When the pulp magazine Weird Tales appeared on newsstands in 1923, it proved to be a pivotal moment in the evolution of speculative fiction. Living up to its nickname, “The Unique Magazine,” Weird Tales provided the first real venue for authors writing in the nascent genres of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. Weird fiction pioneers such as H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Bloch, Catherine L. Moore, and many others honed their craft in the pages of Weird Tales in the 1920s and 1930s, and their work had a tremendous influence on later generations of genre authors.
In The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales: The Evolution of Modern Fantasy and Horror, Justin Everett and Jeffrey Shanks have assembled an impressive collection of essays that explore many of the themes critical to understanding the importance of the magazine. This multi-disciplinary collection from a wide array of scholars looks at how Weird Tales served as a locus of genre formation and literary discourse community. There are also chapters devoted to individual authors—including Lovecraft, Howard, and Bloch—and their particular contributions to the magazine.
As the literary world was undergoing a revolution and mass-produced media began to dwarf high-brow literature in social significance, Weird Tales managed to straddle both worlds. This collection of essays explores the important role the magazine played in expanding the literary landscape at a very particular time and place in American culture. The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales will appeal to scholars and aficionados of fantasy, horror, and weird fiction and those interested in the early roots of these popular genres.