Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Coming Attractions | The Vandermeers Are Weird

This morning marked the arrival of the latest catalogue from one of speculative fiction's classiest new imprints: that would be Corvus, of course.

Corvus' release calendar through the rest of 2011 is wall to wall with stories worth getting excited about - they are legion, let me tell you  - but we've nine whole months to get psyched up for new Neal Stephenson, Dead Water by Simon Ings, volume two of The Chung Kuo, Daylight on Iron Mountain, and all the rest of 'em. Today, I want to talk a bit about a book I've been anticipating for what seems an age.

See, for myself, I adore a good compendium. And Weird looks to be second to none.

Have a blurb:

"From Lovecraft to Borges to Gaiman, a century of intrepid literary experimentation has created a corpus of dark and strange stories that transcend all known genre boundaries. Together these stories form The Weird and amongst its practitioners number some of the greatest names in twentieth and twenty-first century literature.

"Weird features an all star cast of authors, from classics to international bestsellers to Booker prize winners. Here are Ben Okri, George R.R. Martin and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Angela Carter and Kelly Link, Franz Kafka and China MiĆ©ville, Clive Barker and Haruki Murakami, M.R. James and Neil Gaiman, Mervyn Peake and Michael Chabon. 

"Exotic and esoteric, Weird plunges you into dark domains and brings you face to face with surreal monstrosities; you won’t find any elves or wizards here. These are the boldest and most downright peculiar stories from the last hundred years bound: the biggest Weird collection ever assembled."

The Vandermeers have been years putting this behemoth together, teasing it from time to tantalising time over at Ecstatic Days. Elsewhere too, I'm sure. And it's no coincidence that Weird has been so long in the making. I don't imagine Ann and Jeff Vandermeer are anthologists at all prone to taking no for an answer, and with Weird clocking it at "much longer" than 800 pages in TPB and so boundlessly ambitious as to aim, as per the pitch, to present a comprehensive taxonomy of the old weird, the new weird and the plain weird... my point, I think, bears out.

Weird is set to be a definitive exploration of all that the weird has to offer. And no, I don't give a hoot that some somebodies somewhere have decided the weird is dead. It isn't to me. Surely my anticipation for this one compendium to rule them all speaks to that.

Perhaps it's a fools errand to get so worked up about it when there's still five more months to go before I can lay hands on the blasted thing... but damn. Just look at all those pretty contributors: imagine China Mieville, bookended by George R. R. Martin on the one side and Haruki Murakami on the other!

A beautiful thing, no?

Weird, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer, will be along from Corvus in October. And not a moment too soon.


For all those asking, here's a link to an image of the Special Edition's listing in Corvus' new catalogue. With pricing, format details - even a touch of tentacle humour! :)


  1. I've been looking forward to this. Hmm... 800 pages seems a bit slim given the word count, which is somewhere up around the 700k mark. Didn't Jeff mention double columned pages at some point?

    Guh, I can't seem to find the post about it on his blog, but there's a chance he mentioned it somewhere else. At 750k words and 800 pages, I can almost imagine it having onion-skin thin pages, double columns, and tiny print. Not that it matters, as I will still be buying it.

  2. The special edition from the catalogue is very tempting. Expensive, but tempting.

  3. Seconded on the exquisite SE. Potential Christmas present for me, I'm going to say. £60 of my own squids is a hard sell, that is unless I've got significantly more squids come October. But what a gift that beauty would make...

  4. That sounds like it could be an awesome compendium! I'm glad I found out about it, really, since now I can happily add it to my wishlist. It being released in October gives me plenty of time to make sure I'll have the money ready!

  5. um 800 pages? no way--much longer. also, marquez is not in it. jv

  6. So it's 800pp as per this morning's new catalogue from Corvus, in case you're wondering if I plucked that number from the electric ether.

    But the more the merrier, oh my! I'll update.

    This news should go some way to alleviating your worries, eh James?

    £60 is sounding ever more reasonable a buy-in for the SE of Weird from where I'm sitting...

  7. well, that catalogue is ignorant then alas. does it say whether the 60 pounder is hc or trade paper?

  8. The special edition is going to be HC, anonymous. As well as limited, signed, numbered and slipcased. To wit, I've updated with a link to an image of the listing in the new catalogue.

  9. This is one of my most anticipated books.

  10. I'm looking forward to it, for a number of reasons. I don't know if I could spare $90 for a limited-edition, though. Can't wait until my contributor's copy arrives...to read the other stories, of course :P

  11. I just wanted to come back here to say the limited edition in that format is a mistake and is being removed from the online catalogue. Sorry to disappoint. There may be a limited, but the catalogue is incorrect.

    I'm traveling so wasn't able to comment on this immediately. JeffV