Friday, December 21, 2012

Forgotten Books: Worlds of Weird -- Leo Margulies, Editor

Four years ago at this same time of the year, James Reasoner talked about Worlds of Weird in his "Forgotten Books" post.  He paid particular attention Seabury Quinn's "Roads."  I said to myself, "Self, you have that book in an earlier edition.  You should get it out and read that story."  So I did.  Sure, it took me four years, but I never claimed to work fast.  

In the introduction to "Roads," Sam Moskowitz says that it "may well prove to be the greatest adult Christmas story written by an American."  He also mentions that Arkham House printed "Roads" in book form with a cover and interior illustrations by Virgil Finlay for $2.00.  He goes on to say that "this collectors' and gift edition has been kept in print ever since."  That statement is out of date, but you can still buy copies of the Arkham House edition.  They're more than $2.00, however (unless you're Scott Cupp; see the update below).  A copy of Worlds of Weird is cheaper.  

As for the story itself, well, it's indeed a good one.  It's a Christmas story with slashing and hacking and religion and magic, and it's great fun, indeed.  

James also mentions Robert E. Howard's "The Valley of the Worm," another of the included stories, and calls it "one of REH's best yarns," a sentiment with which I agree completely.  I can still remember reading the story for the first time. Great stuff.

James also lists the entire contents of the book, so if you're curious you can click the link above and see what else is there.  I read "The Sapphire Goddess" by Nictzin Dyalhis the other day, and it's really in the purple high pulp style.  I was reminded of A. Merritt and some of Henry Kuttner.  Not for everybody, but if you're in the right mood, give it a shot.

Update:  Scott Cupp over at MISSIONS UNKNOWN has a review of the Arkham House edition.  Naturally Scott got his copy for a buck.  Word of advice based on personal experience: Never go booking with Scott Cupp if you're of an envious nature.


George said...

If I could go booking with you and Scott Cupp, that would be perfect! WORLDS OF WEIRD is one of my favorite paperback collections: great stories and great Virgil Finlay cover!

Michael Moe said...

Margulies edited several great anthologies of Weird Tales stories. I've also got a copy of the Arkham House edition of Roads, but I paid quite a bit more than Scott and the dust jacket is pretty ripped up. Still, I was glad to get it as it can be a tough one to find.