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Yes, Weird Tales is Back

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020 | Posted by John ONeill

Weird Tales 363-small

Cover by Abigail Larson

A few months ago I started to hear rumors that Weird Tales, the most storied and collectible American fantasy magazine of all time, had returned. Whispers, really. But I’d been hearing whispers for the last six years, ever since the last issue appeared from Nth Dimension Media, and especially since I published the article “Is Weird Tales Dead… Again?” in 2016. So I didn’t pay much attention.

But then I heard more reliable reports, and started to see listings online…. and then I ordered a copy, and right now I’m holding it in my hot little hands. And I can report that, in fact, Weird Tales is back.

It returns with a new publisher, Weird Tales Inc., but the same editor, Marvin Kaye, who took over the editorial reins from Ann VanderMeer in 2011, and managed only three issues in the last nine years. But the magazine looks terrific, with glossy paper and full color interiors, and an impressive Table of Contents, including stories by Victor LaValle, Jonathan Maberry, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and others. Not to mention an eye-catching cover by Abigail Larson, a tribute to perhaps the most iconic Weird Tales image of all time, the famous bat woman cover by Margaret Brundage.

Is Weird Tales back for good? Too early to tell — though to be fair Weird Tales has never exactly been a stable publication. (There’s a reason it’s called “The Magazine That Never Dies,” it keeps having to be resurrected.) There are the usual troubling signs already, including the fact that the website they proudly promote on the back page (weirdtales.com) is down already. But this looks like a quality package, and I’m hopeful. Let’s have a closer look at the contents.

[Click the images for weirdly big versions.]

Weird Tales 363 Table of Contents-small

Interior front cover art for “What Waits in the Trees” by Verveil, and Table of Contents

Here’s the complete fiction contents.

The Eyrie, by Marvin Kaye
“Up from Slavery” by Victor LaValle
“By Post” by Josh Malerman
“A Housekeeper’s Revenge” by Lisa Morton
“The Shadows Beneath the Stone” by Jonathan Maberry
“I-O-U” by Sherrilyn Kenyon
“Payday” by Hank Schwaeble
“Distant Drums ” by Marc Bilgrey

There’s also a nice mix of poetry.

What Waits in the Trees, by Stephanie M. Wytovich
Erasure, by Stephanie M. Wytovich
A Women Who Still Knows How to Die, by Stephanie M. Wytovich
Due to the Memory of Scars, by Stephanie M. Wytovich
Outside the Shells of Horseshoe Crabs, by Stephanie M. Wytovich
Amelia Delia Lee, by Tori Eldridge

Here’s a look at some of the interior artwork.

Weird Tales 363 Up From Slavery-small

Artwork for “Up from Slavery” by E. M. Gist

Weird Tales first appeared in March 1923, and its last issue appeared in Spring 2014 — an impressive 91-year run. In its early days it published groundbreaking work by Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, and Clark Ashton Smith, and classic fiction by Edmond Hamilton, C.L. Moore, Henry Kuttner, Algernon Blackwood, E. Hoffmann Price, Robert Bloch, Manly Wade Wellman, Seabury Quinn, Ray Bradbury, Fritz Leiber, Eric Frank Russell, Fredric Brown, Mary Elizabeth Counselman, Theodore Sturgeon, and hundreds of others. It remains the most collectible and desirable fantasy pulp, and individual issues sell for hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars.

Weird Tales 363 The Shadows Beneath the Stone-small

Interior art for “The Shadows Beneath the Stone” by Colton Worley

Some of our recent Weird Tales coverage includes:

The Weird Tales Anthologies by John O’Neill (2019)
Goth Chick News: A Unique Musical Take on a Weird Tales Classic by Sue Granquist (2017)
Weird Tales Reprints Published by Goodman Games by Howard Andrew Jones (2016)
Joe Bonadonna Reports on Weird Tales (2016)
Is Weird Tales Dead… Again? by John O’Neill (2016)
New Treasures: The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales edited by Justin Everett and Jeffrey H. Shanks by John O’Neill (2015)
Vintage Treasures: Weird Tales #1, edited by Lin Carter by John O’Neill (2014)
Vintage Treasures: Weird Tales #290 by John O’Neill (2014)
Weird Tales 362 on Sale Soon! by John O’Neill (2014)

Weird Tales is edited by Marvin Kaye and published by Weird Tales, Inc. This issue is 80 pages, priced at $12.99 for the print edition and $9.99 for the digital version. The cover is by Abigail Larson. Purchase issues directly at the website here (assuming they get the site fixed at some point).

