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Ann VanderMeer on No Longer Editing Weird Tales

I am very sad to have to tell you that my editorship at Weird Tales, which has included one Hugo Award win and three Hugo Award nominations, is about to come to an end. The publisher, John Betancourt of Wildside Press, is selling the magazine to Marvin Kaye. Kaye is buying the magazine because he wants to edit it himself. He will not be retaining the staff from my tenure. I wish him the best with the different direction he wants to pursue, including his first, Cthulhu-themed issue. The current issue of Weird Tales is #358, just published. My last issue will be #359, which Kaye plans to publish in February of next year. Other stories I bought will be published in various issues thereafter.

The past five years reading fiction for Weird Tales magazine has been an honor for me. I had a blast doing this but I have also contributed to the canon of “the weird tale”—a responsibility I take seriously, not only for the readers of today, but for the readers of tomorrow. This iconic magazine originally blazed a trail for new approaches to dark fantastical fiction, and I did my best to return to that legacy. In addition to bringing home the first Hugo Award win in the history of Weird Tales, I was also only the second female editor of the magazine, and presided over the only all-female staff ever for the magazine.

My current plans include final work on THE WEIRD: A Compendium of Dark and Strange Stories out from Atlantic in October. This huge reprint anthology, perhaps the largest ever published for this kind of fiction, includes 116 stories from the last one hundred years and totals 750,000 words. I will also be shepherding the anthology ODD? to completion through my and my husband’s e-book imprint Cheeky Frawg, along with completing several other anthology projects. In addition, I will continue to talk about and promote weird fiction through a new blog associated with THE WEIRD that will act as a repository of information and features, as well as providing a home for a new slate of “one-minute Weird Tales,” although they will of course be called something else. Beyond that I am considering this a chance to explore new and exciting opportunities.

If you have questions about this announcement, or interview requests, please direct them to my publicist, Matt Staggs, at mattormeg@gmail.com. Thank you for your support.

***

Because I will not have the opportunity to write a final editorial for the magazine, I would like to say a few additional things as part of this announcement.

First, I would like to thank all my readers for coming along on this adventure at Weird Tales with me, and trusting me to find the kind of stories that you love. Thanks also to the writers and artists for trusting me to take good care of your work and to present that work to the world. I had the opportunity to bring to your attention some great short fiction while also helping further the careers of a lot of up-and-coming writers.

I also want to thank the talented people I’ve worked with: Stephen Segal, Paula Guran, Mary Robinette Kowal, Tessa Kum, Dominik Parisien and Alan Swirsky. You all are the best.

I am proud of what I have accomplished these past five years. I worked hard to publish a wide variety of weird fiction. In addition to work from Weird Tales’ stalwarts like Tanith Lee and Darrell Schweitzer, I published a new Elric novella by Michael Moorcock, and new fiction from brilliant writers like Kathe Koja, Jeffrey Ford, Michael Bishop, Norman Spinrad, J. Robert Lennon, Ian MacLeod, Felix Gilman, Sarah Monette, along with forthcoming work by Conrad Williams, Joel Lane, and Stephen Graham Jones.

With the aid of Weird Tales creative director Stephen Segal during my first couple of years, we ran many memorable theme issues, including the “85 Weirdest Storytellers” issue to celebrate 85 years of publication, an Uncanny Beauty issue, a steampunk issue and an International Fiction issue. In fact I published work by contributors from 21 countries during my five years with the magazine, more than any prior editor—including from New Zealand, Canada, Spain, Bulgaria, Philippines, Israel, Serbia, Italy, Slovakia, Czech Republic, France, The Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Singapore, and Sweden.

I also published many, many new or up-and-coming writers, including: Ramsey Shehadeh, Jeff Johnson, Matthew Pridham, Karin Tidbeck, Leena Likitalo, Tamsyn Muir, Tom Underberg, Rachel Swirsky, Peter Atwood, L.L. Hannett, Alistair Rennie, Kelly Barnhill, Micaela Morrissette, Jonathan Wood, Gio Clairval, Rochita Loenen-Ruiz, Amanda Downum, Catherine Cheek, and N.K. Jemisin.

During my tenure, Weird Tales also truly entered the twenty-first century, by establishing a submissions portal and regularly producing the One-Minute Weird Tales videos, in the context of a newly revamped website.

