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It’s the SISYPHEAN giveaway contest!

by nickmamatas

What is the New Weird? Well, it’s been around for a while, the term having been coined by M. John Harrison and championed by China Mieville—it is basically politically aware “weird” fiction (horror/fantasy, but without traditional magic rules and monsters) that keeps one foot solidly in genre fiction by eschewing postmodern techniques such as metafiction. It’s “renunciation and return”, according to Mieville’s 2003 manifesto, and it is “messy.” New Weird titles include Mieville’s own Perdido Street Station, Jeff and Ann Vandermeer’s anthology The New Weird , and Steph Swainston’s The Year of Our War. One could also do much worse than check out the current film, Annihilation (loosely based on Jeff Vandermeer’s novel) in theaters in the US now.

And now, the New Weird is Japanese!  See?

 

 

Sisyphean is here! And we’re giving away four copies of Dempow Torishima’s copiously illustrated, extremely strange, and utterly bizarre novel-in-stories. And all you need do is write in the comments of this post about something weird: a book, an experience, a film, a dream you had. You can tell us all about it in the form of a poem or brief essay, and you can write it in English, Spanish, Japanese, or Greek!

On Friday, we’ll select four winners, and we ship anywhere! So enter today, weirdo, and tell your friends!

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18 Responses to “It’s the SISYPHEAN giveaway contest!”

  1. Taylor Peak says:

    Paralysed with Fear

    One night I was home alone watching the house for my parents while they were out of town for the night. It was getting pretty late so I decided it would be a good time to hit the sack and get some shut eye. Now I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for what I experienced that night but I never looked for one. I woke up to one of my dogs barking in the middle of the night, nothing unusual, but when I woke up I tried to get out of bed to check on them. Only I couldn’t move, I only saw a bright yellow light out of the corner of my eye, it could’ve been anything, there were a numerous amount of electronics in my room. However I can’t remember anything with a yellow light. All I remember is letting out a scream, and my dogs barking. Next thing I know it was morning and my parents were home. I never told anyone this happened, because for all I know, maybe it was just a dream. It’s never happened since, but I still remember the sleep paralysis and whenever I see others stories about this topic, I can actually relate.

  2. Adam Gallardo says:

    When I was five, I had pneumonia and a fever so high that I started hallucinating. One hallucination that stuck with me was watching the Muppets from Sesame Street slowly hack one another to pieces with knives. I was so terrified, I couldn’t move or cry out. I feel like that informed a lot of my attitudes about writing and pop culture in general.

  3. Nathan Filizzi says:

    The weirdest thing I can think of is the band Worm Quartet, which calls itself a comedy /synth-punk band and consists of only one guy who calls himself Shoebox. Besides writing normal comedy songs, he is a master of writing songs with completely nonsensical lyrics. For instance, his song “The Laundromat of Sin” opens with the verse:

    The anti-fish from dildoland
    Is marching down a mucus strand
    That leads from Falco to Ayn Rand
    With stops at Chad and Spain
    While nine fat popes and two wet Jews
    Guffaw and grunt and fill their loos
    With milk squeezed from their underoos
    And carbonated pain

  4. Kirby says:

    You ever get deja vu? Some days, I’m just sitting there thinking about a random TV show episode, and suddenly it is on. Or I’ll think while in the middle of a conversation “haven’t we done this before”.

    Of course, this is all probably explainable. Maybe my mind subconsciously knows what episode they’d be on about in a serialized block. Maybe we did have that conversation, just one of us forgot it and went through the motions to repeat the actions. But sometimes I wonder…

  5. Eva says:

    My weirdest experience was when I first had aural migraine, years ago. I was queuing for a movie ticket, then I noticed that the guy before me looked peculiar. Like his face, as I saw it, was put together all wrong. Then I realised that I got partially blind for one eye, and the other tried making up for it. Then I started talking gibberish, and then my arm got all weird, so we rushed to the hospital, and fortunately it turned out that it wasn’t a stroke.

    I’ll never forget how my mind got all foggy and I couldn’t talk, couldn’t tell what was happening to me, I could only get out partial words which would make sense to me, but wouldn’t to anyone else. It hasn’t happened again so far, but I wonder when the next one will hit.

