Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Health Knowledge Genre Magazines Part Two: Magazine of Horror

by Peter Enfantino

The first part of this overview of the Health Knowledge genre digests edited by Robert A. W. Lowndes, covering Magazine of Horror 1-12 can be found here.

No. 13 Summer 1966
130 pages, 50 cents
Cover illo: Hubert Carter

(4) The Thing in the House – H. F. Scotten
(11,750 words; from Weird Tales, May 1929)
(5) *Divine Madness – Roger Zelazny (2750 words)
(3) *Valley of the Lost – Robert E. Howard (8750 words)
(2) Heredity – David H. Keller
(5250 words; from Life Everlasting)
(6) *Dwelling of the Righteous – Anna Hunger (6500 words)
(1) Almost Immortal – Austin Hall
(19,500 words; from All-Story Magazine, October 7, 1916)

Notes: the first ad for Health Knowledge’s second genre digest, Startling Mystery Stories, appears on the inside front cover. RAWL discusses the new magazine in It Is Written. Book reviews include The Dark Brotherhood by H. P. Lovecraft and “diver’s hands” (this was one of the hardcovers Arkham House published featuring Lovecraft story fragments finished up by August Derleth), Something Breathing by Stanley McNail (also Arkham House), and several short reviews. The Howard story has an interesting history. “Valley of the Lost” was originally scheduled for Strange Tales but that pulp went belly-up before "Lost" saw print. In 1965, Glen Lord (executor for the Howard estate) sent a manuscript to RAWL titled “King of the Lost People,” proclaiming that it was the story once slated for Strange Tales. Lowndes excitedly accepted the story for publication. Just as the issue was coming off the press, Lord contacted Lowndes with the news that “Valley of the Lost” was, oops, not really “King of the Lost People,” because Lord had just found another “six boxes of Howard’s papers and files” and “Valley of the Lost” was among the papers included (with annotations by Strange Tales editor Harry Bates). Definitely two different stories. The real “Valley of the Lost” later ran in Startling Mystery Stories.
In the letters page, Franklin J. C. Hiller of Rochester, New York says, referring to the Gray Morrow cover on #12: “At last! A cover that doesn’t look as though it were a weak, misguided attempt to steal readers away from Web Horror Fiction (sic) in the lowest depths of its sado-masochistic stage.” My kind of letter-hack! Lots of “famous people” in the letters page: Pulp fan and mail order dealer Richard Minter; Malcolm Willets, co-owner of Collector’s Book Store, originally on Wilcox in Hollywood and later moved to Hollywood Blvd., the paradise of movie memorabilia fans for years before closing in 2002; and future Whispers Magazine and Press founder Stuart Schiff.

No. 14 Winter 1966/1967
130 pages, 50 cents
cover illo: Hubert Carter

The Lair of the Star-Spawn – August Derleth & Mark Schorer
(9750 words; from Weird Tales, August 1932)
Proof – S. Fowler Wright
(5000 words; from The Throne of Saturn)
The Vacant Lot – Mary Wilkins-Freeman
(6750 words; from The Wind in the Rose-Bush)
*Comes Now the Power – Roger Zelazny (2500 words)
The Moth Message – Laurence Manning
(10,500 words; from Wonder Stories, December 1934)
The Friendly Demon – Daniel DeFoe
(1500 words; unknown source)
*Dark Hollow – Emil Petaja (6000 words)
An Inhabitant of Carcosa – Ambrose Bierce
(1500 words; from Can Such Things Be?)
The Monster-God of Mamurth – Edmond Hamilton
(6750 words; from Weird Tales, August 1926)

Notes: In his introduction, RAWL writes beautifully of the recent passing of writer David H. Keller, finishing up with “…while not yet weary of this body we’re wearing, we do look forward to seeing him and arguing some points in his stories when the time comes.” “The Vacant Lot” is illustrated by Peter Newell, the first such interior illustration in MOH. “The Moth Message” is the third “Stranger Club” story appearing in MOH, but it’s actually the fourth in the series. The jumbling of the stories is explained in It Is Written by RAWL (he decided the science fiction tales should run in the just-launched Famous Science Fiction, which is advertised in this issue). Also in It Is Written, RAWL discusses Weird Tales in the Thirties, a 41-page critical look at the Unique Magazine (where can I find this stuff?), written by Reginald Smith. Truly, this is the kind of thing where RAWL shined. The editor comes across as an encyclopedia of pulp knowledge in his comments regarding Smith’s publication.
For some reason, a Reckoning for this issue’s stories was never run so we’ll never know what the favorite story was. Based on what I’ve seen from past picks, I’d guess it would be the Hamilton.

