Friday, October 29, 2010

FFB: "New" Movements This Morning: THE NEW MYSTERY (Charyn), THE NEW GOTHIC (Morrow and McGrath), THE NEW WEIRD (the VanderMeers), et al....

(Thanks to Ed Gorman for reminding me of the "alternate" title, for some reason, pasted onto later US editions of this anthology)

(The Italian edition, as no pictures of the English-language edition were poachable--when this was first posted)

The James Blish anthology New Dreams This Morning, an excellent candidate for a forgotten book piece, instead supplies the less than (or post-)gustatory title pun for this quick rumination...things are happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear (well, it's clear enough, actually, just not enough free time at the moment to get them down properly).

What shouldn't be taken away from that weak joke is that I'm mocking the quality of the fiction being gathered under these banners (and such others as steampunk and slipstream and neo-noir, splatterpunk and quiet horror, cyberpunk and humanist sf, surfiction and The New Fiction)...not by a long shot, even if the mediocre and sometimes utter trash is often nestling with the good and great. What's more likely to be noxious is the wind broken over why these are New And Distinct Movements And Much Different From What You've Already Been Reading, Or Not And You've Just Been Too Dense To Note The Shape of The Movement, Haven't You, Mis-Ter Jones?...given how many Mister Joneses of the literary world we have, of all ages and genders, this isn't altogether an incomprehensible approach, and it's certainly helped with marketing and convention and classroom arguments, if not too much else. Each of these would-be movements, and the books and magazines that have fomented them or attempted to capture their essence, or both, are amusingly examples, loudly and accurately proclaiming, of why the Old Boxes and Labels are outdated and inutile, but mistakening insisting instead that the new boxes being built from their smashed walls are less restraining or more accurate, whether or not one carries over smug notions of why something is Generic vs. Literary, or other distortions that should've been seen as useless, at best, decades back. The eclecticism that people such as Judith Merrill and Nelson Algren brought to their anthologies, that I've dealt with in previous entries in this series, is simply furthered by these folks here, and such others ranging from Joe David Bellamy to Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio to George Plimpton to Michael Chabon to Peter Straub to Ellen Datlow, among so many others, who have said, Hey, Look...this is art, this is art in fields and with approaches you may not've considered, c'mon, catch up, catch on. Take a look and think about it. No, it's not Just Good For That Sort of Thing, nor is it An Amusing Fusion of High And Low Art. It's living work among other living work. You should realize that.

Which, again, doesn't begin to excuse the work of William Vollmann. But he's but one among his betters, in the stories and approaches collected in these books, one expanded out of a magazine issue, two of them out of print despite their connected and respectable editors, and one from an industrious but still small press. New Mystery Magazine tried to steal some luster from the Charyn, and had it been published competently, might've sustained itself, as that wasn't the worst idea. Ann VanderMeer is New Weirding Weird Tales these days. Conjunctions still publishes.

The New Gothic:
FALL 1989
Edited by Bradford Morrow; Guest Edited by Patrick McGrath

Salman Rushdie, An Interview by Catherine
Walter Abish, Reading Kafka in German
Charles Bernstein, Common Stock
Marjorie Welish, Two Poems
Martine Bellen, Deception
Barbara Guest, Three Poems
Jacques Roubaud, From Some Thing Black
(translated from the French by Rosmarie

THE NEW GOTHIC, guest edited by
Patrick McGrath
Hillary Johnson, From Physical Culture
William T. Vollmann, The Grave of Lost
John Hawkes, Regulus and Maximus
Jamaica Kincaid, Ovando
Peter Straub, From Mrs. God
Bradford Morrow, From The Almanac
Robert Coover, Night of the Assassins
John Edgar Wideman, Fever
Clegg & Guttmann, Nine Portraits
Kathy Acker, The Beginnings of the Life of
Gary Indiana, Dreams Involving Water
Robert Kelly, Carville
Lynne Tillmann, The Trouble With Beauty
Mary Caponegro, The Sound
Sylvia Kelly, Colors
Paul West, A Whore's Agincourt
Afterword by Patrick McGrath

D.E. Steward, March
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Irises
Robert Creeley, Four Poems from Helsinki
John Taggart, Vaguely Harmless
Diane Williams, Five Stories

READINGS: Reviews and Criticism
Paul West on Juan Goytisolo
Paul Metcalf on Lucia Berlin
Peter Cole on Edmond Jabès
Ann Lauterbach on Leslie Scalapino
Robert Kelly on Pierre Klossowski
Tom Clark on David Markson

