The Troubled History of Weird Tales Magazine

File:Weird Tales October 1934.jpg

When the fall arrives, I get into the mood for darker fiction, particularly H.P. Lovecraft. I’ve written about Lovecraft before, but I didn’t quite realize how important the magazine was, despite its general flaws in quality, to the genre. Authors such as C.L. Moore, and quite a few others passed through its pages, and it’s clear that it’s a publication that’s just as important as Astounding or Amazing Stories.

Go read The Troubled History of Weird Tales Magazine over on Kirkus Reviews.
Sources Used:

The Time Machines: The Story of science-fiction pulp magazines from the beginning to 1950, Mike Ashley: Ashley’s fairly comprehensive history touches on Weird Tales, and provided some excellent details on the operations of the magazine, in context with the rest of the pulp magazine market.
Lovecraft: A Look Behind the ‘Cthulhu Mythos’, Lin Carter: Carter’s book talks about Lovecraft’s interactions with the magazine, which provided some crucial details.
The Creation of Tomorrow: Fifty Years of Magazine Science Fiction, Paul A. Carter: This book is another history of speculative fiction magazines, and it provided some good details and context on Weird Tales’ place in the market.
The Pulps, edited by Tony Goodstone: This is actually a neat anthology of stories from the pulp era, prefaced with a blurb about the magazines. Weird Tales has a whole section, along with stories from Tennessee Williams, Page Cooper, Frank Belknap Long Jr., Mary Elizabeth Counselman, Malcom Jameson, Virgil Finley, Clark Ashton Smith and H.P. Lovecraft.
A Dreamer and a Visionary: H.P. Lovecraft in His Time, S. T. Josti: Another book on Lovecraft that shed some interesting details on Lovecraft’s interactions with the magazine.
The Man from Mars: Ray Palmer’s Amazing Pulp Journey, Fred Nadis: This is a recent biography that talked a bit about Fransworth Wright, one of the major editors at the magazine.
Conversations with the Weird Tales Circle, John Pelan: This astonishing book is a tome, with an impressive, excited survey of Weird Tales authors and editors (although interestingly, Dorothy McIlwraith is missing.) with a lot of primary source information. This was particularly helpful with Wright, but also with primary source impressions from the authors who wrote for the magazine.
The Weird Tales Story, Robert E. Weinberg: This book is an exhuberant, editorialized history of the magazine, which helped put some of the major events into place.


6 thoughts on “The Troubled History of Weird Tales Magazine

  1. Dear Mr. Liptak,
    I just wanted to let you know that Weird Tales Magazine is alive and well. The newest issue under the Nth Dimensions Media imprint is about to be released. This will be the 3rd issue since the relaunch. So far we’ve published such authors as Ramsey Campbell, Brian Lumley, Darrell Schweitzer, Tannith Lee, Peter Beagle, Jane Yolen and Michael Shea mong many others.
    So you can see that the rumors of our death have been greatly exaggerated, or as the Germans say “Totgeglaubte leben länger”.

    I’d be more than pleased to send you .pdfs of our last two issues if you are interested.
    Douglas B. Draa
    Contributing editor, Weird Tales Magazine.

    If you have any questions I can be reched at

      • Hi Mr. Liptak
        Thanks for the Lightspeed tip. Since I’m responsible for on-line content I’ll take a look at how I can avoid misunderstandings like this in the future.

        Now I have a favor to ask of you. Kirkus is a huge site with an enormous readership and it is harmful to the magazine and simply a disaster as far as our livelyhood are concerned for your huge audience to believe that we are dead and not in business any more. Can you please amend your article or possibly make a correction/retraction?


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