Entry updated 13 September 2021. Tagged: Publication.
US Digest-size magazine. Publisher: Winston Publications Inc. Editor was possibly Bart Anders. Three bimonthly issues: July, September and November 1960.
1. This short-lived but high-quality weird fiction magazine – subtitled "The Magazine of Terrifying Tales" – consisted largely of reprints, mostly of strong stories by notable authors, many also active in sf. Selections include "The Emissary" (May 1943 Weird Tales) by Ray Bradbury, "A Bottomless Grave" (26 February 1888 San Francisco Examiner) by Ambrose Bierce, "Moon-Face" (21 July 1902 The Argonaut) by Jack London and "Bianca's Hands" (March 1947 Argosy UK edition only) by Theodore Sturgeon, this last being the first US magazine appearance of Sturgeon's story. Other notable authors featured included Charles Beaumont, John Collier, Avram Davidson, Henry Kuttner, Philip MacDonald and Donald E Westlake. Unfortunately, Shock fell prey to the dismal US market conditions for fiction magazines in 1960, with most sf magazines launched during the 1950s having folded by that year. All three issues featured covers by artist Jack Davis (1924-2016).
2. The publication was revived as Shock Mystery Tales from Pontiac Publishing for an additional six issues from December 1961 to February 1963, with Bart Anders as editor. This version was also in digest format, but switched to letter-size for the final issue #6. Shock Mystery Tales was an ill-conceived attempt to revive the "weird menace" story popular for a time in the 1930s and 1940s in such borderline weird fiction Pulp magazines as Horror Stories (1935-1941); titles like Bob Shields's "Lust of the Jungle Goddess" (March 1962) were typical. No notable authors appeared, at least not under their actual names; suspicions of multiple pseudonyms are fuelled by the fact that bylines tend to be unique to this magazine (an exception being James Rosenquest, with previous credits in Super-Science Fiction and Fantastic Universe). The well-executed though lurid cover art featured scantily-dressed women in situations of extreme distress. Copies of this latter incarnation are quite rare, commanding prices of $100 or more. [GSt/DRL]
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