Building a Weird Tales Library: Part 7

Sunday , 22, May 2016 Leave a comment

WT storyThe late 1980s brought a new sort of Weird Tales anthology, the bargain hardback. Peter Haining’s Weird Tales stood as a lone monument for 20 + year period. Marvin Kaye’s anthology in 1988 was part of a new era along with anthologies edited by Robert Weinberg, Stefan Dziemianowicz, and Martin H. Greenberg.

Robert Weinberg had an apprenticeship in the small press going back to the late 1960s. He co-edited the three issues of Deeper Than You Think (1968-69). Deeper’s first issue was dedicated to “A Literary Glimpse of Robert E. Howard.” Included were pieces by Howard, L. Sprague de Camp, and Lin Carter. The second issue focused on Weird Tales. The third issue focused on Unknown Worlds.

He published WT50: A Tribute to Weird Tales in 1974. This was a booklet, 137 pages that included some fiction, essays by H. Warner Munn, E. Hoffmann Price, J. C. Henneberger, Frank Belknap Long, Joseph Payne Brennan, Wallace West, Manly Wade Wellman, Edmond Hamilton, and lots of art and cover reproductions.

The Weird Tales Collector ran for six issues from 1977 to 1980. The small press magazine index all the issues of Weird Tales, ran letters by authors who wrote for the magazine, and essays by Weinberg, Mike Ashley, and Chet Williamson among others.

Lost Fantasies was an anthology series that lasted for nine issues. The first three issues were single author issues including Otis Adelbert Kline, Greye La Spina, and Thorp McClusky. Five issues were anthologies with reprints often by Jack Williamson, Edmond Hamilton, G. G. Pendarves, and new stories of the Werewolf Clan by H. Warner Munn.LSTFNTSSJJ1977

Weinberg’s first Weird Tales anthology was Far Below and Other Horrors from Fax Collector’s Editions in 1974. This is a slender 151 pages but almost all Weird Tales. The one lone non-Weird Tales story is Robert E. Howard’s “Out of the Deep.” The other nine stories are all from WT and one poem by Robert Nelson. The stories are memorable with an emphasis on more obscure writers such as Mearle Prout, Mindret Lord, Earl Pierce Jr, and Robert Barbour Johnson.

The Weird Tales Story (Fax Collector’s Editions, 1977) by Robert Weinberg was a collection of memoirs of Weird Tales by various authors, a history of the magazine by Weinberg, an essay on competition of the magazine, and lots of interior and cover art reproduced. This is one of those critical books to own if you want to know more about the magazine.

Starmont House reprinted Far Below and Other Horrors as a trade paperback in February 1987. This is the edition I got directly from Robert Weinberg. He had mail order book business at this time and I bought many a now obscure publication from him.

There was a companion volume by Starmont in 1989- The Eighth Green Man & Other Strange Folk. The contents include G. G. Pendarves, Mearle Prout, Everil Worrell, Manly Wade Wellman, Bassett Morgan, Greye La Spina, and another poem by Robert Nelson. The emphasis is again on more obscure stories and authors but a good book to have on your Weird Tales shelf.

Weird Tales 32 Unearthed Terrors

Weird Tales: 32 Unearthed Terrors (Bonanza Books, 1988) is possibly the single most important WT anthology. It is the first of the Weinberg-Dziemiamanowicz-Greenberg anthologies. The book sold for $9.98 and was 655 pages. The idea was to reprint a story from each year of Weird Tales existence. As a result, the book contained stories by Lovecraft, Howard, Smith, Edmond Hamilton, H. Warner Munn, Jack Williamson, C. L. Moore, Nictzin Dyalhis, Manly Wade Wellman, Fritz Leiber, Henry S. Whitehead, Henry Kuttner, Carl Jacobi, Brennan, Richard Matheson etc. I have minor quibbles about the contents. I probably would have included E. Hoffmann Price and Donald Wandrei. That being said, this is the single greatest Weird Tales anthology ever done. This is #1 on the list of books to own. There was only one printing, there were no trade paperback editions, and no mass market paperbacks derived from it. I can think of no better anthology to start from than this. There are a few cheap copies listed at online booksellers. There are a number of copies at $25.00 or more, so this book is not getting cheaper with age.

