There are a number of birthdays today in the fields of the fantastic, including but not limited to C. J. Cherryh (1942), Timothy Zahn (1951), and S. Andrew Swann (1966). But there are two writers born on this date (September 1) against whom all others with birthdays today pale in comparison. Continue reading
Douglas Ray Bradbury was born on this date, August 22, in the year 1920. He passed away on June 5, 2102. It’s hard to believe it’s been five years already.
Bradbury was one of the first science fiction and fantasy writers I ever read, back when I was in grade school. It was a life changing experience.
I’ve always preferred his fiction from the 1940s and early 1950s, the stuff published in Weird Tales and Thrilling Wonder Stories, to his later works, However, it’s been a few years since I read some of his later fiction. It’s about time I returned to it. I’m older now and my tastes have changed.
I’ve got a little bit of time free this evening, and I can’t think of a better way to spend it than with a few Bradbury short stories.
Rather than say anymore about him, I’ll leave you with this quote:
Another year has passed, and it’s Lovecraft’s birthday again. (It’s also my mother-in-law’s but that’s beyond the scope of this post.) I’ve been planning a post on Lovecraft (yes, Dave H., the one we discussed at Howard Days and Armadillcon), but it’s not the right time for it. It’ll piss people off. Trust me.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born on August 20, 1890, in Providence, Rhode Island. He was one of the most influential writers of the weird and fantastic of the 20th Century.
I was thinking the other day about my own writing, and I realized that I have written more fiction with lovecraftian themes in the last year than I have in all other years combined. No, you can’t read these stories. They haven’t been published, although not for lack of trying. Two are under consideration and one isn’t quite finished.
I’ve seen more anthologies devoted to Lovecraft’s works this year. Maybe I’m just paying more attention, but it seems like there’s not going to be a decline in interest in his works.
I will make this observation, though. I don’t see a lot of middle ground with Lovecraft these days. Among the people who are familiar with his work, and by familiar I mean have actually read his stories as opposed to hearing about them from others, people seem to either love him or hate him.
That is influence.
…there was another birthday I wanted to mention. Francis Marion Crawford was born on this August 2, 1854 and died on April 9, 1909.
Crawford wrote in a number of genres, but he’s remembered today for two stories that are considered classics of the macabre.
“The Upper Berth” is a ghost story that can be found in many anthologies, while “For the Blood is the Life” is a vampire tale. Both are worth seeking out. It’s been a number of years since I read them, and a reread of both is overdue. Maybe this evening, after everyone has gone to bed and the lights grow dim…
I’m really not planning on making Adventures Fantastic a birthday tribute site, in spite of the number that have popped up lately. I’ve noticed the birthdays and have dashed the posts out over lunch or when I have a few minutes free. They’ve kept the blog fresh, but I am going to be doing some other posts soon.
There are a number of writers and artists who share a birthday today, July 24. I’m going to focus on four of them, although there are others such as Alexandre Dumas, Barry Malzberg, Gordon Eklund, or Travis S. Taylor, whose work has either been significant to the field or work that I enjoy (or both).
I want to focus on these four because they’ve had a major impact on my reading and writing habits and/or have had lasting influence. I”ll discuss them in the order of their births. Continue reading
Manly Wade Wellman was born, this day, May 21, in 1903 in Portuguese West Africa. He was one of the greatest writers of horror and dark fantasy of the 20th Century, although he’s not as well known today as he should be. His best known literary creation was John the Balladeer, and wandering minstrel of the Appalachian mountains. Wellman began writing in the 1920s, and sold a number of stories to Weird Tales. He was still writing in the 1970s and 1980s, and a number of his short stories were published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
In honor of his birthday, I’m going to look at two short stories. Both were published in the pulps in the late 1930s. I read both of them in Sin’s Doorway and Other Ominous Entrances, published by Night Shade Books in 2003. It’s volume 4 of the 5 volume The Selected Stories of Manly Wade Wellman. Continue reading
Henry Kuttner was born on April 7, 1915. Anyone who has read much of this blog knows that Kuttner is probably my favorite author, at least on days ending in “y”. After his marriage to C. L. Moore, everything he and Moore wrote was a collaboration to one degree or another.
Both authors were masters of fantasy, science fiction, and and everything in between, including horror. Much of their best work was published in Astounding in the mid-1940s. Almost all of these stories have been collected in at least one of Kuttner’s collections, either in his lifetime or in the years since. There are a few that haven’t, which I’ll address at another time. Continue reading
Bloch wrote in multiple genres, including horror, fantasy, science fiction, and mystery, often more than one in a single story. Bloch sold much of his early work to Weird Tales and contributed to the Mythos. He also worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood. His best known novel, Psycho, was adapted by Alfred Hitchcock into the classic film of the same name.
Sadly, this one novel has at time overshadowed his short fiction. To my mind, that was the area in which he excelled. Bloch was one of the best, often mixing humor with horror, and he should be remembered. Sadly, like many authors who have passed on, he is in danger of being forgotten by the younger generations. In spite of that, he still casts a long shadow over the field of fantastic fiction today.
I intend to honor his memory by reading something of his.
Sturgeon was best known as a short story writer, although he wrote some well received novels, such as More Than Human, The Dreaming Jewels, and the under-appreciated Some of Your Blood.
Outside of science fiction and fantasy he’s probably best known for what has come to be called Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is crap.
I really like Sturgeon’s short fiction, especially his early work. There’s a level of craftsmanship and fun that some of his later works, such as “If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?” lack. Skip that story and go to “It” or “Mewhu’s Jet” or “Yesterday Was Monday.
His first collection was entitled Without Sorcery, which was something of a misnomer since much of it was fantasy. It was reprinted by Ballantine under the title Not Without Sorcery and is an excellent introduction to his work.
There was an attempt in the late 90s and 00s to collect all of Sturgeon’s short fiction between hardcovers. I think I’m missing the last of that set. But if you get a chance, read some of his work. It’s worth seeking out.
Richard Matheson was born 1926 on this date, February 20, in Allendale, New Jersey. He was one of the greatest short story writers of the 20th Century. Best known to the general public as the author of The Incredible Shrinking Man, I Am Legend, Somewhere in Time, and numerous Twilight Zone episodes, he also adapted a number of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories to the big screen for Roger Corman.
Matheson is a writer whose work I return to time and again, and a reread is long overdue. I’ll try to work in some of his stories over the next few months. I’ll honor his memory this evening by working on a short story.