Portal:Speculative fiction/Selected biography

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Portal:Speculative fiction/Selected biography/1

Carbon print of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1869, printed 1875/79
Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892), much better known as "Alfred, Lord Tennyson," was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular poets in the English language.

Tennyson excelled at penning short lyrics, "In the valley of Cauteretz", "Break, Break, Break", "The Charge of the Light Brigade", "Tears, Idle Tears" and "Crossing the Bar". Much of his verse was based on classical mythological themes (Oenone, Ulysses, Tithonus), as well as works based on Arthurian legends (Idylls of the King, The Lady of Shalott, Sir Galahad). Tennyson also wrote some notable blank verse including Idylls of the King, Ulysses, and Tithonus. During his career, Tennyson attempted drama, but his plays enjoyed little success.

Tennyson wrote a number of phrases that have become commonplaces of the English language, including: "Nature, red in tooth and claw", "'Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all", "Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die", "My strength is as the strength of ten, / Because my heart is pure", "Knowledge comes, but Wisdom lingers", and "The old order changeth, yielding place to new". He is the second most frequently quoted writer in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations after Shakespeare.

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Edgar Allen Poe
Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

He attended the University of Virginia for one semester but left due to lack of money. Poe's publishing career began humbly, with an anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), credited only to "a Bostonian". Poe switched his focus to prose and spent the next several years working for literary journals and periodicals, becoming known for his own style of literary criticism. In January 1845, Poe published his poem "The Raven" to instant success. His wife died of tuberculosis two years later. He began planning to produce his own journal, The Penn (later renamed The Stylus), though he died before it could be produced.

Poe and his works influenced literature in the United States and around the world, as well as in specialized fields, such as cosmology and cryptography. Poe and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, and television. A number of his homes are dedicated museums today.

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William Gibson
William Ford Gibson (born March 17, 1948) is an American-Canadian writer who has been called the "noir prophet" of the cyberpunk subgenre of science fiction. Gibson coined the term "cyberspace" in his short story "Burning Chrome" and later popularized the concept in his debut novel, Neuromancer (1984). In envisaging cyberspace, Gibson created an iconography for the information age before the ubiquity of the Internet in the 1990s. He is also credited with predicting the rise of reality television and with establishing the conceptual foundations for the rapid growth of virtual environments such as video games and the Web.

Having changed residence frequently with his family as a child, Gibson became a shy, ungainly teenager who often read science fiction. After spending his adolescence at a private boarding school in Arizona, Gibson dodged the draft during the Vietnam War by emigrating to Canada in 1968, where he became immersed in the counterculture and after settling in Vancouver eventually became a full-time writer. He retains dual citizenship. Gibson's early works are bleak, noir near-future stories about the effect of cybernetics and computer networks on humans – a "combination of lowlife and high tech". The short stories were published in popular science fiction magazines. The themes, settings and characters developed in these stories culminated in his first novel, Neuromancer, which garnered critical and commercial success, virtually initiating the cyberpunk literary genre.

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Portal:Speculative fiction/Selected biography/4 William Denby "Bill" Hanna (July 14, 1910 – March 22, 2001) was an American animator, director, producer, television director, television producer, and cartoon artist, whose movie and television cartoon characters entertained millions of fans worldwide for much of the twentieth century. When he was a young child, Hanna's family moved frequently, but they settled in Compton, California by 1919. There, Hanna became an Eagle Scout. He briefly attended college but dropped out at the onset of the Great Depression.

After working odd jobs in the first months of the Depression, Hanna joined the Harman and Ising animation studio in 1930. During the 1930s, Hanna steadily gained skill and prominence while working on cartoons such as Captain and the Kids. In 1937, while working at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Hanna met Joseph Barbera. The two men began a collaboration that was at first best known for producing Tom and Jerry and live action films. In 1957, they co-founded Hanna-Barbera, which became the most successful television animation studio in the business, producing programs such as The Flintstones, The Huckleberry Hound Show, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, The Smurfs, and Yogi Bear. In 1967, Hanna-Barbera was sold to Taft Broadcasting for $12 million, but Hanna and Barbera remained head of the company until 1991. At that time the studio was sold to Turner Broadcasting System, which in turn was merged with Time Warner, owners of Warner Bros., in 1996; Hanna and Barbera stayed on as advisors.

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Portal:Speculative fiction/Selected biography/5

Portrait of Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley (née Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin; 30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin, and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

Mary Godwin's mother died when she was eleven days old; afterwards, she and her older half-sister, Fanny Imlay, were raised by her father. When Mary was four, Godwin married his neighbour, Mary Jane Clairmont. Godwin provided his daughter with a rich, if informal, education, encouraging her to adhere to his liberal political theories. In 1814, Mary Godwin began a romantic relationship with one of her father’s political followers, the married Percy Bysshe Shelley. Together with Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont, they left for France and travelled through Europe; upon their return to England, Mary was pregnant with Percy's child. Over the next two years, she and Percy faced ostracism, constant debt, and the death of their prematurely born daughter. They married in late 1816 after the suicide of Percy Shelley's first wife, Harriet.

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Tolkien in 1916
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE (/ˈtɒlkn/ or US /ˈtlkn/; 3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973), was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University from 1925 to 1945 and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature there from 1945 to 1959. He was a close friend of C. S. Lewis—they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972.

After his death, Tolkien's son, Christopher, published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about an imagined world called Arda, and Middle-earth within it. Between 1951 and 1955 Tolkien applied the word legendarium to the larger part of these writings.

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Portal:Speculative fiction/Selected biography/7

J. K. Rowling, after receiving an honorary degree from The University of Aberdeen
Joanne "Jo" Murray, OBE (née Rowling; born 31 July 1965), better known under the pen name J. K. Rowling (/ˈrlɪŋ/ ROE-ling), is a British author best known as the creator of the Harry Potter fantasy series, based on an idea she conceived on a train trip from Manchester to London in 1990. The Potter books have gained worldwide attention, won multiple awards, sold more than 400 million copies, and been the basis for a popular series of films.

