy is an odd mish-mash of sci-fi elements with the fantastical. It includes spaceships made by chopping down trees which have high explosive qualities to a Hold the Line defense where archers on balloons are trying to shoot down disease-ridden mutants from dropping pestilence bombs on a near-Medieval society.
  • The Legends of the Red Sun sequence by Mark Charan Newton was one of the final works in the genre before the genre's crash in the late 2000s. With a nod to the Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe series, it's set on a near-medieval far future Earth that's facing an apocalyptic Ice Age. It then faces an Alien Invasion and it's revealed that magic actually exists, as do ghosts.
  • Jay Lake's Mainspring and subsequent novels in the Clockwork Earth setting, takes place on a clockpunk Earth where God and his angels have created the Earth as a giant clock that needs a bit of rewinding and other maintenance issues.
  • Liz Williams's The Poison Master has the lost colony of Roanoake kidnapped by corrupted angels and taken to a new planet. One member of the colony who had been practising alchemy, is rescued from the colony by an alien poisoner who seeks a unique poison to kill these angels.
  • Jeffery Thomas's Punktown books are an odd mix of sci-fi and horror. Set in the future on another planet, often featuring Mutant private-eye Jeremy Stake, to deal with the fall-out by crazy Lovecraftian technology gone wrong.
  • The Southern Reach Trilogy is a Lovecraftian or Lem-ish adventure series on the outside, but highly existential.
  • Tales of the Talisman is a magazine that will only publish stories in this genre.
  • M.Suddain's Theatre Of The Gods is a fever dream of a steampunk space opera. In an alien empire of steampunk cyborgs, there's a mad dash to find our the origins of a mysterious green-skinned little girl who seemingly came out of nowhere. Involves planet-sized aliens, godlike beings from another plane of existence, a world of carnivorous plants and a Religion of Evil involving a genocidal childish Pope and his space fleet.
  • John Meaney's Tristopolis aka Donal Riordan police stories are set on a planet of another reality (the Earth of our reality only features as an "What If"-type comic book) which feels 20 Minutes in the Future and has magic, biotech zombies, wraiths, hellhounds and other supernatural beings as part of everyday life. So it's Film Noir with near=Cyberpunk technology and a dose of Science Fantasy rather than the standard Urban Fantasy tropes usually prevalent in stories with a similar premise.
  • David Edison's The Waking Engine features a city of deities and alien lifeforms, where every person who has ever died is reborn.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Russian Doll: The series is a Mind Screw-y Black Comedy / Drama following a woman trapped in a timeloop, reviving her birthday every time she dies. Reasons for why the time travelling shennanigans happen are never explained or given reason, they simply happen and characters have to deal with their existence. While the series relies on this high-concept for its premise, it's also a sobre character study about a woman's struggle dealing with the trauma her mother left behind. Season 2 continues this premise with more unexplained time shenanigans (this time, she learns that taking a certain train transports her into her mother's contiiousness in 1982), and she has to come to terms with her family's history.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Blades in the Dark takes a lot of inspiration from Dishonored (below), and their aesthetics have much in common.
  • Although the default Dungeons & Dragons setting is the furthest thing imaginable from this, a few of its optional settings qualify:
    • Dark Sun is set on a ruined desert world that mixes magic and psionics, with most traditional fantasy races dead and those that survive warped almost beyond recognition; most animals have twisted or mutated in ways that turn the setting into a Death World, and it introduces several strange new races of its own, like sentient preying mantises as a playable race and extradimensional psychic worm-creatures.
    • Eberron, pioneer of the term "Dungeon Punk", has a post-World War 1 Standard Fantasy Setting that is literally built around magitek of the "industrialized spellcasting" variety for its "default" continent, a lost continent ruled over by dragons who occasionally make spectacular interference with the outside world to enact what they perceive as the desires of a cosmic prophecy, a second lost continent where scorpion-worshipping dark elves battle against a Vestigial Empire of giants, and a fourth continent that is ruled by a Path of Inspiration created by a race of living nightmares seeking to conquer the mortal world to preserve the state of their own native dimension. Even the "normal" continent includes a blasted post-apocalyptic wasteland crawling with living, self-perpetuating spells, a race of magitek robots that were made as expendable warrior-slaves and now seek a new purpose in life, and a city that uses the energies emanating from a portal to another dimension to build towers that stretch miles into the sky as essentially magitek skyscrapers. And then there's the fledgling nation of traditional monsters, and the Hollow Earth whose interior is basically a set of portals to Lovecraftian hell-dimensions.
