I wanted to bring folks attention to three publications that have come out in the last year that feature articles discussing Karl Edward Wagner. The articles range from memoirs to research and grace the pages of a deluxe periodical, a non-fiction collection by an industry legend, and a souvenir book; all three sources are worth checking out.
Weird Fiction Review No. 10 — “Collecting the Modern Macabre: Karl Edward Wagner’s Carcosa” by Ron Clinton
Wagnerds, do yourself a favor and buy this issue from Centipede Press immediately before it sells out. Oh, wait… All of us Wagner fans already know the pain of Centipede Press selling out of an edition and Weird Fiction Review No. 10 is no exception. The article describes the origin of the press (hey, did you know it’s just called Carcosa and not Carcosa Press?), how each of the four published books came together, and also the reasons the publisher closed shop. Though not flattering to Wagner, Clinton backs up his information about the closing with an interview with David Drake as well as the financial records of Carcosa. Additionally, Clinton sprinkles information throughout on pricing, the different editions, and all you need to know to become a Carcosa collector.
For me, the photos in the article are by themselves worth the price of admission. They feature photos of Wagner working on Carcosa books from his home, and photos of the authors and his partners David Drake and Jim Groce.
This article is a part of Ron Clinton’s “Collecting the Macabre” a column that was previously running in Deadlights Magazine. “Karl Edward Wagner’s Carcosa” marks the first appearance of the column as it moves over to Centipede Press and it’s Weird Fiction Review. Clinton states the purpose of the column is to examine the “post-1975 history of the small-press horror-fiction scene and the influence and enduring values of […] its key players and limited-edition collectibles.” I am eagerly awaiting the next issue to get my hands on his next column.
Grab a copy here. (SOLD OUT!)
Providence After Dark and Other Writings by T. E. D. Klein — “The Festival”
“The Festival” was originally published in the Science-Fantasy Correspondent One (1975) edited by Willis Conover and published by Carrollton Clark. The essay was recently reprinted in Providence After Dark (2019) a collection of Klein’s non-fiction writing published within the last year by Hippocampus Press. (Full disclosure, I worked on this book for Hippocampus!)
“The Festival” is a remembrance by Klein of The First World Fantasy Convention held in 1975 at the Holiday Inn in Providence, Rhode Island. That year included Robert Bloch as the guest of honor. Notable for the Dark Crusade audience, Lee Brown Coye received the award for Best Artist; Manly Wade Wellman received the award for Best Collection, Worse Things Waiting (Carcosa, 1973); Stuart David Schiff received the award for best Non-Pro Magazine for Whispers; and Wagner himself was nominated for his short story “Sticks” (Schiff, 1974).
The piece is not about Karl Wagner specifically, but he appears prominently in Klein’s section covering the “New Voices in Fantasy” panel. We get several choice quotes and tidbits from, and about, Wagner, including what inspired his first novel submission and his early influences.
Dominating the microphone with his awshucks, down-home North Carolina delivery, he spoke of his boyhood obsession with The Vault of Horror and similar comics, the reading of which, his parents warned, would warp his mind. “And it did warp my mind!” he reported happily.Klein p. 90
All told there is perhaps two pages of Wagner material in this essay but if you have any interest in the history of the genre or Lovecraft it’s a great read. Klein mentions listening to recordings of some of the panels he missed. I hope I’m able to track those down someday and get my hands on that audio!
Grab a copy here.
Necronomicon Providence 2019 Souvenir Book— “Literary Journeys with Karl Edward Wagner” by Jordan Douglas Smith
A bit of self promotion, a piece I wrote about Wagner was published in the Necronomicon Providence 2019 Souvenir Book. The unofficial theme of the year was lost treasures, and my piece focused on my personal journey finding the work of Wagner and how reading his work has opened the doors for me to all the writers that he loved and championed.
If you’ve read my columns on his Year’s Best Horror and Echoes of Valor series you’ll recognize a lot of the themes that show up in the piece. It is a call to action to not let great writers disappear and to always keep your doors open to the new generation.
It was a great honor for me to have it included in the book. I’ve been attending the bi-yearly NecronomiCon in Providence, RI since it was relaunched under the leadership of Niels Hobbs in 2013. It’s a wonderful convention and has been a huge influence on me as well as introducing me to tons of amazing writers, readers, and artists. If you have a chance to make it out to the convention in 2021 I highly recommend it.
Grab a copy here.
-Jordan Douglas Smith