Thursday, August 23, 2012

Weird Tales Books

Weird Tales edited by Leo Margulies

Pulp magazines spawned paperbacks and comic books, thereby spelling their own doom. From the early 1940s onward, pulp magazines slowly sank as readers turned to paperback books and comics for entertainment, mostly in the same genres of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and so on. When Leo Margulies acquired the Weird Tales property in the 1950s, he also acquired the rights to (or at least direct access to) a large body of material. Rather than let those old stories molder away in brittle and yellowing magazines, Margulies compiled and edited a number of paperback collections in the 1960s featuring stories from the original Weird Tales. Those collections were more or less smaller versions of the magazine, but without the ads, the letters, and the run-of-the-mill stories. I'll show four paperback collections over the next few days, beginning with a book drawn entirely from "The Unique Magazine," right down to its title.

Issued by Pyramid Books, Weird Tales features cover art by Virgil Finlay and eight stories from some of the magazine's most admired authors. Margulies introduced each story, beginning with Edmond Hamilton's darkly comic "The Man Who Returned" and ending with one of the scariest tales you're likely to read, Robert E. Howard's "Pigeons from Hell." Also in the mix: Leiber, Bloch, Dyalhis, Lovecraft, Derleth, and Long. Missing are C.L. Moore and Clark Ashton Smith, but Margulies corrected that oversight in later collections. I should mention that Nictzin Dyalhis' story "The Sea Witch" (also spelled "Sea-Witch") is justly included in this collection, as it is probably his finest story and one of the most admired of all stories published in the original Weird Tales

Weird Tales edited by Leo Margulies
(Pyramid Books, 1964, 155 pp.)
Introduction by Leo Margulies
"The Man Who Returned" by Edmond Hamilton (Weird Tales, Feb. 1934)
"Spider Mansion" by Fritz Leiber, Jr. (Sept. 1942)
"A Question of Etiquette" by Robert Bloch (Sept. 1942)
"The Sea Witch" by Nictzin Dyalhis (Dec. 1937)
"The Strange High House in the Mist" (Oct. 1931)
"The Drifting Snow" by August W. Derleth (Feb. 1939)
"The Body-Masters" by Frank Belknap Long (Feb. 1935)
"Pigeons from Hell" by Robert E. Howard (May 1938)

Weird Tales (Pyramid Books R-1029) with a cover by Virgil Finlay.
Text copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

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