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JeffV
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 01:48 pm:   

Just for the record--I think New Weird and New Fabulist are both a crock of shit. Not the writers associated with them, but the terms themselves. Both are coffins and since I'm still living, I've no personal desire to be buried just yet.

Why this insatiable, insane need to label? Why create a ghetto inside of a ghetto?

JeffV
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Des
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 02:07 pm:   

I really don't understand these labels and whence they suddenly appeared. Created some good brainstorming, though.
But, over all, I am not wired for labels, as you know.
Des
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 02:16 pm:   

Jeff: Over at my board here, I'm going to start a thread about the Post New Weird. This shit's so weird, it's weirder than anything you ever read before. It's so fucking weird, it's not even weird anymore, which, for this day and age, is pretty weird. Whatever you say about it, you're wrong. The only people that can ever make a right statement about it are the ones who live on my block.
Here's the deal -- you know all the parts of a book that aren't weird? Well, in the Post New Weird, they are the weird parts -- like when the character puts on his socks, or she takes a crap, or when he breathes, or when she readws the newspaper. Frankenstein's Monster, ho hum. A genius slug living in the nose of a ten year old in Carson City and mentally commanding him to kill his alien teacher with a bottle of Mr. Clean -- that's your granny's old New Weird.
Even though your fucking wrong no matter what you say, tell me what you think of it. Oh yeah, the Post part is like a fence post. You savvy?

Best,


Jeff
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GabrielM
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 02:51 pm:   

If you called it the New Weird Post instead of the Post New Weird you could move into a little town called New Weird and report on the school bake sales and the most recent meeting of the town selectmen. Or just compete with the Fortean Times. Best business plan I've heard yet for making money off the term...
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 03:00 pm:   

Me no like labels either. Labels are for groceries.
The weird is perpetual. Ghettos breed golems.

(To digress: Yesterday this guy sent me (why me? I don't know. Why do peddlers of penis enlargers email me, either?) his URL:
www.kenjisiratori.com
His work's really fucking weird. Good or bad, I don't know - I find it unreadable, but maybe I'm just a dull old stick-in-the mud.)

But why the labels, new ones or old ones? I guess the new ones come as old ones acquire unhip connotations. But why so little - it seems little - acceptance of the fantastic as a current in literature, present in many books, which can be foregrounded or backgrounded, no big deal either way...? I dunno. Human beings seem to have an urge to classify everything to the nth degree, as if we feel reality is only held together with the clag of nomenclature.
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 03:03 pm:   

GabeM: Don't forget about The New Wave Flatulance. And don't forget, this is a Movement, so stand back and throw me in a roll of paper. I got a work of marketing genius in the works. After the Post New Weird will come the Neo-Stale followed hard by a reaction to all this called The Old Half-Baked. Definitions will follow. Book shelf space will be cleared. Publishers will be hypnotized by it. Throngs of adherents will succumb. Ma, I'm on top o' the world!

Best,


Jeff
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JeffV
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 03:11 pm:   

I like the idea of New Wave Flatulence. I also like all this New Wave fucking cursing we're doing. It'd goddamn refreshing. Even Bishop is cussing like a sailor.

JeffV
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 03:21 pm:   

JeffV: Seriously, I have enjoyed the discussion of the New Weird and it has stimulated my imagination. I'm just in one of those moods today. But I do pretty much agree with what KJ says above,...about the labels that is.

Best,

Jeff
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Mum
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 03:27 pm:   

Bishop is, by nature and culture, a potty-mouth. Her first word was 'shit', and she's been saying dirty things ever since.
Betchas didn't fucking guess that about Sailor Bishie, didjas?
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GabrielM
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 03:35 pm:   

Kenji Siratori wrote BLOOD ELECTRIC, published by Creation Press, the same guys who publish James Havoc and a few other transgressive folk. I have a copy and it is, in fact, unreadable. I gave up after a few pages but I believe Jeff V soldiered on. Reminded me somewhat of Guyotat's EDEN, except that if memory serves me EDEN was incredibly dirty, which is perhaps why I was able to finish it.
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 03:38 pm:   

Sometimes I feel like a labelless child ...
Right from the start, I have tried to avoid The Label ... - but they're after me! They have to have me! They can't sleep at night, whoever they are and if they sleep, until they've slapped some corny tag on me! First, I got to be either a new thing or a thing that came after some other, more familiar thing, which is more or less the definition of new except with more of an implied relationship between the former thing and the current thing. Then, I've got to be an adjective.
"You're weird!"
Says a classmate of mine to me in third grade. All right so I'm weird, what does that say, and why did I imagine I had left the third grade behind a long time ago? Here in the New Third Grade, we're all oooh really weird with a beard man (snap snap).
Maybe, instead of calling me or you New Weird, how about calling all that boring cookie-cutter stuff the Old Bad, indicate further that most people aren't interested in Old Bad for some reason, and are trying not to be Old Bad? Is there some sort of competition underway, to see whose dopey tag will take? (puff on pipe six years from now) Well (looking modest) yes it was I who first referred to them as Proto-Neo-Anti-Wavers ...

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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 03:41 pm:   

Don't give a crap about New or Old Weird. I admit to some enthusiasm when I started at Fantastic Metropolis, but in hindsight I very, very much regret it. Jeff's spot on, these labels are coffins.

Kirsten: about Kenji Siratori, unreadable is the operative word. Fucking comes second. I know what he's trying to do with that mishmash of words and noise, but it doesn't work for me.

KJ's Mum: and now we know where she learned it from, don't we? ;)

Cheers,
Luís
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JeffV
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 03:45 pm:   

Michael:

You really need to start swearing. You're the only person who hasn't sworn on this thread--SO FUCKING GET WITH THE PROGRAM. Jesus Christ.

Anyway, with regard to this goddamn labeling. I agree with you Jeff F. about it being fucking interesting. But on the other hand, a lot of the discussion has had goddamn motherfucking political agendas and hidden motives behind it. So the enjoyment of it has been fucking lost on me at times.