Aside from writing the Potter novels, Rowling is perhaps equally famous for her "rags to riches" life story, in which she progressed from living on welfare to multi-millionaire status within five years. The 2008 Sunday Times Rich List estimated Rowling's fortune at £560 million ($798 million), ranking her as the twelfth richest woman in Britain. Forbes ranked Rowling as the forty-eighth most powerful celebrity of 2007, and Time magazine named her as a runner-up for its 2007 Person of the Year, noting the social, moral, and political inspiration she has given her fandom. She has become a notable philanthropist, supporting such charities as Comic Relief, One Parent Families, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain, and the Children's High Level Group.

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Honoré de Balzac, by Nadar (1842)
Honoré de Balzac (French pronunciation: ​[ɔnɔʁe də balzak]) (20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. His magnum opus was a sequence of almost 100 novels, short stories and plays collectively entitled La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the fall of Napoléon Bonaparte in 1815.

Due to his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multi-faceted characters; even his lesser characters are complex, morally ambiguous and fully human. Inanimate objects are imbued with character as well; the city of Paris, a backdrop for much of his writing, takes on many human qualities. His writing influenced many famous authors, including the novelists Marcel Proust, Émile Zola, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Gustave Flaubert, Marie Corelli, Henry James, William Faulkner, Jack Kerouac, and Italo Calvino as well as important philosophers such as Friedrich Engels. Many of Balzac's works have been made into films, and they continue to inspire other writers.

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Frank Klepacki, from his album Morphscape
Frank Klepacki (born May 25, 1974) is an American musician, video game music composer and sound director best known for his work on the Command & Conquer series. Having learned to play drums as a child, he joined Westwood Studios as a composer when he was only 17 years old. He scored several games there, including the Lands of Lore series, Westwood Studios' Dune games, the The Legend of Kyrandia series, Blade Runner, and the Command & Conquer series. His work in Command & Conquer: Red Alert won two awards.

He lives in Las Vegas, where he has shaped a solo career and played and produced for several local bands. His personal and band work touches upon several genres, including orchestral, rock music, hip hop music, soul music, and funk. He has dubbed the style of music he writes as "Rocktronic". His work has appeared in various media, including the Spike TV program The Ultimate Fighter.

Klepacki is currently the audio director of Petroglyph games, where he scored Star Wars: Empire at War. He was contacted to score Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, but was too busy with Petroglyph to take the project, and declined to mention the offer. Klepacki most recently composed three songs, including "Hell March 3", for Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 by Electronic Arts Los Angeles. His most recent solo CD is entitled Infiltrator.

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Portal:Speculative fiction/Selected biography/10

A 1610 portrait of Johannes Kepler by an unknown artist
Johannes Kepler (IPA: [ˈkʰɛplɐ]) (December 27, 1571 – November 15, 1630) was a German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer, and key figure in the 17th century scientific revolution. He is best known for his eponymous laws of planetary motion, codified by later astronomers based on his works Astronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome of Copernican Astronomy. They also provided one of the foundations for Isaac Newton's theory of universal gravitation.

Around 1611, Kepler circulated a manuscript of what would eventually be published (posthumously) as Somnium (The Dream). Part of the purpose of Somnium was to describe what practicing astronomy would be like from the perspective of another planet, to show the feasibility of a non-geocentric system. The manuscript, which disappeared after changing hands several times, described a fantastic trip to the moon; it was part allegory, part autobiography, and part treatise on interplanetary travel (and is sometimes described as the first work of science fiction). Years later, a distorted version of the story may have instigated the witchcraft trial against his mother, as the mother of the narrator consults a demon to learn the means of space travel. Following her eventual acquittal, Kepler composed 223 footnotes to the story—several times longer than the actual text—which explained the allegorical aspects as well as the considerable scientific content (particularly regarding lunar geography) hidden within the text.

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A photograph of Robert E. Howard taken in 1934.
Robert Ervin Howard (January 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936) was an American author who wrote pulp fiction in a diverse range of genres. He is regarded as the father of the Sword and Sorcery genre and he created, amongst other characters, Conan the Cimmerian. Howard created Conan the Barbarian, in the pages of the Depression-era pulp magazine Weird Tales, a character whose pop-culture imprint has been compared to such icons as Tarzan, Count Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, and James Bond.

Howard was born and raised in the state of Texas. He spent most of his life in the town of Cross Plains with some time spent in the nearby Brownwood. A bookish and intellectual child, he was also a fan of boxing and spent some time in his late teens bodybuilding, eventually taking up amateur boxing himself. From the age of nine he dreamed of becoming a writer of adventure fiction but did not have real success until he was twenty-three. He was published in a wide selection of magazines, journals and newspapers but his main outlet was the pulp magazine Weird Tales.

He was successful in several genres and was on the verge of publishing his first novel when he committed suicide at the age of thirty.

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Bradbury in 1975
Ray Douglas Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012) was an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles (1950) and The Illustrated Man (1951), Bradbury is one of the most celebrated among 20th and 21st century American writers of speculative fiction. Bradbury's popularity has been increased by more than 20 filmed dramatizations of his works.

Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois, to a Swedish immigrant mother and a father who was a power and telephone lineman. His paternal grandfather and great-grandfather were newspaper publishers. Bradbury was a reader and writer throughout his youth, spending much time in the Carnegie library in Waukegan, Illinois. He used this library as a setting for much of his novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, and depicted Waukegan as "Green Town" in some of his other semi-autobiographical novels—Dandelion Wine, Farewell Summer—as well as in many of his short stories.

He attributes his lifelong habit of writing every day to an incident in 1932 when a carnival entertainer, Mr. Electrico, touched him on the nose with an electrified sword, made his hair stand on end, and shouted, "Live forever!" It was from then that Bradbury wanted to live forever and decided his career as an author in order to do what he was told: live forever. It was at that age that Bradbury first started to do magic. Magic was his first great love. If he had not discovered writing, he would have become a magician.