  6. Neha Naher says:

    I had a nightmare recently about being attacked by a humongous black cat. It looked something out of a fantasy novel. It had saber teeth and these gorgeous blue glowing eyes, and its fur was so black it looked blue. Anyways, I was running in the library because I saw a giant spider on one of the books I pulled off the shelves, and as punishment the librarian (who looked like Gandalf) send this huge freaky kitty after me. I remember it got close and swiped at my back with its claws. The pain caused me to stumble and instead of hitting the floor, I somehow fell off a cliff. It was the strangest damn dream ever. As I was falling and almost hit the ground, I woke up screaming. A few hours later when I was getting ready for work, I had two scratches on my back that wasn’t there when I went to sleep, in the place where the monster cat attacked me.. I’m guessing one of my cats walked across my back while I asleep (not uncommon) or maybe I subconsciously scratched myself in my sleep. I can think of no other explanation…

  7. Joseph Tomaras says:

    The short story “Afn grenets” (At the Border) by the Yiddish-language author Der Nister, of which I just finished a draft translation. It starts with a female personage dressed or presenting herself as an unspecified sort of wild beast, who is patrolling the perimeter of an unnamed town in an unnamed desert. A narratorial interlocutor asks her what she is waiting for, and reluctantly she answers, “A camel with two candles on its humps,” and then begins to tell a story to explain why she expects such a thing. It involves two giants, the last of their kind, one male and one female. The giantess may also be a sorceress. There are also talking birds, talking camels, dreams, mirages, and a leper, with stories within stories within stories, told from multiple points of view, all within about 6000 words. None of the characters whose points of view are given seem at all reliable, and I think the story (originally published in 1922) may have been in part the author’s jab against the Zionist movement. But who can tell?

  8. Richard Alan Scott says:

    I have always thought of Reese Witherspoon as someone who seems like a real, self-centered princess. I’ve worked in show business for many many years. I know actors and I can just tell, I get that vibe from her. There is only one person in the media that I detest more than her, and that is Oprah. She, in my opinion, is the world’s biggest phony with an ego the size of President Trump’s.

    Now Oprah and Reese Witherspoon are in a movie together. The posters are out, and so are the trailers. This is real. There are people who will actually pay money, and go and see this film. This is a true story.

  9. Ryan says:

    Reza Negarestani’s Cyclonopedia remains the weirdest novel I have ever read.

  10. Zanphagras says:

    Just a looming sense of God not really being a benevolent entity at all at the edge of my thoughts. It’s just a “what if”, really. What if the Creator created us for a reason quite different than we like to believe?

    The keeper of the vinyard
    Looks up at the sky:
    “What if a gray, thirsty god
    Plantes us here, and all else’s a lie?
    And what may come after the season, the best
    Has past and comes the harvest?”

  11. Caleb Wilson says:

    I was sick in bed with the flu, slept for hours, and when I woke up, I looked at the clock to see what time it was. 10 something, and I assumed I had slept all night. I looked out the window into the morning and it was pitch black, and for what felt like forever, but was probably a few seconds, I thought something unspeakable had happened and we were in the middle of some cosmic disaster that had destroyed the daylight. My thought processes sort of just halted, stuck, until eventually I realized that it was 10 pm, not am, and I wish I remember what I felt next, but I don’t.

  12. Emily Horner says:

    Iowa, when it’s thawing out from the winter, is as ordinary a place as you can imagine and also as uncanny a place as you can imagine. John Darnielle’s book “Universal Harvester” is about the only book I know that correctly captures the absolute strangeness of the loneliness of central Iowa. In hours, all the snow turns into snowmelt and then into mud, and the vacant lots where they’re eventually going to put up big-box retail turn into seas of tall dead yellow grass and mud, and as you have to cut across the fields to get back to the sidewalk, the mud threatens to suck off your shoes with every step you take and you feel like you’re in a wetter, danker version of “The Woman in the Dunes” where the landscape itself will never let you go.

  13. nanashi says:

    I had a strange dream where a publisher of niche books was running a promotion asking for bizarre stories from “weirdos” after making clear subtweets shaming “kooky” behavior that had very little to actually do with being eccentric.

  14. Brandon Perkins says:

    I remember, back when I was a child, a certain incident involving ants.