Kenji Fucking Siratori. When I fucking well finished Blood Electric, I thought my head was going to fall off. I wanted to put a stick of goddamn dynamite in my ear and blow myself up.

JeffV.
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 04:08 pm:   

JeffV: Fuck no! Are you fucking kidding, you rammy fuck? That takes the fucking fuck.
Best,

Jeff
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Jay C
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 04:43 pm:   

Actually I think we should perpetuate labels. Particularly ones that are active and therefore not coffin like. I think the New Mastabatory suits.
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 05:08 pm:   

Jay: It at least suits this thread.

best,

jeff
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 05:53 pm:   

But masturbatory is such a long word to type. Could it just be the New Wank?
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 05:53 pm:   

Labels are your friend.

Did you catch that? No? Let me say it again.

Labels are your fucking friend. You love the label and it loves you.

Labels are not your fucking enemy. Labels are there to help you. When I call a bookstore, or a sales rep, or whoever, do you know what it's like to try and describe a Jeff VanderMeer novel? Or a Jack Cady collection? Or M. John Harrison? Please. These people have no time for me to give a verbal essay. But they do have time for me to say "If China Mieville does well for you, this should do gangbusters!" Labels aren't there to contain you, or limit you. Labels are so people like me can market people like you. "Fucking weird" just doesn't cut it.

I don't give a shit what you call it, but settle on a name, so I can use it in my press releases.

Jason
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 05:54 pm:   

And by the way, you're all part of the New Big Brain Fruity Wave, and you'll fucking like it.

Jason
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 06:03 pm:   

If we have to have a name, I want a nice one. How about Veronica?

If you changed that to the New Big Bran Fruity Wave, it could be a breakfast cereal. One of those ones for old people that gives young people raging diarrhea.
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 06:30 pm:   

Jason: If you could shorten it to The Big Fruity, that would be ok with me. I could get with that.

Best,


Jeff
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 06:44 pm:   

maybe you all should try thinking of happy, summery names? like 'sunshine'. we write 'sunshine' you could say, and we aim to bring smiles to the faces of tanned surfer children.

maybe it would open up a whole new market, as that's what such terms are for.
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 06:50 pm:   

Oh, if you don't come up with a label, the readers will, sooner or later. Speaking for myself here, I don't care what readers or publishers or bookstore managers want to call it. I'm just excusing myself from this ridiculous scramble to go on history books for naming a movement (and to name it is to own it, and that's what all of this is about). With the added risk of creating more divisions in a genre that's already bursting at the seams with sub-genres and sub-sub-genres. When people I know tell me "I hate space opera", and will likely never read LIGHT or REVELATION SPACE because these novels are categorised as a sub-genre they abhorr, then I know I want bugger-all to do with it.

But you're right, Jason, and I do realise it makes it much easier to market stuff. It's like a brand name, after all. I gave it a lot of thought, and, for what it's worth, I'll stick with my expressed desire not to have anything to do with branding movements anymore. Not that I have, want or need the authority for that.

I prefer to promote my favourite authors in different ways. Via Fantastic Metropolis, whenever possible. By contributing to a network of recommendations, frex. Word-of-mouth and whatnot -- you know it can work miracles.

Cheers,
Luís

PS: I think New Mastabatory (from "mastaba") seems like an appropriate name, picking up on Jeff V.'s concept of labels as coffins. :-)
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GabrielM
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 07:39 pm:   

>>""Fucking weird" just doesn't cut it."

How about New Fucking Weird?

Or maybe y'all should just call yourselves Nu Weird and go on tour with Korn and Slipknot and Linkin Park....

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JeffV
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 08:13 pm:   

Well, all profane joking aside (and I'm well aware of the difference in discourse between this thread and Harrison's on TTA), it does seem a bad idea to suddenly, when a lot of fantasy writers at least are getting some acceptance in the mainstream, to suddenly create a sub-ghetto.

I also didn't like that Atwood was attacked for trying to distance herself from SF, when this is primarily a marketing tactic to get herself the widest possible audience. No one seemed to realize that perhaps they should be doing the same to get themselves the best possible audience. Not to be ashamed of what you write, but to position yourself by actually NOT attaching a possibly restrictive label to what you do.

Not to mention, full marks to Atwood for tackling a subject that many SF writers ignore completely. If I read one more SF book set in the mid-far future or even the near future where ecological concerns, overpopulation concerns, are dismissed as "well, we solved all that back in 2030 with the incredible Presto Animal and Plant Maker," I'm going to seriously doubt SF's relevance.

This, of course, from a man who writes about squid.

JeffV
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 08:30 pm:   

And here's me thinking that mastabatory was just a funky new way of writing masturbatory. Fuck, I'm ignorant.

I like the sunshine idea, Ben. Sunshine and goodness. Fruity goodness. Of course, sunshine gives you cancer and wrinkles. But then, that stops it all from being just too too nice.

But just for me, speaking for no one else, I'm really quite happy with the plain old 'fantasy' label. I'd like people to be able to say that word without getting automatic connotations of unadventurous cookie-cutter stories with orcs. And when I put out the next book, which isn't a fantasy, I'll be happy with 'kooky bildungsroman'.

Or goddamn sunshine.
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GabrielM
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 08:43 pm:   

>>I also didn't like that Atwood was attacked for trying to distance herself from SF, when this is primarily a marketing tactic to get herself the widest possible audience.


I think people are too quick to pull out the knives. She wasn't distancing herself from SF, she was distancing herself from "skiffy" and what she was saying was no different from what any other intelligent, mature fan of SF has said a hundred times. She's been quite laudatory about SF on other occasions.
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Des
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 10:48 pm:   

"I don't give a shit what you call it, but settle on a name, so I can use it in my press releases."

******
Nemonymous.



BTW, anyone read the novel 'No Name' by Wilkie Collins?


Also BTW, someone wrote on another Board here under the name NoNameous - that is not me.