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Isaac Asimov in 1965
Isaac Asimov (/ˈzək ˈæzɪmʌv/ EYE-zək AZ-i-muv; born Isaak Yudovich Ozimov, Russian: Исаак Юдович Озимов; c. January 2, 1920 – April 6, 1992), was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited about 500 books and over 9,000 letters and postcards. His works have been published in nine of the ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal System (the sole exception being the 100s: philosophy and psychology).

Isaac Asimov is widely considered a master of the science-fiction genre and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, he was considered one of the "Big Three" science-fiction writers during his lifetime. Asimov's most famous work is the Foundation series; his other major series are the Galactic Empire series and the Robot series, both of which he later tied into the same fictional universe as the Foundation Series to create a unified "future history" for his stories much like those pioneered by Robert A. Heinlein and previously produced by Cordwainer Smith and Poul Anderson. He penned numerous short stories, among them Nightfall, which, in 1964, the Science Fiction Writers of America voted the best short science fiction story of all time—an accolade many still find persuasive. Asimov wrote the Lucky Starr series of juvenile science-fiction novels using the pen name Paul French.

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Robert Silverberg at the 67th World Science Fiction Convention
Robert Silverberg (born January 15, 1935) is an American author, best known for writing science fiction. He is a multiple winner of both the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

Silverberg was born in Brooklyn, New York. A voracious reader since childhood, he began submitting stories to science fiction magazines during his early teenage years. He attended Columbia University, receiving an A.B. in English Literature in 1956. His first published novel, a children's book called Revolt on Alpha C, appeared in 1955, and he won his first Hugo the following year for "best new writer". For the next four years, by his own count, he wrote a million words a year, mostly for magazines and Ace Doubles. In 1959 the market for science fiction collapsed, and Silverberg turned his ability to write copiously to other fields, from carefully researched historical nonfiction to softcore pornography.

In the mid-1960s, science fiction writers were starting to become more literarily ambitious. Frederik Pohl, then editing three science fiction magazines, offered Silverberg carte blanche in writing for them. Thus inspired, Silverberg returned to the field that gave him his start, paying far more attention to depth of character development and social background than he had in the past and mixing in elements of the modernist literature he had studied at Columbia.

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Portal:Speculative fiction/Selected biography/15 Cordwainer Smith was the pseudonym used by American author Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger (July 11, 1913–August 6, 1966) for his science fiction works. Linebarger was a noted East Asia scholar and expert in psychological warfare. Linebarger also employed the literary pseudonyms "Carmichael Smith" (for his political thriller Atomsk), "Anthony Bearden" (for his poetry) and "Felix C. Forrest" (for the novels Ria and Carola).

Linebarger was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His father was Paul M. W. Linebarger, a lawyer and political activist with close ties to the leaders of the Chinese revolution of 1911. As a result of those connections, Linebarger's godfather was Sun Yat-sen, considered the father of Chinese nationalism. As a child, Linebarger was blinded in his right eye; the vision in his remaining eye was impaired by infection. His father moved his family to France and then Germany while Sun Yat-sen was struggling against contentious warlords in China. As a result, Linebarger was familiar with six languages by adulthood.

At the age of 23, he received a Ph.D. in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University.

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Portal:Speculative fiction/Selected biography/16 Alfred "Alfie" Bester (December 18, 1913 – September 30, 1987) was an American science fiction author, TV and radio scriptwriter, magazine editor and scripter for comic strips and comic books. Though successful in all these fields, he is probably best remembered today for his work as a science fiction author, and as the winner of the first Hugo Award in 1953 for his novel The Demolished Man.

Bester was born in Manhattan, New York City, on December 18, 1913. His father James owned a shoe store, and was a first-generation American whose parents were both Austrian. Alfred's mother, Belle, was born in Russia and spoke Yiddish as her first language before coming to America as a youth. Alfred was James and Belle's second and final child, and only son. (Their first child, Rita, was born in 1908.) Though his father was of Jewish background, and his mother became a Christian Scientist, Alfred Bester himself wasn't raised within any religious traditions.

Bester attended the University of Pennsylvania where he was a member of the Philomathean Society. He went on to Columbia Law School, but tired of it and dropped out. Bester and Rolly Goulko married in 1936. Rolly Bester had a successful career as a Broadway, radio and television actress before changing careers to become an advertising executive during the 1960s. The Besters remained married for 48 years until her death on January 12, 1984. Bester was very nearly a lifelong New Yorker, although he lived in Europe for a little over a year in the mid-1950s and moved to Pennsylvania with Rolly in the early 1980s. Once settled there, they lived on Geigel Hill Road in Ottsville, Pennsylvania.

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Stanisław Lem in 1966
Stanisław Lem (Polish pronunciation: [staˈɲiswav ˈlɛm] ( ); 12 September 1921 – 27 March 2006) was a Polish writer of science fiction, philosophy and satire . He was named a Knight of the Order of the White Eagle. His books have been translated into 41 languages and have sold over 27 million copies. He is perhaps best known as the author of the 1961 novel Solaris, which has twice been made into a feature film. In 1976, Theodore Sturgeon claimed that Lem was the most widely read science-fiction writer in the world.

His works explore philosophical themes; speculation on technology, the nature of intelligence, the impossibility of mutual communication and understanding, despair about human limitations and humankind's place in the universe. They are sometimes presented as fiction, but others are in the form of essays or philosophical books. Translations of his works are difficult and multiple translated versions of his works exist.

Lem made his literary debut in 1946 as a poet, and at that time he also published several dime novels. Beginning that year, Lem's first science fiction novel Człowiek z Marsa (The Man from Mars) was serialized in the magazine Nowy Świat Przygód (New World of Adventures). Between 1947 and 1950 Lem, while continuing his work as a scientific research assistant, published poems, short stories, and scientific essays. However, during the era of Stalinism, all published works had to be directly approved by the communist regime. Lem finished a partly autobiographical novella Hospital of the Transfiguration (Szpital Przemienienia) in 1948, but it was suppressed by the authorities until 1955 when he added a sequel more acceptable to the doctrine of socialist realism. In 1951 he published his first book, Astronauci (The Astronauts); it was commissioned as juvenile SF and Lem was forced to include many references to the 'glorious future of communism' in it. He later criticized this novel (as well as several of his other early pieces, bowing to the ideological pressure) as simplistic; nonetheless its publication convinced him to become a full-time writer.