Rivals of Weird Tales (Bonanza Books, 1990) came out two years later. It was 486 pages and contained 30 stories from  Strange Tales, Horror Stories, Strange Stories, Fantastic Adventures, Unknown, Beyond, and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Unknown seems to dominate with 12 stories reprinted from that magazine. From a Weird Tales perspective, it is worth getting for the stories by Robert E. Howard, August Derleth, C. L. Moore, Henry Kuttner, Manly Wade Wellman, and Seabury Quinn. Lovecraft’s “Cool Air” from Tales of Magic and Mystery.

Weird Vampire Tales (Gramercy, 1992) was 442 pages and contained 30 stories, 17 are from Weird Tales, two from Strange Tales, two from Unknown. The Weird Tales entries include Seabury Quinn, Bassett Morgan, Everil Worrell, Clark Ashton Smith, W. K. Mashburn, Robert E. Howard, Carl Jacobi’s “Revelations in Black,” Lloyd Arthur Eshbach, C. L. Moore, J. Wesley Rosenquiest, Earl Pierce Jr., Henry Kuttner, Robert Barbour Johnson, Lester del Rey, Otis Adelbert Kline & Frank Belknap Long, and Greye La Spina. This may not be in the top five but it is in the top 10. If you want to read vintage vampire fiction, here’s your book.

Nightmare (Barnes & Noble Books, 1993) was 510 pages with 30 stories. Nine stories are from Weird Tales including Clark Ashton Smith, H. P. Lovecraft, finally Donald Wandrei, Robert E. Howard, J. Paul Suter, Henry S. Whitehead, Hugh Cave, C. L. Moore, and Edmond Hamilton.

Weinberg and Dziemianowicz with sometimes Greenberg edited a series of bargain hardbacks for Barnes & Noble in the 1990s in the “100 Little Stories” series. Each book contains 100 short stories or rather short, short stories. The most important book in this survey is 100 Wild Little Weird Tales (Barnes & Noble, 1994). Every single story appeared in Weird Tales though you do have an old Poe story. This book has many, many of those short filler stories that filled the back of the original magazine issues. Where else are you going to read Wilford Allen? This is a great 2nd tier book once you have read the major anthologies and want to dig deeper. The price of admission is paid by having “The Stranger From Kurdistan” by E. Hoffmann Price.

100 Ghastly Little Ghost Stories (1993) has no less than 45 stories from Weird Tales. 100 Creepy Little Creature Stories (1994) contains 38 stories from Weird Tales. The stand out reprint is “Left By the Tide” by Edward E. Schiff (March 1929). A guy is walking on the beach at low tide and comes across a well-rotted corpse that suddenly arises and attacks him. One of the greatest horror stories I have ever read.

100 Tiny Tales of Terror (1996) has 25 stories reprinted from Weird Tales including two by E. Hoffmann Price and two by Howard Wandrei. 100 Fiendish Little Nightmares (1997) has only a few Weird Tales reprints. But, it has Donald Wandrei’s “Uneasy Lie the Drowned.” One critic once said that if Bradbury had written the story, it would be famous.

Weinberg co-edited Weird Tales: Seven Decades of Terror (Barnes & Noble, 1997) with John Betancourt. It was a bargain hardcover that costs $7.98 with 428 pages. The contents strike me as unbalanced. You do have Lovecraft, a more obscure Robert E. Howard story, and Clark Ashton Smith. The book has Pendarves, Kuttner, Moore, Leiber, Bradbury, Derleth, Bloch, and the excellent “Rhythm of the Rats” by Eric Frank Russell. There are three stories from the 1970s revival, one from the early 80s Zebra paperbacks, nothing from the 1985 issue, and eight stories from the Terminus years. The book is uneven. I have a prejudice about much of the Terminus era fiction. It was an inexpensive way of getting a grab bag of Weird Tales fiction.

There is one book that I can find nothing about– H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos: A Weird Tales Retrospective. Supposedly published by Wildside Press, edited by Weinberg and Betancourt either in 2007 or 2011. A search for a table of contents is not showing anything. I cannot find the book at the Wildside Press website.

Wildside Press does have Bob Weinberg’s The Weird Tales Story and has also reprinted Lost Fantasies #9 and Far Below and Other Horrors.

So, Bob Weinberg is Mr. Weird Tales. He has done more reprinting from the magazine than any other editor. I can remember looking at those 100 Little books in the bargain book section of the brand new Barnes & Noble store in 1994 and walking out with a very heavy bag. This amount of fiction had just not been available before.

Post script: If you are interested in learning more about Robert E. Howard and Weird Tales, Cimmerian Press has just released an e-book containing three of my essays on Robert E. Howad. The book is entitled Enter the Barbarian.

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