So, in the 93 days since 31 October I’ve managed to read 82 stories from weird fiction compendium The Weird. So odds are that I won’t read the remaining stories in the next 7 days. But hey, I’ll keep ploughing on. There’s actually 110 anyway, so I think they’ll be done by end of February. I’m a little disappointed, to be honest. I thought the process would affect me more. The stories themselves haven’t penetrated me the way I thought they might. Sure, I’ve been inspired and I’ve wrote a short story myself, one that I’d hope would be classified as weird.
I’d kinda hoped that weirdness might infect my dreams and my waking thoughts. I’d wondered if imaginations of ghosts and aliens, strange cities and nightmare futures would creep into the corners of my vision. But nada. Nothing. Not a peep. Not a nightmare. Not a strange dream or an odd occurrence. Damn fiction for promising so much and delivering so little.
I’ve not really ‘discovered’ potential new authors yet. There’ve been a couple who’ve piqued my interest enough to investigate further. Elizabeth Hand and Kathe Koja among them. I enjoyed the imagination and description of Hand’s story, and her prose style generally and the passion and oddness of Koja’s. I’d already planned to read some more Robert Aickman.
But still, as a collection of short stories, there’s been plenty to enjoy. So with 28 stories remaining, here are some of my favourites thus far:
Algernon Blackwood, The Willows, 1907
Daphne Du Maurier, Don’t Look Now, 1971
Donald Wollheim, Mimic, 1942
Elizabeth Hand, The Boy in the Tree, 1989
Paul Wilson, Soft, 1984
Garry Kilworth, Hogfoot Right and Bird-hands, 1987
George R.R. Martin, Sandkings, 1979
Karen Joy Fowler, The Dark, 1991
Kathe Koja, Angels in Love, 1991
M.R. James, Casting the Runes, 1911
Ryunosuke Akutagawa, The Hell Screen, 1917
Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Young_Daphne_du_Maurier.jpg