Monday, November 14, 2011

Who Wrote the Most Stories for Weird Tales?

The original Weird Tales was in print from March 1923 to September 1954, 279 issues in all. Hundreds of men and women contributed to "The Unique Magazine." As far as I know, no one has counted their number or how many stories they wrote. Some writers sold a single story to Weird Tales, while others became stars, contributing story after story during the magazine's heyday. Three authors--H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith--are closely identified with Weird Tales, yet none was more prolific than Seabury Quinn (1889-1969), a lawyer and journalist who wrote over 500 stories in his lifetime. His works for Weird Tales numbered 159, of which fourteen were non-fiction. Most of those stories starred occult detective Jules de Grandin, descended perhaps from Sherlock Holmes and Carnacki the Ghost-Finder. One of Quinn's most admired stories was "Roads," published in Weird Tales in January 1938. An unusual Christmas story, "Roads" appeared in print as the world marched towards war.

Second to Quinn was August W. Derleth (1909-1971), who wrote 101 stories under his own name, plus 13 more under the pseudonym Stephen Grendon, and another 22 stories in collaboration with others. Derleth co-founded Arkham House, a publisher of hardbound weird fiction, much of it from Weird Tales. He was largely responsible for keeping H.P. Lovecraft's name in print after Lovecraft's death in 1937. Third in ranking is Edmond Hamilton (1904-1977) with 76 stories, followed by Robert Bloch (1917-1994) with 66. Only then do the big three show up on the list: Clark Ashton Smith (63), Robert E. Howard (54), and H.P. Lovecraft (49, not counting collaborations, revisions, and ghost-written stories). The most prolific woman among contributors to Weird Tales was Allison V. Harding with 36 stories, followed by Mary Elizabeth Counselman with 30. (There is reason to believe that Allison V. Harding was not a woman. I'll cover that possibility in a series of future postings.) In any case, following is a list, based on my count of titles in The Collector's Index to Weird Tales by Sheldon Jaffery and Fred Cook (1985). If my count is wrong, only I am to blame. If my count is correct, then it's only as good as Jaffery and Cook's list. Also, I have counted stories that appeared in the original run of Weird Tales, 1923 to 1954, and not in the revivals of 1973-1974 or 1981. Finally, as you can see towards the bottom of the list, the order might change depending on how you count. The same is true in the case of H.P. Lovecraft, who revised and ghost-wrote several stories without being given credit in print. As always, Lovecraft is unique.

Who Wrote the Most Stories for Weird Tales?
1. Seabury Quinn, 145 stories and 14 articles
2. August W. Derleth, 101 stories under his own name, plus 13 stories under the pseudonym Stephen Grendon (114 total), plus 22 stories in collaboration with others
3. Edmond Hamilton, 76 stories
4. Robert Bloch, 66
5. Clark Ashton Smith, 63
6. Robert E. Howard, 54
7. H.P. Lovecraft, 49 stories on his own, plus 4 in collaboration with others, not counting revisions and ghost-written stories
8. Manly Wade Wellman, 39 stories on his own, plus 1 in collaboration with others
9. Paul Ernst, 37
10. Allison V. Harding, 36
11. Frank Owen, 34
12. Mary Elizabeth Counselman, 30
13. (tie) Arthur J. Burks, 29
13. (tie) Harold Lawler, 29
14. Frank Belknap Long, 28 stories on his own, plus 1 in collaboration with others
15. (tie) Henry S. Whitehead, 26
15. (tie) Alvin F. Harlow, 26, all of which are articles
16. Ray Bradbury, 25
17. E. Hoffman Price, 24 stories on his own, plus 2 in collaboration with others
18. Arlton Eadie, 24
19. Henry Kuttner, 23 stories on his own, plus 2 in collaboration with others
20. David H. Keller, 22

Seabury Quinn (1889-1969), the most prolific author in Weird Tales.
Copyright 2011 Terence E. Hanley

2 comments:

  1. Chris Jarocha-ErnstOctober 28, 2013 at 6:32 AM

    If you're counting others' pseudonyms and collaborations, why would you not count Lovecraft's? (His "revisions" were often original stories based on a mere germ of an idea from the nominal "author".)

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  2. Hi, Chris,

    I know that H.P. Lovecraft collaborated with other authors, often (if not always) rewriting or ghostwriting their stories. However, those authors were real people and not pseudonyms. Despite Lovecraft's contributions to their stories, he did not receive credit in the magazine or in Jaffery and Cook's index, which is my source here.

    As for other authors:
    1) I have not counted any uncredited collaborations for anyone.
    2) Pseudonyms referred to in the list are known to have been used exclusively by individual authors. I think we can safely credit them with stories written under their own pseudonyms.

    TH

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