Des
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jeff ford
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 10:49 pm:   

All joking aside, as far as The New Weird goes and the discussions that have been going on, I think China Mieville has a legitimate claim to this term since he was the first I ever saw use it and he used it not as to say let's start a movement but merely to describe his own vision and his own preferences in reading. Harrison, on the other hand, has been around a long time now writing the kind of stuff that everyone is now clamoring about, and I think he's come the hard way to what Jason is talking about. He wasn't always one who was interested in movements. All this is understandable and in a real world way makes sense. Where I have the problem is that I really don't see that much correlation between the work of the writers who might be mentioned. I think they are all so individually different and would be ill-served by a term one uses to describe a personal vision. I don't think it would serve the reader either. That has to be some way to push the product, though, which what this is all about, marketing. Nothing wrong with selling books as far as I'm concerned. I have to also add, I don't have the answer.

Best,


Jeff
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 10:56 pm:   

kirsten: now you see, focusing on the cancer, and wrinkles isn't right. you should focus on the next step: if i have cancer, going to mars won't be a problem for me, and botox, for my wrinkles, is cheap, and easily acquired these days.

though i reckon 'fucking sunshine' is a better genre for you to be part of. i hear that's how peter carey refers to his books. 'they're fucking sunshine.'
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Minsoo Kang
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 11:08 pm:   

I think this thread is going to be the beginning of a new movement in literature called Neo-Anti-Labelism.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 11:24 pm:   

Ben - I think the term for Carey's books is 'fucking goldmine' :-)

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KJ Bishop
Posted on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 11:38 pm:   

Jeff,

Did Mieville use the term 'New Weird', or did he just say that he wrote 'weird fiction'? Not that it really matters. I vagely recall the impression that he was positioning himself against comforting fantasy, or at least saying that he prefers to write about odd and discomforting things - celebrating the weird (as opposed to portraying the weird as a bogey to be driven out of the nice fantasy world with a big stick, I guess).
To me, that's all this 'New Weird' thing is. It's just a type of fantasy fiction that has a maybe more adult relationship with its fantasy worlds than the nostalgic, comfort-seeking kind of fantasy does. Hence, perhaps, the prevalence of cities in it. Just thinking about what I'd do, if I created a pastoral fantasy world, I'd want to keep it nice. I'd feel precious about it. But in an urban environment, bogeymen can be citizens.
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Brendan
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 12:27 am:   

Hi Des,

Yes, I have read 'No Name'. I am a big fan of Collins . . . That book was very good as I recall . . .

Movements? Many of the self-created movements are a bit boring. But sometimes they can be fun. People love to hear about 'movements'. I guarantee that if a handful of us were to come up with a 'movement', write a few high-pitched articles about it, and publish a work or two under that name, it would draw much more public attention than a random assortment of undefined works . . . Because people are hungry for 'movements'. And these days, more than ever, labelling is an addiction.

Brendan
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Jay C
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 12:55 am:   

As Jason rightly points out above, these things are going to accrue labels by those to whom it matters, the marketing, publishing and distribution components of the industry. Self-definition smacks of not only intellectual arrogance but desperation. "The New Blah-Blah" in various forms has been around since the time of the Egyptians. It doesn't matter what you want to call it. People around here are writing fantalit, or literary fantasy. Others will try to pigeonhole it regardless, and perhaps have difficulty with that. Look at how many times China has been up for SF awards. And Jeff, ref your comment above about SF, you're reading the wrong books. See, I could say if I read another big fat fantasy where a tortured hero has to fight the evil within and without and slowly discover his or her own innate powers, then I'm going to start doubting the relevance of fantasy. Thing is though, I can tell by the look of that big fat fantasy what it's going to be and I'm not going to read it.

Personally, what I'm struggling with is pre-existing labels. I write stuff. Some of it gets categorised as fantasy, some as horror, some as SF and some as, well, not. A lot of it doesn't necessarily fit comfortably within those genre labels. I write books that tend to be markedly different from each other, and I'm continually told by people on the business side of the industry that it's a problem. To invent a new label and try and wrap it around stuff that people write not only limits the market, but it further limits the writers themselves by restricting them to a style and type of writing that may not in fact exist. And further it is painted with broad brush strokes of the derivative. If I'm talking to my agent or to an editor, I'm going to fall back on the easiest understandable description of what I'm offering. Oh, it's SF, oh it's mainstream in which weird shit happens, oh it's dark fantasy. Let the literary sensibilities come from the work itself, not some artificially constructed label.

Yeah, let's have a movement. Good word. Then we can put it in a jar and subject it to scrutiny.

Perhaps the New Coprolit will work.
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 02:36 am:   

Dammit Jay, you come up with all the good names. Coprolit is the best so far, I think I'm going to start using it to designate bad fiction.

Cheers,
Luís
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Jason Williams
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 02:47 am:   

For the record, I should clarify my position on labels:

Labels for authors are useless. Labels for works are essential. Marketing-wise, anyway. I don't need a label to sell Jeff VanderMeer, I need a label to sell Veniss Underground.

Jason
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Jay C
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 03:24 am:   

Jason, agreed, but do you not think the readership, or rather, the marketplace begins to expect a certain type of book from an author?
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JeffV
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 04:37 am:   

Jason:

Exactly!!!! The label is specific to the book. And by labeling the book rather than the author, the author doesn't get pigeonholed and thus restricted.

Jay:

Can you post a list of SF novels you think address these issues?

Re "a certain type of book"--no, I don't think so. But we'll see, won't we? :-) For me, the new novel is a total departure from City of Saints and Veniss, in many ways, so I guess I'll find out.

Jeff F:

I think China's perfectly legitimate in using New Weird to describe his own work. And I know he's also planning on writing an essay about Weird in general. I'm not sure he's actually promulgating New Weird in quite the way others are--I could be wrong. I think he's using it to describe specific books as they come out, but not necessarily authors.

