Old and New Weird

An issue of: Genre

Old and New Weird
Journal Issue Pages: 140 Volume 49, Number 2 Published: July 2016 An issue of Genre
This special issue proposes a three-stage periodization for the development of weird fiction, the unstable hybrid of horror, science fiction, and fantasy most often associated with H. P. Lovecraft: Old Weird (1880–1940), which is centered on Lovecraft's literary and critical work and the pulp magazine Weird Tales that gave the genre its name; Weird Transition (1940–80), a period marked by the apparent decline of the genre but that actually sees the migration of weird elements into a broad range of genre and media practices; and New Weird (1980–present), which critiques the Old Weird's reactionary politics by adopting a radically affirmative perspective on the body and the alien. During the New Weird period, philosophy and critical theory are also infected with weird elements of nihilism and radical antihumanism, as in the speculative realist school. This historical perspective reveals the weird to be a form of “pulp modernism” that is irreducible to high modernism or postmodernism.

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