    • Nentir Vale sits somewhere between this and Standard Fantasy Setting. Two of its most prominent races are the remnants of a pair of fallen empires; one of Draconic Humanoids who were basically Romans ruled by clans of dragons, and another of Big Red Devils whose ancestors forged a race-wide pact with the forces of hell to revitalize their own flagging empire, leading to them fighting a Forever War with the dragon empire that ended in what was basically a mutual kill. Lesser races include magitek robots created as soldiers only to outlive the empire that created them, humanoid masses of crystal that sprang from the shattered remnants of a living gate that used to prevent the invasion of the world by Lovecraftian monsters, tribal packs of mantis-people, Fallen Angels who renounced their divine status and took up Resurrective Immortality to live amongst mortalkind, and humanoid plants from the land of faerie. Even classic races get a new spin here, including gnomes as traumatized ex-slaves escaped from the land of faerie, and minotaurs as a race struggling to cling to civilization and honor in the face of a God of Evil that wants to drag them down into mindless savagery. All of this in a world that has been through multiple high magic apocalypses and which continues to rebuild time and time again.
    • Planescape is set in Sigil, a strange Gothic city of doors filled with portals to unusual realms, with factions divided by philosophical concepts and full of strange creatures that don't fit any fantasy archetypes.
    • Spelljammer has players flying around through space in bizarre jury-rigged magical spaceships, using a Ptolemaic view of the cosmos in which worlds are set within enormous crystal spheres.
  • Electric Bastionland doesn't fit comfortably in any established speculative fiction genre. Like many touchstones of New Weird its focus is placed into titular Mega City - Bastion - which is meant to invoke aesthetic and technology level of early XX century, but couldn't be reduced to it. Underground is run by sentient machines which defy laws of spacetime. Deep Country represents the past and can be a place of rural horror. Living Stars - last part of the setting is not described explicitly in any way, but invoked by bizarre aliens and mindbending ways to travel there through physics-defying routes of Underground.
  • Invisible Sun puts an emphasis on surreal fantasy; a character's discovery of magic powers allow them to access a new realm of existence where the eldritch and dream-like are the new normal. And since the human imagination can create both beautiful dreams and twisted nightmares, the Actuality reflects those ideas to an absolute.
  • Part of the mission statement for Exalted was to "burn down the generic fantasy warehouse." It has elements of a Genre Deconstruction of High Fantasy, but even more so, it involves a Genre Throwback to the time when Conan the Barbarian could meet Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, and mixes in Asian mysticism and anime Magitek to taste. There's elements of Cosmic Horror Story as well, but the writers mostly used it for setting dressing.
  • Mechanical Dream is set in an alien world of only nonhuman races, titanic trees, a giant swinging pendulum that ushers in day and a nighttime of reality altering dreams. The old monarchy of long-lived plant people has fallen to a new order of Steampunk-style industrialization and the green-skinned entrepreneurs who lead it have really fast reflexes but are cursed with constant pain. And oh yeah every living thing is dependent on an energy-producing fruit, with death coming in a few days if you don't have a bite.
  • Numenera is a bizarre blend of epic fantasy, science fiction, Science Fantasy, and post-apocalyptic, all powered by Sufficiently Advanced Technology. There might be some actual psychics and cosmic horrors, nobody really knows for sure. It's been nine apocalypses and a billion years, and not every age was one of Humanity.
  • Nobilis has the everyday "prosaic" world and features a "mythic world" that is part-another-dimension and part-old-cartoon where everything is alive, meaning it's possible to talk a lock into opening itself or ask how it feels about the weather. This starts busting genres when a character can hack a computer network by intimidating its central server. There are also enemies that can permanently remove aspects from reality as we knew it, with only a people who were off-world (or protected) remembering what the world was like before: with things like airships, child-protection robots, powdered-light, and who knows what else. Also, players collectively create a home base and a leader-type NPC during character creation, based on their PCs, adding more weirdness if there's no overall theme.
  • In Noumenon all the player characters are bipedal insects trapped in a bizarrchitecture mansion called the "Silhouette Rouge". It might be xenofiction except that humans (or possibly humanoid abominations) show up in the various rooms. And every room is different, stretching the definition with instances like a tent's interior or nightclub dance hall or mine-shaft; each with a surreal twist on the expected contents.
  • The Pathfinder campaign setting Golarion verges on this with source-books now including things like interplanetary travel (and the requisite aliens), a crashed alien ship guarded by barbarian hordes, spellcasters who can turn themselves into AI, "occult" monsters more common to Gothic Horror, etc. added to a High Fantasy world that initially only stood out for avoiding Fantasy Gun Control.
  • The OSR adventure Deep Carbon Observatory (normally for Lamentations of the Flame Princess) and its companion Veins of the Earth is a surrealistic, alien take on drow (later changed to elf-like humanoids spawned from nightmares) and Dungeons & Dragons' own Underdark setting. For starters, an abandoned drow observatory was made to scry on worlds within worlds (be they literally further down in the Earth or... elsewhere) but also contains creature comforts such as dryad hostesses made of salt and a chamber made to communicate (and then feed) a emissary of slime. Among the artefacts the drow managed to steal are psychically-bound tablets detailing a dinosaur civilisation trying to actively erase evidence of itself from this timeline, starting with spawning in psychic deinonychus trying to kill you. Veins of the Earth features things ranging from alkaline shaped into a lion to the possibly-deific manifestation of not wanting to be underground stalking your characters to drive them to suicide or murderous madness.

