John Frederick Clute (born 12 September 1940) is a Canadian-born author and critic specializing in science fiction (also SF, sf) and fantasy literature who has lived in both England and the United States since 1969. He has been described as "an integral part of science fiction's history" and "perhaps the foremost reader-critic of sf in our time, and one of the best the genre has ever known."
Clute's articles on speculative fiction have appeared in various publications since the 1960s. He is a co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (with Peter Nicholls) and of The Encyclopedia of Fantasy (with John Grant), as well as writing The Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction, all of which won Hugo Awards for Best Non-Fiction. He earned the Pilgrim Award, bestowed by the Science Fiction Research Association for Lifetime Achievement in the field of science fiction scholarship, in 1994.
Clute is also author of the collections of reviews and essays Strokes, Look at the Evidence: Essays and Reviews, Scores, Canary Fever and Pardon This Intrusion. His 2001 novel Appleseed, a space opera, was noted for its "combination of ideational fecundity and combustible language" and was selected as a New York Times Notable Book for 2002. In 2006, Clute published the essay collection The Darkening Garden: A Short Lexicon of Horror. The third edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (with David Langford and Peter Nicholls) was released online as a beta text in October 2011 and has since been greatly expanded; it won the Hugo Award for Best Related Work in 2012.
The Encyclopedia′'s statistics page reported that, as of 24 March 2017, Clute had authored the great majority of articles: 6,421 solo and 1,219 in collaboration, totalling over 2,408,000 words (more than double, in all cases, those of the second-most prolific contributor, David Langford). The majority of these are Author entries, but there are also some Media entries, notably that for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.
Clute was a Guest of Honour at Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention, from 14 to 18 August 2014.
|Born||John Frederick Clute|
12 September 1940
|Occupation||Author, critic, writer|
Clute's first professional publication was a long science-fictional poem entitled "Carcajou Lament," which appeared in TriQuarterly in 1959. His first short story (one of his few) was "A Man Must Die", which appeared in New Worlds in 1966.
In 1977, Clute published his first novel, The Disinheriting Party (Allison & Busby). Though not explicitly a fantasy, this story of a dysfunctional family has a fantasy feel, rather like much postmodern literature. Reviewer Ifdary Bailey wrote that this "everyday story of family life in a revenge tragedy, of relations and revelations, hidden identities and loss of identity, incest and inheritance, all brooded over by the Father Who Will Not Die, carries itself forward swiftly and surely to its conclusion with strength and control."
Clute's second novel, Appleseed (2001), is the story of trader Nathanael Freer, who pilots an AI-helmed starship named Tile Dance en route to the planet Eolhxir to deliver a shipment of nanotechnological devices. Freer meets a man calling himself Johnny Appleseed, who rejoins Freer with his lost lover, Ferocity Monthly-Niece. Meanwhile, a terrifying, data-destroying "plaque" is threatening the galaxy's civilizations. Clute has proposed it as the first novel in a trilogy. Science fiction and fantasy author Paul Di Filippo called it "a space opera for the 21st century." Keith Brooke suggested that Clute himself would be the best reviewer for this multilayered novel.
Clute's first significant science fiction reviews appeared in the late 1960s in New Worlds. He has reviewed fiction and nonfiction in such periodicals as Interzone, the Los Angeles Times, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The New York Review of Science Fiction, The Observer, Omni, The Times Literary Supplement, The Washington Post, and elsewhere; some of these writings appeared in his early collection, Strokes.
Though Clute is chiefly known for his critiques of fiction, he has also reviewed other modes, such as film:
Peter Jackson's otherwise magnificent remake of King Kong (2005) is almost destroyed because it obeys PG-13 shibboleths about sexual explicitness. In the 1933 version, the beauty and the beast have sex together (sex does not have to be genital to be properly arousing); in the 2005 version, what they have together is family values.
His language can be as blunt and amusing as it is honest; some review columns have such titles as "Nonsense is what good adventure SF makes silk purses out of", "Prometheus Emphysema", "An empty bottle. An empty mind. An empty book.", "Book of the Mouth", and "Mage Sh*t".