Jeff V.
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Minsoo Kang
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 04:44 am:   

I really like Brendan's idea of making up a label and a movement, and seeing how far it can be taken - as a sort of ironic experiment and commentary on the nature of these things. Like the hoax that David Eggers tried to pull in his magazine by faking the death of a semi-celebrity, to expose the shallowness of celebrity culture (it backfired on him but I still think it was a good idea). It would work best if it had completely absurd label, manifesto, non-existent rallies, which would be referred to with dead-pan seriousness.
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Jay C
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 05:19 am:   

Jeff, okay, which particular issues...?
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JeffV
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 05:19 am:   

Our current environmental and overpopulation crises. Novels from the last 10 years.

JeffV
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Brendan
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 05:32 am:   

Minsoo,

I am sure you have read about Marinetti, and how he started the Futurist movement by publishing an article in French about 'Futurism' before a single actual Futurist work had been written . . . And when he was the only Futurist. Of course nobody knew that but him and many were quickly ready to claim themselves as Futurists.

I suppose we could start by writing a manifesto on Post Apoctolyptic Decadence . . . written with a splinter of the thighbone of a Mongolian donkey on a scroll of midget skin with the distilled blood of Australian newts . . .

Brendan
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Luís
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 05:43 am:   

Jeff: "I think China's perfectly legitimate in using New Weird to describe his own work."

China calls his work "weird fiction". "New Weird" is something M. John Harrison came up in his introduction to THE TAIN, if I remember correctly.

Best,
Luís
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John Klima
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 06:11 am:   

New Corpolit, a literary bowel movement.

It's got a ring. [hee hee, I meant it's got a ring to it but what I wrote is funnier...]

Like it or not, bookstores and booksellers (not people in the stores, but the people who interact with the publishers who decide what goes in a store, they are called booksellers even though they are buyers...) insist on labels. I agree with Jason that it's the work, not the author that needs the label (you really need better educated booksellers [this time, the ones in the stores] like Rick Klaw who can sell the books no matter what label/genre/whatever is placed on them).

Jay, you are right. It does set an expectation by an audience. That's why Joe Lansdale was only moderately successful for the longest time. He'd write a western, then a crime novel, then a horror novel, then a mystery, then something entirely different. He was in four or five sections in the bookstore. Now he's in mystery, which isn't appropriate for all his books, but they should all be in the same spot since someone looking for Joe Lansdale work doesn't care what style it's written in and someone looking for a western doesn't necesssarily want Joe Lansdale. This expectation is set up by the publisher before the author is even writing some books.

For example (writer calls editor): whew, I've just finished my BIG FAT FANTASY TRILOGY Mr. Editor, here's my novel of manners that I wrote next. No, it's not a fantasy. I don't know how you could market it as a fantasy. No, I can't add unicorns to it...why would unicorns be drinking tea and complaining about Mrs. Baggages awful children? What, you don't want my next book unless it's a fantasy? I don't have anything in mind right now...you need it in two months? That's not really...hello? Hello?

And a potentially good writer is killed because they don't have any more ideas about the poor little Bobbit children who have to return the horn of the unicorn to its place of creation and... (wow, that's really filthy and I didn't even mean it that way, I was riffing on Hobbit...)

But really, I've always thought all fiction should be filed together sorted by cover color. That way the reader/consumer will be able to purchase books that fit into their Feng Shui arrangement.

Oh, right, I almost forgot: fuck shit cock fuck.

JK
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John Klima
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 06:12 am:   

JeffV:

I agree that it is stupid for the literary community to accept these writers with open arms only to shove them into their own special area. It smacks of fascism.

JK
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Jay C
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 06:20 am:   

Okay, not from the last ten years, but OATH OF FEALTY, by Niven and Pournelle. More recent stuff...

SPARES, Michael Marshall Smith
AMNESIA MOON, Jonathan Lethem
BEGGARS IN SPAIN, Nancy Kress
STARFISH, Peter Watts
THE POSTMAN, David Brin

It actually depends on what you're looking for, Jeff. If you want it to be reflective, clearly about the now, then there are numerous examples, but a lot of the stuff has gone well beyond that and is speculating in different direction. You look at the Robert Reed Alice series for example wonderful post-human speculation. Or some of the stuff by Linda Nagata. Again down that path. Or we have the totally removed stuff, such as Nicola Griffith's AMMONITE.

Then we can go back to things like the Le Guin with THE DISPOSSESED, THE LATHE OF HEAVEN. There's plenty of stuff there. I think you may be colouring the assessment with what you -want- to see.
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JeffV
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 06:33 am:   

I'm talking about books that address--look full-on at and do not blink--our current problems, problems we're going to have 10, 20, 30, 40 years from now as well.

Postman--sucketh.
Beggars in Spain--good, but doesn't really address these issues.
Spares--?

Others haven't read.

I'm not talking about SF from the 70s or 80s, but from the 90s. I mean, Stand on Zanzibar is a brilliant book. But few SF books since have topped it in terms of dealing unblinkingly with these issues, as opposed to looking past them.

Since the money's on self-extinction within a few hundred years, it seems like SF writers would be more sensitive to and dealing with these issues.

JeffV
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John Klima
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 06:38 am:   

In addition to what Jay's mentioned, a lot of Laura Mixon's and Stephen Gould's work touches on the environment in the future, as well as Brin. Vernor Vinge is all about the post-human speculation idea. Ken MacLeod is fantastic. Very politically charged stuff full of where our leaders are taking us and if we want to go. Lots of ideas about what our world will be like as we fight and destroy and don't recycle, etc. MacLeod might be right up your alley.

General info on MacLeod:
http://www.niribanimeso.org/eng/about/kml.html

Bibliography (I've only read the first four novels, but they are very good!)
http://www.niribanimeso.org/eng/about/kmlbib.html

Blog (to get a taste of his style):
http://kenmacleod.blogspot.com/

Enjoy!

JK
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Jay C
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 06:40 am:   

MOTHER GRIMM Catherine Wells.

And also, I'd say again that sometimes, quite often, that just ain't what science fiction is about.
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JeffV
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 06:43 am:   

Right--but what I'm saying is--IT SHOULD BE. Or, those factors should at least influence and inform even far future SF. The SF writer should not be able to disregard the implications of our current situation.

