Jean Muno in Year’s Best Weird Fiction Vol. 2

April 15th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink



Undertow Books has undertaken the great task of rounding up the Year’s Best Weird Fiction. Editor Michael Kelly’s anthology series will showcase the “varying viewpoints” of this “diverse and eclectic mode of literature” with little if any overlap with the various other “Best Of” anthologies. From the publisher’s site:

What is weird fiction?

The simple answer is that it is speculative in nature, chiefly derived from pulp fiction in the early 20th century, whose remit includes ghost stories, the strange and macabre, the supernatural, fantasy, myth, philosophical ontology, ambiguity, and featuring a helping of the outré. Weird fiction, at its best, is an intersecting of themes and ideas that explore and subvert the laws of Nature. It counts among its proponents older and newer writers alike: Robert Aickman, Laird Barron, Charles Beaumont, Ambrose Bierce, Octavia Butler, Ray Bradbury, Angela Carter, Neil Gaiman, Shirley Jackson, Kathe Koja, John Langan, Thomas Ligotti, Kelly Link, H. P. Lovecraft, and many others.

Weird fiction is not specifically horror or fantasy. And weird fiction is not new. It has always been present. That’s because it isn’t a genre, as such. This makes the prospect of defining weird fiction difficult, and perhaps ill advised. Weird fiction is a mode of literature that is present in other genres. Weird tales were penned long before publishers codified and attached genre labels to fiction. You can find weird fiction in literary journals, in horror magazines, fantasy and science fiction periodicals, and various other genre and non-genre journals and anthologies that are welcoming to speculative fiction of the fantastique.

Weird fiction is here to stay. Once the purview of esoteric readers, it is enjoying wider popularity. Throughout its storied history there has not been a dedicated volume of the year’s best weird writing. There are a host of authors penning weird and strange tales that defy easy categorization. Tales that slip through genre cracks. A yearly anthology of the best of these writings is long overdue.

I’m proud to report my translation of Belgian Jean Muno’s “The Ghoul,” first published at Weird Fiction Review in the summer of 2013, was selected for inclusion. It’s about time we got some Belgian back in the Weird! Huge thanks to series editor Michael Kelly and guest editor Kathe Koja! Here’s an excerpt:

And yet there’d been a cry. A wail, a call, something human.

I have been following this man for a long time. Step by step, keeping my distance, as a hunter does its prey. Because I am wary. Whatever happens, I don’t want to be involved, just a witness, as a dreamer of his dream.

Sometimes the man stops, turns around, but because of the fog, ever denser as the tide rises, he sees less and less. Neither the dunes nor the sea, neither his destination nor his starting point. Perhaps he has crossed the border, perhaps not — how to tell? He is alone on a meager stretch of beach without landmarks. The cry could have come from anywhere at all.

Where am I?

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