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Portal:Speculative fiction/Selected biography/18 John Wood Campbell, Jr. (June 8, 1910 – July 11, 1971) was an influential figure in American science fiction. As editor of Astounding Science Fiction (later called Analog Science Fiction and Fact), from late 1937 until his death, he is generally credited with shaping the so-called Golden Age of Science Fiction.

Isaac Asimov called Campbell "the most powerful force in science fiction ever, and for the first ten years of his editorship he dominated the field completely." As a writer, Campbell published super-science space opera under his own name and moody, less pulpish stories as Don A. Stuart. However, he stopped writing fiction after he became editor of Astounding.

Campbell's first published story, "When the Atoms Failed," appeared in the January 1930 issue of Amazing Stories when he was 19; he had had a previous story, "Invaders from the Infinite", accepted by Amazing's editor, T. O'Conor Sloane, but Sloane had lost the manuscript. Campbell's early fiction included a space opera series based on three characters, Arcot, Morey and Wade, and another series with lead characters Penton and Blake. This early work established Campbell's reputation as a writer of space adventure; and when he began in 1934 to publish stories with a different tone, he used a pseudonym derived from his wife's maiden name.

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Signature of A. E. van Vogt
Alfred Elton van Vogt (April 26, 1912 – January 26, 2000) was a Canadian-born science fiction author regarded by some as one of the most popular and complex science fiction writers of the mid-twentieth century: the "Golden Age" of the genre.

Van Vogt's first published SF story, "Black Destroyer" (Astounding Science Fiction, July 1939), was inspired by On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. The story depicted a fierce, carnivorous alien stalking the crew of an exploration spaceship. It was the cover story of this issue of Astounding, the issue often described as having ushered in the Golden Age of science fiction. The story became an instant classic and eventually served as the inspiration for a number of science fiction movies. In 1950 it was combined with "War of Nerves" (1950), "Discord in Scarlet" (1939) and "M33 in Andromeda" (1943) to form the novel The Voyage of the Space Beagle (1950).

In 1941, van Vogt decided to become a full time writer, quitting his job at the Canadian Department of National Defence. Extremely prolific for a few years, van Vogt wrote a large number of short stories. One of van Vogt's best-known novels of this period is Slan, which was originally serialised in Astounding Science Fiction (September - December 1940). Using what became one of van Vogt's recurring themes, it told the story of a 9-year-old superman living in a world in which his kind are slain by Homo sapiens.

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Portal:Speculative fiction/Selected biography/20 Roger Joseph Zelazny (May 13, 1937 – June 14, 1995) was an American writer of fantasy and science fiction short stories and novels. He won the Nebula award three times (out of 14 nominations) and the Hugo award six times (also out of 14 nominations), including two Hugos for novels: the serialized novel ...And Call Me Conrad (1965; subsequently published under the title This Immortal, 1966) and then the novel Lord of Light (1967). The ostracod Sclerocypris zelaznyi was named after him.

His first fanzine appearance was part one of the story "Conditional Benefit" (Thurban 1 #3, 1953) and his first professional publication and sale was the fantasy short story "Mr. Fuller's Revolt" (Literary Calvalcade, 1954). As a professional writer, his debut works were the simultaneous publication of "Passion Play" (Amazing, August 1962) and "Horseman!" (Fantastic, August 1962). "Passion Play" was written and 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 also a member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America (SAGA), 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.

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Arthur C. Clarke at his home office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 28 March 2005
Sri Lankabhimanya Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, CBE, FRAS (16 December 1917 – 19 March 2008) was a British science fiction author, inventor, and futurist, most famous for the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, written in collaboration with director Stanley Kubrick, a collaboration that also produced the film of the same name; and as a host and commentator in the British television series Mysterious World. For many years, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke were known as the "Big Three" of science fiction.

Clarke emigrated to Sri Lanka in 1956 largely to pursue his interest in scuba diving, and lived there until his death. He was knighted by the British monarchy in 1998, and was awarded Sri Lanka's highest civil honour, Sri Lankabhimanya, in 2005.

While Clarke had a few stories published in fanzines, between 1937 and 1945, his first professional sales appeared in Astounding Science Fiction in 1946: "Loophole" was published in April, while Rescue Party, his first sale, was published in May. Along with his writing Clarke briefly worked as Assistant Editor of Science Abstracts (1949) before devoting himself to writing full-time from 1951 onward. Clarke corresponded with C. S. Lewis in the 1940s and 1950s and they once met in an Oxford pub, The Eastgate, to discuss science fiction and space travel. Clarke, after Lewis's death, voiced great praise for him, saying the Ransom Trilogy was one of the few works of science fiction that could be considered literature.

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Heinlein signing autographs at the 1976 Worldcon
Robert Anson Heinlein (July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was an American science fiction writer. Often called "the dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of the genre. He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality. He was one of the first writers to break into mainstream, general magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, in the late 1940s, with unvarnished science fiction. He was among the first authors of bestselling, novel-length science fiction in the modern, mass-market era. For many years, Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke were known as the "Big Three" of science fiction.

Within the framework of his science fiction stories, Heinlein repeatedly integrated recognizable social themes: The importance of individual liberty and self-reliance, the obligation individuals owe to their societies, the influence of organized religion on culture and government, and the tendency of society to repress non-conformist thought. He also examined the relationship between physical and emotional love, explored various unorthodox family structures, and speculated on the influence of space travel on human cultural practices. His 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land put him in the unexpected role of a pied piper of the sexual revolution, and of the counterculture, and through this book he was credited with popularizing the notion of polyamory.