Clute has issued a polemic he calls the "Protocol of Excessive Candour", which argues that reviewers of science fiction and fantasy must not pull punches because of friendship:
Reviewers who will not tell the truth are like cholesterol. They are lumps of fat. They starve the heart. I have myself certainly clogged a few arteries, have sometimes kept my mouth shut out of 'friendship' which is nothing in the end but self-interest. So perhaps it is time to call a halt. Perhaps we should establish a Protocol of Excessive Candour, a convention within the community that excesses of intramural harshness are less damaging than the hypocrisies of stroke therapy, that telling the truth is a way of expressing love; self-love; love of others; love for the genre, which claims to tell the truth about things that count; love for the inhabitants of the planet; love for the future. Because the truth is all we've got. And if we don't talk to ourselves, and if we don't use every tool at our command in our time on Earth to tell the truth, nobody else will.
His review column of this name began at Science Fiction Weekly and moved to Sci-Fi Wire.
Contributing the essay on himself for The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Clute wrote that his "criticism, despite some curiously flamboyant obscurities, remains essentially practical; it has appeared mostly in the form of reviews, some of considerable length." He told an interviewer,
The connections between one sentence and another may be a couple of layers down in terms of the metaphors implied, or stated. And that is not the way English tends to be written, but it is the way I tend instinctively to write. When it goes off it can get absurdly pretentious - it's all various lines of harmony and no music - but when it doesn't, it can be the way that somebody who is at the dawn of a language might feel.
Matthew Davis has written, "Clute stands out, not just because of the depth and breadth of his knowledge, but also for the individuality of his writing; even the most formal sentence plucked from one of his scholastic works is readily identifiable due to his individual judgement and style." SF Site's Rich Horton agreed that Clute is "a man known first and foremost as a critic, and moreover a man known for his formidable intelligence and vocabulary, and his enjoyment in wielding both ... anyone familiar with John Clute's critical work will know that his prose is not simple, though it is precise and at its best exhilarating."
Author Henry Wessells, in a review of The Darkening Garden, wrote:
Those of us who might wish for a minim of Johnsonian directness (a single direct statement like a whack to the head), whether as starting point or as conclusion, really should know better by now. Clute is the master of periphrasis and the circling, reiterated metaphor, employing pyrotechnic diction to summon insights that are at once calculated and spontaneous. ... What is clear from The Darkening Garden is that Clute has read and internalized a vast range of books and cites them with accuracy and precision.
Hilary Bailey, reviewing The Disinheriting Party, wrote,
Clute's comic timing is always right, and like a good racehorse he keeps his wind to the end. Around the strange events — the undying father who impregnates his wives and children with strange fruit, the identities hidden even from the people themselves, the changes of location from New York to Lambeth to the ghastly death ship on which characters crouch and mumble — John Clute keeps his footing, playing over them the strong light of an individual imagination. Images and metaphors, as in poetry, accrete, occur and recur, with not a word wasted. It is hardedged and brilliant, but it may be that John Clute, in trying to avoid slop, sentiment and longueurs, is galloping too hard. Choosing a complicated plot, he may be making the story go too fast to sustain the weight of imagery he puts on it, moving too quickly to reveal everything he idiosyncratically sees.
Describing Clute's criticism, Davis has written,
When his criticism first appeared in New Worlds, his essays were typical of the controversial New Wave fiction they accompanied; they were counter-cultural, implicitly anti-American, deliberately stylized, and they introduced both intellectual jargon and four-letter words. ... SF writers, desperately wanting their reviewers to shill for them, found that Clute's intellectual acumen seemed to be demoting the writers' primacy and appropriating their creative fire. SF reviewing has often had a strong tendency to be plot-oriented or to gush over technological content, whereas Clute's recensions of plot tended to make him appear effortlessly superior to the plodding book in hand, and his expansive loquacity and highly dramatic style of writing could arouse hostile feelings of inferiority in SF fans. ... Clute knew that SF was not only worthy of real criticism, but that it needed it. ... Clute said that Canadian SF writers, like A. E. Van Vogt and Gordon Dickson, wrote about protagonists afflicted with the burden of guiding humanity up the evolutionary ladder, and it might be said that Clute has undertaken a similar responsibility for SF's understanding of itself.
