I suspect readers of this blog are aware of what is going on at Weird Tales. Really, I think there’s two bits of required reading. First, there’s Ann VanderMeer’s farewell message, posted to the Weird Tales blog. The second is a post from Jason Sanford’s blog, especially good reading as there is a comment from Jeff VanderMeer, who clearly has a rather internal view of the situation.
The basic wrap-up: Weird Tales has been sold to Marvin Kaye, who has previously edited a short run Lovecraft journal for Wildside Press. He bought it with the intent of editing, and in doing so has dismissed current editor Ann VanderMeer and her staff. According to Jeff VanderMeer he also started soliciting for stories on authors’ Facebook pages before anything was made public about the sale, and is denying Ann VanderMeer a wrap-up issue. Hence her farewell message on the blog. This leaves several writers who have been accepted for future editions, as well as authors with stories in the submission queue, in limbo.
I don’t want to make opinions about where the magazine will go from here. There are rumors that Kaye wants the magazine to go more retro, back to it’s Lovecraft/Smith/Howard roots. There are denials to these rumors. And in the end, it’s all just rumors. For some that will be a welcome change, for some it won’t. I posted the Sanford blog post to Google+ and had a reply from another subscriber saying he wasn’t a big fan of the more Steampunk turn the journal has taken, and would welcome some old guard stories. Obviously to each there own, and no one will really know what changes will be in store until the first Kaye issue comes out.
All I can say is this. My wife and I subscribed briefly to Weird Tales during it’s transition to Wildside, just before VanderMeer took over as editor. We (or at least I) found it uneven, and our subscription lapsed. We came back on board a year ago after hearing both VanderMeers talk at Capclave, seeing the anthologies they put together, and reading the most recent issues she edited. That got us to resubscribe to a journal I’ve been enjoying ever since. So it’s a shame to see the team that turned Weird Tales into must reading for me dismissed so suddenly and casually. And if the transition was handled in the way that Jeff VanderMeer’s blog comment above suggests, then it’s not being handled in what I would consider a professional manner.
So there it is. My opinion. I enjoyed what the magazine was under Ann VanderMeer, and I hate to see her leave in such a fashion. I have no reason at the moment to suspect the magazine will degrade in quality, but it probably won’t be the journal it was one way or another. I’ll give it a chance. But in the end, what it all boils down to is, I’m disappointed.