Weird Tales and the Fiction of the Future

I don’t usually write posts about the publishing industry because I have next to no knowledge of it. I’m a writer, yes, but my publishing credits are few. I have not dealt with the politics of publishing firsthand. But when I heard the news today that Weird Tales was purchased and the entire staff will be fired, I had to pause.

I’ve read Weird Tales for quite some time. I enjoy it. I like the direction Ann VanderMeer took the magazine. That’s why I’m upset to learn she will no longer be editing it. She, a cultivator of the weird, has rejected me numerous times and I know it was for good reason. But I always had hope that one day, I’d break through. One of my very first submissions began with, “Dear. Ms. VanderMeer.” Sad.

As if that weren’t enough, the debut issue under the new editor will be Cthulhu-themed. I’m all for themed issues, but this seems strange. Weird Tales, a long time ago, was one of the original places to publish H.P. Lovecraft. Like, for real. When he was alive and stuff. Making the issue “all Cthulhu, all the time” is a bit too self-referential for my taste.

I guess my point is this: wouldn’t the best way to honor Lovecraft and all the mythical monster makers of the past require setting aside a space for the authors of today to create the next generation’s monsters and weird, fear-worthy things? Wouldn’t that be the best way to encompass what is “weird” and let the magazine live on in the tradition of Lovecraft, rather than in his image?

I know I’m basing this just on the theme of the first issue, but still. I can’t help but think this is a bad decision.

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7 thoughts on “Weird Tales and the Fiction of the Future

  1. Oh, wow… Really bummed to hear about this. I realize there could have worse news — the magazine could have been folding altogether and I definitely wish the new publisher well with keeping the magazine going in the future. Still, the impression I had was that it was going well now, and this is a really sudden change!

    • Yeah it seems strange. I have no idea why this happened, and I don’t assume to have much knowledge of how these things work. But as a reader, I’m disappointed.

    • Yup, they have one of mine, too. But really, I’m just bummed because they always published surprising and interesting work. And my gut is telling me that won’t last under the new editorial direction.

  2. After reading your post, I figured it couldn’t hurt to email and ask about my story. Here’s the response I just received:

    I am sorry but I don’t have any more information for you at the moment. As soon as I have the opportunity to go over all the details with the new owners there will be a more public announcement.

    Thanks for your patience,

    Ann

    It’s got to be a rough time for her and the rest of the staff, but very kind of her to email me back the same day! Usually, Weird Tales responses have taken over 5 months.

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