There was a discussion on James Reasoner’s blog yesterday that he may come to regret, but I certainly hope not. He was featuring Dime Mystery Magazine, which was one of the top weird menace pulps back in the 1930s. The September 1934 issue, which is shown on the left. James said he’d considered doing a weird menace anthology for Rough Edges Press. Several rabble-rousers, myself included, urged him on. Any resemblance to the crowd chanting for the guy on the ledge to jump is a product of your warped imagination.
Well, James has taken our advice, and we hope he doesn’t live to regret it. He sent out an announcement today for the anthology. Some of you should seriously consider submitting to it. You know who you are. I’m going to try to get something ready. Click the Read More tag for the announcement.
Submission Guidelines for Weird Menace Anthology
I’m looking for the sort of stories that would have been submitted to pulp magazines such as DIME MYSTERY, TERROR TALES, and SPICY MYSTERY during the heyday of the Weird Menace pulps in the 1930s. If you’re a fan of those pulps, you know what I’m talking about: Old dark houses. Sinister scientists. Grotesque henchmen. Death cults. Beautiful women who run screaming into the night. Stalwart heroes who are, at times, not the sharpest knives in the drawer, but they manage to emerge triumphant in the end anyway (sometimes due as much to luck as anything else). Supernatural-seeming threats should wind up having logical (if far-fetched at times) explanations, although a hint of the unexplained in the story’s resolution is fine, too. Stories need to have plenty of action and a headlong pace to go with a strong sense of menace and dread. The best way to get in the mood to write stories like this is to read some of them. A number of anthologies reprinting actual Weird Menace stories are available from Altus Press, Ramble House, and Black Dog Books, and there are stories on-line at www.pulpgen.com that can be downloaded and read for free.
Stories should be between 7500 and 10,000 words, although if they go a little longer than that it shouldn’t be a problem. I’d like for them to be set during the 1930s, but don’t go overboard with period detail, just enough to capture the feeling of that era. The boundaries on language, violence, and sex are a little looser than those of the pulp editors, but nothing too graphic. Obviously, yarns like this can be a little tongue-in-cheek and over the top—I’m sure most of the pulp authors felt that way about them—but play it straight for the most part. No smirking.
Stories should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and attached as Word files. Doc format is preferred, but .docx is acceptable. Any normal font is fine, just don’t include headers or footers. Deadline is May 1, because I’d like to get the book out during the summer. I expect to use eight stories, and if I get more good ones than that I’ll just do another anthology a little later on. Questions about anything I didn’t cover, email me at email@example.com. Thanks!