No. 15 Spring 1967
130 pages, 50 cents
Cover illo: Virgil Finlay

(4) The Room of Shadows – Arthur J. Burks
(10,000 words; from Weird Tales, May 1936)
(6) *The Flaw – J. Vernon Shea (4000 words)
(5) The Doom of London – Robert Barr
(4500 words; from The Idler, November 1894)
(2) *The Vale of Lost Women – Robert E. Howard (7500 words)
(3) The Ghoul Gallery – Hugh B. Cave
(8750 words; from Weird Tales, June 1932)
(1) Lilies – Robert A. W. Lowndes
(17,250 words; originally “Lure of the Lily” from Uncanny Tales (Canadian), January 1942)

Notes: In his intro, RAWL assures all science fiction loathers that SF is dead in MOH and thrives in Famous Science Fiction. “The Doom of London” is introduced by Sam Moskowitz, who gives a detailed biography of author Barr. “The Vale of Lost Women” is a never-before-published tale of Conan the Barbarian, another treasure from Glen Lord’s seemingly bottomless trunk of unsold REH. In the letters page, Jason Van Hollander, later a very respected genre artist, writes in to ask about the authenticity of the Robert E. Howard story in the previous issue. Van Hollander remarks that the word “television” is used in a story written in 1936 and TV didn’t become reality until the 1940s. RAWL reminds readers that Hugo Gernsback discussed television in 1909. August Derleth corrects RAWL’s estimation (in a previous issue) of Derleth’s total output. The author asserts that he’s had 5,000 appearances in over 500 magazines and the list grows every day.

No. 16 Summer 1967
130 pages, 50 cents
Cover illo: Virgil Finlay

(5) Night and Silence – Maurice Level
(1600 words; from Weird Tales, February 1932)
(t-3) Lazarus – Leonid Andreyeff
(8750 words; from Weird Tales, March 1927)
(7) *Mr. Octbur – Joseph Payne Brennan (1000 words)
(1) The Dog That Laughed – Charles Willard Diffin
(8750 words; from Strange Tales, September 1931)
(6) *Ah, Sweet Youth – Pauline Kappel Prilucik (4500 words)
(4) *The Man Who Never Was – R. A. Lafferty (4000 words)
(2) The Leaden Ring – S. Baring-Gould
(5750 words; from A Book of Ghosts)
(t-3) The Monster of the Prophecy – Clark Ashton Smith
(16,250 words; from Weird Tales, January 1932)
*A Song For Men That Laugh (verse) – Robert E. Howard

Notes: In his intro, RAWL bemoans the fact that new writers often write sloppy prose and use the sloppy prose of Howard and Burroughs as an excuse. “The Dog That Laughed,” “The Leaden Ring” and “The Monster of the Prophecy” are illustrated but the artists are not acknowledged. Readers react, both pro and con to the Conan story that ran in #15.

No. 17 Fall 1967
130 pages, 50 cents
Cover illo: Virgil Finlay

*A Sense of Crawling – Robert Edmond Alter (2000 words)
The Laughing Duke – Wallace West
(9000 words; from Weird Tales, February 1932)
* Dermod’s Bane – Robert E. Howard (2250 pages)
The Spell of the Sword – Frank Aubrey
(5500 words; from Pearson’s Magazine, February 1898)
“Williamson” – Henry S. Whitehead
(7500 words; from West India Lights)
The Curse of Amen-Ra – Victor Rousseau
(25,750 words; from Strange Tales, October 1932)

Notes: I wrote a long essay on Robert Edmond Alter’s contributions to Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine that appeared on September 23 on this site. In that article, I said that Alter’s death was a mystery. He had supposedly died in 1966 but stories continued to appear for years after. In his intro to “A Sense of Crawling,” RAWL fills in some of the blanks (I wish I had thought to check this before writing the AHMM piece): Alter died after contracting pneumonia during amputation surgery for cancer. RAWL continues that: “Alter died the very day that his agent, Larry Sternig wired him that Boy’s Life and Argosy had accepted a story each, that Avon would publish his novel, The Red Feather, and that Putnam wanted his 14th boys’ book, First Comes Courage. Alter never saw the telegram.” A very sad ending for a great writer, one who needs a major reassessment. There was no It Is Written and the Editor’s Page is simply a couple paragraphs to explain where the pages went (RAWL insists that his editorial comments would not get in the way of longer stories). Prolific spot and comic book artist Joe Doolin illustrates “The Laughing Duke.” The Howard story is another discovered manuscript. Sam Moskowitz introduces “The Spell of the Sword.” Moskowitz, much like his literary descendant Mike Ashley, wrote so well that much of the time his intros were better than the stories themselves. “The Curse of Amen-Ra,” a killer mummy tale, is illustrated by pulp artist Amos Sewell (I don’t have the original Strange Tales issue but I assume that this is where it’s from).

