What is weird fiction?

What is weird fiction?

Writers of weird fiction explore a blend of myths and legends, the supernatural and modern science, leading to tales that disturb the soul and send a shiver down the spine. At the same time, they ask important questions. Weird fiction is sometimes described as a blend of horror, fantasy and science fiction, and has been around since the19th century.  It’s currently undergoing a revival under the title of New Weird.


“…and there must be a hint… of that most terrible conception of the human brain—a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those fixed laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults of chaos and the daemons of unplumbed space.” HP Lovecraft


Popular female authors include: Mary Shelley, Daphne du Maurier, Tanith Lee and Caitlin R Kierman.

Below is a list of female weird fiction authors throughout different periods of history. It’s interesting to see how many men were represented in the genre at that time, compared to women. It’s clear from these figures that women are still underrepresented. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weird_fiction)

pre 1940 108 men to 15 women, some of whom used male pseudonyms
Zealia Bishop
Mary Shelley
Evangeline Walton
Merce Rodoreda
Greye la Spina
C L Moore
Charlotte Gilman
Gertrude Barrows Bennett (alleged inventor of Dark Fantasy)
Ann Radcliffe
Daphne du Maurier
Margaret Irwin
Mary Elizabeth Couselman
Leonora Carrington
Mary Freeman
Charlotte Bronte

1940 to 1980 57 men to 11 women
Octavia Butler
Angela Carter
Jane Gaskell
Shirley jackson
Anna Kavan
Jamaica Kincaid
Leena Krohn
Tanith Lee
Joyce Carol Oates
Joanna Russ
Margaret St. Clair

1980 to present 84 men to 18 women
K J Bishop
Poppy Z Brite
Nancy Collins
Karen Joy Fowler
Elizabeth Hand
Caitlin R Kierman
Kathe Koja
Margo Lanagan
Deborah Levy
Kelly Link
Sarah Monette
Helen oyeyemi
Rachel Pollack
Cat Rambo
Sophia Samatar
Steph Swainston
Lisa Tuttle
Liz Williams

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