It was a great ride, but now it’s over. I am still dedicated to seeking out the best of weird fiction wherever it is and bringing it to you. I just won’t be doing that under the Weird Tales masthead anymore.

  1. Rick Klaw
    Rick Klaw08-23-2011

    Ann,

    Sad news. You did a remarkable job of re-inventing Weird Tales while managing to stay true to the original’s vision and purpose.

    Best of luck to you, wherever the road may lead. I know whatever it is, it’ll be exciting and innovative.

    Rick

  2. Kaolin Fire
    Kaolin Fire08-23-2011

    I’ll be very sorry to see you go; and will be following your other adventures. =/ You did amazing things for Weird Tales.

  3. Joe Barlow
    Joe Barlow08-23-2011

    This is terribly sad news! As a loyal reader, thanks for all the great talent you’ve brought into my world. I’m sure you will land on your feet, and I look forward to hearing about, and supporting, your future endeavors.

  4. Jay Caselberg
    Jay Caselberg08-23-2011

    Very sad news for me, Ann. But you will continue to burn bright wherever.

  5. georgie
    georgie08-23-2011

    So sorry to hear that you are leaving. You’ve done such a great job (and I have been trying hard to get a story published by you here!) It is a huge shame that you’re having to leave, after you have done such wonderful things for the mag. I will be following your future endeavours.

  6. Jen Leigh
    Jen Leigh08-23-2011

    I’ll be sorry to see you go. You didn’t buy my story, but you were helpful and sweet when you responded. I’ll keep searching for you and follow you to your new endeavors!

  7. Eric Schaller
    Eric Schaller08-23-2011

    Tell me it ain’t so! It was your brilliant editorship with its mix of old and new that made
    Weird Tales a must-read. It was one of the few magazines I subscribed to because the fiction and non-fiction were so consistently good.

  8. Gio Clairval
    Gio Clairval08-23-2011

    I can’t believe it! After all you have done, the intelligence, the taste and the new life you have breathed into the old lady, making WT one of the most distinctive magazines in the world…

    I truly can’t believe it. They must be out of their minds.

  9. Frances K R
    Frances K R08-23-2011

    Ann,

    I am so so sorry to see you go. You’ve done wonderful things with Weird Tales, and I’m delighted to have had the chance to read it. I’ll be following your efforts, wish you all the best, and trust you to bring out as fantastic a selection of weird fiction elsewhere as you have here.

    Thank you, again, for all your work.

  10. Paul Riddell
    Paul Riddell08-23-2011

    Let’s look at the positive. What do you have planned for the future?

  11. Amal El-Mohtar
    Amal El-Mohtar08-23-2011

    I’m so sorry to read this, Ann. For what it’s worth, while I wish the magazine well, I frankly think this is a terrible decision on the new purchaser’s part.

  12. Anonny Mouse
    Anonny Mouse08-23-2011

    I take it Mr Kaye also be hiring Herbert West to reanimate the bodies of Lovecraft, Smith and Howard to write more stories?

    I love ‘golden age’ WT and Weird Fiction as much as anyone else, and more than most, but that was then and this is now.

  13. Kat Howard
    Kat Howard08-23-2011

    Like many others, I am so sorry to read this. Thank you – and your staff – for all of the amazing issues.

  14. Shauna Roberts
    Shauna Roberts08-23-2011

    Very sorry to hear about this, Ann.

    What happens to those of us who sent in stories in recent months? Should we assume our stories are still under consideration? Or should we consider them rejected?

  15. Larry
    Larry08-23-2011

    This is terrible news, as it was through you that I became aware of so many talented writers who are furthering the weird tradition. I wish you only the best, Ann, and hopefully you will come out the stronger for it. Sadly, I will not be as likely to follow WT if it turns its back on the promising present and future of weird fiction to return to what it had been in the years prior to your arrival.

  16. E. Catherine Tobler
    E. Catherine Tobler08-23-2011

    Ann, you will be missed at WT, but I look forward to seeing what you do next!

  17. Karen Heuler
    Karen Heuler08-23-2011

    There are things that were meant to be together–Tracy and Hepburn, peanut butter and chocolate–and you and Weird Tales. You’ve edited a distinctive magazine with high quality in articles and fiction and art; this is a blow to all of us, reader and writer alike.

