Fritz Reuter Leiber Jr. was an American writer of fantasy and science fiction. He was a poet, actor in theater and films and chess expert. With writers such as Robert E. Howard and Michael Moorcock, Leiber can be regarded as one of the fathers of sword and sorcery fantasy, having coined the term. Fritz Leiber was born December 24, 1910, in Chicago, Illinois, to the actors Fritz Leiber and Virginia Bronson Leiber. For a time, he seemed inclined to follow in his parents' footsteps, he spent 1928 touring with his parents' Shakespeare company before entering the University of Chicago, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and received an undergraduate Ph. B. degree in psychology and physiology or biology with honors in 1932. From 1932 to 1933, he worked as a lay reader and studied as a candidate for the ministry at the General Theological Seminary in Chelsea, Manhattan, an affiliate of the Episcopal Church, without taking a degree. After pursuing graduate studies in philosophy at the University of Chicago from 1933 to 1934 and failing once more to take a degree, he remained based in Chicago while touring intermittently with his parents' company and pursuing a concurrent literary career.
He appeared alongside his father in uncredited parts in several films, including George Cukor's Camille, James Whale's The Great Garrick and William Dieterle's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In 1936, he initiated a brief yet intense correspondence with H. P. Lovecraft, who "encouraged and influenced literary development" before succumbing to small intestine cancer and malnutrition in March 1937. Leiber introduced Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser in "Two Sought Adventure", his first professionally published short story in the August 1939 edition of Unknown, edited by John W. Campbell. Leiber married Jonquil Stephens on January 16, 1936. From 1937 to 1941, he was employed by Consolidated Book Publishing as a staff writer for the Standard American Encyclopedia. In 1941, the family moved to California, where Leiber served as a speech and drama instructor at Occidental College during the 1941–1942 academic year. Unable to conceal his disdain for academic politics as the United States entered World War II, he decided that the struggle against fascism was more important than his long-held pacifist convictions.
He accepted a position with Douglas Aircraft in quality inspection working on the C-47 Skytrain. Thereafter, the family returned to Chicago, where Leiber served as associate editor of Science Digest from 1945 to 1956. During this decade, his output was characterized by Poul Anderson as "a lot of the best science fiction and fantasy in the business." In 1958, the Leibers returned to Los Angeles. By this juncture, he was able to relinquish his journalistic career and support his family as a full-time fiction writer. Jonquil's death in 1969 precipitated Leiber's permanent relocation to San Francisco and exacerbated his longstanding alcoholism after twelve years of fellowship in Alcoholics Anonymous. In 1977, he returned to his original form with a fantasy novel set in modern-day San Francisco, Our Lady of Darkness, about a writer of weird tales who must deal with the death of his wife and his recovery from alcoholism; as a result of his substance abuse, Leiber seems to have suffered periods of penury in the 1970s.
Other reports suggest that Leiber preferred to live in the city, spending his money on dining and travel. In the last years of his life, royalty checks from TSR, Inc. were enough in themselves to ensure that he lived comfortably. In 1992, the last year of his life, Leiber married his second wife, Margo Skinner, a journalist and poet with whom he had been friends for many years. Leiber's death occurred a few weeks after a physical collapse while traveling from a science fiction convention in London, with Skinner; the cause of his death was stated by his wife to be stroke. He wrote a 100-page-plus memoir, Not Much Disorder and Not So Early Sex, which can be found in The Ghost Light. Leiber's own literary criticism, including several essays on Lovecraft, was collected in the volume Fafhrd and Me; as the child of two Shakespearean actors—Fritz Sr. and Virginia —Leiber was fascinated with the stage, describing itinerant Shakespearean companies in stories like "No Great Magic" and "Four Ghosts in Hamlet," and creating an actor/producer protagonist for his novel A Specter is Haunting Texas.
