Weird Fiction Quotes

Quotes tagged as "weird-fiction" (showing 1-30 of 30)
Robert W. Chambers
“Have you seen The Yellow Sign?”
Robert W. Chambers, The King in Yellow and Other Horror Stories

Arthur Machen
“It was better, he thought, to fail in attempting exquisite things than to succeed in the department of the utterly contemptible.”
Arthur Machen, The Hill of Dreams

H.P. Lovecraft
“While my chosen form of story-writing is obviously a special and perhaps a narrow one, it is none the less a persistent and permanent type of expression, as old as literature itself. There will always be a certain small percentage of persons who feel a burning curiosity about unknown outer space, and a burning desire to escape from the prison-house of the known and the real into those enchanted lands of incredible adventure and infinite possibilities which dreams open up to us, and which things like deep woods, fantastic urban towers, and flaming sunsets momentarily suggest.”
H.P. Lovecraft, Notes On Writing Weird Fiction

H.P. Lovecraft
“Atmosphere, not action, is the great desideratum of weird fiction. Indeed, all that a wonder story can ever be is a vivid picture of a certain type of human mood. The moment it tries to be anything else it becomes cheap, puerile, and unconvincing. Prime emphasis should be given to subtle suggestion - imperceptible hints and touches of selective associative detail which express shadings of mood and build up a vague illusion of the strange reality of the unreal. Avoid bald catalogues of incredible happenings which can have no substance or meaning apart from a sustaining cloud of colour and symbolism.”
H.P. Lovecraft, Notes On Writing Weird Fiction

Joan Aiken
“No moral to this story, you will be saying, and I am afraid it is true.”
Joan Aiken

“The Coach’s head was oblong with tiny slits that served as eyes, which drifted in tides slowly inward, as though the face itself were the sea or, in fact, a soup of macromolecules through which objects might drift, leaving in their wake, ripples of nothingness. The eyes—they floated adrift like land masses before locking in symmetrically at seemingly prescribed positions off-center, while managing to be so closely drawn into the very middle of the face section that it might have seemed unnecessary for there to have been two eyes when, quite likely, one would easily have sufficed. These aimless, floating eyes were not the Coach’s only distinctive feature—for, in fact, connected to the interior of each eyelid by a web-like layer of rubbery pink tissue was a kind of snout which, unlike the eyes, remained fixed in its position among the tides of the face, arcing narrowly inward at the edges of its sharp extremities into a serrated beak-like projection that hooked downward at its tip, in a fashion similar to that of a falcon’s beak. This snout—or beak, rather—was, in fact, so long and came to such a fine point that as the eyes swirled through the soup of macromolecules that comprised the man’s face, it almost appeared—due to the seeming thinness of the pink tissue—that the eyes functioned as kinds of optical tether balls that moved synchronously across the face like mirror images of one another.

'I wore my lizard mask as I entered the tram, last evening, and people found me fearless,' the Coach remarked, enunciating each word carefully through the hollow clack-clacking sound of his beak, as its edges clapped together. 'I might have exchanged it for that of an ox and then thought better. A lizard goes best with scales, don’t you think?' Bunnu nodded as he quietly wondered how the Coach could manage to fit that phallic monstrosity of a beak into any kind of mask, unless, in fact, this disguise of which he spoke, had been specially designed for his face and divided into sections in such a way that they could be readily attached to different areas—as though one were assembling a new face—in overlapping layers, so as to veil, or perhaps even amplify certain distinguishable features. All the same, in doing so, one could only imagine this lizard mask to be enormous to the extent that it would be disproportionate with the rest of the Coach’s body. But then, there were ways to mask space, as well—to bend light, perhaps, to create the illusion that something was perceptibly larger or smaller, wider or narrower, rounder or more linear than it was in actuality. That is to say, any form of prosthesis designed for the purposes of affecting remedial space might, for example, have had the capability of creating the appearance of a gap of void in occupied space. An ornament hangs from the chin, let’s say, as an accessory meant to contour smoothly inward what might otherwise appear to be hanging jowls. This surely wouldn’t be the exact use that the Coach would have for such a device—as he had no jowls to speak of—though he could certainly see the benefit of the accessory’s ingenuity. This being said, the lizard mask might have appeared natural rather than disproportionate given the right set of circumstances. Whatever the case, there was no way of even knowing if the Coach wasn’t, in fact, already wearing a mask, at this very moment, rendering Bunnu’s initial appraisal of his character—as determined by a rudimentary physiognomic analysis of his features—a matter now subject to doubt. And thus, any conjecture that could be made with respect to the dimensions or components of a lizard mask—not to speak of the motives of its wearer—seemed not only impractical, but also irrelevant at this point in time.”
Ashim Shanker, Don't Forget to Breathe