  18. Doug Smith
    Doug Smith08-23-2011

    Ann, so sorry to hear this. You did a great job during your tenure. Best wishes in your next role.

  19. Jackie Gamber
    Jackie Gamber08-23-2011

    It’s been wonderful to watch your talents and gifts at Weird Tales. I wish you nothing but the best, and I know you are going to do amazing things with whatever choices you make from here. Blessings!

  20. N. K. Jemisin
    N. K. Jemisin08-23-2011

    Good luck to you, Ann, and all the outgoing WT staff in your future ventures. Your loss is a terrible thing for WT, but a good thing for the genre as a whole, since now other markets can benefit from your talent.

  21. Kurt Newton
    Kurt Newton08-23-2011

    Ann, Weird Tales is first on my list of credits when submitting, and always will be thanks to you. You know I’ll be hounding you wherever you go. :) Just keep in mind: When one door closes another door will open. Good luck!

  22. Lauren Dixon
    Lauren Dixon08-23-2011

    You are amazing, and I’m very sorry this has happened.

  23. Fabio
    Fabio08-23-2011

    Ann, I’m very sad. It’s a shame WT can’t value enough their most treasured, talented names. Best of luck to you in all your future projects. I’ll be following you! :)

  24. MRK
    MRK08-23-2011

    :…(

  25. Anne Barringer
    Anne Barringer08-23-2011

    Ann,

    You have taught me and countless others so many new things and broadened our horizons. Sometimes things like this just make no sense, why mess with success and weird goodness? And yet, I do believe you have other doors opening up for you, and no matter which one(s) you pick, you’ll shine. Thanks for all the kind words, creativity and inspiration You totally rock the awesome sauce! May the tentacles be with you – because you are tentacular! {{{hugs}}}

  26. irma hirsjarvi
    irma hirsjarvi08-23-2011

    WHAT! They can afford to do that? Waste all the international web, huge knowlede and the network of talents you have connected? Oh my. I am speechless.

  27. Greg Bossert
    Greg Bossert08-23-2011

    Ann, it’s been such a pleasure working with you on the One Minute Weird Tales, and a greater pleasure reading each of your issues. I am absolutely gutted over the changes, and frankly have no interest in the ‘new’ a.k.a. moldy old direction that the new owner and editor seems determined to pursue, I look forward instead to following you, as a reader, a fan, an itinerant mini-video-maker, and most of all as a friend, to where ever the road might take you!

  28. MOM
    MOM08-23-2011

    @16 – yes i too would like to know whats happening with submitted work…the next Mountains of Madness or Conan might be in amoungst it all!

    sad news btw.

  29. Richard Saunders
    Richard Saunders08-23-2011

    Although there’s understandable shake-up when a magazine trades hands, and the new ownership is predicated on editorial control, this does worry me immensely. Ann is a consummate taste-master, and unless Marvin Kaye can continue the track she has so carefully developed to re-establish Weird Tales, I fear the publication will suffer. Surely it would not be so far-fetched to pursue co-editorial control? I am just a humble internet ghost, but the plain facts–regardless of the publication’s future–is that a skilled, successful and talented editor has been dismissed for no reason that relates to the level of work she was accomplishing. The fact that she can turn her talents elsewhere is poor salve for such an announcement.
    And the fact that the first salvo is a Cthulhu-themed issue twinges me with dread. Not the kind intended.

  30. Ann V.
    Ann V.08-23-2011

    For all who have stories in the submission portal (or via snail mail) all the details of the transition are still to be worked out. Please check back here later in the week for more information.

    Ann V.

  31. Steve Turner
    Steve Turner08-23-2011

    Hi Anne,
    Such a shame to see you leave. It’s no coincidence WT was an award winner under your steady hand. I always look forward to my mag in the mail and I only started my subscription because I knew you were the editor and I loved the direction you took WT in. I’m really kicking myself because I was pulling myself away from my novel lately and working on my short story skills again and wanted to send on it to you. Oh well, the magazine’s loss is Cheeky Frawg’s gain I guess, and I look forward to seeing some stellar stuff coming from that direction now.
    Steve – Clarion South 09

  32. Rob Davies
    Rob Davies08-24-2011

    I am really sorry to hear this, Ann. You published many amazing stories during your tenure. I am really looking forward to the Cheeky Frawg ODD e-book.