    Video Games 
  • A lot of Atlus games are this; especially the Persona series.
    • The series started in pretty typical Urban Fantasy spaces, but by the time of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, the plots truly fell into this genre. From the opening sequence, where the main cast watches the world end, to its ending, wherein the demonic main character fights the godly force of pure creation at the center of the bubbled Vortex world in order to bring Reason into existence, New Weird barely covers it.
    • In the same console generation, the Digital Devil Saga features the reincarnating warriors of Purgatory being transformed into cannibalistic monsters by a mysterious EGG shaped pod containing a bizarre amnesiac girl, while an all encompassing eye orders them all to devour each other in order to reach Nirvana. And then it's revealed that all of the events were actually inside a computer system, an advanced military AI testing ground. And the real world is somehow worse, between the demon virus spreading havoc and the sun turning those not infected by it to stone.
  • Control, heavily inspired by The SCP Foundation, House of Leaves and The Southern Reach Trilogy, takes place in a shadowy government agency located in a shifting, seemingly infinite brutalist office building that can't be seen unless you are specifically looking for it. The player is appointed Director of said organization by a gigantic black pyramid that exists outside conventional reality, and things only get stranger from there.
  • Death Stranding fits into the realm of new weird quite nicely, following the story of Sam Porter Bridges, a courier in a post-apocalyptic United States following "the Death Stranding", a cataclysmic event that altered the rules of life and death. Some of the things this game features are: ghost babies, other special babies kept in pods designed to detect said ghost babies, people with really on the nose names, a Conan O'Brian cameo, a man who dies every 21 minutes, transporting snuggly packed people (and corpses) on your back, metaphysical time travel to WW1, a woman who uses death itself to run a transportation busness via teleportation, a cult of mad delivery people who are addicted to the high of delivering packages, mechanical autonomous cargo delivering legs, in-game peeing mechanics, and many other things.
  • Disco Elysium takes place in a mostly-modern (The '70s' idea of modern) but distinctly fantastic world that definitely isn't our earth, with its own history, on a planet where various continent-sized isolas, each made up of separate oceans, islands, and nations, are divided by growing regions of pale, patches of nonexistence which can only be traversed by specially-designed airships. Animals and plants are not all as we know them, and technology is both ahead of and behind where we were at roughly the same point culturally — though despite resembling a post-Cold War version of the '70s in the wake of a brutal Civil War in which a communist uprising was put down by an outside invasion by Moralintern (Moralism International, the loose equivalent of the UN), civilization is said to be over eight thousand years old. While much of the game takes place firmly in Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane territory, there is a distinct undercurrent of mysticism to your dreams, including an odd connection to Dolores Dei, a messianic figure who apparently had glowing lungs and waged a war to unite the world under her church. Then, near the end of the game, there's the giant, possibly sentient stick insect you discover...
  • The Dishonored series takes places in an age of exploration setting, with things like steampunk technology powered by whale-oil, an invasive species of rats, and cut-throat politics as well as magical powers, witches, and a mysterious immortal being empowering a series of special beings with magical powers to use and abuse as they (and the player choose). Its aesthetics are hard to describe and it can best be described as Terry Pratchett's Discworld mixed with Thief and Neil Gaiman with Lovecraft Lite elements.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
  • Fallen London: The setting is a Victorian-era London that was "stolen by bats" decades previous and sent to a place Beneath the Earth. It initially seems to have the kind of Steampunk and Gaslamp Fantasy trappings you would expect of that setup, but the more you play, the weirder things get. Mirrors are portals to a Bizarro Universe called Parabola where dreams and abstract concepts are given physical form, hallucinations brought on by "Prisoner's Honey" and other substances can directly affect the real world, the "Clay Men" hail from an island called Polythreme where clothes and other inanimate objects can come to life, talking rats and cephalopod-like people wander about, an empire of talking tigers far to the south has semi-regular contact with London, and so on.
  • Final Fantasy varies between this and Science Fantasy; the earlier installments tend towards Science Fantasy, though with increasingly nonstandard races as the series progresses. Later ones (especially the bizarre and genre-defying world of Final Fantasy XIII) increasingly approach this trope.
  • Heaven's Vault takes place in a world of islands floating in a vast void, with an endless flow of water in the space between them that can be navigated using ships that are part spaceship, part yacht. Schizotech teleporters and robots are used alongside a tech level that is closer to the bronze age in other ways.
  • Oddworld: The setting of the games is a varied mix of heavy industrial aspects of Diesel Punk and the cultural spirituality of Native Americans and/or Australian Aborigines overtones. With Oddworld: Stranger's Wrath being an obvious weird western inspired story based in the most furthest western part of the Mudos continent.
  • Oxenfree: The story is a mix of supernatural thriller and coming of age story about a group of friends that go to an island to party, but ends up involved with strange ghosts with powers related to manipulating electricity and waves. The plot develops to have time travels, multiple dimensions and even a degree of fourth wall breaking interpretations to it.
  • Planescape: Torment qualifies, being set in Planescape's multiversal Gothic-themed city of Sigil rather than any sort of traditional fantasy setting, and focused heavily on questions of philosophy and identity.
  • Psychonauts is an Action-Adventure platforming game about a psychic kid who runs away from the circus to a summer camp for psychic kids where they can learn how to become super-spies. People literally sneeze their brains out with a special powder (and their bodies remain functional afterwards), there's a tiny door that can let you enter people's minds, a mentor that lives in your brain that can be coaxed with the presence of bacon, there's a mutant lungfish who's mind is a metropolis populated by other lungfish who sees the main character as a giant monster, a paranoid security guard who's mind is a Suburban Gothic Red-Scare nightmare with a warped sense of gravity, Napoleon Bonapart playing a board game against his descendant with Dissociative identity disorder, bears that can fly, mountain lions that set things on fire, rats that self-destruct, and this all ties back to an Evil Plan involving the camper's brains being used to make an army of psychic death-tanks for world-domination at the hands of a crazy dentist.
  • The Thief series mixes medieval clockpunk and Edwardian steampunk with everything from ghosts and zombies to ancient magic from a god hostile to humanity. It is also thoroughly Fantastic Noir.
  • The setting of Zenoclash and Zenoclash 2 fits this in a highly surrealist way. No standard Fantasy Counterpart Culture anywhere, bizarre beings and societies, art direction inspired by surrealist art and omnipresent odd Magitek (e.g. Stone Age-esque semi-auto pistols made from seashells)...

