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Monday, November 16, 2009

The Strange (n.) – Being intrigued by something that doesn’t make sense!

I’ve had a most curious epiphany. Apparently if the description of the book is so far out there, so absurdly bizarre and unimaginably unintelligible in the light of logic, then I’m instantly fascinated by it and must have it in my collection. I don’t mean books with twisted or disturbing plots, but books with plots that simply don’t make sense, that are intentionally inconsistent with a reality that follows logic.

What spawned this post was my discovery of a little known book called The Other City by Michal Ajvaz. Go ahead and click that link and read the description. It sounds bizarre, doesn’t it? That’s what led me to buy it yesterday. I had to have it in my collection. Who knows, maybe I’ll write a paper on it. All I know is that I have a bit of the Strange right now. With Jason Sanford filling my brain with his weird ideas and the odd ideas of books like Brian Francis Slattery’s Spaceman Blues or the aforementioned The Other City, it’s hard to not be drawn to the weird forms of fantastic literature, a condition I’m calling the Strange. If you like the whole New Weird craze, you’ve got a case of the Strange.

I have the Strange, and I don’t want it to go away. If there’s a cure, I want nothing to do with it. In fact, I sincerely hope that the science fiction and fantasy communities, and even those communities outside of it that are flirting with SF/F, don’t acquire a cure either. Something tells me that all this strangeness is doing SF/F a lot of good right now. We no longer have Philip K. Dick to surprise us with an astonishingly disconnected view of the world (read Ubik or Lies, Inc., or just about anything he’s written, to be honest, with exception to his short stories, which are not, in my opinion, as good as his novels). Instead, we have Jason Sanford, Michal Ajvaz, and a few others, whose names I’ve forgotten.

Hopefully my case of the Strange will spark some truly crazy stories. Right now I have a story involving a bearded lady, another that I can only describe as semi-Miyazaki in style, and something to do with packaging the universe into a little box. I don’t think I have anything quite as strange as some of the stuff I’ve seen elsewhere, but so be it.

What about you? Do you have anything truly bizarre in the works? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. Anonymous1:02 AM

    I think I know what you mean. Right now I am reading the Gormenghast novels by Mervyn Peake. Don't know if they meet your idea of "weird" but I get a sense of the bizarre that is actually inviting instead of off-putting as I might have expected.

  2. I haven't read them, but I imagine if you are getting the same sensation, then you have the Strange.