Sunday, June 7, 2015

Frank Owen's Stories and Poems

If The FictionMags Index is accurate and complete, then Frank Owen's writing career began with a story called "Broken to the Halter" in Young's Magazine for January 1915. Owen was then twenty-two years old. Over the next two decades, he wrote thirty stories for Young'sLippincott'sSnappy StoriesBreezy StoriesBrief StoriesDroll Stories, and other story magazines and pulp magazines. Following is a list taken from The FictionMags Index (with punctuation added):

Frank Owen's Stories in Story Magazines and Pulp Magazines, 1915-1934
  • "Broken to the Halter" in Young’s Magazine (Jan. 1915)
  • "The Undecided Woman" in Lippincott’s Magazine (Feb. 1915)
  • "Without Rehearsal" in Snappy Stories (Sept. #2 1915)
  • "Plated Ware" in Young’s Magazine (Nov. 1915)
  • "Whirlpools" in Breezy Stories (Jan. 1917)
  • "The Yellow Pool" in Brief Stories (Nov. 1923)
  • "The Black Well of Wadi" in Brief Stories (Jan. 1924)
  • "The Show Girl" in Breezy Stories (June #1 1924)
  • "The Exhibition" in Brief Stories (July 1924)
  • "The High Note of the Chorus" in Droll Stories (July 1924)
  • "A Lady in His Room" in Droll Stories (Aug. 1924)
  • "The Meteor" in Brief Stories (Sept. 1924)
  • "The Town-Painter" in Droll Stories (Feb. 1925)
  • "Short Turns" in Breezy Stories (May #1 1925)
  • "His New Model" in Artists and Models Magazine (May 1925)
  • "Hard Lines" in Droll Stories (July 1925)
  • "My China Girl" in Brief Stories (Aug. 1925)
  • "Sleepy Eyes" in Droll Stories (Jan. 1926)
  • "Making Emma Bad" in Droll Stories (Mar. 1926)
  • "Encore" in Droll Stories (Apr. 1926)
  • "Slow Curtain" in Droll Stories (May 1926)
  • "Broadwayfarers" in Droll Stories (Apr. 1927)
  • "Pale Pink Porcelain" in Mystery Magazine (Apr. 1927)
  • "Bubbles’ Troubles" in Droll Stories (May 1927)
  • "A Safe and Sane Fourth" in Young’s Realistic Stories Magazine (May 1927)
  • "The Settlement Worker" in Droll Stories (June 1927)
  • "Hope of Broadway" in Sweetheart Stories (Sept. 6, 1927)
  • "The Slip Knot" in Cabaret Stories (Sept. 1928)
  • "Divorce Party" in Honeymoon Stories (Dec. 1933)
  • "Intrusion" in The Underworld Magazine (Mar. 1934)
About halfway through that stretch, Frank Owen began selling stories and poems to Weird Tales magazine. His first was "The Man Who Owned the World" in the October issue of 1923. His debut in that magazine coincided with the first story by H.P. Lovecraft in Weird Tales, "Dagon," also Seabury Quinn's first story and article.

Frank Owen's career writing for Weird Tales and its companion magazines, Oriental Stories and The Magic Carpet Magazine, is not easy to sort out. He contributed stories and poems to all three titles. In doing so, he used three names, his own, plus "Richard Kent" and the unambiguously obscene "Hung Long Tom." All of his stories for Weird Tales were published under his own name, as were two letters he wrote to "The Eyrie." All his poems for Weird Tales were as by the aforementioned Hung Long Tom. As for Oriental Stories and The Magic Carpet Magazine, there were three stories with the Richard Kent byline, five stories with the Frank Owen byline, and eighteen poems with the Hung Long Tom byline. In the first few issues of Oriental Stories, he had at least two and as many four works in each issue.

So, for Weird Tales, Frank Owen wrote thirty-four stories and five poems. For Oriental Stories and The Magic Carpet Magazine, he wrote eight stories and eighteen poems. All together, then, Frank Owen wrote forty-two stories and twenty-three poems for the three magazines, sixty-five works in all, plus two letters. He was one of few writers to contribute to all three. His thirty-four stories place him as the eleventh most prolific author of stories for Weird Tales, just behind Allison V. Harding, another New Yorker whose work has not very often been reprinted. Here is part of the list from my posting "Who Wrote the Most Stories for Weird Tales?" (Nov. 14, 2011, here):
  1. Seabury Quinn, 145 stories and 14 articles
  2. August W. Derleth, 101 stories under his own name, plus 13 stories under the pseudonym Stephen Grendon (114 total), plus 22 stories in collaboration with others
  3. Edmond Hamilton, 76 stories
  4. Robert Bloch, 66
  5. Clark Ashton Smith, 63
  6. Robert E. Howard, 54
  7. H.P. Lovecraft, 49 stories on his own, plus 4 in collaboration with others, not counting revisions and ghost-written stories
  8. Manly Wade Wellman, 39 stories on his own, plus 1 in collaboration with others
  9. Paul Ernst, 37
  10. Allison V. Harding, 36
  11. Frank Owen, 34
"The Wind That Tramps the World," from April 1925, was voted the second most popular story of that issue (behind "When the Green Star Waned" by Nictzin Dyalhis). It was reprinted twice in Weird Tales and voted fortieth in popularity of all stories published from 1924 to 1940. It's worth noting that the titles of four of Owen's stories took the form of "The Man Who _____." It's also worth noting that Owen had at least two series characters, John Steppling and Dr. Shen Fu, possessor of an elixir of life. Anyway, here's a list:

