New Weird: The Best Genre You’ve Never Heard Of


Aurora Miller

Kill 6 Billion Demons, SCP Foundation, and Welcome to Night Vale are just some New Weird stories.

Aurora Miller, Staff Writer

Otherworldly dog parks, haunted app betas, transgender angels, traumatized protagonists, and habitually drunk warrior cooks. All of these and more can be found in New Weird.

The New Weird genre arose in the 1990s as an offshoot of speculative fiction, with the defining trait of taking common tropes and ideas of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, then turning them on their heads. New Weird has only gotten more popular, but it still remains pretty underground for such an interesting genre. Here are the top three pieces of new weird media to get started with.

  1. Kill Six Billion Demons

“Fate is not a cage except for those who fear it.”

Behold! The awesome fires of God. The limitless power of pure creation itself. Look carefully. Observe how it is used for the same purpose a man might use an especially sharp rock.

“Hey, I get it. I really hate myself too. But I don’t go around pillaging the entire multiverse!”

Writer and illustrator Tom Parkinson-Morgan, known online as Abbadon, created the violent and bizarre Kill Six Billion Demons in 2012 as a choose-your-own-adventure story, then expanded it into an independent webcomic in 2013. It’s currently on hiatus with the first four books available in print.

KSBD’s story centers around Throne, the spoke of the vaguely wheel-shaped universe created by the offspring of the self-contradictory god YISUN. Its inhabitants include angels with stone shells that harbor vibrant nuclear flames, devils of masked horrifying chaos, and comparatively fragile humans who are the only true mortals. The suitably Buffy-esque protagonist Allison was chosen to inherit the Key of Kings, a powerful artifact capable of splitting worlds, accessing the 777,777 universes of the multiverse, and ‘tuning the voice of God’.

Notes: A common saying in Throne is “Reach heaven through violence”. Consequently, KSBD is violent, gory, and horrific at times. However, it doesn’t feel out of place in the comic’s universe (the teachings of the God YISUN include “Living is an exercise in violence”), and the vibrant, macabre style is visually distinct and stunning.

  1. SCP Foundation.

“Without morals, are we truly better than the things we’ve set ourselves to contain?”


I think we have established that anomalous maggots are not a viable alternative to ranching.

The SCP Foundation (standing both for ‘Special Containment Procedures’ and ‘Secure, Contain, Protect’) is a collective writing project that began in 2007 from a post on the imageboard 4chan. The rabbit-hole wiki consists of community-made stories, entries, and documents detailing the fictional SCP Foundation and the reality-breaking anomalies it protects.

The anomalies that form the basis of the SCP universe range from humorously odd to terrifyingly horrific. Popular entries include: an extradimensional bunker accessed through a woman’s nose, angry mulch that teleports into the lungs of nearby humans, an infinite and inescapable IKEA, a statue that murders if unobserved, and an endlessly descending dark staircase haunted by a child crying and a terrifyingly blank face.

Notes: The Foundation can be compared to any group of weird, faceless scientists in literally any piece of media. Be prepared for sudden and unexpected moments of empathy towards the contained and hatred towards the Foundation. Of course, since there is no official canon to the universe, interpretations vary.

  1. Welcome to Night Vale.

“Are we living a life that is safe from harm? Of course not… but that’s not the right question. The right question is: Are we living a life that is worth the harm?”

“Remember: if you see something, say nothing, and drink to forget.”

“In terms of tacos, she was doing fine.”

Welcome to Night Vale is an ongoing surreal podcast detailing the lives of the citizens of Night Vale, a town where “all conspiracy theories were real”, according to the show’s co-creator Joseph Fink. The podcast takes the form of a community radio station hosted by Cecil Palmer, who details the bizarre lives of the townsfolk in typical small-town fashion.

Classic staples of the show include: The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home, the massive glowing cloud that drops dead animals everywhere and is head of the PTA board, a shadowy dog park that every townsperson is expressly discouraged to enter, and the station interns who have a bizarrely high death rate.

Notes: The show inherently treats the dark with a lighthearted commonality; this is unavoidable in the podcast. However, if you stick around, you’ll find a very humorous and engaging show.

Despite the vast differences between the stories and styles of these mediums, they do have a few things in common. The majority of New Weird content is free to view online. Welcome to Night Vale gains revenue from donations, live shows, books, and advertisements that match the show’s atmosphere; Kill Six Billion Demons is entirely crowdfunded and offers print editions; and the SCP Foundation is hosted on a free website under a Creative Commons license.

Another similarity is the communities that follow the mediums themselves. While Welcome to Night Vale doesn’t take submissions, it is completely open to non-commercial fan content, and the community is warm, welcoming, and utterly bizarre. KSBD features fan content directly on its website and often names/designs background characters based off comments and suggestions. And of course, the SCP Foundation is made entirely of fan content from all across the internet.

All in all, anyone can find something to love in New Weird. It’s an interesting and open-ended genre with a wide range of stuff to read, watch, and listen to.