weird adj.

describing supernatural horror (often in weird fiction, weird story, etc.)

SF Criticism

  • 1923 Mar. (title of magazine) page image

    Weird Tales.

  • 1934 Astounding Stories Sept. 106 page image

    An outstanding author of the weird story steps into science-fiction with a tale that is highly imaginative and disturbingly different. The Bright Illusion, by C. L. Moore, reveals a planet of indescribable beauty—and horror. You will remember it.

  • 1934 Brass Tacks in Astounding Stories Sept. 158/1 page image bibliography

    I noticed a letter by Robert Lowndes headed as ‘Absolute Freedom of Thought’. He states that science-fiction is the one field where there should be that freedom. I believe he has slightly misunderstood it. Weird fiction is the place for absolute freedom. Science-fiction must have some, but not all or it would degenerate into weird fiction.

  • 1940 Astonishing Stories Oct. 108/2 page image

    The only story not liked by the majority was ‘Woman Out of Time,’ which most characterized as a readable weird story, but out of place in a science fiction magazine.

  • 1946 J. Kennedy A Hearty Burp in Planet Stories Spring 126/1 (letter) page image

    There is always the question, of course, as to just where the dividing line lies between stf, fantasy, and weird fiction.

  • 1952 M. E. Kamine Bite of the Bug in Thrilling Wonder Stories Feb. 135/1 (letter) page image

    Incidentally RETURN impressed me as more in the weird story line than scientific, but it makes an excellent transitional story from a fan of horror and ghost stories to one of science fiction.

  • 1970 ‘L. del Rey’ Reading Room in Worlds of If Jan. 157/2 page image Lester del Rey

    One of the current series that looks least promising turns out to be almost good and certainly worth a look by anyone who likes fantasy of the weird sort. [Ibid. 158/2] Generally, it’s a rather good weird story.

  • 2006 T. Hull H.P. Lovecraft in Math Horizons Feb. 10/1

    To this day, writers pay tribute, by writing stories ‘in the style’ of Lovecraft or extending Lovecraftian themes to modern contexts. This is all the more amazing when one learns that Lovecraft’s fiction follows a rather nontraditional approach to horror, fitting more appropriately into the subgenre of weird fiction. Specifically, Lovecraft was primarily interested in creating an appropriate mood to inspire in the reader a sense of cosmic horror: that the hopes, dreams, and philosophies of humankind are inconsequential to the larger universe, and that as a result the chaotic forces of nature could wipe out human existence in the blink of an eye without anyone even noticing.

Research requirements

antedating 1923

Earliest cite

in the title of Weird Tales

Research History
Fred Galvin submitted a 1942 cite from Astonishing Stories.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1940 cite from a letter in Astonishing Stories.
Fred Galvin submitted two 1934 cites from an editorial and letter in Astounding Stories.
Fred Galvin submitted a 2006 cite from an article by Thomas Hull in Math Horizons.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted the title of the first issue of Weird Tales.

In addition to antedatings, we would like cites of any date.

Last modified 2023-02-16 13:10:37
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.