See all our recent magazine coverage here.

28 Comments »

  1. This new issue looks great–but I have to point out that it was published in August 2019, which means it’s now been 5 months without another new issue. We have no idea if the mag is now a yearly publication, or bi-yearly, or quarterly, or….you see where I’m going here. The real question isn’t who can revive WT, it’s “Who can keep WT on a regular schedule?” Ironically–or perhaps not–WEIRDBOOK is now suffering from the same thing. Both mags would have to be considered “intermittent publications” since neither is on a regular schedule, and either one could disappear again tomorrow. Boy, publishing is a cuh-razy game…

    Comment by John R. Fultz - January 22, 2020 2:19 am

  2. It’s not really that a magazine is coming back. What we get is new magazines that got their hands on the old title.

    Giving a new thing an old name does not bring the old thing back.

    Comment by Martin Christopher - January 22, 2020 5:41 am

  3. > The real question isn’t who can revive WT, it’s “Who can keep WT on a regular schedule?”

    John,

    I guess I just assume by now that a magazine like Weird Tales isn’t going to have the luxury of a regular schedule. I’m just happy to see it back on any schedule, even it’s just “surprise me!” And especially to see it in a premium, professionally-produced package like this.

    Comment by John ONeill - January 22, 2020 11:14 am

  4. > Giving a new thing an old name does not bring the old thing back.

    Martin,

    Mmmm, I dunno. Seems to me people said the same thing when the magazine changed ownership (to Popular Fiction Publishing) and editors (to Farnsworth Wright) in 1924. And then again when it was sold to William Delaney in 1938.

    And that was DEFINITELY the sentiment when Renown Publications published two issues in the 1970s (after WT had been dead for two decades), and when Terminus resurrected it again in 1987, and then DNA Publications in 1998, and most recently when Ann VanderMeer totally revamped it at Wildside Press in 2007. Every single time, people complained, “It’s not Weird Tales. They’re just using the name.”

    Strangely enough, all those issues are Weird Tales to me. And when we talk about the magazine’s strange, wondrous 97-year history, we don’t exclude any of its incarnations, quirky as they may be. Not even those four issues Lin Carter produced in the mid-70s, when it morphed into a paperback.

    To me, they’re all Weird Tales, and I’m happy to have them.

    Comment by John ONeill - January 22, 2020 11:25 am

  5. We are all Weird Tales. 😀

    Comment by Martin Christopher - January 22, 2020 11:34 am

  6. I still love the Terminus years, especially when they were still digest-sized, and have all of the issues somewhere or other.

    I’ll be happy to check out the new version as soon as the website starts working again …

    Comment by Joe H. - January 22, 2020 11:35 am

  7. > We are all Weird Tales.

    Martin,

    LOL! Ain’t that the truth.

    Comment by John ONeill - January 22, 2020 12:22 pm

  8. > I still love the Terminus years, especially when they were still digest-sized, and have all of the issues somewhere or other.

    Joe,

    Me too! Boy, that was a beautiful magazine. I wish it had continued. The fiction was terrific as well.

    Do you have the four issues where it (briefly) changed names to Worlds of Fantasy & Horror in 1994-96?

    Comment by John ONeill - January 22, 2020 12:27 pm

  9. Yeah, I have Worlds of Fantasy & Horror somewhere in a box.

    I think I have something close to a full run of modern WT (from Terminus forward) scattered around here, but I’d need to actually track down and collate all of the issues I own to prove or disprove it.

    Comment by Joe H. - January 22, 2020 12:33 pm

  10. I always wonder why a sugardaddy – or consortium of sugardaddies (Martin, King, Del Toro, Spielberg) – can’t come in and fund something like this as a public service. They could probably do it with couch cushion money.

    Of course, it’s easy to tell someone else what they should do with their dough.