Although his Change War novel, The Big Time, is about a war between two factions, the "Snakes" and the "Spiders", changing and rechanging history throughout the universe, all the action takes place in a smal
Roger Joseph Zelazny was an American poet and writer of fantasy and science fiction short stories and novels, best known for The Chronicles of Amber. He won the Nebula award three times and the Hugo Award six times, including two Hugos for novels: the serialized novel... And Call Me Conrad, subsequently published under the title This Immortal and the novel Lord of Light. Roger Joseph Zelazny was born in Euclid, the only child of Polish immigrant Joseph Frank Żelazny and Irish-American Josephine Flora Sweet. In high school, he joined the Creative Writing Club. In the fall of 1955, he began attending Western Reserve University and graduated with a B. A. in English in 1959. He was accepted to Columbia University in New York and specialized in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, graduating with an M. A. in 1962. His M. A. thesis was entitled Two traditions and Cyril Tourneur: an examination of morality and humor comedy conventions in The Revenger's Tragedy. Between 1962 and 1969 he worked for the U. S. Social Security Administration in Cleveland, Ohio and in Baltimore, Maryland spending his evenings writing science fiction.
He deliberately progressed from short-shorts to novelettes to novellas and to novel-length works by 1965. On May 1, 1969, he quit to become a full-time writer, thereafter concentrated on writing novels in order to maintain his income. During this period, he was an active and vocal member of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, whose members included writers Jack Chalker and Joe and Jack Haldeman among others, his first fanzine appearance was part one of the story "Conditional Benefit" and his first professional publication and sale was the fantasy short story "Mr. Fuller's Revolt"; as a professional writer, his debut works were the simultaneous publication of "Passion Play" and "Horseman!". "Passion Play" was sold first. His first story to attract major attention was "A Rose for Ecclesiastes", published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, with cover art by Hannes Bok. Roger Zelazny was a member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America, a loose-knit group of heroic fantasy authors founded in the 1960s, some of whose works were anthologized in Lin Carter's Flashing Swords! anthologies.
Zelazny died in 1995, aged 58, of kidney failure secondary to colorectal cancer. Zelazny was married twice, first to Sharon Steberl in 1964, to Judith Alene Callahan in 1966, he was engaged to folk singer Hedy West for six months in 1961/62. Roger and Judy had two sons and Trent and a daughter, Shannon. At the time of his death and Judy were separated and he was living with author Jane Lindskold. Raised as a Catholic by his parents, Zelazny declared himself a lapsed Catholic and remained that way for the rest of his life. "I did have a strong Catholic background. Somewhere in the past, I believe I answered in the affirmative once for strange and complicated reasons, but I am not a member of any organized religion." In his stories, Roger Zelazny portrayed characters from myth, depicted in the modern or a future world. Zelazny included many anachronisms, such as cigarette-smoking and references to modern drama, in his work, his crisp, minimalistic dialogue seems to be somewhat influenced by the style of wisecracking hardboiled crime authors, such as Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett.
The tension between the ancient and the modern and familiar was what drove most of his work. A frequent motif in Zelazny's work is immortality or people who become gods; the mythological traditions his fiction borrowed from include: Chinese mythology in "Lord Demon" Christian mythology, in the short story A Rose for Ecclesiastes Egyptian mythology in Creatures of Light and Darkness Greek mythology, in... And Call Me Conrad Hindu mythology, in Lord of Light Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos in A Night in the Lonesome October Navajo mythology, in Eye of Cat Norse mythology, in The Mask of Loki Psychoanalysis, Arthurian mythos, Norse mythology and Kabbalah in The Dream MasterAdditionally, elements from Norse and Irish mythology, Arthurian legend as well as several references to real history appear in his magnum opus, The Chronicles of Amber. Aside from working with mythological themes, the most common recurring motif of Zelazny's is the "absent father". Again, this occurs most notably in the Amber novels: in the first Amber series, the protagonist Corwin searches for his lost, god-like father Oberon.
This somewhat Freudian theme runs through every Zelazny novel to a smaller or larger degree. Roadmarks, Doorways in the Sand, Madwand, A Dark Traveling. Zelazny's father, died unexpectedly in 1962 and never knew his son's successes as a writer. Two other personal characteristics that influenced his fiction were his expertise in martial arts and his addiction to tobacco. Zelazny became expert with the épée in college, thus began a lifelong study of several different martial arts, including judo, aikido (whi
Star Wars (film)
Star Wars is a 1977 American epic space-opera film written and directed by George Lucas. It is the beginning of the Star Wars franchise. Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, David Prowse, James Earl Jones, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, the film focuses on the Rebel Alliance, led by Princess Leia, its attempt to destroy the Galactic Empire's space station, the Death Star. Star Wars was released in theatres in the United States on May 25, 1977, it earned $461 million in the U. S. and $314 million overseas, totaling $775 million. It surpassed Jaws to become the highest-grossing film of all time until the release of E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial. When adjusted for inflation, Star Wars is the second-highest-grossing film in North America, the third-highest-grossing film in the world, it received ten Academy Award nominations. It was among the first films to be selected as part of the U. S. Library of Congress's National Film Registry as being "culturally or aesthetically significant".
