My series "Utopia & Dystopia in Weird Tales" grew out of the previous series of quotes from Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, and the Parable of the Grand Inquisitor from The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. After writing so much about Utopia/Dystopia, I wanted to circle back to Weird Tales, but I didn't have any examples of either genre drawn from the pages of "The Unique Magazine." In other words, I started something without knowing where it would go--or if it would go at all. I think I have an idea now, a thesis that I hope will hold up and carry me through to the end of this series.
Weird fiction and its related genres would seem to have little to do with Utopia/Dystopia. The former are more nearly popular or traditional genres, while the latter seems higher, more intellectual, more philosophical. Weird fiction very often takes an old form--the tale, hence the title of the magazine. Utopia/Dystopia is newer, more contrived it seems to me. It is or can be considered within the realm of science fiction; both parts of that term, science and fiction, are developments of the modern world, I think, more particularly the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The combined term science fiction didn't appear in print until 1929. Weird Tales by then was already six years old, and the phrase weird tales had been used in the titles of books for more than forty years.
People try to intellectualize weird fiction, but that might not be as easy a task as intellectualizing science fiction. There have been myriads of studies and examinations of science fiction, and if I calculate correctly, far fewer--at least until recently--of weird fiction. I might be stretching ideas here, but I don't have to go very far with that in order to get to where I'm going with this series.
Anyway, here are the parts so far:
- Utopia and Dystopia in Weird Tales-Part One: Utopia Before Dystopia (Dec. 16, 2020)
- Utopia and Dystopia in Weird Tales-Part Two: Looking Forward to Going Backward (Dec. 17, 2020)
- Utopia and Dystopia in Weird Tales-Part Three: Dystopia Before Utopia (Jan. 6, 2021)
- Utopia and Dystopia in Weird Tales-Part Four: Utopia Into Lost Worlds (Jan. 8, 2021)