The March/April 85th anniversary issue of Weird Tales features our big list of “The 85 Weirdest Storytellers of the Past 85 Years.” We’re breaking it down online, too: one honoree per day, in no particular order, for 85 days!
JOYCE CAROL OATES (1938– ) publishes at will. In The New Yorker one month, in a mystery pulp or fantasy magazine the next. Novels, essays, poems, plays, reportage on boxing: she’s written everything. In the future, there will be no Joyce Carol Oates scholars because nobody will have time to read it all. The gothic runs through her work like veins; Oates is arguably the darkest and weirdest writer to be fully embraced by the mainstream since Poe himself, and even he only managed the trick posthumously. When she asks the question “Where are you going, where have you been?” the only answers are “Anywhere but here,” and, “God, you don’t want to know.” But we do, and Oates tells us.