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Norman Spinrad on "The New Weird"...

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Jeremy Lassen
Posted on Monday, October 03, 2005 - 03:19 am:   

Ever at the forefront of cutting edge Literary discussions, Norman Spinrad spends a lot of time talking about the next "movement" in Science Fiction.... The New Weird.

From Asimov's:
http://www.asimovs.com/_issue_0511/onbooks.shtml

"And this, I would contend, is the most basic aspect of the New Weird and the most revolutionary: speculative fiction that exists as a self-consciously pure literary construct, words on paper that knows they are words on paper, as modern painting knows that it is paint on canvas."



Uhhmmmm. I think that would be ball four. Take a base. Oh well. It was an interesting read.
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James M. Pfundstein
Posted on Monday, October 03, 2005 - 06:25 am:   

The comparison to modern (visual) art is indeed pretty unpromising. Some great work was done by painters in the 20th C, but I can't think of another art form which imploded so disastrously in the past 100 years... except orchestral music, maybe.

I would add, a little grumpily, that Spinrad's authority on matters stylistic would stand a little higher if he knew it was "orotundity" (not "orotundness") and that "weird" is, in fact, a noun. ("Orotund" is not an adjective I'd apply to Vance's dry deft style, but one man's sandestin is another man's raudlebog.)

But Spinrad has some shrewd things to say about the plotting of fantasy novels. As a critic I think Spinrad is better on the details than on the Big Theory. (Of course, I tend to think that about critics in general.)

JM("Moon Moth")P

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Matt Hughes
Posted on Monday, October 03, 2005 - 09:25 am:   

I can't think of another art form which imploded so disastrously in the past 100 years...

How about architecture?

I distrust literary movements, especially when I discover that I'm supposed to be part of one. I would be tempted to borrow Groucho Marx's comments about clubs.

I wouldn't call Vance's style "orotund" either. "Minimalist description with arch dialogue" would be closer to the bone. But I liked Spinrad's comparison of my stuff to Vance's. JV is my inspiration.

Matt Hughes
Black Brillion now in paperback
The Gist Hunter & Other Stories now in stores
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Jonathan Laden
Posted on Monday, October 03, 2005 - 09:10 pm:   

The New Weird is rather Old News, isn't it? Down to the name which I've heard bandied about for some time.

I tend to be late to every party, so if I've heard of it, it can't be bleeding edge exactly.
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, October 04, 2005 - 03:34 pm:   

Yeah, isn't it partly a revival of the weird stories, by guys like Lovecraft and Hodgson -- back to a more florid, wordy prose, but also totally revamped and improved. It's certainly not the old weird.
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - 01:58 pm:   

God, that was a boring article.

JeffV

PS There is no New Weird, except as a marketing category.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2005 - 04:01 pm:   

Yup.
thank you, Jeff :-)

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