At the time, it was the most recent film in the only one chosen from the 1970s. In 2004, its soundtrack was added to the U. S. National Recording Registry. Today, it is regarded as one of the most important films in the history of motion pictures; the film has been reissued multiple times at Lucas's behest, incorporating many changes including modified computer-generated effects, altered dialogue, re-edited shots, remixed soundtracks and added scenes. It launched an industry of tie-in products, including spin-off TV series, comic books, video games, amusement park attractions, merchandise including toys and clothing; the film's success led to two critically and commercially successful sequels, The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Return of the Jedi in 1983, to a prequel trilogy, a sequel trilogy, an animated film, two anthology films. The galaxy is in the midst of a civil war. Rebel spies have stolen plans to the Galactic Empire's Death Star, a colossal space station capable of destroying an entire planet.
Princess Leia, one of the Rebellion's leaders, has obtained the plans, but her starship is captured by an Imperial Star Destroyer under the command of the ruthless Darth Vader. Before she is captured, Leia hides the plans in the memory of astromech droid R2-D2, along with protocol droid C-3PO, flees in an escape pod to the desert planet below the starships, Tatooine; the droids are captured by Jawa traders, who sell them to moisture farmers Owen and Beru Lars and their nephew Luke Skywalker. While cleaning R2-D2, Luke accidentally triggers a holographic recording of Leia, in which she requests help from Obi-Wan Kenobi; the next morning, Luke finds R2-D2 missing, encounters "Old Ben" Kenobi, a hermit who reveals himself as Obi-Wan. He tells Luke of his days as one of the Jedi Knights, former peacekeepers of the Galactic Republic who derived their power from an energy field called the Force until being all but wiped out by the Empire. Contrary to what his uncle has told him, Luke learns that his father fought alongside Obi-Wan as a Jedi Knight until Vader, a former pupil of Obi-Wan's, turned to the dark side of the Force and murdered him.
Obi-Wan presents Luke with his father's old weapon: a lightsaber. R2-D2 plays Leia's message for Obi-Wan, in which she begs him to take the Death Star plans to her home planet of Alderaan and give them to her father for analysis. Obi-Wan invites Luke to learn the ways of the Force. Luke declines, but changes his mind after discovering that Imperials have killed his aunt and uncle and destroyed their farm. Obi-Wan and Luke visit a cantina in Mos Eisley, after a brief confrontation, they meet smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot Chewbacca. After negotiating a price, they join forces aboard the Millennium Falcon; the group discovers that Alderaan has been destroyed by the Death Star's superlaser—a show of force on order of the commanding officer, Grand Moff Tarkin. The Falcon is captured by the Death Star's tractor beam. Luke discovers that Leia is imprisoned on the Death Star, rescues her with the help of Han and Chewbacca in a swashbuckling series of escapes. After Obi-Wan sacrifices himself in a lightsaber duel with Darth Vader to enable the heroes to escape, the Falcon escapes amid a fierce dogfight with Imperial TIE starfighters.
Using a tracking beacon placed aboard the Falcon, the Imperials follow the rebels to the hidden base on Yavin 4. The Death Star plans reveal that it can be destroyed by triggering a chain reaction from an external exhaust port. Luke joins the Rebel fighter squadron, while Han collects his payment. In the ensuing battle, the Rebels suffer heavy losses after several unsuccessful runs. Vader leads a squadron of TIE fighters and prepares to attack Luke's X-wing, but Han returns and fires at the Imperial fighters, sending Vader spiraling away. Guided by Obi-Wan's spirit, Luke turns off his targeting computer and uses the Force to destroy the Death Star just before it can fire on the Rebel base. On Yavin 4, Leia awards Han with medals for their heroism. Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker: a young man raised by his aunt and uncle on Tatooine, who dreams of something more than his current life and learns the way of a Jedi. Lucas favored casting young actors. To play Luke, Lucas sought actors who could project integrity.