A. Merritt
“A vision of the Shining One swirling into our world, a monstrous, glorious flaming pillar of incarnate, eternal Evil--of people passing through its radiant embrace into that hideous, unearthly life-in-death which I had seen enfold the sacrifices--of armies trembling into dancing atoms of diamond dust beneath the green ray's rhythmic death--of cities rushing out into space upon the wings of that other demoniac force which Olaf had watched at work--of a haunted world through which the assassins of the Dweller's court stole invisible, carrying with them every passion of hell--of the rallying to the Thing of every sinister soul and of the weak and the unbalanced, mystics and carnivores of humanity alike; for well I knew that, once loosed, not any nation could hold the devil-god for long and that swiftly its blight would spread!”
A. Merritt, The Moon Pool

John Claude Smith
“Evil should not be, Detective Vera. Truly never can be. But in defining it as such, an inherent human bond with negativity confirms its very existence. Its mere acknowledgement cancels its credibility. Evil is nothing—the lack of anything of substance— made concrete as a balance to everything else. Evil is not, yet it is a part of
each human, because humans welcome its participation in their lives. They speak of it in anger or disgust, fear or even wonder— the most appropriate response— giving it a stronger foundation with every passing thought it distorts. Though within their pliable minds, they welcome it with the glee of the ignorant, nurturing the unthinkable, thinking the unimaginable, imagining the most horrid, abysmal designs, embellishing them with an insidious veracity until evil is as substantial a reality as their next breath. I strive for something else, beyond evil’s claustrophobic clutches. I strive to transcend evil by becoming pure nothing. I strive as my followers strived.” He paused, his ideology a cancer, spreading… “I am, yet I strive to not be. Do you understand, comrade?” His tone suggested fellowship, disciples of the same obscene religion. ...”
John Claude Smith, Autumn in the Abyss

Michael Cisco
“Cadavers and spirits are human refuse, and they are absurdly difficult to dispose of properly. When someone dies, a small gang of specialists is required to remove and inter the body in such a way that it can always be located precisely at any time while preventing it from ever appearing again.”
Michael Cisco, The Traitor

Thomas Ligotti
“We had become a race of eccentrics and openly declared an array of singular whims and suspicions, at least while daylight allowed this audacity.”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe

“If there's one thing Robert had learned in three weeks at Lovecraft Middle School, it's that nothing was impossible.”
Charles Gilman, Professor Gargoyle

“Sound waves, regardless of their frequency or intensity, can only be detected by the Mole Fly’s acute sense of smell—it is a little known fact that the Mole Fly’s auditory receptors do not, in fact, have a corresponding center in the brain designated for the purposes of processing sensory stimuli and so, these stimuli, instead of being siphoned out as noise, bypass the filters to be translated, oddly enough, by the part of the brain that processes smell. Consequently, the Mole Fly’s brain, in its inevitable confusion, understands sound as an aroma, rendering the boundary line between the auditory and olfactory sense indistinguishable.

Sounds, thus, come in a variety of scents with an intensity proportional to its frequency. Sounds of shorter wavelength, for example, are particularly pungent. What results is a species of creature that cannot conceptualize the possibility that sound and smell are separate entities, despite its ability to discriminate between the exactitudes of pitch, timbre, tone, scent, and flavor to an alarming degree of precision. Yet, despite this ability to hyper-analyze, they lack the cognitive skill to laterally link successions of either sound or smell into a meaningful context, resulting in the equivalent of a data overflow.
And this may be the most defining element of the Mole Fly’s behavior: a blatant disregard for the context of perception, in favor of analyzing those remote and diminutive properties that distinguish one element from another. While sensory continuity seems logical to their visual perception, as things are subject to change from moment-to-moment, such is not the case with their olfactory sense, as delays in sensing new smells are granted a degree of normality by the brain. Thus, the Mole Fly’s olfactory-auditory complex seems to be deprived of the sensory continuity otherwise afforded in the auditory senses of other species. And so, instead of sensing aromas and sounds continuously over a period of time—for example, instead of sensing them 24-30 times per second, as would be the case with their visual perception—they tend to process changes in sound and smell much more slowly, thereby preventing them from effectively plotting the variations thereof into an array or any kind of meaningful framework that would allow the information provided by their olfactory and auditory stimuli to be lasting in their usefulness.

