Sunday, September 16, 2018

Essential New Book on Weird Tales Magazine

front cover
There is a new book, out this summer, that takes pride of place on the small bookshelf of essential scholarship on the famous Weird Tales magazine. This is John Locke's The Thing's Incredible: The Secret Origins of Weird Tales (Off-Trail Publications, hardcover and trade paperback).  It clocks in at around 300 pages, and surprisingly, the coverage centers on the first two years of the magazine's existence.  It discusses thoroughly the first owners, including J.C. Henneberger, and the first editors, including Edwin Baird, Otis Adelbert Kline (editor for one issue), and Farnsworth Wright, who ran the magazine from 1924 through 1939.  The story of how H.P. Lovecraft nearly became the editor is told here in more detail than anywhere else.  Many authors who contributed to Weird Tales are also discussed, ranging from C.M. Eddy, Jr., to Arthur Burks, and even Houdini's involvement with the magazine is detailed.

The appendices reproduce some good rare stuff too, including a 1923 article by Edwin Baird titled "What Editors Want" and a story and a poem by Farnsworth Wright.  The poem is called "Self-Portrait" and it begins:

"The editor's a gloomy guy, who fusses, fumes and frets;
He puts in all his cheerless life expressing his regrets.
And you should see the things he sees when perched upon his Eyrie;
The shuddering shapes and eldritch forms, and dim things out of Faerie. . ."

("Self-Portrait" originally appeared in Fantasy Magazine for April 1935.)

Order via with these links:  $35 hardcover,  or $24 trade paperback.

Order via with these links:  £27.09 hardcover, or
£18.42 trade paperback.

rear cover

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