Strange Stories

Strange Stories was a pulp magazine which ran for thirteen issues from 1939 to 1941. It was edited by Mort Weisinger, who was not credited. Contributors included Robert Bloch, Eric Frank Russell, C. L. Moore, August Derleth, and Henry Kuttner. Strange Stories was a competitor to the established leader in weird fiction, Weird Tales. With the launch, also in 1939, of the well-received Unknown, Strange Stories was unable to compete. It ceased publication in 1941 when Weisinger left to edit Superman comic books.

Strange Stories August 1939
Cover of the August 1939 issue, by Earle K. Bergey.

Publication history and contents

Fantasy and occult fiction had often appeared in popular magazines before the twentieth century, but the first American magazine to specialize in the genre, Weird Tales, appeared in 1923 and by the 1930s was the genre's industry leader.[1] In 1939, two magazines were launched in the same niche: one was Unknown, from Street & Smith; the other was Strange Stories, published by Standard Magazines and edited by Mort Weisinger, who was already editing Thrilling Wonder Stories and Startling Stories for Standard.[2] Weisinger obtained stories from many authors who contributed to Weird Tales, including August Derleth, Henry Kuttner, and Robert Bloch, who between them accounted for 40 of the 148 stories the magazine printed over its thirteen issues.[3] Critics consider little of the fiction memorable. Among the better-received stories were two by Kuttner: "Cursed be the City" and "The Citadel of Darkness" in the April and August 1939 issues respectively;[2] "Logoda's Heads", by Derleth, which science fiction historian Robert Weinberg described as "perhaps Derleth's best weird fantasy for any magazine";[4] and some stories by Manly Wade Wellman in the early issues.[4] Other contributors included Eric Frank Russell, C. L. Moore, and Seabury Quinn.[2][4] There were no serialized novels; at the time, Standard's policy forbade them. Weinberg described the covers by Standard's in-house artists, Rudolph Belarski and Earle K. Bergey, as "among the worst ever seen on any pulp".[4] The magazine was an attempt to imitate Weird Tales, but Weisinger was never able to give it any distinctive character of its own.[2] It received little assistance from its sister magazines in Standard's publishing stable; typically each magazine carried advertisements for other Standard publications, but Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories rarely mentioned Strange Stories in this way.[5]

Weisinger left Standard Magazines in 1941 to edit Superman comics, and Leo Margulies, the editorial director at Standard, was not interested in continuing the magazine. The final issue was dated February 1941.[2][6] Some of the stories purchased for Strange Stories but left unpublished later appeared in the other Standard magazines, including "The Road to Yesterday", by Kuttner, which appeared in the August 1941 issue of Thrilling Adventure, and "I Married a Ghost", by Seabury Quinn, which was published in Thrilling Mystery in July 1941.[7]

Bibliographic details

Issues of Strange Stories
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1939 1/1 1/2 1/3 2/1 2/2 2/3
1940 3/1 3/2 3/3 4/1 4/2 4/3
1941 5/1
Issues of Strange Stories, showing volume/issue number. Mort Weisinger
was the editor throughout.[4][5]

The thirteen issues of Strange Stories were in pulp format. They were 128 pages long and priced at 15 cents until June 1940, after which the page count went down to 96 and the price was reduced to 10 cents. The editor was Mort Weisinger, who was not credited.[4] The publisher was Better Publications, a subsidiary of Standard Magazines of New York.[8] Strange Stories stayed on a bimonthly schedule throughout its run. There were three issues to a volume, except the final volume which had only one.[4]

Footnotes

  1. ^ Weinberg (1985b), pp. 626–628.
  2. ^ a b c d e Ashley (2000), pp. 139–140.
  3. ^ Ashley (1997), p. 902.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Robert Weinberg (1985a), pp. 623–625.
  5. ^ a b Edwards, Malcolm (8 January 2012). "Strange Stories". SF Encyclopedia. Gollancz. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  6. ^ Moskowitz (1974), p. 109.
  7. ^ Weinberg (2011), pp. 8–10.
  8. ^ Ashley (2000), p. 250.

