So cool to get an email from my publisher today with a link to Maureen Kincaid Speller’s first column at Weird Fiction Review, which is a detailed essay / review of five excellent books, including Bluegrass Symphony!
I love how the reviewer has integrated the reviews into a larger discussion of ‘what is weird fiction’ — we get to learn more about the books themselves, while also being offered an insightful exploration of the question at hand. Fantastic stuff.
“The mere touch of cold philosophy.” – Keats
Reviewed in this column:
Glorious Nemesis by Ladislav Klíma (Twisted Spoon Press, Prague, 2011)
The Orphan Palace by Joseph S. Pulver (Chômu Press, 2011)
Bluegrass Symphony by Lisa L. Hannett (Ticonderoga, 2011)
The Man From Primrose Lane by James Renner (Sarah Crichton Books, NY, 2012)
Sleight by Kirsten Kaschock (Coffee House Press, Minneapolis, 2011)
Since I accepted the invitation to become Weird Fiction Review’s book reviewer, I’ve been thinking a good deal about what I mean when I say ‘weird fiction’. The ostensive definition – what I point to when I say ‘weird fiction’ – can only go so far in accounting for my choices in this and future columns and so some sort of rule of thumb is maybe in order. But while definitions have their uses the reviewer can all too quickly be transformed into gatekeeper, determining how weird is weird enough rather than being open-minded. In part one defines by discarding, so for me weird fiction is mostly not science fiction, nor classic and contemporary fantasy, nor urban fantasy nor paranormal romance, nor ghost story … except that it might have elements of all or any of these and be weird as well. Likewise, experimental form does not automatically mean weird content but the two do, on occasion, go together. And anyway, rules exist to be broken.
Read the rest (including the lovely things she says about Bluegrass) here.