In a review of Look at the Evidence, Douglas Barbour exhorts the reader, "Find this book! You won't be sorry!" and admires
Clute's continuing capacity to oversee the field every year, his willingness to at least check out the dross as well as engage the golden few. Many of us who read so much genre stuff come to a point, or so at least I suspect, of casual acquaintance, and so give fairly 'enjoyment-oriented' reviews that simply say, 'if you like this kind of thing you will like this one.' That Clute has read so much and refused to lower his standards one iota is remarkable. That he continues to publish his opinions with such wit and style is our great good luck. We need him. But we can also enjoy him.
Clute had gained a reputation as a critic before his second novel appeared, and some reviewers admitted that they found it "difficult" to read; others found it "intimidating" to review, as though trying carried the jeopardy of being found failing. Paul Di Filippo was excited by Appleseed, writing,
This book sits at the top of the mountain of achievement in postmodern space opera that has gone before, commenting on all its predecessors (not coincidentally, the name of the vanished alien elders in the book itself) while adding its glittering capstone to the peak. Any reader with even a passing familiarity with SF will unpack scores of allusions in this novel (and not only to SF, but to much other pop culture and literature), layering skin upon skin of meaning to the reading experience, much as the world Klavier itself is formed onion-style.
Some reviewers were of two minds:
Read this book for the often intoxicating pleasure of the prosody— though to some people's taste it may be simply too much of a good thing. Or read it for the heavily recomplicated and well-imagined, if hard to follow, details of the setting and technology. Or for the sense of a truly different future... Or for the occasional funny dialogue—particularly that of Mamselle Cunning Earth Link, the most intriguingly depicted character. (At times I thought I detected echoes of Alfred Bester, in particular.)
John C. Snider, similarly, suggested "Future Classic or Total Gibberish?":
It's a bold, energetic pouring-out of Clute's vision of a future civilization in which social display is an obsession, and where the line between style and substance is blurred. And that's Appleseed's biggest problem. While Clute writes in a poetic and wildly evocative fashion, he sacrifices style for substance. Appleseed comes across as a peyote-powered academic experiment, a fusion of William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch and Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky... It's never really clear what's going on, or to what end - but it sounds really cool.
and Keith Brooke wrote, "This is not an over-written novel, it's an intensely-written one. At its best it's a fantastically effective technique: a spangly word-portrait that has a real sense of wonder bursting off every page. At its worst, it gets in the way, blinding the reader to Clute's wildly detailed imaginings."
Elements of the supernatural and the fantastic were an element of literature from its beginning, though the idea of a distinct genre, in the modern sense, is less than two centuries old.
The parallel article History of fantasy deals mainly with fantasy literature in the English language. The history of French fantasy is covered in greater detail under Fantastique.Edisonade
"Edisonade" is a term, coined in 1993 by John Clute in his and Peter Nicholls' The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, for fictional stories about a brilliant young inventor and his inventions, many of which would now be classified as science fiction. This subgenre started in the Victorian and Edwardian eras and had its apex of popularity during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Other related terms for fiction of this type include scientific romances. The term is an eponym, named after famous inventor Thomas Edison, formed in the same way the term "Robinsonade" was formed from Robinson Crusoe.Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe, often without any locations, events, or people referencing the real world. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded further into various media, including film, television, graphic novels and video games.
Fantasy is distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the absence of scientific or macabre themes respectively, though these genres overlap. In popular culture, the fantasy genre is predominantly of the medievalist form. In its broadest sense, however, fantasy consists of works by many writers, artists, filmmakers, and musicians from ancient myths and legends to many recent and popular works.Fantasy literature
Fantasy literature is literature set in an imaginary universe, often but not always without any locations, events, or people from the real world. Magic, the supernatural and magical creatures are common in many of these imaginary worlds.
Fantasy is a subgenre of speculative fiction and is distinguished from the genres of science fiction and horror by the absence of scientific or macabre themes, respectively, though these genres overlap. Historically, most works of fantasy were written, however, since the 1960s, a growing segment of the fantasy genre has taken the form of films, television programs, graphic novels, video games, music and art.
