Edmond Hamilton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Edmond Hamilton
EHamilton1956.jpg
Hamilton c. 1956
Born Edmond Moore Hamilton
(1904-10-21)October 21, 1904[1]
Youngstown, Ohio, USA
Died February 1, 1977(1977-02-01) (aged 72)
Lancaster, California
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Genres Science fiction, comic books
Spouse(s) Leigh Brackett (m. 1946–77) (his death)

Edmond Moore Hamilton (October 21, 1904 – February 1, 1977) was an American writer of science fiction during the mid-twentieth century.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born in Youngstown, Ohio, he was raised there and in nearby New Castle, Pennsylvania. Something of a child prodigy, he graduated from high school and entered Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania at the age of 14, but washed out at 17.

Writing career[edit]

Edmond is credited[citation needed] with writing the first hardcover compilation of what would eventually come to be known as the science fiction genre, The Horror on The Asteroid and Other Tales of Planetary Horror (1936). The book compiles the following stories: "The Horror on the Asteroid", "The Accursed Galaxy", "The Man Who Saw Everything" ("The Man With the X-Ray Eyes"), "The Earth-Brain", "The Monster-God of Mamurth", and "The Man Who Evolved".

His career as a science fiction writer began with the publication of "The Monster God of Mamurth", a short story, in the August 1926 issue of Weird Tales[3]—now a classic magazine of alternative fiction. Hamilton quickly became a central member of the remarkable group of Weird Tales writers assembled by editor Farnsworth Wright, that included H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. Weird Tales would publish 79 works of fiction by Hamilton from 1926 to 1948, making him one of the magazine's most prolific contributors (only Seabury Quinn and August Derleth appeared more frequently).[citation needed] Hamilton became a friend and associate of several Weird Tales veterans, including E. Hoffmann Price and Otis Adelbert Kline; most notably, he struck up a 20-year friendship with close contemporary Jack Williamson, as Williamson records in his 1984 autobiography Wonder's Child. In the late 1930s Weird Tales printed several striking fantasy tales by Hamilton, most notably "He That Hath Wings" (July 1938), one of his most popular and frequently-reprinted pieces.

Through the late 1920s and early 1930s Hamilton wrote for all of the SF pulp magazines then publishing, and contributed horror and thriller stories to various other magazines as well. He was very popular as an author of space opera, a sub-genre he created along with E.E. "Doc" Smith. His story "The Island of Unreason" (Wonder Stories, May 1933) won the first Jules Verne Prize as the best SF story of the year (this was the first SF prize awarded by the votes of fans, a precursor of the later Hugo Awards). In the later 1930s, in response to the economic strictures of the Great Depression, he also wrote detective and crime stories. Always prolific in stereotypical pulp magazine fashion, Hamilton sometimes saw 4 or 5 of his stories appear in a single month in these years; the February 1937 issue of the pulp Popular Detective featured three Hamilton stories, one under his own name and two under pseudonyms. In the 1940s, Hamilton was the primary force behind the Captain Future franchise,[5] an SF pulp designed for juvenile readers that won him many fans, but diminished his reputation in later years when science fiction moved away from space opera. Hamilton was always associated with an extravagant, romantic, high-adventure style of SF, perhaps best represented by his 1947 novel The Star Kings. As the SF field grew more sophisticated, his brand of extreme adventure seemed ever more quaint, corny, and dated.

In 1946 Hamilton began writing for DC Comics, specializing in stories for their characters Superman[4] and Batman. One of his best known Superman stories was "Superman Under the Red Sun", which appeared in Action Comics No. 300 in 1963 and which has numerous elements in common with his 1951 novel City At World's End.[5] He was instrumental in the early growth of the Legion of Super-Heroes series, as one of its first regular writers. He introduced many of the early Legion concepts into the DC Universe. He also wrote other works for DC, including the short-lived science fiction series Chris KL-99 (in Strange Adventures), which was loosely based on Captain Future. Hamilton retired from comics in 1966.

In 1969, the MacFadden-Bartell Corporation, New York, published a collection of short science fiction stories "Alien Earth and Other Stories" (520-00219-075), where Hamilton's 1949 "Alien Earth" was featured along with novelettes by Isaac Asimov, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke [and others].

