Sunday, August 18, 2013

Weird!

Weird Tales Volume 1 edited by Peter Haining, containing the following stories: The Man Who Returned by Edmond Hamilton; Black Hound of Death by Robert E. Howard; The Shuttered House by August Derleth; Frozen Beauty by Seabury Quinn; Haunting Columns by Robert E. Howard; Beyond the Wall of Sleep by H. P. Lovecraft; The Garden of Adompha by Clark Ashton Smith; Cordelia's Song by Vincent Starrett; Beyond the Phoenix by Henry Kuttner; The Black Monk by G. G. Pendarves; Passing of a God by Henry S. Whitehead; and They Run Again by Leah Bodine Drake (1923-1939; collected 1978):

Solid anthology (well, the first half of a hardcover anthology, divided for paperback publication) of stories from the first 15 years of Weird Tales, the pulp magazine that got its start in 1923. This half is quite heavy on the novella-length story, with lengthy entries from Robert E. 'Conan' Howard, Seabury Quinn, Henry Kuttner, and Henry S. Whitehead.

The Howard piece is an interesting, intensely racist story of supernatural revenge set in the two-fisted South. Kuttner's story features his sword-and-sorcery hero Elak of Atlantis. Seabury Quinn's supernatural detective Jules de Grandin tackles Bolsheviks and suspended animation in a fairly un-supernatural outing.

Solid shorter stories come from H.P. Lovecraft, August Derleth, and Edmond Hamilton (the latter Quinn's only real rival for the title of 'Most popular writer among the then-readers of Weird Tales). Clark Ashton Smith's entry is a grotesque humdinger. And the now-little-known Henry S. Whitehead contributes a truly bizarre piece about voodoo and...stomach tumours??? It's not a tumour!!! Recommended.

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