With its March issue the American Weird Tales, which pioneered the development of the supernatural story as a specialised form of popular fiction and was one of the first magazines to feature science-fantasy, celebrates a quarter-century of regular publication. During that time it has published thousands of stories, of which a very high percentage remain memorable to its devoted readers and are acceptable to-day to a bigger audience; for no other pulp magazine has contrived to maintain such a high literary standard as was imposed by the late Farnsworth Wright, who for sixteen years occupied its editorial chair.
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 2|
ARTHUR F. HILLMAN reviews
25 YEARS OF 'WEIRD TALES'
Early in 1923 a small, unpretentious magazine with the simple title of Weird Tales appeared among the detective and Western pulps cluttering American newstands. A drab cover pictured a young man rushing to the rescue of a girl encoiled in the arms of an octopus -or was it an octopus? A panel announced: "OOZE," An Extraordinary Novelette by Anthony M. Rud - The Tale of a Thousand Thrills. A subtitle described it as "The Unique Magazine," and those curious enough to look inside found that although there were no more pictures the contents page listed 22 short stories, three novelettes and a two-part novel. The titles were attractive: "The Dead Man's Tale," by Willard E. Hawkins; "The Closing Hand," by Farnsworth Wright; "The Thing of a Thousand Shapes," by Otis Adelbert Kline . . . Worth 25 cents of any jaded reader's money.
other publications tabooed. Said an introduction elsewhere: "Tales of horror-or 'gooseflesh, stories-are commonly shunned by magazine editors. They believe the public doesn't want this sort of fiction. We believe there are . . perhaps hundreds of thousands of intelligent readers who really enjoy 'gooseflesh' stories. Hence Weird Tales." It promised "fantastic, extraordinary, grotesque stories, stories of strange and bizarre adventure . . . that will startle and amaze you."
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 3|
judgment and painstaking effort in the encouragement of contributors brought the steady improvement of the magazine, which had been taken over by new publishers. Gradually the standard was raised; writers who could not make the grade were eliminated, and others who were destined to rank among the most popular exponents of the macabre arose to take their places. It became apparent that, in spite of its being "just a pulp," Weird Tales was intent on accentuating literate values and eschewing crude hackwork. Among those who rallied to Wright's assistance and stood the test of his severe adjudication were Frank Belknap Long, Henry S. Whitehead, and Frank Owen whose beautiful Chinese pastels reached a new height in "The Wind that Tramps the World" (April '25).
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 4|
but notable contributions. But the period is most important for the rise of Carl Jacobi, beginning with "Revelations in Black" (April '33), and C. L. Moore, whose eerie tale of a Martian monstrosity, "Shambleau" (Nov. '33), quickly placed her in the front rank. The later adventures of Northwest Smith brought him a host of followers, and his creator enhanced her reputation with another series built around Jirel of Joiry, a warlike maid whose outlandish experiences began with "The Black God's Kiss" (Oct. '34).
artwork. Smith, Owen and other old contributors appeared but seldom, while the inspirational spark of Quinn and Hamilton flickered sullenly. The years '41-42 saw, however, a revival of interest in Lovecraft, with the publication of his novel, "The Case of Charles. Dexter Ward" (May-Jul. '41), unearthed by his understudy August Derleth, and of "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" (Jan.. '42), and the "Herbert West: Reanimator" series. They were distinguished, also, for a broadening of the trend of macabre humour; Nelson S. Bond and Robert Bloch achieving absurdities with the supernatural, particularly the latter's "Nursemaid to Nightmares" (Nov. '42), which must have set many a ghoul dancing with rage.
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 5|
Walter Gillings' FANTASIA
Groff Conklin's second anthology, "A Treasury of Science Fiction," due next month from Crown Publishers, with 30 gems by Weinbaum, Merritt, Coblentz, Hamilton, C. L. Moore, de Camp, del Rey, John Beynon Harris and others. Also in the making: s-f collection for high schoolboys . . . Simon & Schuster will re-publish A. E. van Vogt's "Slan!" and "Weapon Makers" stories following novel version of "World of Null-A," to which he's writing sequel . . . . New British author, Peter Phillips, will make U.S. debut in Weird Tales . . . After four years inactivity, Australian fantasy fans revived Futurian Society of Sydney, propose to call themselves "Auslans . . . . . . Roger P. Graham (Rog Phillips) doing column for fans in Amazing . . Lilith Lorraine, former science fiction writer, poetess-publisher of Different, prophesies dawn of Matriarchal Age-a world of women without war . . .
