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Publishers of Weird Fiction > Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror

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message 1: by Dan (last edited Apr 18, 2019 06:33PM) (new)

Dan | 745 comments Horror stories were being published before Weird Tales began its serial format in 1923, but these were mostly one-offs. The next big serial magazine to start publishing in direct competition with Weird Tales was Ghost Stories, which began in 1926. There's a good Wikipedia page about the magazine, and even a few entire back issues are available to read here:

However, this post is about the third pulp magazine to come along and compete directly with Weird Tales. It is titled Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror, Wikipedia article on it here: This magazine published only seven issues cover dated from September 1931 to January 1933. Some of the covers are really striking, and all that's available of the magazine here: They're all painted by the same artist, a fellow by the name of Hans Wessolowski.

The reason I bring up this magazine is because it paid two cents per word, which was better than Weird Tales. Accordingly all of the top writers of the day wanted to be and were published in this magazine. What I found particularly interesting was the problems some of the top writers had in selling their product there. You would figure H.P. Lovecraft would be a lock, right? According to the Wikipedia article about the magazine, Lovecraft...

"submitted several stories to [the editor] Bates in early 1931, before the first issue had appeared, but the only work of his that appeared in Strange Tales was Henry Whitehead's 'The Trap', part of which had been ghostwritten by Lovecraft, and which appeared in the March 1932 issue. In one of Lovecraft's letters he comments that he would not contribute to Strange Tales because 'Bates couldn't guarantee me immunity from the copy-slasher's shears and blue pencil', but unpublished letters of his make it clear that his stories were too atmospheric and lacking in action for Bates. Lovecraft's response was dismissive, and he was subsequently contemptuous of both Bates and Clayton in his letters."

Apparently, we are not the first to offer this criticism of Lovecraft's work.

Even so great a writer as Robert E. Howard had problems getting published with Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror. He submitted several stories some of which "Bates rejected, such as 'The Thing on the Roof' and 'The Horror from the Mound'. These later appeared in Weird Tales, but Bates accepted "The People of the Dark" after asking for revisions, and it was published in the June 1932 issue. Howard also sold 'The Valley of the Lost' to Bates, but it had not yet appeared when Clayton went bankrupt, and did not finally see publication until the 1960s."

I have not had much success in finding stories from this magazine to read, but I did find one entire issue available for free online. It's the very last one, cover dated January 1933, and available here: It has a Clark Ashton Smith story, an August W. Derleth story, and even a Robert E. Howard story: "The Cairn on the Headland." Have any of our Howard fans previously heard of or read this particular Howard story?

message 2: by Jim (new)

Jim (jimmaclachlan) Dan wrote: "...even a Robert E. Howard story: "The Cairn on the Headland." Have any of our Howard fans previously heard of or read this particular Howard story? "

I have & it's a good one. It's fairly typical of his non-Conan stories with history bumping into the present. It's also free on Gutenberg Australia, which has a lot of his stories the regular Gutenberg can't publish due to copyright law. You can find this story here:
& read it online.

Many more of his stories are available here:
You just have to scroll about 2/3 of the way down the page to get to REH. On the way, you'll pass Haggard & Hodgson, so it's a long trip.

message 3: by Dan (last edited Apr 19, 2019 12:09PM) (new)

Dan | 745 comments Good to know, Jim. Thanks. And now we have one possible reason "Cairn" was such a good story: it had to be to get published where it was!

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