Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday Morning Bonus Pulp: Famous Fantastic Mysteries, August 1942


FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES may have abridged some of the stories it reprinted, but you can't beat those Virgil Finlay covers, like this one on the August 1942 issue. In addition to the A. Merritt novel, there's a short story by E.F. Benson in this issue. I need to get around to reading more by A. Merritt. I've enjoyed what little I've read.

7 comments:

Daniel Stumpf said...

Merritt's BURN WITCH BURN is a horror-book classic, but his fantasy novels never impressed me much.

Walker Martin said...

The new issue of BLOOD n THUNDER has a long article on FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES, the first of two parts. It has claim, along with FANTASTIC NOVELS, to being one of the best looking pulp tiles. Excellent covers and interior art and an interesting letter column. One of my favorites.

S. Craig Zahler said...

I ordered and am waiting for my copy of the newest Blood n Thunder myself.

Regarding Merritt:
I am a big fan of lost race stories, but the two of his that I read--'Dwellers in the Mirage' and 'Face in the Abyss'--were pretty decent, but the strange beings and the "lost" elements are introduced so near the front of these books that I felt the stories lacked the very important adventure/journey/struggle component found in all of the best lost race fiction. And a lot of the fantasy ideas are of these not very imaginative types---it's a slug, but really a big slug; he's a pygmy, but with golden skin; it's an octopus, but with twelve tentacles; etc. These books were whimsical, magical, and very romantic fantasy. So in terms of the notable pulp fantasists, the weirdness, prose, creativity, imagery, irony, and darkness of Clark Ashton Smith appeals to me far, far, far, far, far more than does the Merritt that I've read. There's no better fantasy--pulp or otherwise--than "Isle of the Torturers," "Colossus of Ylourgne," "Dark Eidolon," and "Xeethra," by CAS.
So I'd encourage more time spent with him than Merritt, though perhaps the Merritt horror is better than his highly romantic fantasy.

James Reasoner said...

I haven't read much by CAS, either, but I've enjoyed what I've read. I have several volumes of his short stories on hand, just need to find the time to read them. Clearly, Smith was more of a stylist than Merritt and had a great imagination.

Walker Martin said...

I agree with the above comments about Clark Ashton Smith, who was one of the better authors to write for WEIRD TALES. My favorite Smith stories are the Zothique cycle of bizarre horror stories. His work is now widely available in various reprints and collections. I've read many of his stories more than once. He also was a talented artist and sculptor.

S. Craig Zahler said...

Agreed on the Zothique cycle/collection, which I too feel is his very best---3 of the 4 top CAS stories I named are from that world/book (and I've read quite a lot of CAS). Genus Loci is my second favorite collection of his, and this one also includes some of his atmospheric, oddball science fiction, though generally he was a fantasist.

S. Craig Zahler said...

Agreed on the Zothique cycle/collection, which I too feel is his very best---3 of the 4 top CAS stories I named are from that world/book (and I've read quite a lot of CAS). Genus Loci is my second favorite collection of his, and this one also includes some of his atmospheric, oddball science fiction, though generally he was a fantasist.