Thanks for all the recommendations. I can't stand Brin, but I'll check out the rest.

Mother Grimm sounds interesting from the title alone.

JeffV
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Jay C
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 06:44 am:   

THE MEEK, Scotty Mackay
THE CHANGELING PLAGUE, Syne Mitchell
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JeffV
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 06:51 am:   

See? I'm just looking for someone to prove me wrong--and show up my ignorance. It was a simple request, now almost totally fulfilled.

Re the fake movement--I think an essay of 3,000 words describing the fake movement would be brilliant. Wish I had the time. It's got to be a name that seems serious but in retrospect is totally ridiculous.

JeffV
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Jay C
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 06:52 am:   

I understand the argument, but sometimes that stuff is just too much backstory. Certainly all fiction is, in a way, a reflection of contemporary society, culture and ideas, and sf is the what-if mirror that we hold up to ourselves. But sometimes the 'what if' is dealing with other things.
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Jeff
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 06:58 am:   

I'm not talking about being didactic. I'm talking about it being in the mix.

JeffV.
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Minsoo Kang
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 07:47 am:   

Brendan,

I was reminded exactly of Marinetti when you suggested the idea for a fake movement. Which also reminds me, one of the things that those Futurists did was go after critics who critized them and harrass them in the streets. Some people thought that this was a proto-fascist tactic, but apparently it was more akin to dadaist pranks since they only poured flour on their victims and got into loud arguments with them. I think that if we do a fake movement, we should definitely do that - or pretend we did, to avoid prosecution.
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 07:54 am:   

Jason and JeffV: I see what you both mean by referring to the individual work and not the author. That makes sense.

KJ: I think "The Weird" thing goes back to Lovecraft., but I'm not sure.

Best,


Jeff
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Brendan
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 09:14 am:   

Minsoo,

All the followers of our movement should also be required to wear three-pleated bright yellow trousers and have their bangs brushed forward and parted down the middle.

A serious name for the movement?

The Expectationsists.
The Decusationists.
The Peculiarists.


Brendan
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JeffV
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 09:20 am:   

I like the Peculiarists. In fact, I might just write something up this weekend (like I need another thing to do).

Re the SF thing--note I said "relevant". Doesn't mean I don't enjoy the other stuff.

JeffV
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Des
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 09:31 am:   

I formed a sub-dada group in 1967 called The Zeroist Group and got a grant from my university for it. We splashed out on paints.
Am I getting boring when I go on about anonymity? I need to be told.
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Jeff
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 09:48 am:   

No, you're not getting boring, Des. That's the last thing you are.

JeffV
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Des
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 10:35 am:   

You haven't seen my declining of the tenses of all the verbs in Proust, Jeff! Des
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Brendan
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 10:51 am:   

Maybe the Peculiarist movement could get a grant?

Should we all write Peculiarist Manifestos?

I could write a Peculiarist Cookbook.

Some manifestos:

The Peculiarist View on Innocence
Peculiarst Chalk Drawings
A Peculiarist Roadshow

Brendan

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Jay C
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 12:50 pm:   

Jeff, okay, relevant. But why does it have to be relevant, or reverent or elephant. If it's damned good fiction it's damned good fiction. One of the things I've been talking about recently with an editorial luminary, is that a book needs to function on many levels. The subtext should be there for those who get it, but not slap you in the face like a wet squid. That means that the reader who wants simple story can have that and doesn't need to have anything else. Or maybe that's too populist? That, I guess is a slight digression, but the point is, what is the 'worth' of relevance? What's it achieve? Is this a mission?

My mission is to fuck with people's heads. I don't see that I have to make that process contextually relevant, or are you espousing literature with a social conscience? Then we get into value definition. Who is the arbiter of appropriateness of contextual inclusion, and therefore relevance?
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Bob
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 01:05 pm:   

Erm...does anyone actually write fiction anymore? I mean, that's so...not weird. I think Neo New Weird Shit should be defined only by polypolemical message board rants.
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JeffV
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 01:30 pm:   

Jay:

I'm the last person to expect "relevance" from a book. "Relevance" doesn't necessarily have anything to do with literary quality. I guess what I'm saying is that I find SF that doesn't at least acknowledge these concerns unbelievable as extrapolation. I can still enjoy it, but not for its extrapolation. At that point, it becomes fantasy to me. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I do not expect fiction to have a social conscience. I do not expect it to be moral. But I also think we live in extraordinary times with extraordinary perils. Such perils are being under-estimated and under-utilized, in my opinion, in a genre that supposedly prides itself on extrapolation.

Carolyn Bly has a wonderful book on writing called The Passionate, Accurate Story. In it, she argues that modern mainstream realistic fiction that does not at least acknowledge the very complex social and racial imbalances that inform our various societies is perpetuating a simplification of life itself--a falsehood. She is not advocating didactic fiction or fiction with a social conscience--she is not asking the writer to pass judgment on the actions of, for example, corporate executives, but saying that if you write a story that includes a corporate executive you should not simplify that character or the situations into which the character intrudes to the point that politics and social issues do not enter at least the background of the story.

Like you, I believe subtext cannot work without a surface that allows enjoyment even if you don't get the subtext.

This idea of "relevance" is not one that would enter into my teaching of creative writing, however. It's just a thought I've been having recently in light of Atwood's book, which seems to have more relevance than many SF novels published today. I'm not saying that makes it a better SF novel or more worthy of discussion.

My mission in my fiction is to tell the truth as I see it--in other words "a truth". And to capture, even if in distorted form, some measure of the beauty and horror of this world. Fucking with people's heads sometimes occurs as a result.

That said, this is in some ways a fake discussion for me. I don't really adhere to any particular approach, or if I do, it changes from month to month.

JeffV

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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 02:19 pm:   

Jay: I like that second paragraph in your previous post that begins "My job is to fuck with people's heads..." Even though it's questions, I know what you mean and I'm with you on that.