    I live in the Southern U.S., you see, and during that cusp between Spring and Summer the climate proves particularly fruitful for the growth and spread of ant colonies. One day you’ll have a nice, green backyard. The following morning? That same green backyard would be dotted with various ant hills of all shapes and sizes.

    So one afternoon, it was my job to go around the yard and spread ant poison (specifically the granule kind) on any ant hill that I saw. Simple enough job, I guess. But it was also menial and boring. So you’d understand if my mind and eyes would wander around a bit. But it was during said wandering that I noticed something odd.

    You see, in the back corner of our yard, obscured by the shade of tall pine trees, there were two ant hills that were directly across from one another. On the left side was a large, sturdy ant hill that was inhabited by a species of black ants. On the other side was a small but growing colony inhabited by red fire ants.

    Now, some things you need to know about red fire ants: One is that they are extremely aggressive and have absolutely no problem grouping up and attacking any prey they wished to hunt. Second, is that it is not unheard of for fire ants to invade other ant colonies, kill the ant queen, and then enslave the remaining ants for use in their newly gained territory. They are vicious, VICIOUS little insects.

    So, thinking nothing of it, I decided to carry on with my task and spread the poison on both hills. By the following morning, the large ant hill would be a hollowed out ghost town, and the fire ant colony would have been annihilated before it could build further. Job over, I went back inside the house, and forgot all about it.

    The following afternoon, I decided to go back and check on the results of my work. Taking a shovel with me, I went back out into the backyard intending to shovel off the top of the ant hill to see if the poison had been working.

    What I saw inside was….disturbing, to say the least.

    During the night, as the poison was working its toxic task, the fire ants had invaded. The insides of the hill were littered with dead ants, piled up in what I can only describe as mass graves. The red ants had wasted no time in imposing their will on the now subjugated black ants: they were being forced to carry the eggs of the fire ants to safe storage, in what I can only describe as ‘shelves’ that had been constructed out of dead straw and pine tree detritus.

    And branching off from the main fire ant colony, was a small strip of recently dug dirt. Not a big hill or anything, just a line of red Georgia dirt that had very recently been disturbed by fervent digging. The ants were quickly extending this little dirt road of theirs.

    That strip of dirt, was heading directly to my house.

  15. Antonino says:

    So, something weird that happened to me when I was little.
    I think I was about 5 or 6 and I was playing a “video game”, one of the very old ones that were more or less just blinking lights on a calculator display.
    It was a steering wheel with which I could control my “car” and had to dodge traffic and get the highest score, and higher the score the higher the speed of the movements. Very simple but but kind of addicting to a kid who liked to have the highest score possible (and had good “gaming reflexes”).
    Anyhow, I remember one day when I was very focused on the game, my little black car was moving very very fast, I was dodging left and right until I got distracted, my concentration lost completely.
    The reason for it? A change in the light that I couldn’t understand and a time skip.
    Now, chance are that I had just played too long but in my kid mind I couldn’t fathom the Idea of having played for more of say, half an hour, not enough to change the light in the room, the Sun to move and a couple of hours go by.
    And in my mind the truth of the matter was very simple: I had skipped dimension.
    At a moment in which I should have steered left with my fake car, I had gone right and the world around me shifted away, putting me forward a couple of hours in a dimension that was just like my old one with just some very very minor differences (the already mentioned time skip, the position of a few objects, some even smaller details like some scratch on the label of my game… a bunch of these small changes).
    Since then, especially in some occasional dream when my rational mind is away and I dream of bionic lemurs saving Earth from etiological disasters I can’t stop myself from thinking “What if…?”, but then again, what a lamest way to explore a different dimension, right?