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Jules Verne
Jules Gabriel Verne (French: [ʒyl vɛʁn]; 8 February 1828 – 24 March 1905) was a French novelist, poet, and playwright best known for his adventure novels and his profound influence on the literary genre of science fiction. Born to bourgeois parents in the seaport of Nantes, Verne was trained to follow in his father's footsteps as a lawyer, but quit the profession early in life to write for magazines and the stage. His collaboration with the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel led to the creation of the Voyages Extraordinaires, a widely popular series of scrupulously researched adventure novels including Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and Around the World in Eighty Days.

Verne is generally considered a major literary author in France and most of Europe, where he has had a wide influence on the literary avant-garde and on surrealism. His reputation is markedly different in Anglophone regions, where he has often been labeled a writer of genre fiction or children's books, not least because of the highly abridged and altered translations in which his novels are often reprinted.

Verne is the second most translated author in the world (following Agatha Christie), and his works appear in more translations per year than those of any other writer. Verne is one writer sometimes called "The Father of Science Fiction," as are H. G. Wells and Hugo Gernsback.

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H G Wells pre 1922.jpg
Herbert George Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946) was an English author, best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary. Together with Jules Verne, Wells has been referred to as "The Father of Science Fiction". Wells was an outspoken socialist and sympathetic to pacifist views, although he supported the First World War once it was under way, and his later works became increasingly political and didactic. His middle period novels (1900–1920) were less science-fictional; they covered lower-middle class life (The History of Mr Polly) and the 'New Woman' and the Suffragettes (Ann Veronica).

His early novels, called "scientific romances", invented a number of themes now classic in science fiction in such works as The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, When the Sleeper Wakes, and The First Men in the Moon. He also wrote other, non-fantastic novels that have received critical acclaim including Kipps and the satire on Edwardian advertising, Tono-Bungay.

Wells wrote several dozen short stories and novellas, the best known of which is "The Country of the Blind" (1904). His short story "The New Accelerator" was the inspiration for the Star Trek episode Wink of an Eye.

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Painting depicting Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift (30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745) was an Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer (first for the Whigs, then for the Tories), poet and cleric who became Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.

He is remembered for works such as Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella, Drapier's Letters, The Battle of the Books, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity, and A Tale of a Tub. Swift is probably the foremost prose satirist in the English language, and is less well known for his poetry. Swift originally published all of his works under pseudonyms—such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, M.B. Drapier—or anonymously. He is also known for being a master of two styles of satire: the Horatian and Juvenalian styles.

Gulliver's Travels, of which Swift wrote a large portion in Woodbrook House, County Laois was first published in 1726, and is regarded as his masterpiece. As with his other writings, the Travels was published under a pseudonym, the fictional Lemuel Gulliver, a ship's surgeon and later a sea captain. Some of the correspondence between printer Benj. Motte and Gulliver's also-fictional cousin negotiating the book's publication has survived. Though it has often been mistakenly thought of and published in bowdlerized form as a children's book, it is a great and sophisticated satire of human nature based on Swift's experience of his times. Gulliver's Travels is an anatomy of human nature, a sardonic looking-glass, often criticized for its apparent misanthropy. It asks its readers to refute it, to deny that it has not adequately characterized human nature and society. Each of the four books--recounting four voyages to mostly-fictional exotic lands--has a different theme, but all are attempts to deflate human pride. Critics hail the work as a satiric reflection on the failings of Enlightenment modernism.

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Huxley ca.1970
Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. He spent the later part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death in 1963. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel writing, and film stories and scripts.

Brave New World (1932) as well as Island (1962) form the cornerstone of Huxley's damning indictment of commercialism based upon goods generally manufactured from other countries. Indeed also, Brave New World (along with Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Yevgeni Zamyatin's We) helped form the anti-utopian or dystopian tradition in literature and has become synonymous with a future world in which the human spirit is subject to conditioning and control. Island acts as an antonym to Brave New World; it is described as "one of the truly great philosophical novels".

When he wrote a synopsis of Alice in Wonderland, Walt Disney rejected it on the grounds that "he could only understand every third word". Huxley's leisurely development of ideas, it seemed, was not suitable for the movie moguls, who demanded fast, dynamic dialogue above all else.

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Portal:Speculative fiction/Selected biography/27

Lee in 2007
Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber; December 28, 1922) is an American comic book writer, editor, actor, producer, publisher, television personality, and the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics.

In collaboration with several artists, most notably Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, he co-created Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Avengers, Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, and many other fictional characters, introducing complex, naturalistic characters and a thoroughly shared universe into superhero comic books. In addition, he headed the first major successful challenge to the industry's censorship organization, the Comics Code Authority, and forced it to reform its policies. Lee subsequently led the expansion of Marvel Comics from a small division of a publishing house to a large multimedia corporation.

With the help of his uncle, Robbie Solomon, Lee became an assistant at the new Timely Comics division of pulp magazine and comic-book publisher Martin Goodman's company in 1939. Timely, by the 1960s, would evolve into Marvel Comics. Lee, whose cousin Jean was Goodman's wife, and was formally hired by Timely editor Joe Simon. His duties were prosaic at first. "In those days [the artists] dipped the pen in ink, [so] I had to make sure the inkwells were filled", Lee recalled in 2009. "I went down and got them their lunch, I did proofreading, I erased the pencils from the finished pages for them". Marshaling his childhood ambition to be a writer, young Stanley Lieber made his comic-book debut with the text filler "Captain America Foils the Traitor's Revenge" in Captain America Comics #3 (May 1941), using the pseudonym "Stan Lee", which years later he would adopt as his legal name. Lee later explained in his autobiography and numerous other sources that he had intended to save his given name for more literary work. This initial story also introduced Captain America's trademark ricocheting shield-toss, which immediately became one of the character's signatures.

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Portal:Speculative fiction/Selected biography/28

The signature of C. S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963), commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as Jack, was an Irish-born British novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist. He is also known for his fiction, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Space Trilogy.

