Today, November 23, marks the birthday of two writers of the fantastic. The first is Nelson S. Bond, who was born in 1908; the second is Wilson Tucker, who was born in 1914. Both men died in 2006. Although it’s been a number of years, I’ve read and enjoyed work by both men.
Bond started his writing career in the 1930s and continued writing until the 1950s. Although he wrote a few novels, most of his work was at shorter lengths. Interestingly, he sold fairly regularly to Blue Book, which was a general fiction pulp that published some science fiction and fantasy. He briefly returned to writing in the late 1990s. In the early 2000s, Arkham House published to sizable collections of his work. In addition to writing for the pulps, Bond wrote for radio as well as a bit for television. He owned his own public relations firm and later became a noted antiquarian bookseller. Among his correspondents was James Branch Cabell. After Cabell’s death, Bond was the executor of Cabell’s literary estate for a while.
Wilson Tucker started out as an active fan in the 1930s, publishing fanzines, something he continued to do all his life. His work began to be published professionally in the early 1940s and appeared sporadically through the early 1980s. While he didn’t write as many short stories as Bond did, his novels are better remembered than Bond’s, especially The Year of the Quiet Sun, which I quite enjoyed. It was nominated for both a Hugo and a Nebula. The practice of “tuckerizing” a person by putting them in a story as a character and then killing them off is named for him. Tucker also coined the term “space opera”. Although he meant it as a pejorative, those of us who like that kind of thing use the term with pride.
Sadly, both men are pretty much forgotten these days. Neither wrote anything that could be considered a classic, although The Year of the Quiet Sun arguably comes close. Not were either especially prolific. But they each could tell a good story.