A number of fantasy novels originally written for children, such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and The Hobbit, also attract an adult audience.Fantasy world
A fantasy world is a human conceived world created in fictional media, such as literature, film or games. Typical fantasy worlds involve magic or magical abilities, nonexistent technology and sometimes, either a historical or futuristic theme. Some worlds may be a parallel world connected to Earth via magical portals or items (like Narnia); a fictional Earth set in the remote past or future (like Middle-earth); or an entirely independent world set in another part of the universe (like the Star Wars Galaxy).Many fantasy worlds draw heavily on real world history, geography, sociology, mythology, and folklore.Historical fantasy
Historical fantasy is a category of fantasy and genre of historical fiction that incorporates fantastic elements (such as magic) into a more "realistic" narrative. There is much crossover with other subgenres of fantasy; those classed as Arthurian, Celtic, or Dark Ages could just as easily be placed in Historical Fantasy. Stories fitting this classification generally take place prior to the 20th century.
Films of this genre may have plots set in biblical times or classical antiquity, often with plots based very loosely on mythology or legends of Greek-Roman history, or the surrounding cultures of the same era.Hugo Award for Best Related Work
The Hugo Awards are given every year by the World Science Fiction Society for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was once officially known as the Science Fiction Achievement Award. The award has been described as "a fine showcase for speculative fiction" and "the best known literary award for science fiction writing". The Hugo Award for Best Related Work is given each year for primarily non-fiction works related to science fiction or fantasy, published or translated into English during the previous calendar year. Awards are also given out for works of fiction in the novel, novella, novelette, and short story categories.
The award was originally titled the Hugo Award for Best Non-Fiction Book and was first awarded in 1980. In 1999 the Award was retitled to the Hugo Award for Best Related Book, and eligibility was officially expanded to fiction works that were primarily noteworthy for reasons besides their fictional aspects. In 2010, the title of the award was again changed, to the Hugo Award for Best Related Work. In addition to the regular Hugo awards, beginning in 1996 Retrospective Hugo Awards, or "Retro Hugos", have been available to be awarded for years 50, 75, or 100 years prior in which no awards were given. The Retro Best Related Work Hugo was awarded for 1954, 50 years later, but has not been awarded for any other year due to insufficient nominations.Hugo Award nominees and winners are chosen by supporting or attending members of the annual World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, and the presentation evening constitutes its central event. The selection process is defined in the World Science Fiction Society Constitution as instant-runoff voting with six nominees, except in the case of a tie. The works on the ballot are the six most-nominated by members that year, with no limit on the number of works that can be nominated. Initial nominations are made by members in January through March, while voting on the ballot of six nominations is performed roughly in April through July, subject to change depending on when that year's Worldcon is held. Prior to 2017, the final ballot was five works; it was changed that year to six, with each initial nominator limited to five nominations. Worldcons are generally held near the start of September, and are held in a different city around the world each year. Members are permitted to vote "no award", if they feel that none of the nominees is deserving of the award that year, and in the case that "no award" takes the majority the Hugo is not given in that category. This happened in the Best Related Work category in 2015 and 2016.During the 40 nomination years, 197 authors have had works nominated; 52 of these have won, including co-authors and Retro Hugos. John Clute has won four times; once by himself, once with John Grant as a co-author, once with Peter Nicholls, and once with Nicholls, David Langford, and Graham Sleight. Nicholls has won a third time, and Grant has won a second time, sharing the award with his co-authors Elizabeth L. Humphrey and Pamela D. Scoville. Thomas Disch and Ursula K. Le Guin have also won twice, both without co-authors; no other author has won more than once. Cathy and Arnie Fenner have been nominated eight times for their work on the Spectrum: The Best In Contemporary Fantastic Art series, both the most number of nominations received by any author and the most number of nominations without winning. Clute has been nominated seven times, Farah Mendlesohn six times with one win; Le Guin four times with two wins; Isaac Asimov and Langford four times with one win; and Mike Resnick four times with no wins. The Writing Excuses team, consisting of Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Jordan Sanderson, have been nominated four times and won once. Seven other authors have been nominated three times. Many of these writers, editors and artists have won Hugos in other categories, from Fan Writer to Best Novel.Incantation