Lewis was a close friend of J. R. R. Tolkien, and both authors were leading figures in the English faculty at Oxford University and in the informal Oxford literary group known as the "Inklings". According to his memoir Surprised by Joy, Lewis had been baptised in the Church of Ireland at birth, but fell away from his faith during his adolescence. Owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, at the age of 32 Lewis returned to Christianity, becoming "a very ordinary layman of the Church of England". His conversion had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim.

Lewis's works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies over the years. The books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia have sold the most and have been popularised on stage, in TV, in radio, and in cinema.

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Lovecraft with his wife, Sonia
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American author of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction.

Lovecraft's guiding literary principle was what he termed "cosmicism" or "cosmic horror", the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. As early as the 1940s, Lovecraft had developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a series of loosely interconnected fiction featuring a pantheon of human-nullifying entities, as well as the Necronomicon, a fictional grimoire of magical rites and forbidden lore. His works were deeply pessimistic and cynical, challenging the values of the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Christian humanism. Lovecraft's protagonists usually achieve the mirror-opposite of traditional gnosis and mysticism by momentarily glimpsing the horror of ultimate reality and the abyss.

Although Lovecraft's readership was limited during his life, his reputation has grown over the decades, and he is now regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century. According to Joyce Carol Oates, Lovecraft — as with Edgar Allan Poe in the 19th century — has exerted "an incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction". Stephen King called Lovecraft "the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale."

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Moore in 2008
Alan Moore (born 18 November 1953) is an English writer known for work in comics, including the acclaimed comic book series Watchmen, V for Vendetta and From Hell. He wrote the novel Voice of the Fire, and performs "workings" (one-off performance art/spoken word pieces) with The Moon and Serpent Grand Egyptian Theatre of Marvels, some released on CD.

As a comics writer, Moore applied literary sensibilities to the mainstream of the medium as well as including challenging subject matter and adult themes. He brings a wide range of influences to his work, such as William S. Burroughs, Thomas Pynchon, Robert Anton Wilson and Iain Sinclair, New Wave science fiction writers like Michael Moorcock and horror writers like Clive Barker. Influences within comics include Will Eisner, Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Kirby and Bryan Talbot.

Moore's British work brought him to the attention of DC Comics editor Len Wein, who hired him in 1983 to write Swamp Thing, then a formulaic and poor-selling monster comic. Moore, along with artists Stephen R. Bissette, Rick Veitch and John Totleben, deconstructed and reimagined the character, writing a series of formally experimental stories that addressed environmental and social issues alongside the horror and fantasy, bolstered by research into the culture of Louisiana, where the series was set. He revived many of DC's neglected magical and supernatural characters, including the Spectre, the Demon, the Phantom Stranger, Deadman and others, and introduced John Constantine, an English working-class magician based visually on Sting, who later got his own series, Hellblazer, currently the longest continuously published comic of DC's Vertigo imprint.

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Orwell ca.1933
Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense, revolutionary opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language and a belief in democratic socialism.

Considered perhaps the 20th century's best chronicler of English culture, Orwell wrote literary criticism and poetry, as well as fiction and polemical journalism. He is best known for the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and the satirical novella Animal Farm (1945). His Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences as a volunteer on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War, and his numerous essays are also widely acclaimed. Orwell's influence on culture, popular and political, continues. Several of his neologisms, along with the term Orwellian, now a byword for any draconian or manipulative social phenomenon or concept inimical to a free society, have entered the vernacular.

Modern readers are more often introduced to Orwell as a novelist, particularly through his enormously successful titles Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. The former is often thought to reflect developments in the Soviet Union after the Russian Revolution; the latter, life under totalitarian rule. Nineteen Eighty-Four is often compared to Brave New World by Aldous Huxley; both are powerful dystopian novels warning of a future world where the state exerts complete control. In 1984, Nineteen Eighty-Four and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 were honored with the Prometheus Award for their contributions to dystopian literature.

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Sagan at the Planetary Society
Carl Edward Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, author, cosmologist, and highly successful popularizer of astronomy, astrophysics and other natural sciences. During his lifetime, he published more than 600 scientific papers and popular articles and was author, co-author, or editor of more than 20 books. In his works, he advocated skeptical inquiry and the scientific method. He pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

Sagan became world-famous for his popular science books and for the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which he narrated and co-wrote. A book to accompany the program was also published. Sagan also wrote the science fiction novel, Contact, the basis for the 1997 film of the same name.

From Cosmos and his frequent appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Sagan became associated with the catch phrase "billions and billions". Sagan stated that he never actually used the phrase in the Cosmos series. The closest that he ever came was in the book Cosmos, where he talked of "billions upon billions":

A galaxy is composed of gas and dust and stars—billions upon billions of stars.

—Carl Sagan, Cosmos, chapter 1, page 3

However, his frequent use of the word billions, and distinctive delivery emphasizing the "b" (which he did intentionally, in place of more cumbersome alternatives such as "billions with a 'b'", in order to distinguish the word from "millions" in viewers' minds), made him a favorite target of comic performers including Johnny Carson, Gary Kroeger, Mike Myers, Bronson Pinchot, Penn Jillette, Harry Shearer, and others.

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Portal:Speculative fiction/Selected biography/33 William Olaf Stapledon (May 10, 1886 – September 6, 1950) was a British philosopher and author of several influential works of science fiction. Stapledon's writings directly influenced Arthur C. Clarke, Brian Aldiss, Stanislaw Lem, C. S. Lewis and John Maynard Smith and indirectly influenced many others, contributing many ideas to the world of science fiction. The "supermind" composed of many individual consciousnesses forms a recurring theme in his work. Star Maker contains the first known description of what are now called Dyson spheres. Freeman Dyson credits the novel with giving him the idea. Last and First Men features early descriptions of genetic engineering and terraforming. Sirius describes a dog whose intelligence is increased to the level of a human being's.