    Comment by Thomas Parker - January 22, 2020 5:23 pm

  11. The Terminus WEIRD TALES has always been my favorite run, probably because I discovered it in college at just the right time. I had already discovered the “big three” classic WT writers, and Clark Ashton Smith was my fave. I always freaked out when they published something new by Tom Ligotti or Tanith Lee, two of my all-time faves. Probably my first exposure to Lord Dunsany as well.

    As to your point, Johnny O., that it’s better to have some Weird Tales than no Weird Tales at all? I have to agree with that. Yet I wonder if the market will agree and if sales will warrant future issues. But then again I wonder if the mag has evolved beyond financial concerns at this point. Publishing fiction mags has never been a way to make a fortune. I suppose it’s all a part of the mystery of the ongoing WEIRD TALES saga…

    Comment by John R. Fultz - January 23, 2020 3:09 am

  12. It’s nice to see WT back again, but for how long this time? It’s been revolving door, and on-off lightswitch for some time. I had a story accepted by them back in 2012: it was supposed to see publication is an all “Sword and Sorcery Special Edition,” which would be appear sometime after whatever issue number they told me. Then I was told my story, at 25-K words, was too long for print, so it would appear only in the ‘e-magazine version.” Later I was told that special edition had been postponed. Time passed, and I sent a few emails,but heard nothing from them. Finally, in 2016, I emailed Kaye and told him, because no contracts had been signed, I was taking my story back because I wanted to publish it as part of one of my novels. Never heard back from him, so in 2017 I published the novel – and still have never heard a word from WT. (I am not the only one who took their stories back, either.) I wish them luck and hope they stick around and the magazine becomes a more reliable place to submit, and is published with more frequency, on a regular basis.

    Comment by Joe Bonadonna - January 23, 2020 9:50 am

  13. > I think I have something close to a full run of modern WT (from Terminus forward) scattered around
    > here, but I’d need to actually track down and collate all of the issues I own to prove or disprove it.

    Joe,

    Getting issues of the magazine hasn’t been easy the past 10 years, even for subscribers. With all the name changes, and publishing changes, and constant uncertainty. The final Terminus and Wildside issues had very low circulation, and are getting harder to find.

    Weird Tales has always posted a challenge to collectors. I suppose that’s part of why we love it!

    Comment by John ONeill - January 23, 2020 11:17 am

  14. > I always wonder why a sugardaddy – or consortium of sugardaddies (Martin, King, Del Toro, Spielberg)
    > – can’t come in and fund something like this as a public service.

    Thomas,

    I think the issue is the name. For many years it was owned by Victor Dricks and Robert Weinberg, who purchased it in 1975 from Cylvia Margulies, the widow of Leo Margulies, and they were very selective about who they licensed it to.

    To be honest I don’t know who owns the rights to the name now.

    Comment by John ONeill - January 23, 2020 11:22 am

  15. I had several stories in the George Scithers/Darrell Schweitzer edited version of the magazine. I really loved that publication. I encountered Scithers when he was editing Amazing. In one of my first rejections he said, “I hope while you were waiting to hear from us on this story that you were working on your next.”

    That’s one of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever received.

    Comment by James Van Pelt - January 23, 2020 11:22 am

  16. > But then again I wonder if the mag has evolved beyond financial concerns at this point.

    John,

    Have to admit I LOL’d at that. Evolved beyond financial concerns! If only that were possible.

    Still, if there’s a magazine that could transcend the laws of financial reality, I suppose it would have to be Weird Tales.

    Comment by John ONeill - January 23, 2020 11:24 am

  17. > I had a story accepted by them back in 2012: it was supposed to see publication is an all “Sword and Sorcery Special Edition”…

    Joe,

    Thanks for sharing that. It’s a real tragedy your story was held up for so long. I’m glad you were finally able to publish it!

    I wish Weird Tales HAD produced a “Sword and Sorcery Special Edition.” That would be something to see! Maybe it’s still in the wings, someday.