Best,

Jeff
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Minsoo Kang
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 04:14 pm:   

I like Peculiarism as well. But here's another label that might sound good but is actually completely stupid - Retro-Futurity. Its manifesto could say - "The Future is Dead. The Future is behind us. The Future is yesterday's news. Death to the Future. Long live Retro-Futurity."

The future is the quack in the court of Chronos - Nabokov, Ada
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JeffV
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 04:50 pm:   

LOL! Nice Nabokov quote, too.

Really, I'm concerned that I got away from the swearing. I think I'm more coherent when I'm swearing.

I like individual books too much to talk too much about generalities.

JeffV
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Jay C
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 05:13 pm:   

Jeff and Jeff:

I think we're of a mind here, but 'tis good to get the airing.
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 09:17 pm:   

"I don't want to hear any generalities, nurse, take me to my ward." - WS Burroughs, CITIES OF THE RED NIGHT
I seem to have rejoined the conversation post festum ... Me, I think we should be known as the New Tyrants, the better to distinguish us from the scribbling rabble of dickleberry-lickspittle smegwad-buggery fatherfucking horsecunt-snorkel pusbucket pissblast knuckleshits. (Did I hit the quota?)
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jeff ford
Posted on Friday, June 06, 2003 - 09:22 pm:   

Michael: Nice work.

Best,

Jeff
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Minsoo Kang
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 12:07 am:   

Marinetti got the ball rolling by publishing the first futurist manifesto in Le Figaro in 1909 and then following it up with the rowdy performance of his play 'The Electric Puppets' in Paris (apparently he hired people to boo and shout obscenities at his own play - then wrote an essay entitled 'The pleasure of being booed'). So our manifesto should be published in places where they cannot be ignored - we should chip in for full page ads in 'The New Yorker' and 'The Times Literary Supplement (London)'.

Another suggestion for a name - the skinny monkeys or the skinny monkeyism - from the pseudo-documentary '24 Hour Party People':
"Okay, what the absolutely worst fucking band you have every heard?"
"Skinny Monkeys."
"Skinny Monkeys? Skinny fucking monkeys?"
"Bloody awful. Wankers."
"Wankers."
"Wankers."
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Des
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 12:54 am:   

The Owl-mouthed Outré

To wit to who

To Weird Peaks.

Yours, Des (New Weirdmonger)
weirdmonger.com
nemonymous.com
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Des
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 01:00 am:   

Now outed as an Outréist, there can be no hiding place.
Des

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Brendan
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 02:17 am:   

Peculiarists: The New Surgical Instruments of Literature

Brendan
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Des
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 03:14 am:   

'Peculiar' seems too insular (as in 'peculiar to...')
Outréism seems to have a disowning/disarming quality of otherness or outwardness, as well as abject weirdness and fabulism.
On second thoughts, 'Old Peculiar' is a great beer.
Des

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Jay C
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 04:28 am:   

Des, actually I've a leaning towards The Old Speckled Hens.
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Des
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 06:36 am:   

Waggledance, honey?

Actually, perhaps Outréism should mutate into Outrealism or Outreality?
Des
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Brendan
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 09:38 am:   

I like Old Peculiar too. I am not sure if it is as peculiar as it used to be however. But what is?

Well, we can start many different movements - thousands of them - all clawing and biting at each other and steaming away - every man can start as many movements as they have fingers, and every woman twice as many as she has toes . . .

Sorry for being silly. It is very hot in my studio today.

Brendan
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Des
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 10:02 am:   

"It is very hot in my studio today."

It's all the cameras.
des

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Brendan
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 11:59 am:   

The cameras?

I dont get it. Are there cameras watching me? Where are they?

I think I was suffering from artificial optimism.

Brendan
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The Beer Hunter
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 08:44 pm:   

Would we get sued if we called it the New Peculiar?
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Stepan Chapman
Posted on Saturday, June 07, 2003 - 10:04 pm:   

Or how about Avant-Elisionist Hyper-Pop Neo-Post-Rave Fiction? That could sound trendy for a month or two.
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Des
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 01:22 am:   

Noutréism Neutréism Newtréism ?
Des
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Liz Williams
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 01:18 pm:   

I dunno, go away for a few days and suddenly people are wanking all over the place. Mark the words of Old Grandmother Williams. It'll make you go blind!

A nasty rash of discussions has broken out in recent weeks, among the British genre pack, about what we Now Are.

I consider that it is not my place, guv, as an 'umble nauthor, to tell others what kind of shit I write. That issue, thank God, is for critics to wrangle over, preferably in about 100 years' time, and publishers to have a field day with - unhappily, right now.

This doesn't mean, of course, than no one else should do the one handed tango in this respect, and it can be an interesting dialogue. But I just do not know what to add to it, except to disappear up my own epistemological arse and to echo others, in the clearly irrefutable claim that I write what I write.

Craven? Perhaps so. Lazy? Almost certainly. I really don't mind having labels slapped on me like nicotine patches, just as long as I am ultimately left alone to get the fuck on with it.

KJ: my mother is called Veronica. It is a nice name.

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Liz 'who the fuck am I?' Williams
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 01:25 pm:   

Oh, another one to add to the environmental list:

Melissa Lau's THE SALTFISH GIRL. (I think that's the name and title - my memory really is shot all to buggery these days).
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Liz Williams
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 01:39 pm:   

BTW, KJ - I've been thinking about it in all of about 30 seconds, and I've decided that in spite of all my protestations against labels, I really like the 'New Wank'.

Now, when people ask me what I write, I can say "I'm a New Wanker".

And they will reply "I knew _that_ all along."

(However, levity aside, if anyone on this side of the Pond thinks that this means that they can stand up during the questions at Pat Cadigan's interview with me tomorrow, and say "So, ARE you a wanker, Williams?" - you will be so, so not alive afterwards. Or at least not get any drinks from me).
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JeffV
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 02:30 pm:   

LOL!

And here here on this:

I consider that it is not my place, guv, as an 'umble nauthor, to tell others what kind of shit I write. That issue, thank God, is for critics to wrangle over, preferably in about 100 years' time, and publishers to have a field day with - unhappily, right now.