Stapledon's fiction often presents the strivings of some intelligence that is beaten down by an indifferent universe and its inhabitants who, through no fault of their own, fail to comprehend its lofty yearnings. It is filled with protagonists who are tormented by the conflict between their "higher" and "lower" impulses.

Last and First Men, a "future history" of 18 successive species of humanity, and Star Maker, an outline history of the Universe, were highly acclaimed by figures as diverse as Jorge Luis Borges, J. B. Priestley, Virginia Woolf and Winston Churchill (Stapledon maintained a long correspondence with Woolf). In contrast, Stapledon's philosophy repelled C. S. Lewis, whose Cosmic Trilogy was written partly in response to what Lewis saw as amorality, although Lewis admired Stapledon's inventiveness and described him as "a corking good writer".

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Stanley G. Weinbaum
Stanley Grauman Weinbaum (April 4, 1902 – December 14, 1935) was an American science fiction author. His career in science fiction was short but influential. His first story, "A Martian Odyssey", was published to great (and enduring) acclaim in July 1934, but he would be dead from lung cancer within eighteen months.

He is best known for the groundbreaking science fiction short story, "A Martian Odyssey", which presented a sympathetic but decidedly non-human alien, Tweel. Even more remarkably, this was his first science fiction story (in 1933 he had sold a romantic novel, The Lady Dances, to King Features Syndicate, which serialized the story in its newspapers in early 1934). Isaac Asimov has described "A Martian Odyssey" as "a perfect Campbellian science fiction story, before John W. Campbell. Indeed, Tweel may be the first creature in science fiction to fulfil Campbell's dictum, 'write me a creature who thinks as well as a man, or better than a man, but not like a man'." Asimov went on to describe it as one of only three stories that changed the way all subsequent ones in the science fiction genre were written. It is the oldest short story (and one of the top vote-getters) selected by the Science Fiction Writers of America for inclusion in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929–1964.

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Aldiss at Interaction in Glasgow, 2005
Brian Wilson Aldiss, OBE (born 18 August 1925) is an English author of both general fiction and science fiction. His byline reads either Brian W. Aldiss or simply Brian Aldiss. Greatly influenced by science fiction pioneer H. G. Wells, Aldiss is a vice-president of the international H. G. Wells Society. He is also (with Harry Harrison) co-president of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group. His writings have been compared to those of Isaac Asimov, Greg Bear and Arthur C. Clarke. His influential works include the short story "Super-Toys Last All Summer Long", the basis for the Stanley Kubrick-developed Steven Spielberg film A.I. Artificial Intelligence.

In 1955, The Observer newspaper ran a competition for a short story set in the year 2500, which Aldiss won with a story entitled "Not For An Age". The Brightfount Diaries had been a minor success, and Faber asked Aldiss if he had any more writing that they could look at with a view to publishing. Aldiss confessed to being a science fiction author, to the delight of the publishers, who had a number of science fiction fans in high places, and so his first science fiction book, a collection of short stories entitled Space, Time and Nathaniel was published. By this time, his earnings from writing equalled the wages he got in the bookshop, so he made the decision to become a full-time writer.

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Lessing at lit.cologne 2006
Doris May Lessing CH, OBE (née Tayler; born 22 October 1919) is an Iranian-born British writer, author of works such as the novels The Grass is Singing and The Golden Notebook.

Lessing's fiction is commonly divided into three distinct phases: the Communist theme (1944–1956), when she was writing radically on social issues (to which she returned in The Good Terrorist (1985)), the psychological theme (1956–1969), and after that the Sufi theme, which was explored in a science fiction setting in the Canopus series.

Lessing's switch to science fiction was not popular with many critics. For example, in the New York Times in 1982 John Leonard wrote in reference to The Making of the Representative for Planet 8 that "One of the many sins for which the 20th century will be held accountable is that it has discouraged Mrs. Lessing.... She now propagandizes on behalf of our insignificance in the cosmic razzmatazz." To which Lessing replied: "What they didn't realize was that in science fiction is some of the best social fiction of our time. I also admire the classic sort of science fiction, like Blood Music, by Greg Bear. He's a great writer." Unlike some authors primarily known for their mainstream work, she has never hesitated to admit that she writes science fiction. She was Writer Guest of Honour at the 1987 World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), and made a well-received speech in which she described her science-fictional Memoirs of a Survivor as "an attempt at an autobiography."

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Butler signing a copy of "Fledgling"
Octavia Estelle Butler (June 22, 1947 – February 24, 2006) was an American science fiction writer, one of the best-known among the few African-American women in the field. She won both Hugo and Nebula awards. In 1995, she became the first science fiction writer to receive the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Grant.

Her first published story, "Crossover," appeared in Clarion's 1971 anthology; another short story, "Childfinder," was bought by Harlan Ellison for the never-published collection The Last Dangerous Visions. (Like other stories purchased for that volume, it has yet to appear anywhere.) "I thought I was on my way as a writer..." Butler wrote in her short fiction collection Bloodchild and Other Stories. "In fact, I had five more years of rejection slips and horrible little jobs ahead of me before I sold another word."

Butler is well known for her Patternist series, Lilith's Brood (formerly the Xenogenesis trilogy), and the Parable series. The first book that she wrote for the Patternist series, Patternmaster (1976), is actually the last in the internal chronology of the series. In fact, most of the Patternmaster novels were written and published out of sequence. The four novels in Butler's Patternist series other than Survivor were released in 2006 as the single volume Seed to Harvest.

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Portal:Speculative fiction/Selected biography/38

Herbert at the Octocon II convention in Santa Rosa, California, October 1978 (Robert E. Nylund).
Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr. (October 8, 1920 – February 11, 1986) was a critically acclaimed and commercially successful American science fiction author. Although a short story author, he is best known for his novels, most notably Dune and its five sequels. The Dune saga, set in the distant future and taking place over millennia, deals with themes such as human survival and evolution, ecology, and the intersection of religion, politics and power. Dune itself is the "best-selling science fiction novel of all time," and the series is widely considered to be among the classics in the genre.

