02 November 2009

Weekly Geeks: Weird and Creepy

Weekly Geeks

1) Tell us about something weird, unusual, terrifying, or creepy you've read lately.

2) Tell us what you think. Are things getting a little more weird and creepy than usual, or less? If your choice for the answer to question number 1 was written in a different decade, what does it say about that era? Maybe you think that the weird and creepy is status quo. Or maybe we’re all like lobsters in a pot, and we can’t tell if things are getting hot in here.

1. I’ve read quite a bit of weird, unusual, and creepy (but nothing terrifying) lately for R.I.P. IV - an eighteenth-century gothic classic, a nineteenth-century gothic classic, a twentieth-century ghost story, and a twenty-first century piece of gothic surreality. (And I didn’t even notice until now that I had achieved such a spread of centuries!)

2. Given that I’m only 25, and that my reading habits are, shall we say, chronologically diverse, I don’t feel qualified to answer this question. I haven’t been reading adult books long enough, and recent books have formed too small a portion of my literary diet, for me to hold much of an opinion on publishing trends. There do seem to be a lot of weird/spooky/supernatural books out there of late; but then there are a lot of books out there. A certain percentage of those are bound to contain some kind of otherwordly element.

Most of the weird and creepy I’ve read would have been published within, say, the last twenty years; but that could simply be the result of literary life-spans. I’m hardly likely to read something that’s out of print and lost to obscurity. And the weird and the creepy in literature have been around for a long time. The Victorians loved their ghost stories. Gothic novels were first making readers’ hair stand on end more than two hundred years ago. Shakespeare had the Weird Sisters and Caliban.

And since I adore creepy tales of all times periods ... I’m glad that there are centuries of spookiness to choose from.

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Header image shows detail of A Young Girl Reading by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, c. 1776