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.
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. 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. 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. 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; "Logoda's Heads", by Derleth, which science fiction historian Robert Weinberg described as "perhaps Derleth's best weird fantasy for any magazine"; and some stories by Manly Wade Wellman in the early issues. Other contributors included Eric Frank Russell, C. L. Moore, and Seabury Quinn. 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". The magazine was an attempt to imitate Weird Tales, but Weisinger was never able to give it any distinctive character of its own. 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.
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. 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.
|Issues of Strange Stories, showing volume/issue number. Mort Weisinger|
was the editor throughout.
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. The publisher was Better Publications, a subsidiary of Standard Magazines of New York. 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.
"A Brilliant Light" (simplified Chinese: 犬灯; traditional Chinese: 犬燈; pinyin: Quǎndēng; literally: "Dog Light") is a short story by the Chinese writer Pu Songling collected in Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio.A Prank
"A Prank" (simplified Chinese: 戏缢; traditional Chinese: 戲縊; pinyin: Xì Yì) is a short story by Pu Songling collected in Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio (1740) that pertains to a prankster whose act goes awry. It was translated into English by John Minford in 2006.Ghost Writer (Hong Kong TV series)
Ghost Writer is a 2010 Hong Kong television series produced by TVB. The protagonist of the series, Po Chung-ling, is based on the author of Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, a collection of Chinese tales on the supernatural. The series tells how he was inspired to write those stories based on his personal encounters with the supernatural.Growing Pears
"Growing Pears" (simplified Chinese: 种梨; traditional Chinese: 種梨; pinyin: Zhǒng Lí), also variously translated as "Planting a Pear Tree", "Sowing Pears", and "The Wonderful Pear Tree", is a short story by Pu Songling, first published in Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio. Set in ancient China, the story revolves around a miserly pear seller and a Taoist priest.Legend of Nine Tails Fox
Legend of Nine Tails Fox (Chinese: 青丘狐传说; pinyin: Qīngqiūhú Chuánshuō) is a 2016 Chinese television series based on six tales in Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio by Pu Songling. It originally aired 2 episodes daily on Hunan TV, Sunday through Tuesday at 22:00 as well as simultaneously broadcast online on Youku, Tencent, Sohu and iQiyi. The drama was directed by Liu Yufen, Gao Linbao and Xu Huikang, and stars an ensemble cast of actors. The drama is separated into six plots based on the corresponding stories in the Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio.Mural (film)
Mural (simplified Chinese: 画壁; traditional Chinese: 畫壁; pinyin: Huà Bì; Jyutping: Waa6 Bik1) is a 2011 Chinese film directed by Gordon Chan. It is directed by the same director who directed Painted Skin (2008). Both stories are drawn from Pu Songling's (1640–1715) collection of supernatural tales Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio.Nie Xiaoqian
Nie Xiaoqian is a fantasy story in Pu Songling's short story collection Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, and the name of its female lead character. Pu describes her appearance as "gorgeous; girl in paintings" (simplified Chinese: 艳绝；画中人; traditional Chinese: 艷絕；畫中人). The story has been adapted into numerous films and television dramas. Her name is commonly rendered as Nip Siu Sin in Hong Kong adaptations using its Cantonese pronunciation.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
"Stealing Peaches" (Chinese: 偷桃; pinyin: Tōu Táo), also variously translated as "The Peach Theft", "Theft of the Peach", "Stolen Peaches", and "Stealing a Peach", is a short story by Pu Songling, first published in Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio (1740). It is told in first person by Pu himself, and revolves around a magic trick similar to the Indian rope trick; Pu claims to have witnessed it personally as a child.Strange Stories (film)
Strange Stories is a 1953 British drama film directed by Don Chaffey and John Guillermin and starring Peter Bull, Naomi Chance and Valentine Dyall.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
Strange but true (or strange, but true) is a phrase often used to refer to a tabloid newspaper column (such as the Weekly World News) that features unusual ("strange") stories. The c. 1937 True magazine had a "Strange But True" section on the back cover.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.The Fairies of Liaozhai
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
"The Fornicating Dog" (simplified Chinese: 犬奸; traditional Chinese: 犬姦; pinyin: Quǎn Jiān; literally: "Dog Sodomy") is a short story by Chinese author Pu Songling first published in Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio (1740). The story pertains to a Chinese merchant's spouse, a zoophile who develops sexual relations with the family's pet dog; Pu himself was critical of such phenomena as sexual fixation on animals. It was dropped from early editions, both Chinese and translated, of Liaozhai, notwithstanding Pu's original manuscript, and was translated into English by John Minford in 2006.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.