Marriage and collaboration[edit]

On December 31, 1946, Hamilton married fellow science fiction author and screen writer Leigh Brackett in San Gabriel, CA, and moved with her to Kinsman, Ohio. Afterward he would produce some of his best work, including his novels The Star of Life (1947), The Valley of Creation (1948), City at World's End (1951)[3] and The Haunted Stars (1960). In this more mature phase of his career, Hamilton moved away from the romantic and fantastic elements of his earlier fiction to create some unsentimental and realistic stories, such as "What's It Like Out There?" (Thrilling Wonder Stories, Dec. 1952), his single most frequently-reprinted and anthologized work.

Though Hamilton and Leigh Brackett worked side by side for a quarter-century, they rarely shared the task of authorship; their single formal collaboration, Stark and the Star Kings, would not appear in print until 2005. In the early 1960s, it has been speculated that when Brackett had temporarily abandoned SF for screenwriting, Hamilton did an uncredited revision and expansion of two early Brackett stories, "Black Amazon of Mars" and "Queen of the Martian Catacombs"—revised texts were published as the novellas People of the Talisman and The Secret of Sinharat (1964).

Edmond Hamilton died February 1977 in Lancaster, California, of complications following kidney surgery. In the year before his death Toei Animation had launched production of an anime adaptation of his Captain Future novels and Tsuburaya Productions adapted Star Wolf into a tokusatsu series; both series were aired on Japanese television in 1978. The Captain Future adaptation was later exported to Europe, winning Hamilton a new and different fan base than the one that had acclaimed him half a century before, notably in France and Germany.

Joint interviews of Brackett and Hamilton were published in Tangent (Summer 1976, by Dave Truesdale)[6] and Amazing Stories (January 1978, by Darrell Schweitzer)[3]—the latter published several months after Hamilton's death, but conducted "much earlier", Truesdale attributes to Schweitzer.[6]

Edmond Hamilton / Leigh Brackett Day[edit]

On July 18, 2009, Kinsman, Ohio, "celebrat[ed] Edmond Hamilton Day, honoring 'The Dean of Science Fiction' and Kinsman resident."[7]

On October 16, 2010 (Hamilton's 106th birthday), the Kinsman Historical Society and Haffner Press hosted Edmond Hamilton/Leigh Brackett Day in Kinsman, Ohio.[8]

Selected works[edit]

Captain Future[edit]

Main article: Captain Future
  1. Captain Future and the Space Emperor (1940)
  2. Calling Captain Future (1940)
  3. Captain Future's Challenge (1940)
  4. The Triumph of Captain Future (1940), reprinted as Galaxy Mission
  5. Captain Future and the Seven Space Stones (1941)
  6. Star Trail to Glory (1941)
  7. The Magician of Mars (1941)
  8. The Lost World of Time (1941)
  9. Quest Beyond the Stars (1942)
  10. Outlaws of the Moon (1942)
  11. The Comet Kings (1942)
  12. Planets in Peril (1942)
  13. The Face of the Deep (1943)
  • 15 Star of Dread (1943)
  • 16 Magic Moon (1944)
  • 18 Red Sun of Danger (1945), reprinted as Danger Planet
  • 19 Outlaw World (1946)

Volumes #14 (Worlds to Come, 1943) and #17 (Days of Creation, 1944) were written by Joseph Samachson while #20, The Solar Invasion (1946) was by Manly Wade Wellman. The main series was followed by a set of seven novelettes from 1950-1951: "The Return of Captain Future", "Children of the Sun", "The Harpers of Titan", "Pardon my Iron Nerves", "Moon of the Unforgotten", "Earthmen No More" and "Birthplace of Creation".

Interstellar Patrol[edit]

A space opera sequence based on the seminal "Crashing Suns". With the exception of "The Sun People", the stories were assembled as Crashing Suns in 1965.