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 6|
The Fantasy Film
PROPHECIES IN CELLULOID
By Frank Edward Arnold
Few followers of science-fantasy are unfamiliar with the theme that their favourite literature forms, as it were, a body of modern mythology, with its superhuman heroes and its sagas of the future. Those of us who have been devotees since pre-war days are also familiar at least with the titles of the many films which have presented in celluloid the sort of imaginative excesses our science-fiction writers so often indulge in; particularly the old German silent films, such as "Metropolis" and "The Girl in the Moon." Those who did not actually see them will have heard of them, as unforgettable experiences in the life of every true fantasy fan.
*From Caligari to Hitler, by Siegfried Kracauer. Princeton University Press, $5.00.
drawing their material from contemporary life, envisioned the world as a helpless thing threatened by an insane tyranny on one hand and wild chaos on the other. The people were undecided either way; they were fascinated by visions of both tyranny and chaos, and in moods of fear they turned to whimsical day-dreams. Screen dramas prophesied the coming of some insane tyrant who would dominate the world with fear before plunging it into a final doom. The prophesies piled up, until with the advent of Hitler the monstrous villains of the early silent films-the Caligaris and Mabuses, the Golems and the rest- stepped right out of the screen and walked about the world in real life, committing hideous crimes in actuality.
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 7|
"Homunculus," a thriller-serial which was very successful in Germany during the first war. As the title suggests, it is a Frankenstein story of a man from the test-tube: a handsome and brilliantly intelligent creature. But, like the Golem, he has trouble with women-and runs amok. He then wanders the earth like an outcast, though often received in society with delight-until people hear he is Homunculus, the man without a soul. In a distant country he becomes a dictator; in secret, he rouses the masses in rebellion against himself, whereupon he crushes them with ruthless cruelty. Finally he wanders up a mountain in the midst of a storm, and is finished off by a thunderbolt.
Contemporary with it was another Homunculus film, "Alraune," being a woman concocted in a test-tube. Daughter of a flanged criminal and a prostitute, she turns out a fascinating supervamp who ruins everybody she meets, finally killing herself off. It was shorter than the earlier film and less spectacular.
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 8|
NIGEL LINDSAY & KENNETH SLATER
Good news this month for our booksy friends. Fantastic Novels, war-time companion of Famous Fantastic Mysteries, has been revived after seven years' suspension, and will feature reprints from the old Munsey magazines. Following a surprise announcement by Editor Mary Gnaedinger, the first of the new, bi-monthly issues appeared last month, dated March '48, with A. Merritt's famous "The Ship of Ishtar," ,scheduled to appear in FFM just before that magazine changed hands. Illustrations are by Virgil Finlay.
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 9|
from Mars," a novelette by Robert Bloch, and a short Berkeley Livingstone fantasy concerning "The Phantom Hands." Next issue brings yet another Shaver novel, "Gods of Venus,' to the tune of 87,000 words, and in April RAP threatens to "knock you right over" by proving "part" of the Mystery. Don't say we didn't warn you.
GILLINGS DIRECTS WRITER'S COURSE
Walter Gillings, Editor Fantasy Review, has been appointed Director of Studies of the ABC Correspondence Schools, belonging to Hutchinson's the publishers. He is now supervising the well-known course in journalism and short-story writing previously conducted by Fleur McKitterick, former editor The Writer.
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 10|
Out of the Archives
EDISON'S CONQUEST OF MARS, by Garrett P. Serviss. Carcosa House, Los-Angeles. $3.50
Reviewed by Thomas Sheridan
This is the first production of a new publishing house with the avowed intention of resurrecting fantasy "classics" of specially rare vintage and of particularly interest to the collector. In this instance they have us all agog; for the newspaper serial from which the book was compiled has the rarity-value which comes of its having lain dormant in the Washington Library of Congress for half a century, secure from the ravishment of fantasy's ardent fans until its recent discovery.
indeed have been sensational in that day and age, in spite of its deriving inspiration from Mr. Wells's "War of the Worlds," which had just been serialised in the American Cosmopolitan magazine, to which Serviss was a regular contributor. All the evidence is, in fact, that he wrote the story, for publication as fast as he penned it, at the express behest of the Journal, in an attempt to exploit the public interest engendered in Mars and the Martians.
*"The Moon Metal," reprinted from All-Story (1905), and more recently revived by Famous Fantastic Mysteries; "A Columbus of Space" (All-Story, '09); "The Second Deluge" (Cavalier, '11), also reprinted in Amazing Quarterly. These stories have also been presented in book form. Other magazine pieces which have never been reprinted are "The Sky Pirate" (Scrap Book, '09) and "The Moon Maiden" (Argosy, '15).