An incantation is a magical formula intended to trigger a magical effect on a person or objects. The formula can be spoken, sung or chanted. An incantation can also be performed during ceremonial rituals or prayers. Other words synonymous with incantation is spells, charms or to bewitch. In the world of magic, the incantations are said to be performed by wizards, witches and fairies.In medieval literature, folklore, fairy tales and modern fantasy fiction, enchantments are charms or spells. This has led to the terms "enchanter" and "enchantress" for those who use enchantments. The term was loaned into English around AD 1300. The corresponding native English term being "galdr" "song, spell". The weakened sense "delight" (compare the same development of "charm") is modern, first attested in 1593 (OED).Any word can be an incantation as long as the words are spoken with inflection and emphasis on the words being said. The tone and rhyme of how you speak the words matter on the outcome of the magical effect. The tone, rhyme, and placement of words used in the formula matters in influencing the outcome of the magical effect. The person who is speaking magical words usually commands for the magic to be carried out. The incantation performed can bring up powerful emotions and remind one of a sense of awe in childhood.Surviving written records of historical magic spells were largely obliterated in many cultures by the success of the major monotheistic religions, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, which label some magical activity as immoral or associated with evil.Interzone (magazine)
Interzone is a British fantasy and science fiction magazine. Published since 1982, Interzone is the eighth longest-running English language science fiction magazine in history, and the longest-running British SF magazine. Stories published in Interzone have been finalists for the Hugo Awards and have won a Nebula Award and numerous British Science Fiction Awards.Jason Van Hollander
Jason Van Hollander (born September 9, 1949) is an American illustrator, book designer and occasional author. His stories and collaborations with Darrell Schweitzer earned a World Fantasy Award nomination. Van Hollander's fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Weird Tales, Interzone, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, The New York Review of Science Fiction and other publications.Van Hollander has created morbid and grotesque artwork which adorns dust jackets of books published by Arkham House, Golden Gryphon Press, PS Publishing, Subterranean Press, Cemetery Dance Publications, Tor Books, Night Shade Books and Ash-Tree Press. He has illustrated books and stories by Thomas Ligotti, Joan Aiken, Gregory Frost, John Clute, Gerald Kersh, Fritz Leiber, Matthew Hughes, Ramsey Campbell, William Hope Hodgson, Clark Ashton Smith and Matt Cardin. His media include ink and watercolor, which he has sometimes augmented on the computer.He is listed in the 2009 edition of Science Fiction And Fantasy Artists Of The Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary edited by Robert Weinberg, Jane Frank. His essay "The Digital Moment: Digital Politics" was published in Paint or Pixel: The Digital Divide in Illustration Art edited by Jane Frank (Nonestop Press, 2007).Jingo (novel)
Jingo is a fantasy novel by British writer Terry Pratchett, part of his Discworld series. It was published in 1997.Peter Nicholls (writer)
Peter Douglas Nicholls (8 March 1939 – 6 March 2018) was an Australian literary scholar and critic. He was the creator and a co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction with John Clute.Pilgrim Award
The Pilgrim Award is presented by the Science Fiction Research Association for Lifetime Achievement in the field of science fiction scholarship. It was created in 1970 and was named after J. O. Bailey’s pioneering book Pilgrims Through Space and Time. Fittingly, the first award was presented to Bailey.
1970 – J. O. Bailey (USA)
1971 – Marjorie Hope Nicolson (USA)
1972 – Julius Kagarlitski (USSR)
1973 – Jack Williamson (USA)
1974 – I. F. Clarke (UK)
1975 – Damon Knight (USA)
1976 – James E. Gunn (USA)
1977 – Thomas D. Clareson (USA)
1978 – Brian W. Aldiss (UK)
1979 – Darko Suvin (Canada)
1980 – Peter Nicholls (Australia)
1981 – Sam Moskowitz (USA)
1982 – Neil Barron (USA)
1983 – H. Bruce Franklin (USA)
1984 – Everett F. Bleiler (USA)
1985 – Samuel R. Delany (USA)
1986 – George E. Slusser (USA)
1987 – Gary K. Wolfe (USA)
1988 – Joanna Russ (USA)
1989 – Ursula K. Le Guin (USA)
1990 – Marshall Tymn (USA)
1991 – Pierre Versins (France)
1992 – Mark R. Hillegas (USA)
1993 – Robert Reginald (USA)
1994 – John Clute (UK)
1995 – Vivian Sobchack (USA)
1996 – David Ketterer (Canada)
1997 – Marleen Barr (USA)
1998 – L. Sprague de Camp (USA)
1999 – Brian Stableford (UK)
