Thursday, March 17, 2016

Science Fiction Authors in the Bellerophon Weird Tales-Part Two

Stephen King
Born September 21, 1947, Portland, Maine

For Weird Tales
"Beachworld" (short story, Fall 1984)

Stephen King is a prolific, award-winning, and very successful author of more than fifty novels, nearly 200 short stories, and many works of non-fiction. He is also a poet and a comic book scriptwriter. As a child, he discovered in an attic a paperback edition of a book he remembered as The Lurker in the Shadows by H.P. Lovecraft. He later said, "I knew that I'd found home when I read that book." (1) Like so many budding authors, Mr. King made his own books in school. His first published work was "I Was a Teenage Grave Robber," a serial in a fanzine, Comics Review, in 1965. His first professionally published story was "The Glass Floor" in Startling Mystery Stories, Fall 1967, edited by Robert A.W. Lowndes. (2) Stephen King became a household name with his novels of the 1970s, including Carrie (1974), Salem's Lot (1975), The Stand (1978), and The Dead Zone (1979). His success has been unabated in the four decades since, even in hard times. Seemingly everything he has written has been adapted to film, including 11/22/1963 (2011), which premiered on February 15, 2016, on Hulu. By the way, there may be more than meets the eye to his Hard Case Crime novel The Colorado Kid (2005): like the dead man in the book, Mr. King's father left home and never came back. To a child, that would have been an unfathomable mystery. It remained so in The Colorado Kid.

(1) Unfortunately, there isn't a Lovecraft collection called The Lurker in the Shadows. The closest things are The Lurker at the Threshold by Lovecraft and August W. Derleth (1945) and the short stories "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" and "The Shadow Out of Time."
(2) That story was reprinted in Weird Tales in Fall 1990. Mr. King's first story for Weird Tales was "Beachworld," from Fall 1984, as noted above.

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King (2005), a Hard Case Crime novel with cover art by Glen Orbik (1963-2015). I have read complaints on the Internet about this book. Mostly they fall into two categories: 1) The cover illustration has nothing to do with the story, and 2) The mystery is unsolved in the end. My response: 1) If you think the story will always match what's on the cover of a paperback (or comic book), you don't know much about popular culture (or marketing). 2) Waanh.

R.A. Lafferty
Raphael Aloysius Lafferty 
Born November 7, 1914, Neola, Iowa
Died March 18, 2002, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

For Weird Tales
"The Ninety-Ninth Cubicle" (short story, Fall 1984)

R.A. Lafferty was an electrical engineer and a U.S. Army veteran of World War II, in which he served in the South Pacific and East Indies. He wrote nearly three dozen novels and about 200 stories in the genres of science fiction and historical fiction. He also wrote books of history. His first published story was "The Wagons" in New Mexico Quarterly Review (Spring 1959); his first published science fiction story "Day of the Glacier" in Science Fiction Stories (Jan. 1960, edited by Robert A.W. Lowndes); and his first published novel Past Master (1968). It's worth noting that Lafferty was a Catholic writer.

Arrive at Easterwine: The Autobiography of a Ktistec Machine by R.A. Lafferty (1973). If the cover illustration looks familiar, there's a good reason: you saw one by the same artist, Mati Klarwein (1932-2002), in the first part of this series. 

Walt Liebscher
Born May 7, 1918, Joliet, Illinois
Died February 1985

For Weird Tales
"And No Potatoes" (short story, Winter 1985; previously in Vertex: The Magazine of Science Fiction, Feb. 1974)

Walt Liebscher was a civil servant, a member of science fiction fandom, and a publisher of fanzines long before he moved over to the professional side of science fiction with his first story in a professional magazine, "Alien Cornucopia" in Science Fiction Stories, July 1959. (1) In addition to his one and a half dozen stories, Liebscher wrote poems and essays. His only book-length work was the collection Alien Carnival (1974).

(1) Once again, Robert A.W. Lowndes was the editor. 

Alien Carnival by Walt Liebscher (1974), the first volume in the Fantasy Reader series, with cover art by Robert Kline.

Steve Perry
Born August 31, 1947, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

For Weird Tales
"Peau de Cuir" (novelette, Winter 1985)

Louisiana-born Steven Carl Perry is a versatile writer of novels, short stories, non-fiction, and television scripts. He has written series novels and series characters, including Aliens, Conan, Indiana Jones, Men in Black, Star Wars, Tom Clancy, and his own Matador series. He is the father of science fiction author Stephani Danelle Perry (b. 1970), who writes under the name S.D. Perry. Mr. Perry's first published science fiction story was "With Clean Hands" in Galaxy (Dec. 1977/Jan. 1978).

Matadora by Steve Perry (1986) with cover art by Richard Berry.

David J. Schow
Born July 13, 1955, Marburg, Hesse, West Germany

For Weird Tales
"Visitation" (short story, Fall 1984)

David J. Schow is a novelist, short story writer, essayist, editor, screenwriter, and purveyor of splatterpunk, a term of his own coining. According to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database, his first published science fiction story was "In the Idiom of the Old School" in Galileo, July 1978. Mr. Schow has written screenplays in several of the franchise horror films, including Nightmare on Elm Street, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Critters.

Seeing Red by David J. Schow (1990) with cover art by Thomas Canty (b. 1952).

Henry Slesar
Born June 12, 1927, Brooklyn, New York
Died April 2, 2002, New York, New York

For Weird Tales
"Speak" (short story, Fall 1984; originally in The Diner's Club Magazine, 1965)

I won't go very much into Henry Slesar's career; you can read about him on Wikipedia and other websites. He was an air force veteran and an advertising copywriter beginning at age seventeen. Slesar was the author of scores of stories in the genres of science fiction, mystery, detective stories, crime stories, and thrillers. He won an Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1958 for his first novel, The Gray Flannel Shroud, and an Emmy in 1974 as head writer on The Edge of Night. He also wrote scripts for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Twilight Zone, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Batman, and Tales of the Unexpected. His first published science fiction story was "The Brat" in Imaginative Tales for September 1955.

"Jobo" by Henry Slesar was the cover story for the May 1963 issue of Amazing Stories. The cover art was by Ray Kalfus. The subject was the ever-popular heads on Easter Island, here given the ancient astronauts treatment.

To be concluded  . . .

Text and captions copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

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