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The Best of Weird Tales Hardcover – 1995
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First edition. Bound in black cloth. About Fine in fine DJ. Owner's address label on the endpapers & his blindstamp is on the 1/2 title page else fine.
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If you are looking for the original Weird Tales heavyweights: Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Seabury Quinn or H. P. Lovecraft, they aren't here (despite the beautiful image of Cthulhu on the cover).
The book does contain plenty of big names though. F. Paul Wilson, Brian Lumley, Tad Williams, Tanith Lee, Robert Bloch, William F. Nolan, John Brunner, Ramsey Campbell, T.E.D. Klein, Harry Turtledove, Thomas Ligotti, Gene Wolfe and Karl Edward Wagner. Whew! There are others. Those are just the names I immediately recognized.
Like any anthology, the stories are of varying quality, but none of them was a total waste of time. F. Paul Wilson's `Midnight Mass' is probably the best story in the book, but since the story was reproduced almost word for word in Wilson's later novel of the same name, I was already familiar with it.
Weird Tales always contained a mix of horror, fantasy, science fiction and some stories that defy classification. That is certainly true of this collection. What surprised me is that a couple of the best stories were fantasy (`After the Last Elf is Dead' and `Magician in the Dark'), a genre I usually do not enjoy. On the spooky side, I loved `Fruiting Bodies', `Night Bloomer', `The Other Dead Man' and `At First Just Ghostly'.
While none of the stories was quite an instant classic, all were at least good. The biggest hurdle the book has is the name. I think a better name for the collection they presented would have been Weird Tales: The Best of the Terminus Years. When you title a book The Best of Weird Tales and have Cthulhu on the cover, readers are going to expect some Lovecraft or other writers from the magazine's golden age.
While this is a fine collection for what it is, the name and presentation of the book make it feel a little like a bait and switch.