Four Stories: An Introduction

Did you know that there are four stories mentioned in the introduction for The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories that the VanderMeers wanted to include but weren’t able to due to copyright permissions? They are Philip K. Dick’s “The Preserving Machine,” J. G. Ballard’s “The Drowned Giant,” Gabriel García Márquez’s “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings,” and Otsuichi’s “The White House in the Cold Forest.” Half of the stories are available to read online. We don’t normally announce features in advance but over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting an articles about each piece and we’re hoping that you (the reader) will read each story along with us and discuss them in the comments.

The Preserving Machine“The Preserving Machine” by Philip K. Dick

“The Preserving Machine” is a short scifi story from Philip K. Dick first published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1953. It’s a companion piece to another Doc Labyrinth story, “The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford.” Like many of Dick’s works, it demonstrates Dick’s love for classical music. “The Preserving Machine” is available online from American Buddha.

“The Drowned Giant” by J. G. Ballard

J. G. Ballard’s “The Drowned Giant” is about a large humanoid that washes on shore. The story was published in Ballard’s 1964 collection The Terminal Beach. It was also reprinted under the title “Souvenir” in Playboy magazine in 1965. The story can be found in several of J.G. Ballard’s collections such as The Best Short Stories of J. G. Ballard.

“A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” by Gabriel García Márquez

Gabriel García Márquez is perhaps best known for his magical realism in novels such as One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera. But Márquez also wrote short stories too such as “Un señor muy viejo con unas alas enormes” (“A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”) in 1955. It is available online from North Dakota State University.

Zoo“The White House in the Cold Forest” by Otsuichi

To try to describe Otsuichi’s work is very hard. It’s a blend of surrealism, horror, the Weird, and fairy tales. Otsuichi, born in 1978, hails from Japan where he is both a writer and a filmmaker. “The White House in the Cold Forest” appears in Otsuichi’s 2009 collection, Zoo. The prose in Zoo is very simple but Otsuichi still manages to create all the weirdness and unease you’d expect from a weird story.

These are four amazing and pivotal weird stories that demonstrate all the facets and the varied history of the Weird. They are as much a part of The Weird compendium as the stories that appear in the physical book. Thus, we really hope you join us over the next few weeks and read the stories along with us. It should make for a very weird time!