Frank Owen's, Richard Kent's, and Hung Long Tom's Stories and Poems in Weird TalesOriental Stories, and The Magic Carpet Magazine
(All are stories unless otherwise noted, all are as by Frank Owen unless otherwise noted, and all are in Weird Tales unless otherwise noted.)
  1. "The Man Who Owned the World" (Oct. 1923)
  2. "The Open Window" (John Steppling, Jan. 1924)
  3. "Shadows" (Apr. 1924)
  4. "The Man Who Lived Next Door to Himself" (May/June/July 1924)
  5. "Hunger" (Feb. 1925)
  6. "The Wind That Tramps the World" (John Steppling, Apr. 1925; reprinted June 1929, Fall 1981)
  7. "Black Hill" (June 1925)
  8. "The Lantern-Maker" (Aug. 1925)
  9. "The Yellow Pool" (Oct. 1925)
  10. "The Fan" (John Steppling, Dec. 1925)
  11. "The Silent Trees" (May 1926)
  12. "Seven Minutes" (Oct. 1926)
  13. "The Dream Peddler" (Jan. 1927)
  14. "The Blue City" (Sept. 1927)
  15. "The Purple Sea" (Feb. 1928)
  16. "The Tinkle of the Camel's Bell" (Dec. 1928)
  17. "The Desert Woman" as by Richard Kent in Oriental Stories (Oct./Nov. 1930)
  18. "Singapore Nights" in Oriental Stories (Oct./Nov. 1930)
  19. "Flower Profiles" as by Hung Long Tom in Oriental Stories (poem, Oct./Nov. 1930)
  20. "The Yellow River" as by Hung Long Tom in Oriental Stories (poem, Oct./Nov. 1930)
  21. "The Burning Sea" as by Richard Kent in Oriental Stories (Dec. 1930/Jan. 1931)
  22. "The China Kid" in Oriental Stories (Dec. 1930/Jan. 1931)
  23. "The Rose" as by Hung Long Tom in Oriental Stories (poem, Dec. 1930/Jan. 1931)
  24. "The Rug" as by Hung Long Tom in Oriental Stories (poem, Dec. 1930/Jan. 1931)
  25. "Scoundrels by Night" as by Richard Kent in Oriental Stories (Feb./Mar. 1931; reprinted in Short Story Magazine #18, 1946)
  26. "Della Wu, Chinese Courtezan" in Oriental Stories (Feb./Mar. 1931)
  27. "The Giant" as by Hung Long Tom in Oriental Stories (poem, Feb./Mar. 1931)
  28. "Hsun Hsu" as by Hung Long Tom in Oriental Stories (poem, Apr./May/June 1931)
  29. "The Mirror" as by Hung Long Tom in Oriental Stories (poem, Apr./May/June 1931)
  30. "Song of the Indian Night" in Oriental Stories (Summer 1931)
  31. "Yung Chi" as by Hung Long Tom in Oriental Stories (poem, Summer 1931)
  32. "The Golden Girl" as by Hung Long Tom in Oriental Stories (poem, Autumn 1931)
  33. "Night" as by Hung Long Tom in Oriental Stories (poem, Autumn 1931)
  34. "Porcelain" as by Hung Long Tom in Oriental Stories (poem, Autumn 1931)
  35. "Yellow Velvet" as by Hung Long Tom in Oriental Stories (poem, Autumn 1931)
  36. "The Mystic Rose" as by Hung Long Tom in Oriental Stories (poem, Winter 1932)
  37. "The Nanking Road" as by Hung Long Tom in The Magic Carpet Magazine (poem, Jan. 1933)
  38. "Gifts" as by Hung Long Tom in The Magic Carpet Magazine (poem, Apr. 1933)
  39. "Dancers" as by Hung Long Tom in The Magic Carpet Magazine (poem, July 1933)
  40. "The Green Sea" as by Hung Long Tom (poem, Aug. 1933)
  41. "Rain" as by Hung Long Tom (poem, Sept. 1933)
  42. "The Pool" as by Hung Long Tom in The Magic Carpet Magazine (poem, Oct. 1933)
  43. "The Ox-Cart" (Dec. 1933)
  44. "Five Merchants Who Met in a Tea-House" in The Magic Carpet Magazine (Jan. 1934)
  45. "Rivers" as by Hung Long Tom in The Magic Carpet Magazine (poem, Jan. 1934)
  46. "The Lantern" as by Hung Long Tom (poem, Feb. 1934)
  47. "Pale Pink Porcelain" (Dec. 1934; 1929)
  48. "Tea-Drinking" as by Hung Long Tom (poem, May 1935)
  49. "Night Song" as by Hung Long Tom (poem, Sept. 1935)
  50. "The Man Who Would Not Die" (Feb. 1936)
  51. "The Poppy Pearl" (Feb. 1937)
  52. "The Mandarin's Ear" (Aug. 1937)
  53. "On Pell Street" (July 1940)
  54. "By What Mystic Mooring" (May 1941)
  55. "The March of the Trees" (Mar. 1942)
  56. "For Tomorrow We Die" (Dr. Shen Fu, July 1942)
  57. "The Lips of Caya Wu" (Nov. 1942)
  58. "Quest of a Noble Tiger" (Jan. 1943)
  59. "The Man Who Amazed Fish" (Dr. Shen Fu, May 1943)
  60. "The Street of Faces" (July 1943)
  61. "Death in a Gray Mist" (Sept. 1943)
  62. "The Long Still Streets of Evening" (Sept. 1944)
  63. "The Three Pools and the Painted Moon" (Sept. 1950)
  64. "The Old Gentleman with the Scarlet Umbrella" (John Steppling, Jan. 1951)
  65. "The Unicorn" (Nov. 1952)
Frank Owen's Letters to "The Eyrie"
May 1943
Sept. 1944

