Tag Archives: William F. Nolan

Happy Birthday, Charles Beaumont

beaumontCharles Beaumont was born this day in 1929.  He passed away in 1967.  Beaumont was a protege of Ray Bradbury and a central figure in what’s come to be called the California School.  Other members were Richard Matheson, William F. Nolan, Chad Oliver, and the late George Clayton Johnson.  Johnson’s story “Your Three Minutes Are Up” is a tribute to his friend.

Beaumont is best remembered today for penning a number of scripts for Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone.  He also wrote the novel The Intruder which was filmed by Roger Corman and starred William Shatner.

Beaumont’s strengths lay in short stories.  I came across a slim volume when I was a sophomore in high school; I bought it on the strength of Ray Bradbury’s introduction and read it during a move across the state.  Not all of the stories worked for me.  Some of them were aimed for a more mature reader.  I don’t mean “mature” in terms of sexual content (although that was part of it) but that the themes weren’t something a young teen could relate to.

On the other hand, the stories that did resonate with me blew me away.  I was hooked and spent years haunting used book stores trying to find all of his collections.  In addition to being the epitome of a professional working writer, Beaumont was an avid race fan.  He and Nolan often raced.

charles_beaumontBeaumont’s death is usually attributed to some type of early-onset Alzheimer’s.  He began to age swifty at the age of 34.  His loss was deeply felt.

Centipede Press recently published The Intruder, crime thriller Run From the Hunter (written collaboratively with John Tomerlin), and a massive collection of short fiction, Mass for Mixed Voices (which sold out almost immediately, and no, I won’t loan you my copy.)  This past year penguin published Perchance to Dream:  Selected Stories.  Also available is the collection A Touch of the Creature, which contains all the stories in the limited edition published by Subterranean Press (2000) along with three more.  These stories weren’t collected during Beaumont’s lifetime.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going reread some Beaumont short stories.  Please turn out the light when you leave…on second thought, better not.

RIP, George Clayton Johnson (1929-2015)

George Clayton JohnsonGeorge Clayton Johnson passed away yesterday, Christmas Day, of cancer at the age of 86.  While Mr. Johnson’s name may not be familiar to some of you, his work almost certainly is.  He wrote eight episodes of The Twilight Zone (plus one unproduced episode) and the first episode of the original Star Trek series to air, “The Man Trap”.  He also coauthored Logan’s Run with William F. Nolan.  His other credits include scripts for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Honey West, and Kung Fu.

Johnson was a member of the group of writers known as the California school which included (in addition to Nolan) such writers as Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, and Charles Beaumont.  He was known for his openness and willingness to assist authors trying to break into the field.

Rest well, sir.

More Bookstore Closing Acquisitions

I posted recently about one of the local used bookstores (currently there are 4: 2 good, 1 decent, 1 not worth bothering with) closing and some of the titles I picked up.

You know I went back.  The store will be open for a little while yet.  Here’s what I picked up this time.

More AcquisitionsI couldn’t resist the cover of the Howard pastiche by Offutt, even though I doubt I’ll read it.  The People of the Mist is an upgrade of my existing copy.  The Starfollowers of Coramonde is a later edition, but the Darrell K. Sweet cover matches the one on the first novel in the series.

I loved Sean Stewart’s Galveston some years back, but I haven’t read any of his other books.  The Tanith Lee speaks for itself.  The third row contains the first 3 of 4 in Lawrence Watt-Evans Lords of Dus series.

The last row is a reading copy of one of Evangeline Walton’s books that was part of the BAF series.  The Zahn is part of a series that looks like a lot of fun.  And the Paul Preuss because I wanted some solid science fiction in the old style.

But the gem of this little collection is the volume in the upper left of the picture.  It’s Whispers, edited by Stuart David Schiff.  It’s a collection of stories published in his groundbreaking small press magazine of the same title.  I’ve got a copy of this already, but I couldn’t pass this one up.  The contents include “Sticks” by Karl Edward Wagner, “The Barrow Troll” by David Drake, “The Dakwa” by Manly Wade Wellman, plus stories by Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber, William F. Nolan, Hugh B. Cave, Dennis Etchison, Joseph Payne Brennan, Ramsey Campbell, Richard Christian Matheson, Brian Lumley, and many others.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go reread “Sticks”.