The Weight of Words

The Weight of Words Review

The consummate artistry of Dave McKean has permeated popular culture for more than thirty years. His images, at once bizarre, beautiful, and instantly recognizable, have graced an impressive array of books, CDs, graphic novels, and films. In The Weight of Words, ten of our finest contemporary storytellers, among them the artist himself, have created a series of varied, compelling narratives, each inspired by one of McKean’s extraordinary paintings. The result is a unique collaborative effort in which words and pictures enhance and illuminate each other on page after page.

The volume opens with Alastair Reynolds’s “Belladonna Nights,” set in the world of his novel, House of Suns, the ultimately poignant portrait of a thousand nights-long “reunion” held in the far reaches of space. Elsewhere in this generous book, we find a series of lovingly crafted tales featuring, among other elements, doppelgangers, lost souls and lucid dreamers. Highlights include Joe R. Lansdale’s “Robo Rapid,” a near future cautionary tale about Man vs. Machine; M. John Harrison’s “Yummie,” in which a middle-aged man experiences the hallucinatory aftermath of a heart attack; Joe Hill’s “All I Care About Is You,” the account of a pure, if temporary, friendship; Catherynne M. Valente’s extraordinary “No One Dies in Nowhere,” a tale of death and detection in the afterlife; Maria Dahvana Headley’s “The Orange Tree,” the story of an 11th century golem that is also a profound study of loneliness; and “Monkey and the Lady,” an ironic creation myth by the artist’s longtime friend and creative associate, Neil Gaiman. Together with “Train of Death,” an abbreviated account of the literal death of literature, this is one of two new stories by the always remarkable Gaiman.

The Weight of Words is the rare anthology that really does offer something for everyone. Its complementary merger of words and images adds up to something special, something more than the sum of its impressive parts. It is both a major accomplishment in itself and a long overdue tribute to an important—and necessary—artist.

The Weight of Words contains more than two dozen illustrations by Dave McKean, and is printed in two colors throughout.

Title:The Weight of Words
Edition Language:English

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Karl

    As of today January 29th 2018, as far as I know, the book “The Weight of Words” edited by Dave McKean (illustrator) and Bill Schafer is only available as a physical book. No e-books or Cd’s of t...

  • Heather

    When I got this in the mail, it came with a little card that told me who my book was packed by and that Subterranean Press makes "Readable Works of Art."  I absolutely agree.  This book is quite bea...

  • Violet

    I’ve always loved Dave McKean’s work. Granted, I’ve only see his creations in the context of Neil Gaiman, but I’ve encountered enough to be impressed and enchanted. There’s always something...

  • Susan

    1/3/2018: I just got this in the mail and I honestly don't even remember ordering it!The invoice from SubPress says I ordered it 8/25/2017 -- wow!Contents:The Weight of Words • graphic format • sh...

  • Ben

    I had originally picked this up for the new (actually two) short story of Neil Gaiman in it.... [Which as it happens, both were quite a let-down]. This is very much a hit or miss collection of short s...

  • Heather

    Beautifully designed book with stories based on Dave McKean's art. Stories were kind of a mixed bag, but some of them, especially the Cathryn Valente and Alistair Reynolds ones were excellent. ...