References

  • Ashley, Mike (1997). "Strange Stories". In Clute, John; Grant, John. The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc. pp. 901–902. ISBN 0-312-15897-1.
  • Ashley, Mike (2000). The Time Machines:The Story of the Science-Fiction Pulp Magazines from the beginning to 1950. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. ISBN 0-85323-865-0.
  • Moskowitz, Sam (1974) [1966]. Seekers of Tomorrow. Westport CT: Hyperion. ISBN 0-88355-158-6.
  • Weinberg, Robert (1985a). "Strange Stories". In Tymn, Marshall B.; Ashley, Mike. Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Weird Fiction Magazines. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 623–625. ISBN 0-313-21221-X.
  • Weinberg, Robert (1985b). "Strange Tales". In Tymn, Marshall B.; Ashley, Mike. Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Weird Fiction Magazines. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 626–628. ISBN 0-313-21221-X.
  • Weinberg, Robert (2011). "The Strange Stories That Never Was". Pulp Vault. Barrington Hills IL: Tattered Pages Press (14).
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Painted Skin (TV series)

Painted Skin is a Chinese television series adapted from the 2008 film of the same title, which, in turn, is loosely based on a classic short story in Pu Songling's Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio. It was first broadcast on TVS4 on 3 March 2011 in mainland China.

Pu Songling

Pu Songling (Chinese: 蒲松齡, 5 June 1640 – 25 February 1715) was a Qing dynasty Chinese writer, best known as the author of Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio (Liaozhai zhiyi).

Stealing Peaches

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Strange Stories (film)

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Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio

Liaozhai Zhiyi (Liaozhai; Chinese: 聊齋誌異; Wade–Giles: Liao²chai¹ chi⁴yi⁴), called in English Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio or Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, is a collection of Classical Chinese stories by Pu Songling, comprising close to five hundred "marvel tales" in the zhiguai and chuanqi styles, which serve to implicitly criticise societal issues then. Dating back to the Qing dynasty, its earliest publication date is given as 1740. Since then, many of the critically lauded stories have been adapted for other media such as film and television.

Strange but true

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The Black Ghosts (short story)

"The Black Ghosts" (Chinese: 黑鬼; pinyin: Hēiguǐ) is a short story written by Chinese author Pu Songling collected in Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio (Liaozhai; 1740). It concerns a Chinese official who purchases a pair of "black ghosts" (a pejorative for African slaves), and details how they are exploited. The story was fully translated into English by Sidney L. Sondergard in 2014.

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The Fairies of Liaozhai is a Chinese television series adapted from Pu Songling's collection of supernatural stories titled Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio. The series is produced by Chinese Entertainment Shanghai and stars Nicky Wu, Fann Wong, Qu Ying, Daniel Chan, Lin Chia-yu, Pan Yueming, Sun Li and Cecilia Liu. Shooting began in December 2006 and wrapped up in March 2007. The 40-episode series is divided into four parts — Liancheng (連城), Xia Nü (俠女), Huanniang (宦娘), and Xin Shisiniang (辛十四娘).

The Fornicating Dog

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The Great Sage, Heaven's Equal

"The Great Sage, Heaven's Equal" (simplified Chinese: 齐天大圣; traditional Chinese: 齊天大聖; pinyin: Qí Tiān Dà Shèng) is a short story by Pu Songling first published in Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio (1740). It revolves around Shandong native Xu Sheng, who initially rejects the existence of Sun Wukong but gradually becomes a firm devotee of him after encountering him and experiencing his power. The story acts as social commentary on the worship of mythical characters, in this case Sun Wukong. In 2014, it was translated into English by Sidney L. Sondergard.

The Snake Man

The Snake Man (Chinese: 蛇人; pinyin: Shérén) is a short story by Pu Songling first published in Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio which revolves around the titular snake-keeper and his snakes.

This Transformation

"This Transformation", also known as "The Begging Monk", (Chinese: 丐僧; pinyin: Gaì Sēng) is a short story by Pu Songling collected in Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio (1740). The tale revolves around a monk who begs for nothing in particular and is treated like an outcast. It was first fully translated into English by John Minford in 2006, followed by Sidney L. Sondergard in 2008.

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