While reading for the character, Hamill found the dialogue to be odd because of its universe-embedded concepts. He chose to read it sinc
Balrogs are fictional creatures in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium, they first appeared in print in his novel The Lord of the Rings, where the Fellowship of the Ring encounter one known as Durin's Bane in the Mines of Moria. Balrogs appeared in Tolkien's earlier writings, published posthumously in The Silmarillion and books. Balrogs are tall and menacing beings who can shroud themselves in fire and shadow, they appeared armed with fiery whips "of many thongs", used long swords. In Tolkien's conception, they could not be vanquished—a certain stature was required by the would-be hero. Only dragons rivalled their capacity for ferocity and destruction, during the First Age of Middle-earth, they were among the most feared of Morgoth's forces. According to The Silmarillion, the evil Vala Melkor corrupted lesser Maiar to his service in the days of his splendor before the making of Arda; these became known as "Demons of Might": Valaraukar in Quenya, Belryg in Sindarin. Upon the awakening of the Elves, the Valar captured Melkor and destroyed his fortresses Utumno and Angband.
But they overlooked the deepest pits, with many of Melkor's other allies, the Balrogs fled into hiding. When Melkor returned to Middle-earth from Valinor, now bearing the epithet Morgoth, he was attacked by Ungoliant, a spider-like creature; when the Noldor arrived in Beleriand in pursuit of Morgoth, they won a swift victory over his Orcs in the Dagor-nuin-Giliath. Fëanor pressed on towards Angband, but the Balrogs came against him, Fëanor was mortally wounded by Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs. Fëanor's sons fought off the Balrogs. In The Lays of Beleriand, The Lay of Leithian mentions Balrog captains leading Orcs: "the Orcs went forth to rape and war, Balrog captains marched before". Tolkien tells of two Balrogs slain by Elves in the fall of Gondolin. During the assault on the city, Ecthelion of the Fountain fought Gothmog, "each slew the other." Glorfindel fought a Balrog. In the War of Wrath that ended the First Age, most of the Balrogs were destroyed, although some including the Balrog known as Durin's Bane, managed to escape and hide in "caverns at the roots of the earth".
In The Fellowship of the Ring, the Fellowship ventured through Moria and were attacked in the Chamber of Mazarbul by Orcs and the Balrog. Gandalf faced the Balrog at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm and broke the Bridge, but was dragged down by the Balrog, he slew the Balrog but perished himself at the same time—to be sent back as the more powerful Gandalf the White. Tolkien's conception of Balrogs changed over time. In all his early writing, they are numerous. A host of a thousand of them is mentioned in the Quenta Silmarillion, while at the storming of Gondolin Balrogs in the hundreds ride on the backs of the Dragons, they are of twice human size, were killed in battle by Elves and Men. They were fierce demons, associated with fire, armed with fiery whips of many thongs and claws like steel, Morgoth delighted in using them to torture his captives, they were loyal to Morgoth, once came out of hiding to save him from capture. In the published version of The Lord of the Rings, Balrogs became altogether more sinister and more powerful.
Christopher Tolkien notes the difference, saying that in earlier versions they were "less terrible and more destructible". He quotes a late margin note, not incorporated into the text saying "at most seven" existed. In writings they ceased to be creatures, but are instead Maiar, lesser Ainur like Gandalf or Sauron, spirits of fire whom Melkor had corrupted before the creation of the World. Power of the order of Gandalf's was necessary to destroy them, as Maiar, only their physical forms could be destroyed. Tolkien says of the Valar that they can change their shape at will, move unclad in the raiment of the world, meaning invisible and without form, but it seems that Morgoth and their associated Maiar could lose this ability: Morgoth, for example, was unable to heal his burns from the Silmarils or wounds from Fingolfin and Thorondor. Tolkien does not address this for Balrogs though at least in his conception they are Maiar. In "the Bridge of Khazad-dûm" in The Fellowship of the Ring, the Balrog appears "like a great shadow, in the middle of, a dark form, of man-shape maybe, yet greater".
