by Nicole Lichtenberg, Director of Operations
Hello again, spooky pals! This is the second half of my series on Weird Fiction—a subgenre that can include elements of magical realism, fantasy, horror, science fiction, speculative fiction, even western! A feature of most Weird Fiction is that there is some sort of transgression of a norm or expectation—this could be a social norm or a manipulation concerning the laws of physics. It is supposed to be weird, and weird plays by its own rules.
The works I’m recommending in Part 2 do contain more mature content. Just like in real life, characters may take part in sexual relationships, use swear words, or engage in/experience physical violence. As I mentioned previously, the diversity of character identities and their unconventional pasts aren’t necessarily what makes them Weird Fiction. It’s the stories’ reflection of the world around us, especially those parts that are shifted and swapped out, that makes them such powerful stories in the Weird Fiction world and beyond.
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin. I don’t know how to describe this book, but it’s one of my top ten favorites. Is the central conflict person v. person? Person v. nature? Person v. paranormal? Nature v. nature? All? Neither? I recommend the audiobook. Audience: High School and up. Find it here.
The Shape of Water. Amidst the fear and uncertainty of the Cold War, a nice young woman working in a secret laboratory meets a nice young man. Like the proverbial algae, love blooms. I should note the nice young man has webbed feet. And hands. And gills. Audience: Rated R. Find it here.
Everything, Everywhere, All at Once. This is a heck of a movie. A middle-aged woman, already a wife, mother, and business owner, is forced into being a different kind of superhero as she surfs the multiverse. Chaos abounds. Calamity aside, I found this movie surprisingly poignant. Audience: Rated R. Find it here.
Lovecraft Country. This is the 1950s as you’ve (hopefully) never seen them. Against a familiar backdrop, everything that isn’t nailed down gets warped, warped, warped. Brilliantly. Audience: I don’t know. I watched it. It’s a lot. Watch if you dare. Find it here.
The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story by Richard Preston. Sometimes the weirdest reality is the one we’re all trapped in. Audience: Middle school and up, if that middle schooler has a strong stomach. I sure didn’t. Find it here.