Weird Tales: Ann VanderMeer’s Last Issue and Her Future Role

At the Weird Tales blog, you can find an update that includes information on the forthcoming release of the last issue with my wife, Ann VanderMeer, serving as editor-in-chief. That issue has an incredible line-up, including Stephen Graham Jones, Joel Lane, Emily Jiang, and Conrad Williams. It also includes a first English-language story by Finnish writer Leena Likitalo, a near-first story sale by the talented Tom Underberg, and a story by Tamsyn Muir, “The Magician’s Apprentice.”

“The Magician’s Apprentice” by Tamsyn Muir isn’t a first sale—I think it’s a second or third—but it is one of the finest stories by a new talent I have read in recent memory. It is deadly, uncompromising, and perfectly written. In fact, it’s the kind of story that makes me think that Muir is a rising star in that wonderfully ambiguous area occupied by writers like Kelly Link, Shelley Jackson, Kevin Brockmeier, Karen Russell, and Steven Millhauser. On the basis of having read other of her work at Clarion in 2010, I’d bank on it.

As for the changes at Weird Tales, as the WT blog notes Ann has decided to accept the new management’s offer to stay on as a “senior contributing editor”. In this role, she will be selecting one story by an up-and-coming writer for each issue of the magazine, for a special section. I know Ann in part accepted this offer because of her commitment to publishing new talent. This has been a consistent part of her philosophy throughout her years of editing. The new administration also will be consulting with her from time to time, although she will not be responsible for any other element of the content in the print magazine. The status of web-only fiction and the One-Minute Weird Tales is still being determined, and Ann may also have a role to play in those departments.

In addition, I’d like to point out that the cover for Ann’s final issue, pictured here, features a look-and-feel that former WT creative director Stephen H. Segal came up with and that Ann heartily endorsed. These changes are enhancements Ann had wanted to enact for quite some time—including the more sinister/horrific approach to cover art and a more traditional approach to the title treatment. In her last issue, then, with certain constraints gone, you can in essence see more clearly the direction Ann was beginning to chart for Weird Tales magazine.

Weird Tales Magazine’s John Harlacher has expressed an interest in cross-promotion of WT with and our ODD? anthology, and inasmuch as this makes sense, and is of general use, we will do so.


  1. says

    I love the new design. Weird, mysterious and very “web-friendly”. I have to wonder if this design might misrepresent the magazine going forward, as it is sounds like they are going toward more “retro” pulp roots than embracing contemporary weird fiction.