...and the expanded anthology:
The New Gothic ed. Bradford Morrow & Patrick McGrath (Random House 0-394-58767-7, Oct ’91, $22.00, 336pp, hc, cover by Albert Pinkham Ryder) Anthology of 16 contemporary literary gothic stories and five novel excerpts. 12 of the stories seem to be originals, and three of the excerpts are from works in progress. There is an introduction by the editors.
xi · Introduction · Bradford Morrow & Patrick McGrath · in
1 · Ovando · Jamaica Kincaid · ss Conjunctions #14 ’89
15 · Horrorday [from London Fields] · Martin Amis · ex London: Cape, 1989
37 · Newton · Jeanette Winterson · ss *
51 · Banquo and the Black Banana: The Fierceness of the Delight of the Horror · Paul West · ss *
71 · Freniere [from Interview with the Vampire] · Anne Rice · ex New York: Knopf, 1976
85 · Blood · Janice Galloway · ex Blood, Secker & Warburg, 1991
95 · Didn’t She Know · Scott Bradfield · ss *
113 · Regulus and Maximus [from Monks in Shadow] · John Hawkes · ex Conjunctions #14 ’89
129 · The Fish Keeper · Yannick Murphy · ss *
135 · A Dead Summer · Lynne Tillman · ss *
147 · Why Don’t You Come Live with Me It’s Time · Joyce Carol Oates · ss Tikkun Jul/Aug ’90
165 · The Dead Queen · Robert Coover · ss Quarterly Review of Literature #18 ’73
179 · The Merchant of Shadows · Angela Carter · nv The London Review of Books Oct 26 ’89
201 · The Road to Nadeja · Bradford Morrow · ss *
217 · For Dear Life [from King Solomon’s Carpet] · Ruth Rendell · ex *
231 · Rigor Beach · Emma Tennant · ss Bananas #1 ’75
239 · The Smell · Patrick McGrath · ss *
249 · The Kingdom of Heaven [from Throat] · Peter Straub · ex *
267 · Fever · John Edgar Wideman · nv Conjunctions #14 ’89
301 · J · Kathy Acker · ss *
311 · The Grave of Lost Stories · William T. Vollmann · nv Conjunctions #14 ’89

The New Mystery, edited by Jerome Charyn
Dutton, New York, 1993.
Babel, Isaac,
--The King, 1955.
Barthelme, Donald, (1931-1989)
--Captain Blood, 1987.
Bayer, William,
--Mirror Girl, 1993.
Biermann, Pieke,
--The Law of the Eye, 1990.
Block, Lawrence, (1938- )
--The Merciful Angel of Death, 1993. Shamus
Borges, Jorge Luis, (1899-1986)
--Death and the Compass, 1964. (reprint)
Calvino, Italo, (1923-1985)
--Cities & the Dead, 1974.
Carter, Angela,
--The Werewolf, 1979.
Carver, Raymond, (1939-1988)
--Cathedral, 1983.
Chesbro, George C.,
--Imagine This, 1993.
Daeninckx, Didier,
--Goldfish, 1993.
DeLillo, Don,
--In the Bronx, 1988.
Ellison, Harlan, (1934- )
--Soft Monkey, 1987. Mystery Scene Reader #1, 1987.) Edgar
Ellroy, James,
--Gravy Train, 1990.
Friedman, Mickey,
--No Radio, 1993.
García Márquez, Gabriel, (1928- )
--The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship, 1972.
Gold, Herbert,
--Nicholas in Exile, 1993.
Gordimer, Nadine, (1923- )
--The Moment Before the Gun Went Off, 1991.
Gores, Joe,
--Ishamel, 1993.
Grafton, Sue, (1940- )
--The Parker Shotgun, 1986. (reprint)
Greene, Graham,
--I Spy, 1947. (reprint)
Grimaldi, Laura,
--Fathers and Daughters, 1993.
Highsmith, Patricia, (1921-1995)
--The Snail Watcher, 1964. (reprint)
Hillerman, Tony, (1925- )
--Chee's Witch, 1986. (reprint)
James, P. D., (1920- )
--Devices and Desires, 1990
Kaminsky, Stuart M., (1934- )
--The Man Who Hated Books, 1993.
Lispector, Clarice,
--Pig Latin, 1974.
Mishima, Yukio,
--Martyrdom, 1900
Montalbán, Manuel Vásquez,
--A Boy and His Dog, 1988.
Mosley, Walter, (1952- )
--The Watts Lions, 1993.
Oates, Joyce Carol, (1938- )
--How I Contemplated the World from the Detroit House of Correction and Began My Life Over Again, 1970.
O'Connor, Flannery,
--A Good Man Is Hard to Find, 1953.
Paretsky, Sara, (1947- )
--Dealer's Choice, 1988.
Sciascia, Leonardo,
--Mafia Western, 1983.
Semionov, Julian,
--The Summer of '37, 1993.
Simon, Rober L.,
--Just Say No, 1993.
Taibo, Paco Ignacio, II,
--Manufacture of a Legend, 1993.
Thomas, Ross,
--Missionary Stew, 1983.
Vachss, Andrew, (1942- )
--Cain, 1992.
Westlake, Donald E., (1933- )
--The Ultimate Caper, 1975.
Wright, Eric,
--The Casebook of Dr. Billingsgate, 1993.

