So I just reread Jeff Vandermeer’s intro to his and Ann’s anthology, The New Weird, for the first time in… Sheesh, 10 years?? And what strikes me is how in 2005, Jeff proclaims the peak of New Weird to have happened in 2003 and is already a dead moment.
So I’m left thinking… recognizing Vandermeer is preeminent in weird fiction, and if anyone is an expert in the topic and in the overlap of genre fiction and cultural criticism, he is one! So for that reason alone I’m inclined to accept what he says at face value. And to do that, I have to presume that what he means by the moment being dead, is that the period of innovation (or at least of renovation significant enough to look like innovation) is a very brief one before what started out as novel becomes parody. Because surely there’s no disagreement that the New Weird is still a viable subgenre. With it making its influence in such mainstream shows like “True Detective,” in films like the adaptation of Vandermeer’s own “Annihilation,” and the continued success of China Miéville, and thankfully the rise of vs success of subversive Lovecraftian fiction like Lovecraft Country and The Ballad Of Black Tom, it’s hard to believe that the moment rose and died over a span of a few years 16 or so years ago.
Again, unless moment and movement are very different things, and a moment (as like the instant in time it also describes) is necessarily brief, inspired, while a movement is the commodification that continues on, making as much revenue from it for as long as people will buy it. I wonder what Jeff Vandermeer would say is the state of New Weird today, 14 years, a generation, later.
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