This doesn't mean, of course, than no one else should do the one handed tango in this respect, and it can be an interesting dialogue. But I just do not know what to add to it, except to disappear up my own epistemological arse and to echo others, in the clearly irrefutable claim that I write what I write.

Jeff
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JeffV
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 02:31 pm:   

Er, "hear hear"

A little jack and coke has me addled.

Jeff
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Liz Williams
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 03:19 pm:   

Often the way with me, Jeff - think nothing of it.

And 'Here here' is probably more apt, if one takes the long view.
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Liz Williams
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 03:44 pm:   

It's lovely when your friends get on.

Over on the TTA board, I note in passing (not having a spare 3 days to catch up with Mike Harrison's thread), Al Reynolds speaks thusly:

"The bottom line, however, is that as a reader all I care about is having my head done in. "

And on this board, Jay C announces his own laudable aim:

"My mission is to fuck with people's heads. "

Perfect. I expect your engagement to be announced in the pages of Locus any day now...
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JeffV
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 04:30 pm:   

LOL!

Liz--you're evil!

Jeff
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liz hand
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 05:38 pm:   

I think you guys dropped the ball by not going with Brendan's Artificial Optimists. It would sound good in French, too.
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KJ Bishop
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 05:58 pm:   

But that would move the focus away from rude words.

I want to suggest the New Poo.
Fresh and hot, steamy and creamy, egalitarian, infinitely various. New Poo - not the same old shit as before.
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GabrielM
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 06:34 pm:   

If this thread has proven anything it's that the term shouldn't be the New Weird but the New Weirdos.
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JeffV
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 08:39 pm:   

LOL!

Oh boy--now Liz Hand is here and for some reason, more than before, I feel very embarrassed by my cursing earlier.

JeffV
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JeffV
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 08:42 pm:   

Of course, Liz Hand also once called me "snuffalufagus" (sic) in an email after two almost-meetings at conventions, doubting the reality of my existence. This was new to me--usually Liz's all of varieties doubt the existence of my *sister* not me.

Okay, so maybe New Weirdos is appropriate.

JeffV
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Sunday, June 08, 2003 - 09:33 pm:   

I have told you all time and again: Jeff doesn't exist. Not on Earth, at the very least. I actually sent someone to his address one day, only to find an abandoned badminton court replete with rusted shopping carts and perished tires. It's someone else that takes his place whenever he has to meet people, an unemployed actor by the name of G. Ainsley Lynton to be precise. Of course, Jeff's "closest" friends will deny it, but that's only because they were threatened of being cut open and stuffed with live squid if they dare expose the truth.

His sister, though, is real, and is the only link Jeff has to our reality. They are twins of sorts -- when she was born, Jeff was "unborn" at the same time -- and they share a psychic connection that allows her to act in her brother's behalf. Similar thing happened to Philip K. Dick and his twin sister Jane, you will remember.

It is speculated that Jeff was born in Ambergris. For example, "The Strange Case of X" is in fact an allusion to the two siblings' struggle to breach the barrier that separates both worlds.

Best,
Luís
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Liz Williams
Posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 01:55 am:   

>Liz--you're evil!

Your point being...?

It isn't just that I doubt the existence of both your sister and yourself, Jeff. Actually, I doubt the existence of everything, including - and particularly - myself, my friends, G. Ainsley Lynton and all of Nightshade. I think someone is imagining the whole thing - I just don't know who to blame...
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 02:25 am:   

Well, you can stop doubting, at least on the Night Shade end. We most certainly do not exist, and any beliefs to the contrary are simply silly.

Jeff, on the other hand, MUST exist. That's the only explanation I get for a Disease Guide-related email every 7.3 seconds.

Jason
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Liz Williams
Posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 02:45 am:   

That's a relief, Jason. I was very worried there for a moment.

>That's the only explanation I get for a Disease Guide-related email every 7.3 seconds.

If I get an email like that I just assume it's a virus...
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 07:14 am:   

Liz, you may be right. It could all be God dreaming. Please be quiet and behave, lest he wakes up from the nightmare . . .
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Forrest
Posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 11:17 am:   

Jeff is definitely real. Surreal, perhaps, or maybe even magically real, but real nonetheless.

Forrest

PS: Wank. Just had to say it, or I wouldn't feel welcome here.

PPS: For the record, I don't like labels much either. In fact, I hate them. Bastard labels. Bad labels. Screw them labels!
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Monday, June 09, 2003 - 04:05 pm:   

Labels?! I don't got to show you any steenkin' labels!
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2003 - 10:26 am:   

Jeff is "non-mimetically literal".
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JeffV
Posted on Tuesday, June 10, 2003 - 08:05 pm:   

It has recently come to my attention that some individuals who are participating on threads about the New Weird on other non-NS message board URLs feel threatened by this thread. Specifically, that it makes them feel unsafe. Apparently, we are a bunch of raving maniacs who wish to tear limb-from-limb any New Weirdo we may find prancing about the streets after dark near the Milk Bar.

Just to assuage any fears--we're all friends or acquaintances here who were indulging in a bit of fun that was never intended to scare anyone or to make anyone feel unsafe.

Unless, of course, you're from the New Weird.

Just kidding. See-that's a joke.

JeffV

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Kathryn Cramer
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 11:29 am:   

Jeff is right: they are made to feel unsafe by a wide variety of things (what Jonathan Strahan refers to as "embattlement"). For such tough guys, they do seem awfully scared of their own shadows. Mike and China were getting irritiable so I've bailed out, though I did have fun poking them.

I think it's now firmly established that the New Weird is exactly what M. John Harrison and China Miéville say it is and not *anything* else. (I'm tempted to lauch into all caps and expletives for further specificity, but I don't need to. You've seen it.) As China said, "discussion of genre boundaries" may 'need' to encompass more writers, etc, as suggested but so what? That's not what's going on here."