  • FAMIB is set in an strange world where super-powers can be granted through the crystallized souls of the dead, alongside modern fire-arms and paramilitary organizations. There's also many strange species, like psychic dragons and unicorns, that are treated as normal species part of the natural world.
  • Floraverse takes place in a bizarre Urban Fantasy setting where there are no Standard Fantasy Races, the majority of the species are inexplicably themed after everyday objects, the aesthetic varies wildly, occasionally almost resembling science fiction, and the other side of the world is constantly under attack from "angels" with confusing symbolism and cosmic horror implications.
  • Homestuck is set in a world where game mechanics such as people having inventories are commonplace, and centers around a reality-bending game linked to an apocalypse. There is a heavy mix of fantasy elements and present-day technology. The more advanced troll society dips heavier in to science-fiction, having a backstory involving galactic conquering. It is also a Running Gag for the comic to call magic "fake," yet there are several explicitly supernatural elements up to and including a form of godhood.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons has an... unusual take on fantasy elements and biblical/mythological lore. Set mostly in Throne, built upon the decaying corpses of gods long dead and seat of power of the Demiurges, it contains access to the 777,777 universes of the Wheel. Among the lesser oddities are the physical manifestations of angels being living nuclear explosions contained within suits of stone or metal armor, mostly harmless liquor that can bestow demonic attributes and rather strict "don't feed the dead" city ordnances.
  • Mountain Time merges fantasy (main characters include a pixie and a talking hamster) with sci-fi (robots, time travel, and space exploration abound) with normal urban life (most of the characters are human). However, no one aspect is particularly dominant, as most of the usual genre archetypes end up being subverted by absurdist storytelling.
  • The Overside webcomic series have an enormous variety of species and technology with plots that defy conventions of many genres, except perhaps Adventure.