The New Weird edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (Tachyon, 2008)
New Weird : The Luck in the Head - M. John Harrison
New Weird : Crossing into Cambodia - Michael Moorcock
New Weird : In the Cities the Hills - Clive Barker
New Weird : The Braining of Mother Lamprey - Simon D. Ings
New Weird : The Neglected Garden - Kathe Koja
New Weird : A Soft Voice Whispers Nothing - Thomas Ligotti
New Weird : Jack - China Miéville
New Weird : Immolation - Jeffrey Thomas
New Weird : The Lizard of Ooze - Jay Lake
New Weird : Watson's Boy - Brian Evenson
New Weird : The Art of Dying - K. J. Bishop
New Weird : At Reparata - Jeffrey Ford
New Weird : Letters from Tainaron - Leena Krohn
New Weird : The Ride of the Gabbleratchet - Steph Swainston
New Weird : The Gutter Sees the Light That Never Shines - Alistair Rennie
New Weird : Death in a Dirty Dhoti - Paul Di Filippo
New Weird : Cornflowers Beside the Unuttered - Cat Rambo
New Weird : All God's Chillun Got Wings - Sarah Monette
New Weird : Locust-Mind - Daniel Abraham
New Weird : Constable Chalch and the Ten Thousand Heroes - Felix Gilman
New Weird : Golden Lads All Must - Hal Duncan
New Weird : Forfend the Heavens' Rending - Conrad Williams

For more forgotten books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.

(Finally, the qp, and inferior, cover for the US edition.)


George said...

Wow, once again you came up with books that have never been on my radar. I'll be searching libraries and online to find these books. Don't you think the word "new" is overdone in publishing?

Todd Mason said...

Well, as I somewhat cryptically perhaps note above, I think there're at least three things going on: Pay attention to this trend, Note that it's something interesting emerging from past work or suggested or instigated by that past work, and You Can Be In On The Ground Floor! The last is marketing. The others are a little less crass, but who doesn't want to be a brave pioneer?


C. Margery Kempe said...

I will rein in my personal vitriol at one of those names in one of those volumes for asshattery on a monumental scale, but whom I haven't had to think of for years until this summer, when sitting on a bus in Bloomsbury Square, I happened to see him and wished the bus might just nudge ahead enough to scare him, of course, not actually flatten him, satisfying as that might have been.

Ahem. So much for reining it in. But I'm with you on the cynical snarking. Sudden discoveries of "new" trends are always irritating to the people who've been toiling in them all along. Death to genres and categories and definitions (unless that causes my desk to fall apart from lack of definition for the word "desk").

Todd Mason said...

Or, at least, to labels as foolish in their creation as "slipstream" (cause, like, there's this "Mainstream" that isn't us...and then there's us...and then there's stuff like us but not us! Or, the alienated-infant level of set-creation)...or any that become cages rather than lightly-used handles, preferable with useful info on the attached tags.

C. Margery Kempe said...

Well, I'm always happy to use a label when it's to may advantage -- or in the words of Miriam "Vanities" Aarons, "Any ladle's sweet that dishes out some gravy." Pay me and I'll happily call myself slipstream. But it wouldn't, would it?

[word verification: "poodra" -- sounds like an antiquated term for social inferiors, "the poodra are thronging around that starlet over there."]

pattinase (abbott) said...

I may gave missed one here.

Todd Mason said...

Missed one of these anthologies, Patti?

Richard R. said...

first quick scan, I believe the correct quote (Buffalo Springfield song) is something's happening here...)

I'm too tired to go through the rest, so I'll save it for later. Cheers.

Todd Mason said...

Yup. However, I wanted a plural. I think two semi-close references to mid-'60s protest songs was enough for my purposes. Take it easy, Rick! You've got more important, or at least more pressing, things than FFB to worry about...(he's moving house, for the first time in decades).

Richard R. said...

For the last week I've had a strong yearning for old rock, cigarettes and Jack Black. That's not good, since I quit smoking two years ago and quit drinking soon after that... but for some reason coffee, pepsi and string cheese aren't doing the job.

But thanks, Todd, I do need to clam down, I guess. I was just pretty happy I even noticed the reference in a way that allowed me to ID the group.

You're putting up some quality stuff these last few days!

Richard R. said...

Error...error...error I quit smoking 12 years ago... quit drinking two years ago...

Todd Mason said...

Thanks, Rick...and (I plead eye blear in the lateness of the hour after the long drive home from DC, so I haven't read your World Series post yet) I hope the baseball has augmented the cheese and caf bevs...a little chewing gum, maybe?

Tomorrow (later today), by special request, the adventures of sorts in DC...