Horror / Fantasy / SF / Reviews

The Best Weird Tales Anthologies

weird tales

The legendary Weird Tales Magazine had a tough but reasonably long run, and it eventually achieved a cult status among the followers of fantasy/horror/SF genre. Several anthologies based on Weird Tales stories have been published by acclaimed editors like Peter Haining and Marvin Kaye. Here are two of my favourites:

Weird Tales: A Selection in Facsimile, of the Best from the World’s Most Famous Fantasy Magazine
Edited by Peter Haining

An anthology that is true to the spirit of the magazine. As the title says, this 250 page book is a facsimile reproduction of the actual pages of Weird Tales. Like the celebrated magazine’s original format, it has a two column layout and includes letters from readers, nostalgic illustrations, and priceless old advertisements that appeared in the late 1930s. If you never had the opportunity to grab an old copy of Weird Tales, this book will heal your wound. And Mr. Haining’s introduction is absolutely priceless.

Contents:

Introduction – Peter Haining

Edmond Hamilton – The Man Who Returned
Robert E. Howard – Black Hound of Death
August Derleth – The Shuttered House
Seabury Quinn – Frozen Beauty
H. P. Lovecraft – Beyond the Wall of Sleep
Clark Ashton Smith – The Garden of Adompha
Henry Kuttner – Beyond the Phoenix
G. G. Pendarves – The Black Monk
Henry S. Whitehead – The Passing Of A God
Manly Wade Wellman – The Valley Was Still
Nictzin Dyalhis – The Heart of Atlantan
Fritz Leiber – The Phantom Slayer
Robert Bloch – The Beasts of Barsac
Ray Bradbury – Bang! You’re Dead!
Theodore Sturgeon – Cellmate
Algernon Blackwood – Roman Remains
Eric Frank Russell – Displaced Person
H. Russell Wakefield – From the Vasty Deep
Mary Elizabeth Counselman – The Shot-Tower Ghost
Allison V. Harding – Take the Z-Train
Margaret St. Clair – The Little Red Owl
Anthony M. Rud – Ooze

weird tales

Weird Tales: 32 Unearthed Terrors
Edited by Stefan R. Dziemainowicz, Robert Weinberg & Martin H. Greenberg

655 pages of some of the finest writing from the magazine’s finest years.  This is probably the biggest Weird Tales collection ever to hit the stands. It comes with introductions and illustrations for each story. Tentacled gods, haunted houses, laboratories illuminated with faint blue lights will scare you shitless.

If you ever get marooned on a desert island, this is one book you would want to have with you.

Foreword – Stefan R. Dziemainowicz
Introduction – Robert Bloch

Anthony M. Rud – A Square Of Canvas
C. M. Eddy – The Loved Dead
Nictzin Dyalhis – When The Green Star Waned
R. Anthony – The Parasitic Hand
Edmond Hamilton – Evolution Island
H. Warner Munn – The Chain
Robert E. Howard – The Shadow Kingdom
Henry S. Whitehead – The Shut Room
Seabury Quinn – Satan’s Stepson
Jack Williamson – The Wand Of Doom
Clark Ashton Smith – The Isle Of The Torturers
C. L. Moore – Dust Of Gods
Laurence J. Cahill – Charon
Arthur J. Burks – The Room Of Shadows
Mary E. Counselman – The Black Stone Statue
Gans T. Field (Manly Wade Wellman) – The Hairy Ones Shall Dance
Robert Barbour Johnson – Far Below
Fritz Leiber – The Automatic Pistol
H. P. Lovecraft – The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward
Henry Kuttner – Masquerade
Robert Bloch – Black Barter
Frank Belknap Long – The Peeper
Carl Jacobi – Barnaby’s Fish
Ray Bradbury – Let’s Play Poison
C. Hall Thompson – The Will Of Claude Ashur
Theodore Sturgeon – The Professor’s Teddy Bear
Frederic Brown – Come And Go Mad
Isaac Asimov & James MacCreigh – Legal Rites
August Derleth – Something From Out There
Joseph Payne Brennan – The Green Parrot
Richard Matheson – Slaughter House
Everil Worrell – Call Not Their Names

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Down Memory Lane (Authors & Events)

Memories Revisited: We Remember Peter Haining (1940-2007)

Peter HainingFor those of us who are rooted in and sustained by an unforgivable passion for horror, terror, and black magic, the name Peter Alexander Haining carries a lot of weight.  This versatile dude (writer, journalist, and anthologist) delivered one after another knockout stuff — The Necromancers, The Black Magic Omnibus, Weird Tales anthologies, The Fantastic Pulps and lots more. If someone ever conducted a poll on the best editor of fantasy and occult books, Mr. Haining would simply whitewash his pals.

The Ghouls Peter HainingAs a kid, our favorite editor was deeply influenced by pulp magazines of his day, magazines that were replete with illustrations of brutal action and mesmerizing dames. His feverish imagination threw him into an intriguing maze of fantasy and horror, which affected him profoundly.

Haining began his career as a journalist in Essex and subsequently joined New English Library. At NEL he worked with Ian Fleming on a biography of James Bond. Perhaps, Fleming inspired him to come up with crime driven anthologies that he published for NEL. Haining went on to become the Editorial Director of the publishing house, but left NEL to pursue the career of a full-time writer and editor.