    Web Original 
  • The Backrooms is a New Weird take on the Ascended Glitch, being an Eldritch Location anyone can wind up in if they noclip out of proper reality. Depending on the interpretation, it's comprised entirely of a single "building" reminiscent of an empty office space, it's a series of "levels", each with their own twist on reality and full of Humanoid Abominations.
  • The Clockwork Raven is set amid the decaying ruins of the more traditional fantasy setting of the prosperous castle in the air, and focuses on two characters more interested in surviving and escaping than in following any grand destiny. It's also a genre mashup typical of the New Weird, sitting halfway between The Martian and Castle in the Sky, with a healthy dose of Clock Punk to boot. Even the dragons, which in a typical setting would be majestic beasts, are scavengers reduced to their own skeletal remains.
  • Deeper Up the Tower begins with a High Fantasy aesthetic, but quickly includes otherworldly elements. There’s is a decidedly dream-like tone that allows for stranger, weirder events and characters. Florian, a mysterious knight seeking an uncertain fate, travels through the Tower, a place of porous realities and fevered notions. They encounter all kinds of colorful strange denizens as they learn the ways of the Tower amid a raucous crowd of adventurers taking their lives in their hands for sport.
  • Encryption Straffe is a Cyberpunk novel with stream-of-consciousness narration. Thesurreal second and third arcs depicted the feats of cognition technology as indistinguishable from magic for people immersed in it, while a major character is a digitalized vengeful spirit.
  • Mirror World takes place in a Dark Fantasy world on the other side of the titular mirror in which those trapped within slowly lose their humanity within the gaze of an Eldritch Abomination and became not-quite-human beings engaged in a war of conspiracies. The more the protagonist goes in, the stranger, more disturbing, and weirder it gets.
  • The RPC Authority is along the same lines as the SCP Foundation. It was created by a number of the Foundation’s original members who wished to revisit its horror roots.
  • Satellite City is an unlikely fusion of Roommate Com, Urban Fantasy, Black Comedy, Cosmic Horror Story, Brit Com, and Mundane Fantastic, following the exploits of a somewhat hapless British man who hosts a large clan of Kivouackians, freaky interdimensional animal beings from a dead dimension that predated our own...who live at his modest house in rural England. Shot in live action with CGI Kivouackians, it oscillates between domestic comedy about the petty (albeit witty and often creatively and colorfully vulgar) spats that they get into with one another, delicate character drama drawing on the literal billions of years of personal history they share, slow, elaborate world-building, and even borderline horror. Not to mention that the unique and colorful designs of the Kivouackian cast really don't fit with one thinks of for "classic fantasy creatures", xenofiction, or your typical Lovecraftian night terrors from which they draw quite a bit of influence. And perhaps most importantly, the vast majority of them (sometimes in a scary way, sometimes in the regular way) are adorable, and you will wish you had plushies of at least one if not most of the regular cast after watching.
  • The SCP Foundation is about building an entire 'Verse at the intersection of Magical Realism, Urban Fantasy, Hard science fiction, Bizarro Fiction, and Cosmic Horror. The community is especially fond of inverting and deconstructing even the most sacred of classic genre tropes... but also reconstructs those same tropes with a fresh spin that makes the reader see them in an entirely new light.
  • Urban Reverie is a story focusing on two social outcasts trying to survive within a City of Adventure filled to the brim with morally ambiguous Knights, plotting Archmages and several other planes of reality. They walk around using Cyberpunk level tech powered by magical engines that burn the very fabric of the universe as an infinite power source.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time is set After the End where The Magic Comes Back and it takes the form of an RPG Mechanics 'Verse that constantly outdone itself in weirdness in order to create cool adventures. Both radiation and magic have managed to shape a large part of Earth into the Land of Ooo — a mostly Heroic Fantasy setting with several gimmicks and some bits of advanced technology here and there. Fantastic Sapient Species include people made of food, anthropomorphized animals, gnomes, goblins, vampires, and ghosts as well as a variety of monsters such as dragons and Eldritch Abominations. Humans are functionally extinct, though. (At least until it's revealed that they have taken refuge on a distant archipelago where they created technologically advanced societies.) Races are organized in kingdoms (usually ruled by princesses), cities/towns (ruled by mayors), or hordes (in the case of some monsters). Magic is functional but there's no established system more than the fact the whole setting draws inspiration from Dungeons & Dragons. And, of course, the primary method of fighting is with swords. A huge variety of them.