  16. Marzia says:

    I want to talk about the book Parasite Eve, a scientific horror story.
    In the book Kiyomi, wife of scientist Toshiaki, has a car accident and dies due to irreparable brain damage.
    The kidneys get transplated into a little girl who had kidney problems while Toshiaki secretly asks if he could get a piece of liver.
    He cultivate his wife’s cells so he could be with her always and maybe even a way to “find” her.
    What he didn’t know is that Kiyomi’s mythocondria originated from the “Original Eve”, whom scientists theorize was a primate settled in Central Africa, and they (or rather “She”) was sentient. Her goal, as any other organism, was to survive and prosper but She was much more powerful and smarter than any other organism.
    She subtlely manipulated Kiyomi to register at the organs donor’s list, to have the car accident and to “call” Toshiaki to Her. She grew and evolved at an astounding rate and when formed a whole body had forced intercourse with Toshiaki and took his sperm.
    Whoever tried to stop Her suffered spontaneous combustion as the mythocondria reacting to Eve’s orders.
    She then, in a semi-slimy form, went to the young girl and since her kidney modified her mythocondria and mind as well she impregnated her and created the perfect being, a being who could evolve, survive and dominate all other species.
    But being a cross-species hybrid it was unstable and it died quickly, while Eve slowly melted away, her lifespan at her limit.
    It ended decently “happily” and it made me think about our biology.
    About how we’re here thanks to a “mutual agreement” with the mythocondria and the nucleus of the cell. How originally they were separated but then became benign parasites.
    And how helpless and futile we are without this symbiosis. We have little things inside of us that are alive, have their own goal and “think”, although it’s just basic needs. We only need one to become self-conscious and we’ll become nothing.

  17. Edward says:

    A few years ago, I went to the hospital for a minor heart surgery, and when I was about to be put under, the surgeon told me that it wouldn’t take long at all. When the surgeons were finished, they saw that my heart had swollen to double it’s size, and one of my lungs collapsed. They put me in a medically induced coma, that ended up lasting a week.
    While I was under I was under I had extremely vivid, continuous dreams that I thought were real, since I didn’t know I was in a coma.
    The portion that I remember most was a dream where I was living in a rather large, multiple story apartment building that was mostly grey and white inside. I was living with a nurse, who I hated because she would never let me drink anything.
    One night, I decided I had had enough. I blew up on the nurse, and I ran away by leaving through a window. Once outside, I stole her truck that was parked in the driveway. I drove as fast as I could to the nearest gas station, and I drove the truck through the wall.
    I got out of the truck, and announced loudly to the cashier that I was stealing a two liter. I grabbed one, and walked out through the hole in the wall, and kept walking further up the road.
    I kept walking until I noticed the town I was in disappeared, and there was nothing but country surrounding me.
    Since it was getting dark, I decided to start hitchhiking for a ride. After a while, a woman in an older car stopped and picked me up. She drove us to what I assumed was her home, which was a trailer in the middle of nowhere.
    When I got out of the car, she told me to go around back.
    When I rounded the corner, I was stunned upon seeing a young woman wearing a hijab, bound and kneeling in front of a shallow grave, sobbing. The woman who picked me up then put a gun to my head and told me to kneel down nest to her.
    She then proceeded to tell us that she was part of a white supremacist group and that she was trying to “purify the earth”.
    I started to cry out, and she took and she grabbed a screwdriver and stabbed me in my thigh. A loud noise sounded, which made the woman panic, and she grabbed me and told me to go inside her home. She shoved me in the shower, turned it on, and told me not to move.
    I stayed there until everything just seemed to fade into the background. Then everything was dark.
    When I finally woke up from my coma, and recounted this dream, I was told that first, it WAS a dream. I was also told that at the moment I recalled getting stabbed in the leg actually happened. At that moment, the nurses saw that I was regaining consciousness, so she stabbed in in my thigh with an emergency sedative pen.
    I never did get to drink that two liter…

  18. M says:

    I like to believe that I am not a person who gets easily afraid or creeped out, but sometimes I am gripped with this weird feeling, something that is quite hard to explain. It starts in my head, and spreads to the rest of my body, from the very depths of my brain to my fingertips. I can’t control it. I don’t understand it. All I know is that it happens when I see something I just can’t fully comprehend.
    It once happened when I saw a dead bird by the road. There was no blood. Just a frozen bird. It was lying on is back, its head and feet pointing towards the sky, and the wings spread out. I could see no wounds. Yet it was dead. It wasn’t even a very cold winter. Yet it was just there, frozen like a statue, in an unnatural posture with feathers around the dead body. I was scared. Something about it was simply uncanny. It didn’t look right.
    I still get an uncomfortable feeling when I think about it, and on that day, the strange feeling took over and I was quite shaken the rest of the evening The fact that I could not understand, made the experience even more frightening and weird. Even when I tried to explain it to others, it was hard. What is so scary about a dead bird?
    I don’t know.
    That’s why I fear.


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