Though the Balrog had entered the "large square chamber" of Mazarbul, at the Bridge of Khazad-dûm it "drew itself to a great height, its wings spread from wall to wall" in what was a vast hall. The Balrog's size and shape, are not given precisely; when Gandalf threw it from the peak of Zirakzigil, the Balrog "broke the mountain-side where he smote it in his ruin". Whether Balrogs have wings is unclear; this is due to Tolkien's changing conception of Balrogs, but to his imprecise but suggestive and figurative description of the Balrog that confronted Gandalf in Moria. The three key quotations: His enemy halted again, facing him, the shadow about it reached out like two vast wings. … it drew itself up to a great height, its wings were spread from wall to w
Stephen Edwin King is an American author of horror, supernatural fiction, science fiction, fantasy. His books have sold more than 350 million copies, many of which have been adapted into feature films, television series, comic books. King has published six non-fiction books, he has written 200 short stories, most of which have been published in book collections. King has received Bram Stoker Awards, World Fantasy Awards, British Fantasy Society Awards. In 2003, the National Book Foundation awarded him the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, he has received awards for his contribution to literature for his entire oeuvre, such as the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. In 2015, King was awarded with a National Medal of Arts from the United States National Endowment for the Arts for his contributions to literature, he has been described as the "King of Horror". King was born September 1947, in Portland, Maine, his father, Donald Edwin King, was a merchant seaman.
Donald was born under the surname Pollock, but as an adult, used the surname King. King's mother was Nellie Ruth; when Stephen King was two years old, his father left the family. King's mother raised Stephen and his older brother, David, by herself, sometimes under great financial strain; the family moved to De Pere, Fort Wayne and Stratford, Connecticut. When King was 11, his family returned to Durham, where his mother cared for her parents until their deaths, she became a caregiver in a local residential facility for the mentally challenged. King lost his belief in organized religion while in high school. While no longer religious, King chooses to believe in the existence of God; as a child, King witnessed one of his friends being struck and killed by a train, though he has no memory of the event. His family told him that after leaving home to play with the boy, King returned, speechless and in shock. Only did the family learn of the friend's death; some commentators have suggested that this event may have psychologically inspired some of King's darker works, but King makes no mention of it in his memoir On Writing.
King related in detail his primary inspiration for writing horror fiction in his non-fiction Danse Macabre, in a chapter titled "An Annoying Autobiographical Pause." King compares his uncle's dowsing for water using the bough of an apple branch with the sudden realization of what he wanted to do for a living. That inspiration occurred while browsing through an attic with his elder brother, when King uncovered a paperback version of an H. P. Lovecraft collection of short stories he remembers as The Lurker in the Shadows, that had belonged to his father. King told Barnes & Noble Studios during a 2009 interview, "I knew that I'd found home when I read that book."King attended Durham Elementary School and graduated from Lisbon Falls High School, in Lisbon Falls, Maine. He displayed an early interest in horror as an avid reader of EC's horror comics, including Tales from the Crypt, he began writing for fun while still in school, contributing articles to Dave's Rag, the newspaper his brother published with a mimeograph machine, began selling to his friends stories based on movies he had seen.
The first of his stories to be independently published was "I Was a Teenage Grave Robber". That story was published the following year in a revised form as "In a Half-World of Terror" in another fanzine, Stories of Suspense, edited by Marv Wolfman; as a teen, King won a Scholastic Art and Writing Award. From 1966, King studied at the University of Maine, graduating in 1970 with a Bachelor of Arts in English; that year, his daughter Naomi Rachel was born. He wrote a column, Steve King's Garbage Truck, for the student newspaper, The Maine Campus, participated in a writing workshop organized by Burton Hatlen. King held a variety of jobs to pay for his studies, including janitor, gas pump attendant, worker at an industrial laundry. King met his future wife, fellow student Tabitha Spruce, at the University's Fogler Library after one of Professor Hatlen's workshops. King sold his first professional short story, "The Glass Floor," to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. After graduating from the University of Maine, King earned a certificate to teach high school but, unable to find a teaching post initially supplemented his laboring wage by selling short stories to men's magazines such as Cavalier.