Now that we all know that, it does bear mentioning that there is a flourishing and healthy off-genre movement (for lack of a better term and it probably doesn't need one) that is not the same old Slipstream. It is worthy of notice and examination in all its richness and variety.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 12:07 pm:   

Kathryn: "I think it's now firmly established that the New Weird is exactly what M. John Harrison and China Miéville say it is and not *anything* else."

Well, I personally thought they had a lot of interesting things to say, and after all, don't they have a right to choose how to define themselves? I mean, if you disagree with what they think the New Weird is, you are free not to be a part of it. Isn't that how movements work? Not by pressganging people into swearing allegiance to something and then afterwards deciding what that something is, but by starting with that something and seeing who chooses to align themselves with it.

You're also equally free to try to wrestle the term "New Weird" away from them and make it mean something else entirely, but it'd be a bit silly to tussle like that over a mere label.
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Cheryl Morgan
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 12:35 pm:   

Let's see. Mike and China will kill me if I say that "New Weird" is something other than what they think it is. Jeff will kill me if I say that he is "New Weird". And all three of them will kill me if I dare say that any of them have anything to do with "Interstitial" or "Slipstream".

Good. That makes it all clear. I think I'll go read some books.

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Kathryn Cramer
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 12:43 pm:   

I wouldn't have kept making links from my weblog to the discussion if I didn't think they had interesting things to say. They do.

I don't mean to sound dour, but they did make it a game of twenty questions to draw out of them what they were really talking about. To start with, I thought they were discussing a much broader phenomenon, and since they kept refusing label their label, I stayed to ask. I got a little tired of being flamed for asking.

I'm disappointed that they feel so threatened.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 12:52 pm:   

Yes, I have to say that I, too, was under the impression, until the last thread-worth or so of posts, that they were talking about something much more like a sea-change than one valid approach out of many.

I'm not sure it's fair to interpret their reactions as indicating feeling threatened, though. As an impartial observer, it looks to me more like simple annoyance, sparked off--ironically enough for a discussion involving so many brilliant writers!--by the fundamental misunderstanding you mentioned. Quite unfortunate, I think.
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 12:55 pm:   

I'll kill anyone who goes and reads some books!!
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JeffV
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 01:00 pm:   


This thread is getting long, so I'm creating "New W---- 2" and posting a longish post to it. For this thread, the rule is reversed--no swearing. :-)

JeffV
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 01:12 pm:   

You'll have to catch me first, new weird-o!

As someone pointed elsewhere in these boards, unlike the New Wave writers, there has been no momumental event to tie a lable onto (e.g. Dangerous Visions or New Worlds). We just have a bunch of talented writers who are doing something different. And there happen to be a number of them coming to promise at roughly the same time like a new generation or something. This may become a case where a name for this time is given after it is passed.

Writing and publising is a solitary public forum. You create your own world and then expose it to everyone. Then those people want to talk about your world--good or bad--and they need/want a way to talk about it and often the easiest (most understandable?) way to do so is to make comparisons or lump things together. So, these writers are forced to interact with people who give them a label or a grouping with which the writers may not like or agree.

I do not want to say that Jeff VanderMeer 'tastes like chicken' because he reminds me of something that is a known quantity to others. But it requires a lot of effort on my part to avoid such things. And I nearly always succumb to the succor of saying things like "KJ Bishop is reminiscent of Tim Powers." That's not a bad thing, but KJ is not Tim Powers. No one is except for Tim himself. And in the case of this 'New Weird' you have a bunch of people who do not write like each other, no do they write like anyone else, and so they get lumped together like giant literary bouillabaisse.

It's too bad really. As much as I loathe labels, I use them for my betterment, too. Without the act of grouping writers together, I would not have found many of the recent books I've read and loved.

Why not just call them The Unmentionables?

JK

(and quite frankly, VanderMeer at best tastes like Calamari, not chicken)
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 01:15 pm:   

Not having followed the thread myself, I can only add my own completely unqualified opinions under the sign of the grain of salt. Considering the fact that I, and most of the other "weird writers" with whom I am acquainted, have been writing "fill-in-the-blank" or off-genre matter for +/- all our adult lives, the novelty of this "new weird" must have more to do with the attention such writing is now receiving from publishers than with any tendency on the part of the writers. Writers like Mieville become the center of attention because they are the flashpoint figures whose success triggers emulation on the part of other publishers (leaving to one side the question of emulation among other writers). We've all been at it for about the same length of time, and have all arrived at our own aesthetics largely by dint of protracted and difficult work against the grain of established popular literature, which means both laboring without the standard props and in obscurity. Now, those of us who have been working just as hard and just as long as those who have begun to receive recognition are under a kind of threat, that we'll be identified as joiners or copycats. Anyway, publishers create these new waves for the marketing reasons discussed above. Speaking personally, as someone who has worked for years without any real expectation of recognition, writing novels and putting them away in the drawer, the prospect of suddenly having to account for myself in these new terms is disturbing. It begins to feel as though something very essential might be snatched from me and appropriated by someone else, who will decide what it is I'm writing. The highly idiosyncratic, and often personal nature of this kind of eccentric writing makes it all the more difficult to discuss in the general terms of movements or schools. Certainly, there is a new interest in highly imaginative and more literarily complex fantasy. It might be useful to distinguish between the marketing term used as a makeshift description for this stuff and a critical term meant to identify its essence, and which is most likely not available at present. The surrealists named themselves, it's true, but the term was coined by Apollinaire, who belonged to the previous generation of poets. It may be that one of the terms applied today will be the word employed by future critics, and which will only become appropriate in this future use. I don't think that any of this should preclude argument about which term is best in the present, however.
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 01:17 pm:   

You spend twenty minutes writing your thoughtful reply and then WHAM, the thread jumps right out from under you. Flippin' interweb!!
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John Klima
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 01:19 pm:   

I hear you man. Great post by the way. Very insightful. If I knew you were writing it, I would have skipped mine.
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Des
Posted on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 - 01:19 pm:   

All joking aside, I haven't really understood one word that's been said on the New Weird TTA threads (and very little on this thread). On to Jeff's extension...
Des

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