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Manly Wade Wellman

(1903-1986)
Manly Wade Wellman was a writer of pulp adventure, science fiction, fantasy and horror as well as a noted regional writer specializing in the history and the folklore of the American south. His pulp stories appeared in such magazines as Weird Tales, Astounding Stories, and Unknown, to name just a few. His most well-known character was a wandering backwoods minstrel known as Silver John or John the Balladeer. In the “Silver John” stories, the protagonist John wanders the Appalachian foothills and mountains fighting evil and defending those who need his assistance. Other fantasy characters included occult detectives Judge Pursuivant, John Thunstone and a prehistoric hero Hok the Mighty. Wellman was a prolific author whose first story was published in the 1920’s and who wrote almost continuously until his death in 1986. He was a recipient of a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1980. The noted fantasy and horror author Karl Edward Wagner considered him “the dean of fantasy writers.” Wellman news and updates can be found at his website.

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The Complete John Thunstone: Too good to not be read

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The Complete John Thunstone by Manly Wade Wellman

One of the subgenres of fiction that I’ve always been interested in is that of the “supernatural detective,” also sometimes known as “occult detective fiction.” Recent examples of the trope include the TV show The X-Files and the paranormal detective comic book character John Constantine, one of whose creators was Alan Moore. The stories in The Complete John Thunstone center around another character named John, one John Thunstone, a wealthy man-about-town occult detective created by fantasist and regional writer Manly Wade Wellman in the 1940’s.

John Thunstone made his first appearance in the November 1943 issue of Weird Tales with “The Third Cry to Legba,” a tale wherein Thunstone matches wits with a malevolent modern da... Read More

Rivals of Weird Tales: Nary a clinker in the bunch!

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Rivals of Weird Tales edited by Robert Weinberg, Stefan R. Dziemianowicz & Martin H. Greenberg

From 1923 – ’54, over the course of 279 issues, the pulp publication known as Weird Tales helped to popularize macabre fantasy and outré horror fiction, ultimately becoming one of the most influential and anthologized magazines of the century, and introducing readers to a “Who’s Who” of American authors. I had previously read and reviewed no fewer than six large collections of tales culled from the pages of “the Unique Magazine,” and had loved them all. But Weird Tales, of course, was far from being the only pulp periodical on the newsstands back when, as amply demonstrated in the appropriately titled, 500-page anthology Rivals of Weird Tales. In this wonderfully entertaining, generous collection, editors Robert Weinberg, Stefan R. Dziemi... Read More

Weird Vampire Tales: 30 Blood-Chilling Stories from the Weird Fiction Pulps

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Weird Vampire Tales: 30 Blood-Chilling Stories from the Weird Fiction Pulps edited by Robert Weinberg, Stefan R. Dziemianowicz, Martin H. Greenberg

The 1992 Weird Vampire Tales anthology is the only collection of stories derived from the famed pulp magazine Weird Tales to limit itself to a single subject. The slim paperbacks Worlds of Weird and Weird Tales had merely offered a hodgepodge of stories, as did the thick hardcover Weird Tales: The Magazine That Never Dies. Setting itself a different kind of challenge, Weird Tales: 32 Unearthed Terrors Read More

Weird Tales: Seven Decades of Terror: Another wonderful collection from “The Unique Magazine”

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Weird Tales: Seven Decades of Terror edited by John Betancourt & Robert Weinberg

This is the seventh anthology that I have reviewed that has been drawn from the pages of Weird Tales, one of the most famous pulp magazines in publishing history. Each of the previous collections had employed its own modus operandi in presenting its gathered stories. Weird Tales (1964) and Worlds of Weird (1965) had been slim paperbacks featuring previously uncollected stories. The Best of Weird Tales: 1923 (1997) had spotlighted tales solely from WT’s very first year. Weird Tales: A Selection In Facsimile (1990) was a generous hardcover offering photocopied pages from the original magazine. Read More