We're not through with the complications just yet. In addition to writing stories published in magazines, Frank Owen also wrote stories published in his own books. I'll start with the books:

The Wind that Tramps the World: Splashes of Chinese Color (New York: Lantern Press, 1929)
  • "The Wind That Tramps the World"
  • "Pale Pink Porcelain"
  • "The Month the Almonds Bloom"
  • "The Inverted House"
  • "The Blue City"
  • "The Frog"
  • "The Snapped Willow"

The Purple Sea: More Splashes of Chinese Color (New York: Lantern Press, 1930)
  • "The Golden Hour of Kwoh Fan" (reprinted in Avon Fantasy Reader #11, 1949)
  • "The Purple Sea"
  • "The Silent Trees" (reprinted in Avon Fantasy Reader #3, 1947)
  • "The Lantern-Maker"
  • "Gobi Interlude"
  • "The Perfumes of Chow Wan"
  • "The Quaint Manuscript of Wu Wang"
  • "The Rice Merchant"
  • "Love Letters of a Little House"
  • "The Tinkle of the Camel's Bell" (reprinted in Vampire: Chilling Tales of the Undead, ed. by Peter Haining, 1985)
  • "The Old Man Who Swept the Sky"

The Porcelain Magician: A Collection of Oriental Fantasies (New York: Gnome Press, 1948)
  • Interior artwork by Frances E. Dunn
  • Foreword (The Porcelain Magician), an essay by David A. Kyle
  • "The Fan"
  • "The Inverted House"
  • "The Lantern-Maker"
  • "The Porcelain Magician"
  • "The Purple Sea"
  • "The Old Man Who Swept the Sky"
  • "Doctor Shen Fu"
  • "Pale Pink Porcelain"
  • "The Rice Merchant"
  • "The Blue City"
  • "The Fountain"
  • "Monk's Blood"
  • "The Golden Hour of Kwoh Fan"
  • "The Wind That Tramps the World"
As you can see by comparing titles and dates of publication, some of Owen's stories appeared in Weird Tales and its companion magazines before they were published in hardback, some were published in hardback before appearing in the magazines, some appeared only in magazines, and some appeared only in hardback. (I think. Whew!In addition, Frank Owen had two stories published in periodicals other than Weird Tales and its companion titles:
  • "A Study in Amber" as by Richard Kent in Avon Fantasy Reader #5 (1947)
  • "One-Man God" in Avon Fantasy Reader #17 (1951) and in the digest-sized Avon Science Fiction and Fantasy Reader (Jan. 1953)
There have been a few recent reprintings, but all in all, Frank Owen has been largely forgotten by readers of fantasy and weird fiction. I don't know why that should be. Maybe it's time for a new collection of his stories and poems.

Next: Frank Owen's Books

Weird Tales, January 1943, with a cover story by Frank Owen and cover art by A. R. Tilburne.


Copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley

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