The editor launched NEL young writer of the year award, which was a big hit. Do you know it was Haining who spotted Philip Pullman and gave him a break? The Haunted Storm, Pullman’s first venture, was issued by Pete.

Weird tales Peter HainingWhy did Haining move into editing horror anthologies? Well, he thought that horror collections of his time were all blood and gore; the stories missed the ingredients of a good adventure novel. So he started with the idea of adding a new dimension to the concept of horror anthology. Also, he started the trend of adding a short author bio with all the stories he selected for his books.

Haining used some particular stories over and over in his books — this is one common allegation against the editor. He never denied it but pointed out that he re-used the stories years apart, which made sense because he was talking to an entirely new generation. I would like to add here that I’ve found plenty of rare and new treasures in Haining’s books. So he might be forgiven for being a bit repetitive.

People who knew Haining unanimously agree that he was an agreeable and friendly fella. He was the owner of a massive library of mystery fiction, and his knowledge of the genre was encyclopaedic. Haining admired Charles Dickens, whose contribution to crime fiction, he thought, is highly underrated.

The editor won The British Fantasy Award in 2001.

Peter Haining passed away on November 19 2007. He was a firm believer in ghosts. Let him be the Tsar of all pulp spirits.

Selected Bibliography:

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Horror / Fantasy / SF / Reviews

Book review: The Necromancers by Peter Haining (Editor)

The necromancers Peter Haining

With The Necromancers, Peter Haining ventures yet again into the murky world of witchcraft and black magic. This book is a sensational combination of fact, fiction, and folklore. The facts are dubious at best, some are just plain silly (Aleister Crowley’s piece being one example). However, that does not downgrade the entertainment quotient of The Necromancers — one of Haining’s best efforts.

This is the book that inspired Dennis Wheatley to come up with his essay “Satanism and Witches : Essays and Stories”.

Here are some of the outstanding stories that you’ll find in this collection:

Robert Bloch – Beelzebub: A distracted writer haunted and eventually destroyed by a supernatural fly.

Sax Rohmer – The Witch Finders: The author of Fu Manchu pursues witch finders across Europe. A non-fiction piece, as claimed by Haining.

Anonymous – The Black Goat of Brandenberg: Satanists hope to learn the secrets of Germany’s lost treasure and in the process, offer human sacrifice to Lucifer. What happens next in this tantalizing drama?

Robert Anthony (Anthony Rudd) – The Witch-Baiter: Mynheer van Ragevoort, who condemns witches, is abducted by the members of a secret society and exposed to unspeakable horror.

Contents:

Preface – Peter Haining
Introduction – Robert Bloch

Robert Graves – Modern Witchcraft
Rollo Ahmed – Black Magic Today
Aleister Crowley – The Black Lodge
Betty May – The Sacrifice
W. B. Yates – The Sorcerers
Denis Wheatley – A Life For A Life
C. W. Olliver – The Witches’ Sabbat
Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Salem Mass
Cotton Mather – The Tryals Of The New England Witches
[An Indictment For Witchcraft]
W. Harrison Ainsworth – The Lancashire Witches
Margaret Murray – An Initiation To Witchcraft
[A Pact With The Devil] [How To Raise A Spirit]
Anonymous – The Black Goat Of Brandenberg
Benvenuto Cellini – My Experiences In Necromancy
Lawrence Flammenberg – The Necromancer
E. F. Benson – Gavon’s Eve
[The Confession Of The Witches Of Elfdale]
Sax Rohmer – The Witch Finders
Robert Anthony – The Witch-Baiter
P. T. Barnum – The Spell On witchcraft
Frank Hamel – Familiars
August Derleth – Saunder’s Little Friend
Ronald Seth – The Chambre Ardente Affair
Algernon Blackwood – The Tarn Of Sacrifice
Montague Summers – The Hell-Fire Clubs
Michael Harrison – At The Heart Of It
Robert Bloch – Beelzebub
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Horror / Fantasy / SF / Reviews

Book Review: The Fantastic Pulps by Peter Haining (Editor)

Peter Haining, who was widely considered as a leading authority on horror, edited some of the best pulp anthologies of our time. One thing was common in all Haining collections — the often repeated stale stories never made their way into his books. Our favorite editor loved to surprise the readers with obscure and rare gems. The Fantastic Pulps (Victor Gollancz, 1975) is a typical Haining work, reflecting the brilliant and atypical qualities of its editor.

This is one book you badly want on your bookshelf. It seems to have stories starting from the very inception of pulps. (which means you have stories starting from 1800’s). Each story is accompanied by editor’s note, which throws light on the contemporary situation in pulp industry.  This book is an amazing combination of living history and sensational stories from the golden age of pulp fiction.

Haining lived in a 15th century house, which was said to be haunted. No wonder he would come up with such fascinating collections of horror, adventure, and fantasy.

Contents
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Horror / Fantasy / SF / Reviews

Book Review: The Black Magic Omnibus by Peter Haining (Editor)


The Black Magic Omnibus, edited by Peter Haining, is an anthology of 29 stories, covering both fact and fiction. It attempts to interpret some famous black magic incidents and features people related to this dark practice. Haining’s selection is impressive, featuring acclaimed writers of the genre like Lovecraft and Shirley Jackson. A “must have” for horror fans, this out of print book is still available at ebay and Amazon in both single and double volume editions.

Contents: Continue reading