Weird Fiction and fiction that happens to be weird

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been captivated by all uncanny and unsettling creative works. From a young age, I was drawn to the most bizarre books and movies I could find, and they had a profound influence on my sensibility and cultural horizons. As an adult, I was surprised and saddened when I finally realized that most other people prefer things that are grounded, close to everyday life, and immediately understandable. But my own inclinations never changed, and dreamlike, nightmarish, or hallucinatory visions continue to provide me with aesthetic pleasure that nothing else can.

In fact, I have something of a reverent attitude towards all works of literature that are permeated with a strange and otherworldly atmosphere. Only they, in my experience, can make life interesting and bearable by serving as a constant reminder that there is more to the world than the commonplace and mundane.

However, I’m never sure if I should declare myself a fan of “Weird Fiction,” which (at least in the English-speaking world) is treated as a distinct literary tradition with its own canon of authors and a slightly cliquish industry of websites, periodicals, and small-press publishing houses. While some of my most cherished writers are associated with this designation (or proudly apply it to themselves), I prefer to think of weirdness as a quality that can be found in a wide range of literary works, regardless of their affiliation with specific currents or marketing labels.

Hence, the following list assumes a broad and nonsectarian understanding of “weird fiction”. While a large portion of my sources were recommendation threads from internet communities centered around the “Lovecraft-to-Ligotti” lineage and the New Weird movement, when compiling it, I was open to other manifestations of literary strangeness, such as magical realism, experimental literature, and psychedelic or “realitypunk” science fiction.

Since weird fiction is one of my main areas of interest, many of my other lists touch on this subject. I recommend browsing the “weird” tag for other relevant items. In particular, I would like to suggest my two lists of “foreign fantasy” (before 1880 and 1880–1939), as well as my lists of classic horror and supernatural short stories and Gothic and horror novels. If you’re into comic books, I also compiled a list of surreal and psychedelic ones.

The list