2000 – Hal W. Hall (USA)
2001 – David N. Samuelson (USA)
2002 – Mike Ashley (UK)
2003 – Gary Westfahl (USA)
2004 - Edward James (UK)
2005 - Gérard Klein (France)
2006 - Fredric Jameson (USA)
2007 - Algis Budrys (USA)
2008 - Gwyneth Jones (UK)
2009 - Brian Attebery (USA)
2010 - Eric Rabkin (USA)
2011 - Donna Haraway (USA)
2012 - Pamela Sargent (USA)
2013 - N. Katherine Hayles (USA)
2014 - Joan Gordon (USA)
2015 – Henry Jenkins (USA)
2016 – Mark Bould (UK)
2017 – Tom Moylan (Ireland)
2018 – Carl Freedman (USA)Science-Fiction Handbook
Science-Fiction Handbook, subtitled The Writing of Imaginative Fiction, is a guide to writing and marketing science fiction and fantasy by L. Sprague de Camp, "one of the earliest books about modern sf." The original edition was published in hardcover by Hermitage House in 1953 as a volume in its Professional Writers Library series. A revised edition, by L. Sprague de Camp and Catherine Crook de Camp, titled Science Fiction Handbook, Revised, was published in hardcover by Owlswick Press in 1975 and as a trade paperback by McGraw-Hill in 1977. An E-book version of the revised edition was published by Gollancz's SF Gateway imprint on April 30, 2014.The Adversary Cycle
The Adversary Cycle is a series of six novels written by American author F. Paul Wilson. Originally known as "The Nightworld Cycle" (this name is even printed in the front of some early editions of Nightworld), John Clute, in his section on F. Paul Wilson's work in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, kept referring to "the Adversary." The author liked that better and so renamed the cycle.The Encyclopedia of Fantasy
The Encyclopedia of Fantasy is a 1997 reference work concerning fantasy fiction, edited by John Clute and John Grant. Other contributors include Mike Ashley, Neil Gaiman, Diana Wynne Jones, David Langford, Sam J. Lundwall, Michael Scott Rohan, Brian Stableford and Lisa Tuttle.
The book was well-received on publication. During 1998, it received the Hugo Award, World Fantasy Award, and Locus Award. The industry publication Library Journal described The Encyclopedia of Fantasy as "the first of its kind".Since November 2012, the full text of The Encyclopedia of Fantasy is available on-line, as a companion to the on-line Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. The editors of the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction have stated that there are not any plans to update the Encyclopedia of Fantasy, at least for the foreseeable future, although some death dates post-1997 have been added.The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is an English language reference work on science fiction, first published in 1979. In October 2011, the third edition was made available for free online.The Man Who Lost the Sea
"The Man Who Lost the Sea" is a science fiction short story by American writer Theodore Sturgeon. Originally published in the October 1959 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, it was nominated for (but did not win) the 1960 Hugo Award for Best Short Fiction.Writing in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, John Clute described "The Man Who Lost the Sea" as "strong, immeasurably complex, word-perfect and deeply fixative to the reader's memory".Weird fiction
Weird fiction is a subgenre of speculative fiction originating in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. John Clute defines weird fiction as a "Term used loosely to describe Fantasy, Supernatural Fiction and Horror tales embodying transgressive material". China Miéville defines weird fiction thus: "Weird Fiction is usually, roughly, conceived of as a rather breathless and generically slippery macabre fiction, a dark fantastic (“horror” plus “fantasy”) often featuring nontraditional alien monsters (thus plus “science fiction”)." Discussing the "Old Weird Fiction" published in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock says, "Old Weird fiction utilises elements of horror, science fiction and fantasy to showcase the impotence and insignificance of human beings within a much larger universe populated by often malign powers and forces that greatly exceed the human capacities to understand or control them." Weird fiction either eschews or radically reinterprets ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and other traditional antagonists of supernatural horror fiction. Weird fiction is sometimes symbolised by the tentacle, a limb-type absent from most of the monsters of European folklore and gothic fiction, but often attached to the monstrous creatures created by weird fiction writers such as William Hope Hodgson, M. R. James, and H. P. Lovecraft. Weird fiction often attempts to inspire awe as well as fear in response to its fictional creations, causing
commentators like Miéville to say that weird fiction evokes a sense of the numinous. Although "weird fiction" has been chiefly used as a historical description for works through the 1930s, the term has also been increasingly used since the 1980s, sometimes to describe slipstream fiction that blends horror, fantasy, and science fiction.