One of my favourite genres is what you would consider ‘new weird’. Technically ‘new weird’ fiction is an offshoot of the ‘weird’ subgenre of speculative fiction. New weird books cross traditional genre boundaries in attempts to overturn cliches but they often get miscategorised as science fiction or horror. They’re polarising but I love them and have a few recommendations for you today.
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
If you’re new to the genre then I would recommend starting out with Jeff VanderMeer. He has become a classic within this genre type and has published quite a few books that you should give a try. Annihilation is one of my favourite weird books. It isn’t filled with jump scares, as lots of horror tends to be, instead it is a slow colonization of your consciousness. You’re forced to push through the fear and slowly turn the page to understand what the Biologist’s strange whispers mean.
In traditional VanderMeer fashion you don’t get many answers but it will make you feel uncomfortable and creeped out… in the best way.
Borne by Jeff VanderMeer
An even weirder book from VanderMeer is Borne. Set in an unnamed city in a dystopian future a woman named Rachel makes her living as a scavenger until she finds a creature named Borne aboard a gigantic despotic bear called Mord. Yeah, super weird.
Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Rory Power really made a splash onto the scene when she published Wilder Girls back in 2019. On the surface it seems to be a traditional YA horror but once you read it you realise something more sinister and strange is happening in this story. Wilder Girls is set eighteen months after the Raxtor School for Girls was placed under quarantine after the mysterious Tox infected the students… This is one of my favourite books of all time and I highly recommend it. Trigger warning for body horror here so proceed with caution.
Middlegame by Seanan McGuire
Seanan McGuire is another one of my favourite authors and Middlegame is up there as one of my favourites from her. It’s almost impossible to explain what this is about as it is rich with complexity. Instead I urge you to go and read the synopsis. To give you an idea the opening scene is “Five minutes too late, thirty seconds from the end of the world.” Sold?
Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
Neverworld Wake is a often categorised as a YA mystery/thriller that follows ‘cool kid’ Beatrice Harley and her five best friends who end up going back to an estate where they had previously spent a lot of time together. This time, a strange man knocks on the door and announces the impossible and things start to get really weird. I loved this mixture of science fiction, mystery, thriller and new weird elements and fully recommend it for this time of year.
Bunny by Mona Awad
I recently recommended this in my dark academia book recommendations list but it works here too! Bunny is set in a highly selective New England University and follows Samantha, a student who is utterly repelled by her schoolmates especially the unbearable group of girls who call each other ‘Bunny’. But what happens when she’s invited to join them?
This story takes many weird twists and turns that you will not be expecting. It’s one of the more polarising options on this list but I think it’s worth a try.
Weird books that I want to read soon
I’m always on the lookout for more weird fiction as I seem to have such a great time reading them. Here are the top five books on my radar at the moment.
Catherine House – Elisabeth Thomas
And the Trees Crept In – Dawn Kurtagich
In the House in the Dark in the Woods – Laird Hunt
You Must Not Miss – Katrino Leno
Follow Me to Ground – Sue Rainsford
I hope you find a book here that sparks your interest and gets you interested in weirder fiction. If you already love this genre let me know what I should read next!