The Decline and Fall of Weird Tales: A Rant of WTF?

So, practically everybody in the little corner of the internet I inhabit called it.  Weird Tales looks to be gleefully racing to its own self destruction. I remember last year when Wildside Press sold the magazine to Nth Dimension. There was a lot of trepidation that the magazine would change for the worse. And recent events have clearly borne that assessment out.

What the hell were the editors thinking? Publishing an excerpt of a piece of crap racist novel like Saving the Pearl is asinine at the least and bigoted at the worst. Why sacrifice the reputation of the magazine for this? Especially when the damn story isn’t even in the magazine’s purview. Did the editor so love it that he assumed everyone would? Or is there more going on than appears?

There have been other indications that the magazine has declined precipitously since Ann VanderMeer was removed as EIC. Locus slammed a preview of the new regime’s stories, a new issue under said new regime has (to my knowledge) yet to see newstands, and the website looks like dung.

I’m not going to get too far into the whole Saving the Pearl crapfest. Just reading the descriptions makes me want to vomit. Who in their right mind would want to publish such crap? Oh yeah. . .

I think the fall of Weird Tales illustrates something very important in the world of literature. Never do anything like it is a damn vanity project. From my understanding, the new editor (Marvin Kaye) wanted to return the magazine to its “glory days” by which, I think, he meant the old school weird that he likes. This trumped the fact that under VanderMeer, the magazine was undergoing a renaissance of relevance. Why end that?

So, where do we go from here? I heard that Shimmer has gone prorate for those authors who wish to no longer submit or associate with WT. And there have been rumblings of starting a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money to buy WT and return it to Ann VanderMeer’s considerably more capable hands.

Both ideas have merit. Although, I suspect not even returning the magazine to VanderMeer’s editorship will save it now. Rather, maybe starting a new weird magazine is the way to go? It seems to me that more webzines and magazines are always a good idea.

The more I think about this whole mess, the more my mind boggles. Honestly, how stupid can the editor (and publisher) of Weird Tales be?

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Posted on August 21, 2012, in Books and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Yup. The mind boggles at Marvin Kaye’s stupidity. And the novel in question was self published, which means no one else wanted to touch it.

    But as for buying back the magazine…why? The real Weird Tales ceased publication in 1954. This current version began in 1988; the only thing it shares with the original is the name. A new Weird Fiction Quarterly or something would better serve; Kaye can have his “all Cthulhu, all the time” pet project–not many people are going to be interested in endless Lovecraft pastiches as is.

    If you really wanted to bring back the “glory days” of Weird Tales, why not print facsimile copies of the original run and leave the newest incarnation of the magazine alone?

    • I completely agree that a new weird magazine is more desirable. I like Weird Fiction Quarterly or maybe even New Weird Magazine as a new magazine.
      Facsimile editions sounds like a great idea. I know I’d go for one or two. I do wonder, though, who would get the money for the sale of Weird Tales facsimiles?

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