  1. "Crashing Suns" (1928)
  2. "The Star-Stealers" (1929)
  3. "Within the Nebula" (1929)
  4. Outside the Universe (1929)
  5. "The Comet-Drivers" (1930)
  6. "The Sun People" (1930)
  7. "The Cosmic Cloud" (1930)

The Star Kings[edit]

A space opera sequence: the first, The Star Kings, is a reworking of The Prisoner of Zenda while Return to the Stars is a fixup of four stories: "Kingdoms of the Stars", "The Shores of Infinity", "The Broken Stars" and "The Horror from the Magellanic". A crossover between this universe and Brackett's, "Stark and the Star Kings", was released in 2005, having originally been submitted to The Last Dangerous Visions. Two further stories in the same universe, "The Star Hunter" (1958) and "The Tattooed Man" (1957), were reissued in 2014 as The Last of the Star Kings.

  1. The Star Kings (1949)
  2. Return to the Stars (1968)
  3. "Stark and the Star Kings" (2005)
  4. The Last of the Star Kings (2014)

Starwolf[edit]

Interstellar adventure with mercenary Morgan Chane.

  1. The Weapon from Beyond (1967)
  2. The Closed Worlds (1968)
  3. World of the Starwolves (1968)

Other novels[edit]

  • The Fire Princess (1938)
  • A Yank at Valhalla (1950), also publ. as The Monsters of Juntonheim
  • Tharkol, Lord of the Unknown (1950), also publ. as The Prisoner of Mars
  • City at World's End (1951)
  • The Sun Smasher (1959), also publ. as Starman Come Home
  • The Star of Life (1959)
  • The Haunted Stars (1960)
  • Battle for the Stars (1961)
  • The Valley of Creation (1964)
  • Fugitive of the Stars (1965)
  • Doomstar (1966)
  • The Lake of Life (1978)

Collections[edit]

  • The Horror on the Asteroid and Other Tales of Planetary Horror (1936)
  • Murder in the Clinic (1946)
  • What's It Like Out There? and Other Stories (1974)
  • The Best of Edmond Hamilton (Doubleday Science Fiction Book Club, April 1977), edited and introduced by Leigh Brackett[3]
  • Kaldar: World of Antares (1998)
  • The Vampire Master and Other Tales of Terror (2000)
  • Stark and the Star Kings (2005), Leigh Brackett and Hamilton
  • Two Worlds of Edmond Hamilton (2008)
  • The Sargasso of Space and Two Others (2009)

Collected Works[edit]

In 2009, Haffner Press released the first two books in a program to collect all of Hamilton's prose work. A volume (the first of six) collecting the first four Captain Future novels also appeared at the same time. Early in 2010, additional volumes were announced.

  • The Metal Giants and Others, The Collected Edmond Hamilton, Volume One (2009)
  • The Star-Stealers: The Complete Tales of the Interstellar Patrol, The Collected Edmond Hamilton, Volume Two (2009)
  • The Universe Wreckers, The Collected Edmond Hamilton, Volume Three (2010)
  • The Reign of the Robots, The Collected Edmond Hamilton, Volume Four (2014)
  • The Six Sleepers, The Collected Edmond Hamilton, Volume Five (2014)
  • The Collected Captain Future, Volume One (2009)
  • The Collected Captain Future, Volume Two (2010)
  • The Collected Captain Future, Volume Three (2014)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch, Edmond Hamilton, February 1977. [1]. Retrieved 2013-03-13.
  2. ^ [2].
  3. ^ a b c d "Edmond Hamilton – Summary Bibliography". ISFDB. Retrieved 2014-07-10. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
  4. ^ Fortress: Superman.
  5. ^ [3].
  6. ^ a b "Tangent Online Presents: An Interview with Leigh Brackett & Edmond Hamilton". Dave Truesdale. Tangent Online (tangentonline.com). December 12, 2009. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
      Reprint of April 1976 interview by Dave Truesdale and Paul McGuire III (Tangent, Summer 1976); with Introduction by Truesdale (2009), "Ed and Leigh" appreciation by James Gunn (1994), "Ed and Leigh" by Jack Williamson (1994), Afterword by Truesdale (2009).
  7. ^ "Edmond Hamilton Day". Locus Online. Locus Publications. July 5, 2009.
  8. ^ [4].
Reprint (1973). Westport, CT: Hyperion Press. ISBN 9780883551295. OCLC 213785300.

External links[edit]