FORGOTTEN BOOK: The Weird edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, 2011
This is the 119th in my series of Forgotten Books.
I can tell you that this week’s book is one of the most fun and difficult books I have reviewed here. Firstly, I have not read the whole book. This sucker weighs in at more than 1,100 double columned pages and the type is small enough that this is really about a 2,000 page anthology.
There are more than 100 stories here as well as a Foreweird and an Afterweird, appropriately by Michael Moorcock and China Mieville, respectively. And there are introductions to each story. The first things I did was to read the Foreweird and Afterweird and then each of the Introductions. That was a lot of reading without getting into the contents. I have not read all the individual stories. That would have probably caused my brain to explode. This is not one of those anthologies for just straight plowing through from page 1 to page 1,100. These stories have to be relished and cherished. One a day is the way to go and it would still take you more than 3 months to do it.
I have read more than a third of the book and it is very enjoyable. The editors have gone out of their way to find truly weird stories from all over the world. Some of these stories are making their first English language appearance and that is true of some of the authors. I’m pretty well read in this field and I was astonished at how little I had read before this book was published.
Some of the stories you may be familiar with are “The Willows” by Algernon Blackwood, “Casting the Runes” by M. R. James, “Smoke Ghost” by Fritz Leiber, “The Dunwich Horror” by H. P. Lovecraft, as well as pieces by Lord Dunsany, Francis Stevens, Leonora Carrington, Donald Wollheim, Jorge Luis Borges, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, and Neil Gaiman. The list goes on and on. The stories are arranged by publication date covering 1908 to 2010. You can watch the development of the weird story throughout the decades.
At $29.99 for the paperback edition, you might blanch just a little. Trust me, my friends; this is one of those books that is really worth it. Or, for those who are weight averse, there is the electronic version that weighs microns or less. Check it out.
Series organizer Patti Abbott hosts more Friday Forgotten Book reviews at her own blog, and posts a complete list of participating blogs.