  • Gravity Falls involves twin siblings, Dipper and Mabel Pines spending their summer vacation in the titular town. During their stay, the twins stumble upon various supernatural occurrences. Such as Living Lawn Gnomes, Manotaurs, Ghosts, cursed wax statues, time travelers, and dinosaurs. However, Dipper and Mabel also have to deal with a bizarre triangle demon named Bill Cipher. Adding to this, they also confront both family secrets and growing up, making it a Coming of Age Story as well.
  • Hilda has a blend of several conventional fantasy tropes used in various unconventional ways. Elves are invisible, paperwork-obsessed Lilliputian Warriors, giants are mostly gone (presumably to space) to avoid stepping on people, and the Nisse are gnomes that live in the Nowhere Space of houses. Spirits in particular take all sorts of forms: there's your basic ghosts, then there are the Marra (Ambiguously Human teenage Nightmare Weavers), some spirits inhabit and shift bodies of water, and some influence the weather. The most notable trait of the show, however, is the way people view them. While they are mostly not ignorant of them, modern society tends to isolate themselves from magical creatures; Trollberg has a wall around it to keep out the rock trolls, and its denizens are mostly averse to the presence of the supernatural (with the exception of Hilda).
  • Infinity Train: Tulip, a teenage girl struggling to cope with her parents' divorce, runs away from home and is transported to another world where giant burrowing bugs scavenge across the scorched landscape, and the only safe place is inside a giant train that stretches from horizon to horizon and beyond. The cars of the train are several stories tall, and each contain a strange pocket dimension, which range from the benign (such as a car filled to the brim with talking ducks) to the deadly (such as a car that recreates the iconic Indy Escape). Aside from the train itself are the inhabitants, which range from talking animals to sentient globs of water to the terrifying bundle of wires that is the Steward. Tulip has a glowing number on the palm of her hand that seems to be going down as she gets closer to the train's engine, and every so often, the train stops and another passenger is sucked out of the train by a glowing orange portal in the sky. The series also averts Year Inside, Hour Outside, as any time spent in the Train is the same amount of time they go missing in the real world.
  • Welcome to the Wayne: The series is about Ansi Molina and his best friends the Timbers siblings Olly and Saraline and their adventures in The Wayne, an apartment building in New York with all kinds of supernatural phenomena from standard (like vampires and werewolves but with unusual traits like the vampires being afraid of spoons and having contact with werewolf saliva can turn someone into one and using a specific lip gloss trademark on the lips to cure them) to some even stranger (like a hidden village of living pipes and their washing machine pharaoh, bat-like monsters with enormous heads afraid of their own reflection and hidden mechanical portals that go throughout the building that can lead anywhere). They protect The Wayne building and its residents from the strange phenomena that is Invisible to Normals and can inflict Go Mad from the Revelation on them and also a Nebulous Evil Organisation trying to use those secrets to control the world, with help from their friends they were chosen to protect The Wayne and the world.


Video Example(s):



As a child in the town of Ordinary, Jesse Faden was caught up in a strange and terrifying event that shattered her world, took her brother Dylan away from her, and sent her on the run from the government. After seventeen years of fruitlessly searching for answers for what happened to her and Dylan, a mysterious presence from that event leads her to a concrete skyscraper in New York. There she discovers the Federal Bureau of Control, a clandestine government agency charged with suppressing knowledge of the supernatural — the very same group that took Dylan.

Unfortunately, her timing couldn't be worse.

The Bureau is under attack, its Director is dead, and most of its agents are either the same, missing or corrupted by the malevolent, otherworldly force that's invaded the building. Appointed the new Director by a strange entity called The Board, Jesse must fight back the "Hiss" as she delves deeper into the Bureau's strange headquarters and history.

If Jesse hopes to survive, find Dylan, and finally get some answers to her past, she'll need to do the one thing she never has ever been able to do. She'll need to take control, both of the Bureau and of her life…

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

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Main / NewWeird

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