    Comment by John ONeill - January 23, 2020 11:27 am

  18. This is fantastic news. Can’t wait to read it. Right now their web site appears to be down, however.

    Comment by Ghul - January 23, 2020 12:30 pm

  19. @John: You know what would make for a great story in the revived WEIRD TALES? A new E. E. Knight “Blue Pilgrim” story.

    https://www.blackgate.com/2013/01/13/black-gate-online-fiction-the-terror-in-the-vale-by-e-e-knight/

    Comment by carlreed - January 23, 2020 1:34 pm

  20. Joe B: I had the same experience. After several years, I pulled my story and gave it to AUDIENT VOID (“Penitence of the Blade”).

    John O: LOL, I guess what I meant is that it’s no longer based on making a profit to survive. It’s published as a recognized and anticipated loss. I can’t imagine it’s making any kind of profit on such a limited publishing schedule. It’s obviously published for the passion, not the dough.

    James: Yes! The Terminus WT team (Scithers/Schweitzer) actually took the time to cultivate new writers–giving great editorial advice instead of blank rejections. Such cultivation of new talent is sadly rare in the fiction mag “industry.”

    Comment by John R. Fultz - January 23, 2020 7:32 pm

  21. Ghul: Their site’s been down for like ten years.

    Comment by John R. Fultz - January 23, 2020 9:00 pm

  22. > I encountered Scithers when he was editing Amazing. In one of my first rejections he said, “I hope
    > while you were waiting to hear from us on this story that you were working on your next.”

    > That’s one of the best pieces of writing advice I’ve ever received.

    James,

    When I first became an aspiring short story writer (at the age of 12, after reading THE EARLY ASIMOV in 1976) I submitted exclusively to Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, edited by George Scithers. He sent me a personal rejection letter for every story.

    He is certainly the reason I never gave up my dream of being a writer. He was wonderfully encouraging.

    Comment by John ONeill - January 26, 2020 10:43 am

  23. > Can’t wait to read it. Right now their web site appears to be down, however.

    Ghul,

    Five days later, it is still down. If you want a copy of the magazine, I suggest you don’t wait around for the website to come back up. That may never happen.

    Physical copies of the magazine sold out at Amazon very shortly after I ordered my copy earlier this month, and they now list it as “Currently unavailable.”

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1733286802/

    Kindle and audio versions are still available, however.

    Darrell Schweitzer has copies available at cover price ($12.99) on eBay:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/WEIRD-TALES-363-1st-NEW-ISSUE-in-5-years-Victor-LaValle-Jonathan-Maberry/401865026413

    I’ve ordered from Darrell many time and he is always reliable.

    Comment by John ONeill - January 26, 2020 10:57 am

  24. > You know what would make for a great story in the revived WEIRD TALES? A new E. E. Knight “Blue Pilgrim” story.

    Carl,

    Hear! Hear!

    I LOVE that series (although it’s only two stories long now). They are among the finest modern S&S currently being published, and I hope Eric writes more.

    Comment by John ONeill - January 26, 2020 11:01 am

  25. Woohoo! Kindle version purchased (and TBH I’m much more likely to actually READ it if it’s on my Kindle anyway.)

    Comment by Joe H. - January 26, 2020 1:03 pm

  26. Oh, who am I kidding? I also ordered a physical copy, just on general principles.

    Comment by Joe H. - January 26, 2020 1:40 pm

  27. Johnny O.: That is a great story about George Scithers. I’ve heard so many great things about him from Darrell, but I never had the honor to meet George. He was a true giant of the field. Rest In Peace

    Comment by John R. Fultz - January 26, 2020 10:57 pm

  28. Hey, John. My relationship with George Scithers went back for years before he finally bought a story from me. He sent me that first rejection from Amazing with the admonition that I should be writing while waiting to hear from him (he also pointed out that I had written “breath” in my first paragraph when I meant “breathe”).

    I kept sending him work, often with a comment in the cover letter about the last issue, or a reaction to a news article about him or the magazine, and over time he started to write longer and chattier replies about how I was doing or about other western Colorado writers, so that after a while he started to feel like a pen pal.

    I finally met him at a convention in the late 90s, I think. At about the same time I met Darrell Schweitzer. I’m so glad that I had a chance to thank George for the time he spent helping me grow (Weird Tales took ten of my stories overall), and fortunately I can still chat with Darrell when we cross paths.

    Comment by James Van Pelt - January 28, 2020 9:45 pm


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