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 11|
Although, as an astronomer, Garrett Putnam Serviss was internationally renowned (we were wont to regard him as the American Flammarion), it was news to us that in his early years he was a working journalist, having chosen to start as a reporter on the New York Tribune instead of practising law. Thence he rose to an editoral post on the Sun, to which one fancies he gravitated naturally, since it was that paper which organised the famous Moon Hoax. So he began to write anonymous pieces on astronomy, which became so popular that he was inspired to take up lecturing on scientific topics. In this he met with such success that, in 1892, he abandoned newspaperdom to tour the country giving the "Urania Lectures" sponsored by Andrew Carnegie; but he continued to produce articles and books in a constant stream until his death in 1929.
Mr. Derleth to the Rescue
THE SLEEPING AND THE DEAD: 30 Uncanny Tales, edited by August Derleth. Pellegrini, Chicago. $3.75.
Reviewed by Arthur F. Hillman
In this new collection, started by Stephen Grendon and subsequently taken over by the indefatigable Mr. Derleth, is seen the same guiding hand that gave us the three weird story anthologies which came from the house of Rinehart. Mr. Derleth's greatestasset as an anthologist is not the flair which he undoubtedly has for picking excellent material; for there are many with such a knack. Rather, it is the boldness with which he has explored further and further afield for his selections, as the result of which much bril- liant work has been duly recognised.
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 12|
remainder have been unavailable for too long. Altogether, the book is something of a- mixture, with little attempt to inject order or suitability among its varied contents; the thirty stories jostle each other like new recruits on the parade ground, each eyeing the other askance. But time can reveal the merits of the most awkward bunch of rookies; and their comparative newness will not for long obscure the fact that here is an assembly of really first-class tales chosen with rare astuteness.
Fantasy Classics in Book Form
THE SKYLARK OF SPACE By E. E. Smith, Ph.D.
THE MIGHTIEST MACHINE By John W. Campbell, Jr.
THE BOOK OF PTATH By A. E. van Vogt
THE BLACK FLAME By Stanley G. Weinbaum
READY MARCH: "Doc" Smith's greatest epic
OTHER TITLES STILL AVAILABLE
OF WORLDS BEYOND
THE FORBIDDEN GARDEN
THE LEGION OF SPACE
E. J. CARNELL
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 13|
. . . And Other Expositions
THE GREAT FOG and Other Weird Tales by Gerald Heard. Cassell, London. 8/6.
Reviewed by John Beynon
This is a book which has already seen at least two different editions* in the U.S.A., where the author has adopted the name of H. F. Heard and apparently endeared himself to our American friends. Had he attempted, within the scope allowed by 234 pages, to provide something for every type of fantasy reader, he could scarcely have been more comprehensive.
comparing incomparables, and no less productive of cross-purposed red herrings. Yet it is possible to feel justified in questioning whether 'tales' is an entirely apt description of pieces that break up at about 80 per cent, ingenious exposition and 20 per cent. story. From a less accomplished source the point might be passed, but it is disappointing to find nine interesting essays and inventions in such confident prose hung upon such skeletons of narrative.
*Originally published under the above title by Vanguard, New York, in '44, and reprinted as Weird Tales of Terror and Detection by Sun Dial, New York, in '46.
An Epic from the Dark Ages
THE MIGHTIEST MACHINE, by John W. Campbell. Hadley, Providence, Rhode Island. $3.00.
Reviewed by John K. Aiken
In what John Taine, somewhat justifiably, calls "the dark ages of science fiction," Scienceand not necessarily good science, at thatwas all that was required of it. Take a quasi-scientific idea, no matter how preposterous if novel: an invasion of giant beetles from the Cretaceous epoch, female vampires living in interstellar spaceanything; add a handful of totally trite characters: the Professor, his lovely daughter, the ingenious hero and his stooging pal, the super-villain; stir into an improbable and ungrammatical mush, and you had an acceptable story.
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 14|
are given science in full measure, pressed down and running over. It is interesting, self - consistent, well -thought-out science, but there is too much of it and too little else.
From Mars to Charing Cross
REVELATIONS IN BLACK, by Carl Jacobi. Arkham House, Sauk City, Wis. $3.00.
Reviewed by Arthur F. Hillman
Good writers, even for the lowliest magazines, will sooner or later acquire a coterie of admirers. Carl Jacobi's flair for creating the perfect tale in the genre of the weird and fantastic was long since noted by discerning readers, to whom it is of no small satisfaction to see this first collection of his work emerging from Arkham House.
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 15|
ARKHAM HOUSE BOOKS
NIGHT'S BLACK AGENTS By Fritz Leiber, Jnr.
CARNACKI, THE GHOST-FINDER By William Hope Hodgson
THE SLEEPING AND THE DEAD Edited by August Derleth
REVELATIONS IN BLACK By Carl Jacobi
STRANGE PORTS OF CALL Edited by August Derleth
SELECTED LETTERS By H. P. Lovecraft An important addition to the literature of America's master of the macabre, who was also one of the great letter-writers. 36/-
G. KEN CHAPMAN (British Sales Representative), 23 Farnley Road, South Norwood, London, S.E.25
Worms & Whiskies
THE MASTER OF THE MACABRE, by Russell Thorndike. Rich and Cowan, London. 8/6.