Many of these early stories have been republished in the collection Night Shift. The short story The Raft was published in a men's magazine. After being arrested for driving over a traffic cone, he was fined $250 and had no money to pay the petty larceny fine. However, payment arrived for the short story The Raft, King was able to pay the fine. In 1971, King was hired as a teacher at Hampden Academy in Maine, he worked on ideas for novels. In 1973, King's novel Carrie was accepted by publishing house Doubleday. Carrie was King's fourth novel, it was written on a portable typewriter. The novel began as a short story intended for Cavalier magazine, but King tossed the first three pages of his work in the garbage can. Tabith
Benjamin William "Ben" Bova is an American writer. He is the author of more than 120 works of science fact and fiction, he is six-time winner of the Hugo Award, a former editor of Analog Magazine, a former editorial director of Omni, he lives in Florida. Ben Bova was born on November 1932 in Philadelphia, he graduated from South Philadelphia High School in 1949 and has been inducted into the SPHS Cultural Hall of Fame in recognition of his achievements. In 1953, while attending Temple University in Philadelphia, he married Rosa Cucinotta; the couple divorced in 1974. In that same year he married Barbara Berson Rose. Barbara Bova died on September 23, 2009. Bova dedicated Power Play to Barbara. In March 2013, he announced on his website. Bova was organized Avco Everett's fencing club. Bova is critical of what he sees as the unquestioning nature of religion, he wrote an op-ed piece in 2012, in which he argued that atheists can be just as moral as religious believers. Bova went back to school in the 1980s, earning a Master of Arts degree in communications in 1987 from the State University of New York at Albany and a Doctor of Education degree from California Coast University in 1996.
Bova worked as a technical writer for Project Vanguard in the 1950s and for the Avco Everett Research Laboratory in the 1960s. When they conducted research in lasers and fluid dynamics. At Avco Everett he met Arthur R. Kantrowitz. In 1972, Bova became editor of Analog Science Fact & Fiction, after John W. Campbell's death in 1971. At Analog, Bova won six Hugo Awards for Best Professional Editor. Bova served as the science advisor for the television series The Starlost and left in disgust after the airing of the first episode, his novel The Starcrossed, loosely based on his experiences, featured a thinly veiled characterization of his friend and colleague Harlan Ellison. Bova dedicated the novel to "Cordwainer Bird", the pen name Ellison uses when he did not want to be associated with a television or film project. In 1974, he wrote the screenplay for an episode of the children's science-fiction television series Land of the Lost, titled "The Search". After leaving Analog in 1978, Bova went on to edit Omni, from 1978 to 1982.
Bova holds the position of President Emeritus of the National Space Society and served as President of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America from 1990 to 1992. He appeared as the Guest of Honor at the Florida convention Necronomicon in 1995 and 2011. In 2000, he attended the 58th World Science Fiction Convention as the Author Guest of Honor. In 2007, Stuber/Parent Productions hired him as a consultant to provide insight into what the world may look like in the near future, for their film Repo Men starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker. In 2007 he provided consulting services to Silver Pictures on the film adaptation of Richard K. Morgan's hardboiled cyberpunk science-fiction novel Altered Carbon, he was awarded the Robert A. Heinlein Award in 2008 for his work in science fiction; as of February 2016, Bova has written over 124 books, non-fiction as well as science fiction, drawing on his experiences to create fact and fiction writings rich with references to artificial hearts, environmentalism and martial arts, nanotechnology and spaceflight.
Official website Works by Ben Bova at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Ben Bova at Internet Archive Works by Ben Bova at LibriVox Works by Ben Bova at Open Library Ben Bova at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database Ben Bova at the Internet Book List Ben Bova at Library of Congress Authorities, with 141 catalog records
H. Warner Munn
Harold Warner Munn was an American writer of fantasy and poetry, best remembered for his early stories in Weird Tales. He was an early associate of authors H. P. Lovecraft and Seabury Quinn, he has been described by fellow author Jessica Amanda Salmonson, who interviewed him during 1978, as "the ultimate gentleman" and "a gentle, calm and good friend." He was known for his intricate plotting and the careful research that he did for his stories, a habit he traced back to two mistakes made when he wrote his early story "The City of Spiders." A resurgence of interest in his work occurred during the 1970s due to its appearance in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series and the successor fantasy series published with the imprint of Del Rey Books. In addition to writing, Munn collected books and classic pulp magazines, including Air Wonder Stories, Amazing Stories and other science fiction titles, along with Argosy, Argosy All Story, Weird Tales, others. In his library were self-manufactured books consisting of serialized stories extracted from magazines, notably works by George Allan England such as "Darkness and Dawn".
