Weird Tales #356, Uncanny Beauty–Now Out! (And the Future!)


Weird Tales #356, Uncanny Beauty: A Celebration of the Eerily Sensuous, is now out and available! Fiction from Catherynne M. Valente, Ian R. MacLeod (at his most playful), and others. A wonderful Lady Gaga tarot card feature by one of my new favorites Amal El-Mohtar, a really great essay on the subject of uncanny beauty by Theodora Goss, an epic poem by Natania Barron, and a feature on classic Weird Tales artist Margaret Brundage written by Paula Guran. The full TOC is here, on the Weird Tales website, which has rumbled back to life after a short hiatus. Check out the one-minute videos, for example, which will now be produced by Gregory Bossert and debut on a regular basis, along with posts of exclusive original fiction and nonfiction.

As some of you may know, my wife, Ann, is now the editor-in-chief of the magazine, and Uncanny Beauty (a theme issue proposed by former creative director Stephen Segal) was the transition issue. That transition took longer than expected due to a number of issues, but the new team of Ann, nonfiction editor Paula Guran, and art director Mary Robinette Kowal, along with the rest of the staff, is now going full-steam ahead on future issues, re-establishing a regular schedule. It’s a good time to subscribe, especially if you love dark, weird fiction that isn’t just rehashes of Lovecraft. Weird Tales, as Ann often says, wasn’t meant to trade in nostalgia for the past but to publish contemporary examples of unclassifiable and strange dark fiction.

Part of that means taking chances on new and idiosyncratic voices, and one thing that has me salivating is the sneak peek Ann gave me at the fiction for the next issue, #357, which will be out in early December. It’s going to be as strong an issue as any magazine produces this year, in my opinion. What’s in it?

J. Robert Lennon – “Portal”
Karin Tidbeck – “Augusta Prima”
N.K. Jemisin – “The Trojan Girl”
Peter Ball – “The Last Thing Said Before Silence”
Karen Heuler – “Fishwish”
Mark Meredith – “A Short Trek Across Fala Moor”

Why am I so excited? Well, let’s see. The Kafkaesque J. Robert Lennon is one of my favorite American writers of what I would call surreal gothic literature, and here he turns his hand to outright dark fantasy with a story that would be worthy of Shirley Jackson. Swedish writer Karin Tidbeck is one of the great new talents out there, and “Augusta Prima,” her first English-language sale, is one of the best stories I’ve read in the last year. Jemisin, meanwhile, has, with good reason, quickly made a name for herself as one of the most impressive of the next wave of fantasy writers. Peter Ball caught my attention with his short novel Horn, and hasn’t let up–he’s going to make a major mark in the field. Meanwhile, Heuler continues to delight with her thoughtful brand of modern surrealism/magic realism—a criminally underrated writer—and, well, the Mark Meredith story Ann’s chosen, “A Short Trek…”, a first sale, is by far one of the oddest stories I’ve ever read. Taken as a whole, this is going to be a great issue to look forward to…

Ann’s also just told me that she’s now caught up with submissions to the magazine, except for the handful she’s holding onto for further consideration—and that Weird Tales will reopen to submissions January 1st.

Oh, snap! It’s a Finnish Surprise! One of Ann’s favorite magazines. In its latest installment…



  1. says

    I guess I shall need to remember to renew my subscription when I get paid on Friday. I think #356 is the last one on my original subscription. Both that and #357 seem to be full of stories I’d like to read.

  2. says

    Yay! So glad to see this beautiful issue, and to have been a part of it. I sense a new, amazing chapter in the history of Weird Tales just beginning. :)

  3. Dominik says

    Can’t wait to see another piece by Heuler! Landscape, with Fish and the Difficulties of Evolution were terrific stories.

  4. says

    With all due respect, Jeff:

    The previous incarnation of WEIRD TALES did not “trade in nostalgia for the past”…it offered a wide variety of dark, horror, and fantasy fiction under the general umbrella of “weird.” It featured amazing writers like Tanith Lee, Thomas Ligotti, Brian Stableford, and dozens of others. Thousands of fans across the country (and world) cherished it and the Old Weird tradition that it was single-handedly keeping alive. Whatever the new version of the mag may stand for or focus upon, it’s no more valid, entertaining, or iconic than the previous version. “Out with the old” isn’t always the best policy. Still, I prefer to enjoy the new WT for what it IS, rather than what it isn’t.

    Still, it would be nice to see a Schweitzer story once in a blue moon!!!!

  5. Jeff VanderMeer says


    Ann published Schweitzer in her first issue. If Ligotti were writing regularly, I’m sure she would publish him, and she’s published Stableford before, in the Silver Web. He’s a friend, too. Tanith Lee continues to get published in WT. All of those authors are wonderful.

    But, as a reader of WT, I personally do think it was, overall, beginning to stagnate before the rejuvenation. You’ll have to live with us agreeing to disagree.


  6. jeff vandermeer says

    So, what I guess what I’m saying is that Ann’s clearly provided continuity while also injecting new blood. In general, if you think publishing the same writers over and over and over again year in, year out, creates vitality in a magazine, then perhaps you’re better off buying author collections.

    And, considering she just spent a ridiculous amount of time putting together a 750,000 word, 100-year overview of Weird fiction that includes Tanith Lee and Ligotti, along with Lovecraft, Bradbury, Bloch, etc., I think it’s a little unwise to make some of the other assumptions in your comment above.