Notes on Weird Fiction 1: Initial Foray

Introduction (or Why I’m Writing This in the First Place):

This summer, whilst at the 14th International Gothic Association Conference in Manchester (and if any member of the organising staff ever stumbles upon this post, thank you for a brilliant event!), I attended a couple of panels where the term “weird fiction” came up a lot. I’d begun to hear about weird fiction as well at the previous IGA in Cholula the previous year, usually coupled with the mention of China Miéville, but to be honest I’d never really gotten quite a clear idea of what the different panelists meant with the term. This year the term was used also with reference to Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy (2014) and Borne (2017); the former I had read at the time (and eventually the latter, after the conference), and I was trying to think of what made it weird fiction, as I had mentally categorised it as science fiction (a genre which I have some background with after taking a few seminars on the subject during my Bachelor’s). These notes will detail my process in trying to figure out what the term describes and its implications.

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