Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy Birthday, Shambleau!

Eighty years ago this month, in November 1933, "Shambleau" by C.L. Moore was published in Weird Tales. It was the author's first published story, consequently her first for "The Unique Magazine." It was also the first tale in the saga of Northwest Smith, that pale-eyed interplanetary adventurer and progenitor of Han Solo (and perhaps also Travis McGee, John D. MacDonald's Florida boat bum with eyes the color of spit.) "Shambleau" took the world of weird fiction by storm. Farnsworth Wright, E. Hoffman Price, and H.P. Lovecraft were instant fans--and it's no wonder why. If you haven't read "Shambleau" yet, you should at your earliest opportunity.

Happy Birthday, Shambleau!

"Shambleau" was originally printed in Weird Tales in November 1933.  A quarter century later, Galaxy Publishing reprinted the story in a digest-sized "Galaxy Novel #31." One source says that the cover art was by Wally Wood.
A British edition came along three years later (1961). The label "A Science Horror Fantasy" covers all the bases.
A second British edition showed up in 1976. I don't know the name of the cover artist for either edition.
Alexis Oussenko created the illustration for this French edition from 1973.
"Shambleau" was translated into Italian for this edition of 1982. The cover artists were Paolo Tassinari and Pierpaolo Vetta. 
Finally, another Italian edition from 1991 with cover art by Oscar Chichoni (b. 1957). The cover story is "Vintage Season" ("La stagione della vendemmia"), but the cover illustration is clearly a depiction of C.L. Moore's vampiric Martian Medusa.
Text and captions copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley

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