So the issue of Weird Tales that I ordered has arrived. My very first honest to goodness real pulp magazine. Over the years I’ve read about them, read stories from them, read people talking about them. Now I have one. I got it cheap because it didn’t have a cover and is not in the best condition. However it is the real deal – I bought a facsimile of Strange Tales from Amazon a few months back – and it feels good to hold an original in my hands, even if it is tattered and battered.

There were a couple of surprises. I expected more ads but there are hardly any in the magazine. That may have been because of the depression or it may have been just less ads for that particular issue. July 1933 by the way. One of the ads in particular was interesting. On page 141 right at the bottom was a small text advert for The Double Shadow and five other fantasies by Clark Ashton Smith. I’ve read very little of Clark Ashton Smith, I have one paperback and although I enjoyed the stories I didn’t care too much for his style.

The odd thing is that it appears Smith self published; people could send 25c (coin!) to an address in California and would get the book. The address is very minimal – as all addresses at that time seemed to be – in that it consisted of Clark Ashton Smith, Auburn, Calif. No doubt it was good enough at the time.

Page three of the magazine had a full page advert, and it’s the same sort of thing that still appears in adverts nowadays. They take a full page telling how people made lots of profit and YOU CAN TOO (free of course) but never a word about what it actually is they are selling or that people are buying.

The first thing I did was read the Robert E Howard story, The Man on The ground. The title didn’t ring any bells but I have read the story before. It’s a short sharp story only a few pages long.

Also in this issue, among others, was Clark Ashton Smith, HP Lovecraft and the final part of a Seabury Quinn story. Quinn was apparently very popular when Weird Tales was publishing his work during the thirties. I haven’t read any of his works. I have two or three Lovecraft paperbacks and I sort of struggled through them. He’s the complete opposite of Howard in that story is not in your face. A lot of the stories I read felt ponderous and slow but that’s obviously because Lovecraft is worshipped almost as much as Cthulu.

I read the Clark Ashton Smith story too; that also was only a couple of pages. I’ll go through the rest when I get time – I’m a third of the way through a Doc Savage at the moment. I’m not averse to mixing drinks but don’t like to mix stories (Shorts are always ok; either drinks or stories).

Another oddity is that there is a phrase ‘copyrighted in Great Britain’ on the contents page at the bottom. I don’t know why they would mention that.

All in all I’m quite pleased with my acquisition. It’s not in the best of conditions and it’s not the most sought after of issues but I like it.

Advertisements