Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Weird Moves at Weird Tales

Weird Tales, Summer 2011Ann VanderMeer has announced that she will no longer be editing Weird Tales. Apparently Marvin Kaye has purchased the magazine, intending to edit it himself.

I find this decision most unfortunate and, I must say, rather weird. Weird Tales had become a much more interesting magazine under Ann VanderMeer and her staff, an intriguing blend of high fantasy, dark fantasy, absurdism, even a little science fiction. It's had a gorgeous look with Mary Robinette Kowal as art director and interesting features under non-fiction editor Paula Guran. I wasn't the only one who was impressed -- the magazine just won its first Hugo Award two years ago.

VanderMeer says the first issue with Marvin Kaye as editor will be "Cthulhu-themed," which suggests the new direction will be a big step backwards. Perhaps there's still a large untapped market for H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard pastiches, although the ongoing struggles of Weird Tales to stay afloat since the 1950's suggest otherwise. But as much as I love the old pulp version of Weird Tales, it seems to me that writers have already had plenty of time to add to the Cthulhu mythos and explore Conan-style sword & sorcery. I suppose I shouldn't pre-judge what Marvin Kaye plans for Weird Tales, but his initial decision to jettison the current excellent staff does not bode well.

I just subscribed to Weird Tales for the first time this year, but now I highly doubt I'll be renewing that subscription.


Stony said...

I cancelled my subscription shortly after Vandemeer took over. With this new development, I'll subscribe back in an instant.

Aaron Hughes said...

I guess you and I are a wash, then.

What did you dislike about Weird Tales under VanderMeer?

Stony said...

Nothing in particular about WT's content. I should have clarified before, but my gripe was with their subscription service. First year subscribed, I received 2 issues. Second year 1 issue, third year 6 issues, but 2 of those were copies of previous issues. I'll give it another try with the new management.