Friday, September 18, 2015

Allison V. Harding-Revelations and Requests

So the Damp Man series by Allison V. Harding had antecedents in stories of water spirits, in "The Water Ghost of Harrowby Hall" by John Kendrick Bangs, and in pulp magazines, comic books, and movies. The movie The Ring (2002) may have been drawn from some of those same sources (and the emo girl in The Incredibles [2004] from the emo girl in The Ring). But what about Allison's other stories? Were there also inspirations for those? This is another place where a study of Allison V. Harding's complete stories would be revealing. 

Like I said, I have read only five of Allison's thirty-six stories, the Damp Man series, "Take the Z-Train," and "The Marmot." "The Marmot" tells the story of an animal that has burrowed under a person's skin. I'm almost sure I have read a similar story, possibly by Fritz Leiber, Jr., but I can't place it. Allison also wrote a story called "The Murderous Steam Shovel," which was published in Weird Tales in November 1945. I haven't read the story, but in reading the title I can't help but think of "Killdozer!" by Theodore Sturgeon from Astounding Science-Fiction, November 1944. Were there other, similarly inspired stories by Allison V. Harding? Maybe you can help by reading her stories in the original and comparing them to other tales of fantasy and science fiction that came before them. I look forward to hearing from anyone feeling up to the task.

Copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley


  1. Hi Terence. The story of which "The Marmot" reminded you is probably Hortense Calisher's "Heartburn," which I wrote about here:

    1. Turquoise.Dog,

      I'm not sure I have ever read the Hortense Calisher story you mentioned. I read your description of it, and it doesn't sound familiar. I looked in the Internet Speculative Fiction Database and found that "Heartburn" was published in 1951, while "The Marmot" dates from 1944, so it could not have been an inspiration for Allison V. Harding. I wouldn't rule out inspiration going in the opposite direction, though.

      Thanks for writing.