The Mole flies, themselves, being the structurally-obsessed and compulsive creatures that they are, in all their habitual collecting, organizing, and re-organizing of found objects into mammoth installations of optimal functional value, are remarkably easy to control, especially as they are given to a rather false and arbitrary sense of hierarchy, ascribing positions—that are otherwise trivial, yet necessarily mundane if only to obscure their true purpose—with an unfathomable amount of honor, to the logical extreme that the few chosen to serve in their most esteemed ranks are imbued with a kind of obligatory arrogance that begins in the pupal stages and extends indefinitely, as they are further nurtured well into adulthood by a society that infuses its heroes of middle management with an immeasurable sense of importance—a kind of celebrity status recognized by the masses as a living embodiment of their ideals. And yet, despite this culture of celebrity worship and vicarious living, all whims and impulses fall subservient, dropping humbly to the knees—yes, Mole Flies do, in fact, have knees!—before the grace of the merciful Queen, who is, in actuality, just a puppet dictator installed by the Melic papacy, using an old recycled Damsel fly-fishing lure. The dummy is crude, but convincing, as the Mole flies treat it as they would their true-born queen.”
Ashim Shanker, Don't Forget to Breathe

Anthea Carson
“Now that's a ghastly moon, not ghostly.”
Anthea Carson, The Dark Lake

Michael Cisco
“Although unavailable for analysis the moment it happens, being struck a violent blow on the head is a very interesting experience.”
Michael Cisco, Animal Money

H.P. Lovecraft
“The one test of the really weird is simply this—whether or not there be excited in the reader a profound sense of dread, and of contact with unknown spheres and powers; a subtle attitude of awed listening, as if for the beating of black wings or the scratching of outside shapes and entities on the known universe’s utmost rim.”
H.P. Lovecraft

Thomas Ligotti
“Such ordeals always strike one with their strangeness, their digression from the normal flow of events, and often provoke a universal protest: "Why me?" Be sure that this is not a question but an outcry. The person who screams it has been instilled with an astonishing suspicion that he, in fact, has been the perfect subject for a very specific "weird," a tailor-made fate, and that a prior engagement, in all its weirdness, was fulfilled at the appointed time and place.”
Thomas Ligotti, Noctuary

Mark Samuels
“I believe,' Muswell once said, 'that mental isolation is the essence of weird fiction. Isolation when confronted with disease, with madness, with horror and with death. These are the reverberations of the infinity that torments us.

("The White Hands")”
Mark Samuels, Best New Horror 15

Anthea Carson
“Jane sneezed three hundred dollars' worth of coke into the air.

Krishna's black eyes seem to have mirrors in them. She glances at me with a smile as big as the Cheshire Cat's.”
Anthea Carson, The Dark Lake

Simon Avery
“Krisztina played the song. It was a lament made of eight notes, repeated. It was an empty melody. It sounded elemental too; it made Krisztina think of the snow falling beyond the window and across Budapest. She wondered if it was snowing in England. Alice’s mother would be here again later, all the way from London. There was so much grief. They were mourning her little girl before she had gone. Without realising she heard these words making themselves part of the song. She played what she could, her head down, her face solemn and determined. She went back to the start, and felt the world falling away, the tears drying on her face. She heard the words coming, falling like the luminous snow. After a few minutes she looked across what seemed like a huge divide to Alice on the bed and faltered. In the house of the body, the lights were being extinguished, one by one. The floors were now bare, the walls unadorned, all sound hollow and lost; all that remained was the ghost of what was, the glimmer of the melody, the tune, the song of a life lived and lost in three minutes.”
Simon Avery, The Teardrop Method

Thomas Ligotti
“All that was left to us was to wonder: who knows all that is innate to this world, or to any other? Why should there not be something buried deep within appearances, something that wears a mask to hide itself behind the visibility of nature?”
Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe

Thomas Ligotti
The Master's Eyes Shining with Secrets

Those bells ringing on the mist-covered mountain signify that the Master of the Temple is dead. The fact of the matter is that the monks there finally killed him.

