The term “New Weird” has been used to categorize emerging forms of speculative fiction that fall outside of typical genre classifications. New Weird fiction explores the wonder and the horror at the fringes of human consciousness—uncoupling science fiction from claims to rationality, and fantasy literature from romantic clichés.
The participants of this event will delve into the historical roots of speculative fiction to imagine weird futures for text. As theorist Jared Sexton writes, “Speculative: not only about possible futures, but also possible pasts and presents.” One starting point will be First Contact narratives, which describe encounters with an alien other.
Imagining ways to encounter the nonhuman—which requires challenging the limits of human agency and consciousness—is essential in an age of planetary extinction. By proposing stories without the human at the center, Weird fictions might dislocate deterministic dystopias so endemic to genres like science fiction, instead morphing and mutating what fiction is and can do.
The event is the kick-off of the literature series Alphabet Readings, part of The New Alphabet