Donald R. Bensen

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Donald Roynald Bensen
Born (1927-10-03)October 3, 1927
Brooklyn, New York
Died October 19, 1997(1997-10-19) (aged 70)
Croton-on-Hudson, New York
Occupation Editor, author

Donald Roynald Bensen (October 3, 1927 – October 19, 1997), also known as Don Bensen and sometimes listed as D.R. Bensen, was an American editor and science fiction writer. Editorally he is best known for editing works of P. G. Wodehouse and his involvement in their re-issue in paperback in the United States. Authorially, he is best known for his 1978 alternative history novel, And Having Writ…, published first by Bobbs-Merrill.


He died at the age of 70 at his home in Croton-on-Hudson, New York in 1997.[1]


Bensen's literary career began as a literary agent at Scott Meredith. He was appointed editor of Pyramid Publications in 1957, and was eventually, if not immediately, editor-in-chief there. Later he was a senior editor for Ballantine Books and afterwards the Berkley Publishing Corporation of New York. He was a consulting editor for Dell Books and The Dial Press from 1976 until 1981, and was instrumental in the establishment and acquisition of titles for the joint venture between the two imprints for their Quantum Science Fiction series, a prestigious international imprint that included such major works as Stardance by Spider and Jeanne Robinson, the seminal story collection The Persistence of Vision by John Varley, In the Ocean of Night by Gregory Benford and The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge. He also was a major contributor to the editorial identity of Dell's paperback science fiction and fantasy line in those years. In 1983 he joined Keats Publishing, where he also became editor-in-chief.

As a writer, Bensen was the author of And Having Writ . . ., the "Tracker" western novels, and a number of other books. He also wrote a number of media related novels, including works based on the Gunsmoke television series, and novelizations of William Goldman's screenplays for the 1979 films Mr. Horn and Butch and Sundance: The Early Days.

Bensen was a member of the all-male literary banqueting club the Trap Door Spiders, which served as the basis of Isaac Asimov's fictional group of mystery solvers the Black Widowers. Bensen himself was the model for the Roger Halsted character.[2] On the Black Widowers, he published a poem of the same name in 1977. He was also associated with the Mystery Writers of America.


  • And Having Writ… (1978)
  • Mr Horn (1978)
  • Butch and Sundance : The Early Days (1979)
  • A Wodehouse Bestiary (with P.G. Wodehouse) (1985)
  • Biblical Limericks: Old Testament Stories Re-Versed (1986)
  • If I Were You (with P.G. Wodehouse) (1989)
  • Plum's Peaches: Women in Wodehouse (with P.G. Wodehouse) (1991)
  • Wodehouse on Crime: A Dozen Tales of Fiendish Cunning (with P.G. Wodehouse) (1991)
  • Fore!: The Best of Wodehouse on Golf (with P.G. Wodehouse) (1999)

Tracker series[edit]

  • Mask of the Tracker (1992)
  • The Renegade (1992)
  • Death in the Hills (1992)
  • Fool's Gold (1992)
  • Final Mask (1993)
  • Deathwind (1993)
  • Final Mask (1993)



  1. ^ "Obituaries -- 12/1/97". Publishers Weekly. 12/1/1997.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ Asimov, Isaac. I. Asimov, a Memoir, New York, Doubleday, 1994, page 378. ISBN 978-0-385-41701-3.

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