So-called “genre” fiction has had, since its inception, an issue with defining itself. Even the word itself is vague, coming from the same root as the less-flattering description “generic”. It implies a mass of different types, clustered together haphazardly and cowering beneath the monolithic purity of the much more proper literary fiction.
In his introduction to The Weird Tales of William Hope Hodgson, a new anthology of Hodgson’s short stories, editor Xavier Aldana Reyes writes: “Hodgson has not always been as well-known or admired, however, and had remained rather forgotten until the late 1980s…it is not difficult to see why. Hodgson’s writing is certainly uneven and…prone to repetition…” But, Reyes writes, Hodgson’s “stylistic shortcomings” are compensated for by his “imaginative invention and ability to conjure up a strong feeling of dread of the unknown”.
In this month’s fantastic selection we see obsession driven to madness, a reimagining of the Kilkenny witch trial, the weird stories of William Hope Hodgson, folk horror in the remote Scottish highlands, John Langan’s new short story collection, the devil’s corrupting influence, and much more.