It seems that a few years ago the Master of the Temple began to exhibit some odd and very unpleasant forms of behavior. He apparently lost all sense of earthly decorum, even losing control over his own body. At one point an extra head sprouted from the side of the Master's neck, and this ugly little thing started to issue all sorts of commands and instructions to the monks which only their lofty sense of decency and order prevented them from carrying out. Eventually the Master of the Temple was confined to a small room in an isolated part of the monastery. There, this once wise and beloved teacher was looked after like an animal. For several years the monks put up with the noises he made, the diverse shapes he took. Finally, they killed him.

It is whispered among students of enlightenment that one may achieve a state of being in which enlightenment itself loses all meaning, with the consequence that one thereby becomes subject to all manner of strange destinies.

And the monks? After the assassination they scattered in all directions. Some hid out in other monasteries, while others went back to live among the everyday inhabitants of this earth. But it was not as if they could escape their past by fleeing it, no more than they could rid themselves of their old master by killing him.

For even after the death of his material self, the Master of the Temple sought out those who were once under his guidance; and upon these unhappy disciples he now bestowed, somewhat insistently, his terrible illumination.”
Thomas Ligotti, Noctuary

Clinton Boomer
“Magic, like Photoshop, can do just about anything... but you have to learn how to use it.”
Clinton Boomer, The Hole Behind Midnight

Logan Ryan Smith
“You know that jerk that drives up the shoulder on the freeway, passing perhaps miles of cars stuck patiently in traffic, just knowing someone up there, eventually, will let him in?
It’s the same thing!
Someone always accommodates the pushy, petulant jerk!
Someone always lets that guy with the silver Porsche Boxster in and the rest of us, stuck behind the guy letting him in, have to suffer.
It’s the same with people all over.
It only takes one sucker. One push-over to mess it up for the rest of us.”
Logan Ryan Smith, Y is for Fidelity

Logan Ryan Smith
“People are slippery.
Especially when they excrete.
Or bleed.
Or fuck.”
Logan Ryan Smith, Y is for Fidelity

Tim Reed
“The raven – Asker – immediately cawed. It sounded suspiciously like laughter. “Not... be afraid of Asker.” The raven’s button eyes gleamed. “He only eats worms… you are not worm.”
Tim Reed, The Eight Islands: Summons of the Majestic

Mike Russell
“Dunce is completely bald and has a really pointed head so the temptation to get him paralytic on his thirtieth birthday, carry him to the tattooist’s and get a nice big ‘D’ smack bang in the middle of his forehead was too much for me. Trouble is he can’t afford to have it removed so he wears a big plaster over it. Gangs of children tease him.

‘What’s underneath the plaster, mister? Show us!’

They swear he has a third eye under there.

My name is Bill but Dunce calls me ‘Fez’ on account of my hat. I’ve known Dunce for over sixteen years.”
Mike Russell, Nothing Is Strange

Mike Russell
“Hello. It is Monday. I live in Sun City. Sun City is a city that is entirely contained inside an enormous concrete building in the shape of a sun. Its rays house our living quarters; its circular centre is where we work and shop. No one has ever been outside of the city; it is generally suspected that the environment outside of the city is uninhabitable.”
Mike Russell, Nothing Is Strange

Clinton Boomer
“On the other side of that big-ass mirror, a video camera was watching us. In about ten seconds, it was going to start spitting static at itself, and everything it saw was going to break up into a fuzzy, gray-white wash, rolling up and down, that wouldn’t be admissible as evidence on Judge Judy. Those missing frames would last a little less than a quarter of a minute, consolidate themselves back
into a semblance of reality, and then I would theoretically go walking right back out of here.

Between now and that moment, there stretched an infinite ocean of potential
time. Time enough to walk around the world. Time enough to fall in love, get
married on a white beach under purple stars, write a book of poems about
truest passion, have a few good and bloody screaming matches, get divorced in a court of autumn elves and gypsy moths, then set the ink-stained, tear-streaked pages of your text ablaze.”
Clinton Boomer, The Hole Behind Midnight

Clinton Boomer
“Stupid dire warnings of imminent doom.

They always put me in a bad mood.”
Clinton Boomer, The Hole Behind Midnight

H.P. Lovecraft
“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."
The Call Of Cthulhu, incipit.”
H.P. Lovecraft