    While I will always have a fond spot for WT, I suspect this does not bode well for the magazine. I mean, really, does the world really need another Cthulhu-themed anything?

  33. Chris Furst
    Chris Furst08-24-2011

    I’m very sad to hear this, Ann. I wish you’d had a much longer run to work your magic. Thank you for the great, transformative work you did with WT, and thank you for publishing so many good writers. I hope you will make your mark on many new projects.

  34. Nathaniel Lee
    Nathaniel Lee08-24-2011

    I am saddened to hear this. Weird Tales has become my favorite magazine in recent months, and the idea of going in a “new direction” isn’t thrilling considering I thought we already had a really great direction with a lot of interesting scenery coming up over the hills…

  35. Lon
    Lon08-24-2011

    I really enjoyed what Weird Tales became under your editorship, Ann. Not to mention the rest of the staff, whose blood, sweat, tears, and love for the zine were apparent on every page. I liked that you displayed respect for the pulp origins AND the awareness of the New Weird. It was the best WT I’ve seen in years under you and Stephen. All of your contributions will be missed, and I plan to keep track of your future projects.

  36. Richard Thomas
    Richard Thomas08-24-2011

    What a major bummer. So sorry to hear this. I’ve loved WT and am not at all happy with how this
    is being handled.

  37. Ann V.
    Ann V.08-24-2011

    Thanks to all for your good wishes and kindness. I have been in further talks with the new Weird Tales management and I feel confident that good things will be coming soon. Stay posted!

  38. Terry Weyna
    Terry Weyna08-25-2011

    I’m so sorry to read this. I subscribed to Weird Tales because of your work with the magazine, Ann. I look forward to reading your anthologies and will follow wherever you go in the field from here on out.

  39. Robert E. Howard
    Robert E. Howard08-26-2011

    What delightful news! I’m so happy to be reading this. Now perhaps ‘Weird Tales’ can once again become the magazine it used to be.

  40. Shirley Jackson
    Shirley Jackson08-26-2011

    I always knew Robert E. Howard was a dick.

  41. Alfred Jan
    Alfred Jan08-27-2011

    As a long time fan of the original run of Weird Tales, I would like to echo the sentiments of poster #51. The latest version just left me cold. Give me old fashion weird and horror, not steampunk, slipstream, or the anemic sleep-inducing “horror” stories of Ramsey Campbell, Peter Straub, and their acolytes. To poster #52, ad hominem attacks detract from the discussion. In fact, give me stories like Robert E. Howard’s Pigeons From Hell!

  42. H. P. Lovecraft
    H. P. Lovecraft08-27-2011

    Finally, maybe under new management this magazine will stop ignoring me.

  43. Stephen H. Segal
    Stephen H. Segal08-27-2011

    Dear “H.P. Lovecraft” #54: Ignore you? Ever since 2007, Weird Tales has been running an entire column devoted to discussing your works in detail in every single issue. Apparently, being dead has affected your eyesight.

  44. H. P. Lovecraft
    H. P. Lovecraft08-27-2011

    I have not picked up the magazine since my death in 1937. See, I ran into Robert E. Howard while haunting about, and we got to reminiscing about the good old days. But I must admit that long dead men tend to see the world through the rose tinted glasses of nostalgia and form opinions on things we know next to nothing about.

  45. Shirley Jackson
    Shirley Jackson08-27-2011

    I guess a column devoted to Lovecraft in every issue wasn’t enough for you. Your brains appear to be hardwired to receive only selective information. Off to the Lottery with you.

  46. Clark Ashton Smith
    Clark Ashton Smith08-27-2011

    I liked the new version of the magazine. It had a lot of very visionary and imaginative stories. I think the real Lovecraft would have liked it, too. Not sure about Howard. He was always kind of a dick. Once, he tied tin cans to Lovecraft’s tale and just watched as he ran up and down the street “Aiiigh thogging” the whole way.