No. 18 November 1967
130 pages, 50 cents
Cover illo: Virgil Finlay

(2) In Amundsen’s Tent – John Martin Leahy
(8250 words; from Weird Tales, January 1928)
(4) * Transient and Immortal – Jim Haught (3500 words)
(3) * Out of the Deep – Robert E. Howard (3000 words)
(5) The Bibliophile – Thomas Boyd
(1000 words; from The Bookman Magazine, January 1927)
(6) *The Ultimate Creature – R. A. Lafferty (3500 words)
(1) Wolves of Darkness – Jack Williamson
(31,000 words; from Strange Tales, January 1932)

Notes: RAWL’s editorial page is back, this time focusing on the troubles behind-the-scenes with MOH’s publishing frequency. Years later, RAWL would document those troubles in the Outworlds piece. Pulp artist Hugh Rankin illustrates “The Amundsen’s Tent.” RAWL explains that “Out of the Deep,” yet another new Howard find from Glen Lord, is a “sequel of sorts” to “Sea Curse” which appeared way back in the May 1928 issue of Weird Tales. The striking illustration used for “Wolves of Darkness” was actually the cover (by H. W. Wesso) of the issue of Strange Tales it appeared in. A second illo is by Amos Sewell. “Wolves” was the longest story (to that point) to appear in MOH. An Index to Volume Three appears this issue. In It Is Written, RAWL addresses the pros and cons of using interior illustrations (the printing press they used made most of the illos too dark) from the original sources. Roger Dard of Perth, Western Australia begs the editor not to ignore stories that appeared in the lesser pulps like Terror Tales and Horror Stories. RAWL responds: You’re right that there were a few very good weird tales in Horror Stories and Terror Tales, some by authors who also appeared in WT, others by writers not known to WT readers. Unfortunately, I do not have access to old copies of these magazines, which are now extremely rare and which, I suspect, are collected these days by lovers of sadistic stories.” Future fantasy and science fiction writer Greg Bear also writes in, as does Mike Ashley. I wish I could reprint the particularly vitriolic letter from Gary Morris about Seabury Quinn’s Jules de Grandin (“Quinn’s stories are definitely unoriginal, and written with a false air of sophistication. Ugh!” To which I say—Amen!).

No. 19 January 1968
130 pages, 50 cents
Cover illo: Virgil Finlay

(3) The Red Witch – Nictzin Dyalhis
(12,750 words, from Weird Tales, April 1932)
(8) *The Last Letter from Norman Underwood – Larry Eugene Meredith (3500 words)
(6) The Jewels of Vishnu – Harriet Bennett
(500 words; from The Strand Magazine, January 1904)
(4) The Man from Cincinatti – Holloway Horn
(2000 words; from Astounding, November 1933)
(7) *Ground Afire – Anna Hunger (4000 words)
(5) The Wind in the Rose-Bush – Mary Wilkins-Freeman
(7000 words, from The Wind in the Rose-Bush)
(1) The Last of Placide’s Wife – Kirk Mashburn
(9750 words; from Weird Tales, September 1932)
(2) The Years Are As a Knife (verse) – Robert E. Howard

Notes: C. C. Senf illustrates “The Red Witch.” Sam Moscowitz introduces “The Jewels of Vishnu.” There’s an uncredited illo for “The Man from Cincinatti.” Peter Newell illustrates “The Wind in the Rose-Bush.” There’s an ad for the Fall issue of Startling Mystery Tales featuring “The Glass Floor,” by Stephen King (his first pro sale). “The Last of Placide’s Wife” is the sequel to “Placide’s Wife,” which appeared in MOH #10. A newly re-titled book review column, Inquisitions, covers Travelers By Night, edited by August Derleth in greater detail than RAWL had ever attempted (about 1600 words). In an expanded It is Written, Don Thompson (later the co-editor of The Comics Buyer’s Guide) and Emil Petaja contribute letters of comment. Also expanded, RAWL’s editorial pages trumpet a British writer of horror named J. Ramsey Campbell. Health Knowledge’s newest publication, World Wide Adventure (“Action for Men” and “Daring Stories”) is announced

