Wednesday, December 31, 2008

SF authors born 1864-73: 1865

1. Robert W. Chambers
2. Rudyard Kipling
3. M.P. Shiel


Robert W. Chambers (1865-1933)

Educated at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute,and then entered the Art Students' League at around the age of twenty, where the artist Charles Dana Gibson was his fellow student. Chambers studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, and at Académie Julian, in Paris from 1886 to 1893, and his work was displayed at the Salon as early as 1889. On his return to New York, he succeeded in selling his illustrations to Life, Truth, and Vogue magazines. Then, for reasons unclear, he devoted his time to writing, producing his first novel, In the Quarter (written in 1887 in Munich). His most famous, and perhaps most meritorious, effort is The King in Yellow (1895), a collection of weird short stories, connected by the theme of the fictitious drama The King in Yellow, which drives those who read it insane.

According to some estimates, Chambers was one of the most successful literary careers of his period, his later novels selling well and a handful achieving best-seller status. Many of his works were also serialized in magazines. After 1924 he devoted himself solely to writing historical fiction. By the time of his death he had published 72 books of all kinds — fantasy, biography, historical novels, and sports, and also plays and verse. His technique was to work on three or four books at one time. H. P. Lovecraft said of Chambers in a letter to Clark Ashton Smith, "Chambers is like Rupert Hughes and a few other fallen Titans - equipped with the right brains and education but wholly out of the habit of using them." Frederic Taber Cooper commented, "So much of Mr Chambers's work exasperates, because we feel that he might so easily have made it better."


* The Green Mouse (1910 -- story or novel?) concerns a man named Destyn, who has invented a machine which takes advantage of a new invention, the wireless telegraph, by intercepting the subconscious personalities of a man and a woman and contacting them. The result is ordinary romance, but the manner in which it is achieved is definitely fantastic.

* Police!!! (Appleton, 1915). Six stories: "The Third Eye," "The Immortal," "The Ladies of the Lake," "One Over," "Un peu d'Amour," "The Eggs of the Silver Moon." Bleiler says: "SF hilariously funny and beautifully written."


Rudyard Kipling (TK)



M.P. Shiel (TK)


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