Reviewed by Alan Devereux
Nothing to do with Lovecraft, this concerns an overworked writer who is lured by ghosts to an old abbey which is very thoroughly haunted. In residence is the Master, a wealthy occult investigator attended by a Crichton of a manservant who is quite incredible. In the intervals of unravelling the psychic mysteries of the place, the Master recounts some of his cases to the author, who acts as his Boswellcum-Dr. Watson and so gives us the benefit of his harrowing narratives. At least, that is the intention.
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 16|
FANTASY, INSPIRED LOVECRAFT
"Of living creators of cosmic fear raised to its most artistic pitch, few if any can hope to equal the versatile Arthur Machen, author of some dozen tales long and short, in which the elements of hidden horror and brooding fright attain an almost incomparable substance and realistic acuteness . . . his powerful horror-material of the nineties and early nineteen hundreds stands alone in its class, and marks a distinct epoch in the history of this literary form."
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 17|
Through many of Machen's stories runs the theme, familiar to readers of weird fiction, that a strange race of creatures, as real as ourselves but of terribly different origin, lurks beneath Earth's surface. Like Lovecraft, he consistently conveyed in his writings' the idea that man was preceded on this planet by other forms of life, which retreated into its hidden caverns eons ago, and still survive in expectation of coming into their own again when conditions favour them. This notion, which is found in ancient Jewish and Arabic folklore, was the basis of Love-craft's Cthulthu Mythos, in the-construction of which he derived much. from Machen and other writers who had dwelt on the theme. According to his biographer, August Derleth,. Machen's story of "The White People" influenced him particularly in forming: his conception of "The Ancient Ones"; and it was this tale Lovecraft listed' with "The Novel of the White Powder" and "The Novel of the Black Seal" (featured of late in American anthologies and Famous Fantastic Mysteries), as among the finest pieces of their kind ever written.
Geoffrey Giles writes
We promised to pay due attention, this issue, to books forthcoming from what we'd call the Other Side if it didn't sound so ethereal; and American publishers' productions are very substantial compared with some of our slim volumes. There's another of their big anthologies which may appeal to you: "Man into Beast: Strange Tales of Transformation," selected and edited by A, C. Spectorsky (Doubleday, $3.75). This presents ten stories on the theme of metamorphosis from human to animal form, which has haunted Mr. Spectorsky from childhood, apparently. Among them are Ben Hecht's "Professor Emmett," who turned into a termite, John Collier's familiar "Green Thoughts," and Stephen Vincent Benet's horrifying piece about the man who became "King of the Cats."
THE LOVECRAFT LETTERS
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 18|
which are seldom seen these days, with others which have never before been between hard covers, by authors including Keller, Kuttner, Schuyler Miller, Sturgeon, Bond and Heinlein; plus the rare Lovecraft Astounding item, "At the Mountains of Madness."
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||page 19|
Were Human." Among a small library ,of time-honoured classics promised by Fantasy Publishing Co., Los Angeles, of which some have already been noted here, half-a-dozen Unknown tales by van Vogt and E. Mayne Hull have been collected under the title, "Out of the Unknown," and illustrated by the three Fantasy Book artists; while L. Ron Hubbard's "Death's Deputy" is in preparation from the same source. Also in embryo are "The Omnibus of Time," compiled from Ralph Milne Farley's time-travel tales in several magazines17 of them in all-and the first of his noted series of novels concerning "The Radio Man" originally appearing in Argosy, which will be followed by the further exploits of Myles Cabot.
Special Rate to Collectors: 2d. per word (5c. Canada and U.S.A.); minimum 12 words. To Traders and others: 3d.per word (7c. in Canada and U.S.A.). All Advertisements in this section must be prepaid. Box numbers 6d. (15c.) extra.
|FANTASY REVIEW||Volume 2 No. 7||Back Page|
The FEBRUARY 1948 ISSUE ofAstounding SCIENCE FICTION
is NOW ON SALE.ADVANCE INFORMATION
The SPRING 1948 ISSUE ofUNKNOWN WORLDS
will be ON SALE SATURDAY, MARCH 6th
If you have any difficulty in obtaining your copies please communicate with:
Ripley Printing Society Ltd., Ripley, Derbys.
This version of the magazine was assembled by Farrago & Farrago using a copy from the collection of the late Harry Turner, who created the cover artwork for the early issues of Fantasy Review.
All copyrights acknowledged, all articles and artwork remain the intellectual property of their creators.