Slipstream, Speculative, & Weird: Makin’ a Comeback!

Earlier this February, Anna Russell and Jennifer Maloney of The Wall Street Journal came out with the article, “Slipstream Fiction Goes Mainstream.” –And this is great news for a number of reasons: great for readers, great for writers, great for art generally, great for social justice causes, great for learning how to reimagine the world we’re living in…the list goes on. Weird fiction takes down troublesome boundaries and restrictions on the everyday and allows us to glimpse a world free of sexism, racism, and war. Or, at least, it allows us to glimpse our own -ism-riddled world from a truly new angle.

Russell and Maloney site a variety of authors as evidence of this style/genre resurgence, including Aimee Bender, Kelly Link, Jeff VanderMeer, and Karen Russell. If you haven’t yet dug into any good slipstream work, just give these authors a look and you’ll soon be changing your tune 😉

AR-AI717_Slipst_JV_20150204123822“Fran’s daddy woke her up wielding a mister. ‘Fran,’ he said, spritzing her like a wilted houseplant. ‘Fran, honey, wakey wakey.’

Fran had the flu, except it was more like the flu had Fran.”

–Kelly Link, “The Summer People” from Get in Trouble

AR-AI731_Slipst_JV_20150205185600“In every season you can find me sitting at my bench, watching them fall. Only one or two lemons tumble from the branches each hour, but I’ve been sitting here so long their falls seem contiguous, close as raindrops. My wife has no patience for this sort of meditation. ‘Jesus Christ, Clyde,’ she says. ‘You need a hobby.'”

–Karen Russell, “Vampires in the Lemon Grove” from Vampires in the Lemon Grove

cover_willful“Ten men go to ten doctors. All the doctors tell all the men that they only have two weeks left to live. Five men cry. Three men rage. One man smiles. The last man is silent, meditative. Okay, he says. He has no reaction. The raging men, upon meeting in the lobby, don’t know what to do with the man of no reaction. They fall upon him and kill him with their bare hands. The doctor comes out of his office and apologizes, to the dead man.

Dang it, he says sheepishly, to his colleagues. Looks like I got the date wrong again.”

–Aimee Bender, “Death Watch” from Willful Creatures

Jeff VanderMeer’s Myster Odd


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