No. 20 March 1968
130 pages, 50 cents
Cover illo: Virgil Finlay

(4) The Siren of the Snakes – Arlton Eadie
(6500 words; from Weird Tales, June 1932)
(6) *The Rack – G. G. Ketcham (2250 words)
(1) A Cry from Beyond – Victor Rousseau
(8700 words; from Strange Tales, September 1931)
(2) *Only Gone Before – Emil Petaja (6000 words)
(5) The Voice – Nell Kay
(8000 words; from Ghost Stories, July 1928)
(3) The Monsters – Murray Leinster
(19,500 words; from Weird Tales, January 1933)

Notes: On The Editor’s Page, RAWL discusses his fondness for the pulp Ghost Stories, a short-lived rival to Weird Tales. “The Siren of the Snakes” is illustrated by T. Wyatt Nelson. An illo by Amos Sewell accompanies “A Cry from Beyond.” For some reason, halfway through the issue, the customary two-column page gives way to no columns. This lasts just three stories (from the Rousseau through the Kay) and then returns to the two-column format. The Petaja story was bought for Weird Tales but never used.

A very nice illustration of a giant scorpion eating a man by J. M. Wilcox runs with “Monsters.” In It Is Written, RAWL discusses the “controversy” surrounding the publishing (in #18) of Williamson’s “Wolves of Darkness” (some question running such a long story). The editor also addresses the quarterly vs. bi-monthly schedule of MOH, blaming an old printer and distribution problems for the quarterly start.

No. 21 May 1968
130 pages, 50 cents
cover illo: Virgil Finlay

(1) Kings of the Night – Robert E. Howard
(14,750 words; from Weird Tales, November 1930)
(6) *The Cunning of Private Rogoff – David A. English (1600 words)
(2) The Brain-Eaters – Frank Belknap Long
(5250 words; from Weird Tales, June 1932)
(3) A Psychichal Invasion (Part One) – Algernon Blackwood
(11,000 words; from John Silence)
(5) Nasturtia – Col. S. P. Meek
(4000 words; from Strange Tales, September 1931)
(4) The Dark Star – G. G. Pendarves
(13,600 words; from Weird Tales, March 1937)

Notes: Well, he teased us with the no-column format briefly last issue. Beginning this issue, no columns at all (thus confounding my 250-words a column mathematics). “Kings of the Night,” a Bran Mak Morn tale, is illustrated by Hugh Rankin. T. Wyatt Nelson illustrates “The Brain-Eaters.” In It Is Written, RAWL informs a letter writer that he bought a copy of the first Weird Tales (March 1923) in the 1950s for $35 and sold it in 1967 to a friend because “he had no further need for it, and could get much more mileage from selling it and investing the proceeds in Mozart and Richard Strauss operas.” The last time I saw one for sale, it was priced at nearly ten grand.

No. 22 July 1968
130 pages, 50 cents
cover illo: Virgil Finlay

(1) Worms of the Earth – Robert E. Howard
(13,500 words; from Weird Tales, November 1932)
(6) *Come – Anna Hunger (5000 words)
(4)They Called Him Ghost – Laurence J. Cahill
(7500 words; from Weird Tales, June 1934)
(5) The Phantom ‘Rickshaw – Rudyard Kipling
(9500 words; from The Phantom ‘Rickshaw)
(3) *The Castle in the Window – Steffan B. Aletti (3750 words)
(2) A Psychichal Invasion (Conclusion) – Algernon Blackwood
(11,500 words; from John Silence)

Notes: On the Editor’s Page, RAWL raves about then just-released Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison. “Worms of the Earth,” a Bran Mak Morn adventure, is illustrated by J. M. Wilcox. In the Inquisitions book review department, RAWL recommends Strange Gateways by E. Hoffman Price. Book dealer Robert Madle writes in a long letter about his publishing of David H. Keller’s "The Abyss" (which would be serialized in #23 and 24) in 1948. Muriel Eddy writes about the death of her husband, author C. M. Eddy.

No. 23 September 1968
130 pages, 50 cents
cover illo: Virgil Finlay

(1) The Abyss (Part One) – David H. Keller
(24,500 words; from The Solitary Hunters and The Abyss)
(4) The Death Mask – Mrs. H. D. Everett
(4000 words; uncredited source)
(5) * One By One – Richard M. Hodgens (3000 words)
(3) The Thirteenth Floor – Douglas M. Dold
(5250 words; from Strange Tales, November 1931)
(2) Leapers – Robert A. W. Lowndes
(13,250 words; from Future, December 1942)

Notes: On the Editor’s Page, RAWL writes about the life and death of David H. Keller. John V. Baltadonis illustrates “The Abyss.” H. W. Wesso illustrates “The Thirteenth Floor.” The RAWL story, “Leapers” originally appeared, in a shorter version, under the pseudonym of Carol Grey. In It Is Written, RAWL recounts the origin of the story. Donald A. Wollheim, then editor of Stirring Science Fiction asked RAWL if he could come up with a Lovecraftian story. Lowndes submitted “The Leapers,” but the zine went under before it could see publication. When Lowndes became editor of Future, he ran his own story under the pseudonym. L. Sprague de Camp and Steffan B. Aletti write in.

