Adam Nevill has quietly transformed into one of the top writers in the past decade. His novels, ranging from Apartment 16 to last year’s The Reddening (easily this reviewer’s vote for most frightening novel of the year), have evolved into fiction that’s both accessible and surreal. The Netflix adaptation of The Ritual broke open the floodgates to new audiences everywhere. Hopefully, other films will follow.
Yet Nevill never sits back and follows a formula or set plan, which is a great thing for horror readers who demand more than the everyday story. Wyrd and Other Derelictions is likely the strangest collection of literary/quiet/weird horror in quiet awhile — and its beauty is on full display between the covers (the cover, by the way, is disturbing and gorgeous).
The word dereliction is defined as “the state of having been abandoned or becoming dilapidated.” Nevill takes this mundane definition and transforms it into something that transcends a description that would do the stories within WYRD justice.
Nevill delves into minor storms of words here that eschew characters and any true plot, which could normally turn off many a reader. However, do NOT let that deter you. For the first time, the afterward is a recommended read before the stories. Why? How the author explains his purpose for this collection suddenly makes sense and gives clarification to what might have twisted minds into otherworldly shapes. Nevill delves into these tales and explains why the characters aren’t needed — does the universe need or deserve humans for an effective story? Ponder that cosmic thought as the words seep into the eyes.
Yes, there are favorites here but to describe them would only raise other questions. The first two entries, “Hippocampus” and “Wyrd,” caught this reviewer’s attention and sum up the overall sense of dread within yet every tale works its magic in some manner.
This is a different collection, one that might remind one of Peter Straub, Thomas Ligotti, or even Robert Aickman in its exquisite weirdness. It is well worth the read.
Recommended reading for any serious horror fan or for speculative fiction aficionados who crave intelligence in their weirdness.