The Weird: A Compendium of Dark and Strange Stories

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Edited: Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
Foreweird: Michael Moorcock
ISBN: 978184876873
RRP: $39.99

Compendium – what a word! I love it, for some reason I have always loved the way it sounds and I think as long as comprehensive is a factor in its meaning then perhaps it will come close to describing this book.


Let me begin by saying this book is big, it is huge! Consisting of over 1100 pages there is definitely some weight in this volume. But don’t think that tells the whole tale because the pages have double columns so there is a lot of words packed per page. None of which takes into account the weighty influence these authors have had on the genre over the years, not to mention their sheer numbers.

The best thing about an anthology is you can approach it in so many different ways. You can digest it in the manner intended by the editors, from front cover to back nice and orderly.

You can flick through and read your favourite authors, then go back to others.

You can open pages at random and start reading the closest story beginning.

You can spread it out and read one story then put the book down until the next sitting.

As long as you are enjoying it I’m pretty sure the editors aren’t going to mind.

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The other fabulous thing about an anthology is that if you have a busy lifestyle and find very limited time to read then you are less likely to get lost, you can finish the story you’re reading and put the book down for days, weeks, months and it’s not going to matter.

The anthology in particular is extremely thorough but there are some people who aren’t represented, this could be for many reasons but you do have to remember that there is only so much that you can fit in an anthology.

Weird is laid out in chronological order so it is easy to track the development of this subgenre through the years. Weird compiles the best of the last 100 years and there are plenty! I am pretty sure there are over 100 authors in this collection which makes for extreme diversity. It doesn’t matter how weird you like your weird or what flavour of weird you favour I can gaurantee there will be something here to excite your senses.

Obscure and eclectic are two fitting ways to describe this collection, whether you are still dipping your toes or you have been swimming the sea of weird your entire life there will be inclusions that are new to you. Some of these stories are being translated to English for the first time for this anthology. There will also be authors and stories that are familiar.

Stephen King, Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee, George R.R. Martin, Algernon Blackwood, H.P. Lovecraft, Daphne du Maurier and Ray Bradbury are just some of the mammoth list of authors taking part in the Weird compendium and there are almost 100 others.

Another selling point of anthologies for me is that each individual story has a little bio of it’s author so when you get involved with a story you can learn about the author and it gives you a starting point when you go rushing off to find their other works.

This one is a book I think I will save to treat myself with, one story at a time! At this size and this prize it’s an absolute bargain and I am going to love every page I think.

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