In this podcast The Outer Dark presents Horror and The Weird, a What If… Science Fiction and Fantasy Forum lecture by author/editor/publisher Mike Allen, organized by Library of Congress Professional Association and recorded live at The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday June 5, 2019.
Intro: Mike Allen
Mike Allen joins The Outer Dark Producer Anya Martin, filling in for host Scott Nicolay, to introduce the presentation, providing the back story about how he came to speak at the Library of Congress and deliver a lay perspective on ‘Horror and The Weird’. The discussion includes the importance of an audience of librarians, his own journey into the Weird, the impact of Weird stories discovered when young, deciding which authors to read from, secrets of his purple hat, plus what’s new and upcoming with his and Anita Allen’s cutting edge press Mythic Delirium Books and his own fiction. Also, an update on the next The Outer Dark Symposium (Atlanta, GA, March 27-28, 2020) and The Outer Dark at NecronomiCon (Providence, RI, August 22-25, 2019) . Check out Locus’s coverage of The Outer Dark Symposium 2019 here.
Mike Allen: Horror and The Weird
(00:19:25) Rachel Frederick, Library Technician at the Library of Congress, introduces writer/editor/publisher Mike Allen, who jumps off with the recent revival of horror as a hot publishing and media category, then veers Weird, starting with Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, as well as a list of other prominent horror authors which they include in their groundbreaking collection The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories . He continues with ‘working definitions’ of horror and The Weird and his personal passage from Tolkien high fantasy to horror, as well as recommending A Spectral Hue, the new novel by Craig Laurance Gidney, who was in the audience. He then reads from three stories that for him capture the strength and allure of Weird fiction: ‘The Mystics of Muelenberg’ by Thomas Ligotti (00:30:49), ‘Descending’ by Thomas M. Disch (00:34:35), and his own deeply disturbing ‘The Button Bin’ (00:41:45). Next he talks about Weird fiction as ‘spiritual dare’, 2014 as a banner year for the Weird, his own warm experience with the Weird writing community, Sword and Soul, his ‘Cliff Notes History’ of The Weird, strands coming together in the New Wave of science fiction, built-in contradictions and how Lovecraft’s writing seems so much less Weird than he used to. A Q&A with the audience ends the lecture.
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Host/Executive Producer: Scott Nicolay
Co-Host, News From the Weird: Justin Steele
Producer/Show Notes: Anya Martin
Logo Design: Nick “The Hat” Gucker
Music: Michael Griffin