About three fourths of his collection was ruined by exposure to weather during a relocation and had to be destroyed. During his last years Munn lived in Tacoma, Washington in a house he had built himself, he did his writing either in the attic room that constituted his library. During this time he was working on an additional volume of the Merlin series to be called The Sword of Merlin, which he did not live to finish, he was befriended at this time by the young writer W. H. Pugmire, influenced by Munn's work. Munn was a major early contributor to the pulp magazine Weird Tales during the 1920s and 1930s, with the editorship of Farnsworth Wright. Munn's first, "The Werewolf of Ponkert" arose from a comment by H. P. Lovecraft suggesting a story written from the werewolf's point of view. Munn's resulting tales became the first of a series, "The Tales of the Master"; the series included a serial, "The Werewolf's Daughter" and this and the initial story appeared as The Werewolf of Ponkert. Munn continued the Werewolf Clan stories.
The plots of the Werewolf Clan tales revolved between the struggle between the titular family and "The Master", a supernatural villain that Munn based on Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer. When the change of editors of the magazine from Farnsworth Wright to Dorothy McIlwraith. Munn reworked the other stories and added extensively to the series, most of these tales appearing in Robert Weinberg's "Lost Fantasies" series, in book form as Tales of the Werewolf Clan #1: In the Tomb of the Bishop and Tales of the Werewolf Clan #2: The Master Goes Home; the two series of works for which he is known best, his Merlin saga and the Tales of the Werewolf Clan, were both started during the Weird Tales period. King of the World’s Edge, the first Merlin novel, was written as early as 1925. On publication it was compared favorably to the stories of Robert E. Howard, of whose fiction Munn confessed to being a great admirer; the novel starts in the last days of King Arthur, follows the adventures of Myrdhinn and a Roman centurion, who leave Britain for new lands to the West, find themselves in the kingdom of the Aztecs.
After Weird Tales ceased publishing his work, Munn did not seek new outlets. He devoted to his time to family duties for many years and worked in various trades from sawmill operator to ice cream salesman, it was not until he lost a knee cap in one of these jobs that Munn returned to full-time writing around 1965. With the exception of the 1980 epic historical novel, The Lost Legion) his post-Weird Tales output was minor, most of it either self-published in small press editions or issued haphazardly by publishers who sought him. While he had completed The Ship from Atlantis, the second installment of the Merlin Saga, in 1941, it was only published 26 years when Donald A. Wollheim contracted to publish King of the World's Edge in book form and accepted the sequel; the Ship from Atlantis follows the further adventures of Gwalchmai, who sets out for Rome but becomes lost in the Sargasso Sea and encounters a survivor from Atlantis. These two novels combined under the title Merlin's Godson, are a precursor to Munn's magnum opus, Merlin's Ring.
The publication of his last great work of fantasy, Merlin's Ring, was the result of a publisher seeking him. Reprising Wollheim’s role, Lin Carter, editor of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, learned of it while enquiring about the availability of the first two Merlin books. In the event, it was issued by Ballantine Books soon after the end of Carter’s connection with the publisher, in the interregnum between the Adult Fantasy series and Ballantine’s new Del Rey Books fantasy series. Merlin's Ring explores the Atlantean and Arthurian influences down through history to the time of Joan of Arc. Del Rey completed Carter’s original intention by reissuing both of the first two books in a single volume with the title of Merlin's Godson. Munn was fascinated by Joan of Arc and wrote an extensive narrative poem about her, The Banner of Joan. Although nonfantastic - other than in Joan's spirit-driven zeal - the poem may be seen as an epilogue to the Merlin sequence. Robert E. Weinberg was responsible for the revival and completion of the Werewolf Clan stories when he expressed an interest in reprinting them