  47. Robert E. Howard
    Robert E. Howard08-28-2011

    I’ve been too busy haunting the premier of the new Conan movie to worry too much about Weird Tales

  48. King MAB
    King MAB08-28-2011

    I think this could be a fantastic thing. Ann really helped me get into weird fiction in the first place, and I’m sure she’s going to go on to put together some really neat things for us to enjoy. Marvin Kaye is no slouch, he’s got a long, long, long history of putting out quality anthologies. The magazine will probably be in pretty good hands while Kaye is editing.

  49. shirley jackson
    shirley jackson08-28-2011

    alas kaye has no good record of pocking original stories from unsolicited subs. but nice try greenhorn.

  50. francis stevens
    francis stevens08-28-2011

    Surely some happy medium can be found here to allow ancient crustaceans and sleek dolphins to coexist?

  51. MOM
    MOM08-28-2011

    @60 what did you think? did you like it? was it an accurate interpretation of your books? or did you prefer the 1982 arnie moo-vie?

    @57 – on the same note you must be bummed out Mountains of Madness didnt get made…..so close….

    @62 – oh dear. i hope that wont be the case with nuWT. sods law. i actually manage to write a short story and finish it to some degree of satisfaction enough to submitt it in and the place i send it gets Gordon Gekkoed!

  52. Gregory Frost
    Gregory Frost08-28-2011

    Ann,
    Very sorry to hear that your captaincy is at an end. You charted a dynamic course for WT.

    Best wishes,
    greg

  53. MOM
    MOM08-28-2011

    i’m going to go back in time now and prevent Marvin from being born. sadly this universe wont be affected by anything i do. however in another AVDM will continue to be Editor of WT and since i do not wish to be part of a universe where this is not so i bid you all farewell..

  54. Farnsworth Wright
    Farnsworth Wright08-30-2011

    This is the best news for Weird Tales in decades. Marvin Kaye will do a splendid job. The magazine hasn’t had a decent staff since the forties. This is cause for celebration.

  55. MG Ellington
    MG Ellington08-30-2011

    Thank you, Ann. I am grateful for the hard work and dedication to Weird Tales that you and your staff invested over the years. I will be look for traces of each of you as you set off in new directions. I wish you all the best.

  56. Christian Hickey
    Christian Hickey09-01-2011

    I could leave another message about how much you will be missed, and about the undeniable wonders that you have performed here, but I think you got enough of that.

    What I will say is that your name is huge in this industry. Everywhere I look I see Vandermeer.

    Awh heck, I’ll say it anyways. Thanks for all you’ve done.

  57. Rowdy Scarlett
    Rowdy Scarlett09-07-2011

    Wow, I had JUST subscribed to the magazine after picking up an issue as an epub for my nook color. I’m shocked and disappointed to hear the new. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the quality will remain high… Very sorry to see you and the rest of the team go.

  58. Rowdy Scarlett
    Rowdy Scarlett09-07-2011

    Noticed Wildside has 6 back issues on sale for $20. Had to pick them up.

  59. T
    T09-08-2011

    All joking aside, I agree with the comment of #53. More specifically this sentence: “Give me old fashion weird and horror, not steampunk, slipstream, or the anemic sleep-inducing “horror” stories of Ramsey Campbell, Peter Straub, and their acolytes.”

    And I hope Kaye will bring back the spirit of the old Weird Tales, which I’m way too young to know first-hand, but I assume it must’ve been awesome since it featured fiction from authors like REH, Lovecraft, Lieber, Kuttner, C. L. Moore, C. A. Smith, and others.

    And from what I’ve seen of these contemporary… ahem.. “weird”authors” is… well, I’ll refrain myself from using explicit language, but you get the picture.

  60. Wridder
    Wridder09-10-2011

    What do we do if we have a story in queue and it hasn’t been read? Should we just assume it will never be read?

  61. mom
    mom09-18-2011

    @76 hopefully they’ll still get read and published!

  62. Barton Paul Levenson
    Barton Paul Levenson09-24-2011

    May I ask what will happen to my story (“The Little White Dodge”) submitted on May 16th?

  63. Barton Paul Levenson
    Barton Paul Levenson10-10-2011

    Okay, I’m withdrawing “The Little White Dodge” since you guys appear to be out of business.

  64. Paul
    Paul10-10-2011

    They’re not out of business.

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