No. 24 November 1968
130 pages, 50 cents
cover illo: Virgil Finlay

(t-2) Once in a Thousand Years – Frances Bragg Middleton
(12,000 pages; from Weird Tales, August 1935)
(1) *The Eye of Horus – Steffan B. Aletti (3250 words)
(t-2) Four Prose-Poems – H. P. Lovecraft
(3250 words; from Beyond the Wall of Sleep)
(4) A Diagnosis of Death – Ambrose Bierce
(1500 words; from Can Such Things Be?)
(3) The Abyss (Conclusion) – David H. Keller
(28,000 words; from The Solitary Hunters and The Abyss)

Notes: On the Editor’s Page, RAWL discusses the life and career of H. P. Lovecraft. The four “prose-poems” are: Memory, What the Moon Brings, Nyarlathotep, and Ex Oblivione. I believe these are also known as “fragments.”

“Once in a Thousand Years” is illustrated by Vincent Napoli and Hugh Rankin. The same illustration from the first part of “The Abyss” is used this issue as well. “The Eye of Horus” becomes the first new story to place first in The Reckoning. In the Inquisitions column, Lowndes reviews H. P. Lovecraft’s Selected Letters II 1923-1929 and The Green Round by Arthur Machen. Future acclaimed authors Tim Powers (On Stranger Tides) and Richard Brautigan (The Hawkline Monster: A Gothic Western) write in.

Next Wednesday: The conclusion of Magazine of Horror


Walker Martin said...

This is excellent coverage of MAGAZINE of HORROR. I agree about Moskowitz's comments sometimes being more interesting than the stories. In the anthology from the Munsey pulps, UNDER THE MOONS OF MARS, his history of ALL STORY is just about the best piece ever done on a pulp title.

I bought the Reg Smith booklet about Weird Tales but now I see I buried it in the basement with a few hundred fanzines. But Weinberg did reprint excerpts in a 16 page article in WEIRD TALES 50, his paperback book from 1974.

I'll be looking through my MOH set again since your survey has spiked my interest. I hope to see a big book reprinting your digest reviews of MOH, MANHUNT, AHMM, and others, maybe titled 1001 Digest Reviews(after Prozini's 1001 MIDNIGHTS).

Todd Mason said...

Good work, indeed...though you consistently typo Moskowitz as "Moscowitz"...and his comments on various matters might not only be more interesting than much of the fiction he was allowed to highlight in the HK magazines (and in FANTASTIC and AMAZING in the earlier '60s), but those comments were too often only slightly less fictional.

The most puzzling thing about these issues to me it the apparent notion of Lowndes's that Pendarves was a stronger newsstand draw as a name on the cover than Zelazny or Lafferty. In a word, No. Perhaps not even to the typical MOH reader.

I'd note that Anna Hunger's "Come" is the story John Pelan selected for his Century of Horror anthology forthcoming from CD Publications...iirc (ha), it's the only MOH contribution to that book. I know Aletti published a little after MOH went away, but I'm not aware Hunger did (a true Hunger artist, or whose psuedonym?)

Walker Martin said...

It's true about some of Moskowitz's comments being only slightly less fictional. He had a habit of often picking out some obscure story by an unknown author and saying that it obviously had a big influence on some later big name SF author. More than once these statements made me laugh in disbelief. But overall, as with the All Story history piece, he did some valuable research.

I once asked him why he didn't continue the Munsey history beyond 1920 and cover the 1930's in ARGOSY. He said no one was interested in publishing it. At least we have the collection, UNDER THE MOONS OF MARS.

Peter Enfantino said...

1001 Digests! I like the sound of that. 1001 Midnights is one of my "essential reference" books and has been for years. I'll do something along those lines if you and Todd will proof it for me.

Todd- Noted and corrected. I hope I got all of 'em at least. Thanks for the heads-up.

Todd Mason said...

And, I was wrong about the Pelan antho...he has an Aletti and at least one other that looks like a MOH item in the century book.