In 1947 Frank Herbert sold his first science fiction story, "Looking for Something", to Startling Stories. His career as a novelist began with the publication of The Dragon in the Sea in 1955, where he used the environment of a 21st century submarine as a means to explore sanity and madness. The book predicted worldwide conflicts over oil consumption and production. It was a critical success but not a major commercial one.

Dune took six years of research and writing to complete. Far longer than commercial science fiction of the time was supposed to run, it was serialized in Analog magazine in two separate parts ("Dune World" and "Prophet of Dune"), in 1963 and 1965. It was then rejected by nearly twenty book publishers before finally being accepted. One editor prophetically wrote back "I might be making the mistake of the decade, but..." before rejecting the manuscript.

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Vinge at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference in 2006
Vernor Steffen Vinge /ˈvɪni/ (born October 2, 1944 in Waukesha, Wisconsin, U.S.) is a retired San Diego State University Professor of Mathematics, computer scientist, and science fiction author. He is best known for his Hugo Award-winning novels and novellas A Fire Upon the Deep (1992), A Deepness in the Sky (1999), Rainbows End (2006), Fast Times at Fairmont High (2002) and The Cookie Monster (2004), as well as for his 1993 essay "The Coming Technological Singularity", in which he argues that exponential growth in technology will reach a point beyond which we cannot even speculate about the consequences.

Vinge published his first short story, "Bookworm, Run!", in the March 1966 issue of Analog Science Fiction, then edited by John W. Campbell. The story explores the theme of artificially augmented intelligence by connecting the brain directly to computerised data sources. He became a moderately prolific contributor to SF magazines in the 1960s and early 1970s, adapting one of his stories into a short novel, Grimm's World (1969), and publishing a second novel, The Witling (1975).

Vinge came to prominence in 1981 with his novella True Names, which is one of the earliest stories to present a fully fleshed-out concept of cyberspace, which would later be central to cyberpunk stories by William Gibson, Neal Stephenson and others.

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Stephenson at Science Foo Camp 2008
Neal Town Stephenson (born October 31, 1959) is an American writer known for his speculative fiction works, which have been variously categorized as science fiction, historical fiction, cyberpunk, and postcyberpunk. He has also written with his uncle, George Jewsbury ("J. Frederick George"), under the collective pseudonym of Stephen Bury.

Stephenson explores areas such as mathematics, cryptography, philosophy, currency, and the history of science. He also writes non-fiction articles about technology in publications such as Wired Magazine, and has worked part-time as an advisor for Blue Origin, a company (funded by Jeff Bezos) developing a manned sub-orbital launch system.

In his earlier novels Stephenson deals heavily in pop culture-laden metaphors and imagery, and in quick, hip dialogue, as well as in extended narrative monologues. The tone of his books is generally more irreverent and less self-serious than that of previous cyberpunk novels, notably those of William Gibson.

Stephenson's books tend to have elaborate, inventive plots drawing on numerous technological and sociological ideas at the same time. This distinguishes him from other mainstream science fiction authors who tend to focus on a few technological or social changes in isolation from others. The discursive nature of his writing, together with significant plot and character complexity and an abundance of detail suggests a baroque writing style, which Stephenson brought fully to bear in the three-volume Baroque Cycle.

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Budrys at the 1985 Clarion Science Fiction Writing Workshop
Algis Budrys (January 9, 1931 – June 9, 2008) was a Lithuanian-American science fiction author, editor, and critic. He was also known under the pen names "Frank Mason", "Alger Rome", "John A. Sentry", "William Scarff", and "Paul Janvier."

Beginning in 1952 Budrys worked as editor and manager for such science fiction publishers as Gnome Press and Galaxy Science Fiction. Some of his science fiction in the 1950s was published under the pen name "John A. Sentry", a reconfigured Anglification of his Lithuanian name. Among his other pseudonyms in the SF magazines of the 1950s and elsewhere, several revived as bylines for vignettes in his magazine Tomorrow Speculative Fiction, is "William Scarff". He also wrote several stories under the names "Ivan Janvier" or "Paul Janvier." He also used the pen name "Alger Rome" in his collaborations with Jerome Bixby.

Budrys's 1960 novella Rogue Moon was nominated for a Hugo Award, and was later anthologized in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two (1973). His Cold War science fiction novel Who? was adapted for the screen in 1973. In addition to numerous Hugo Award and Nebula Award nominations, Budrys won the Science Fiction Research Association's 2007 Pilgrim Award for lifetime contributions to speculative fiction scholarship. In 2009, he was the recipient of one of the first three Solstice Awards presented by the SFWA in recognition of his contributions to the field of science fiction.

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Pohl at the 2008 UCR J. Lloyd Eaton Science Fiction Conference
Frederik George Pohl, Jr. (born November 26, 1919) is an American science fiction writer, editor and fan, with a career spanning over seventy years. From about 1959 until 1969, Pohl edited Galaxy magazine and its sister magazine if, winning the Hugo for if three years in a row. His writing also won him three Hugos and multiple Nebula Awards. He became a Nebula Grand Master in 1993.

Pohl's writing career began in the late 1930s. For the first fifteen years of his writing career, he used pseudonyms: Pohl's first published piece was a poem in the October, 1937 issue of Amazing Stories credited to "Elton Andrews." From 1939 to 1943, Pohl was the editor of two pulp magazines - Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories. Stories by Pohl often appeared in these magazines, but never under his own name. Work written in collaboration with Cyril M. Kornbluth was credited to S.D. Gottesman or Scott Mariner; other collaborative work (with any combination of Kornbluth, Dirk Wylie or Robert A.W. Lownes) was credited to Paul Dennis Lavond. For Pohl's solo work, stories were credited to James MacCreigh (or, for one story only, Warren F. Howard.)

In his autobiography, Pohl says that he stopped editing the two magazines at roughly the time of the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Regardless, works by "Gottesman," "Lavond," and "MacCreigh" continued to appear in various SF pulp magazines throughout the 1940s.

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Judy-Lynn and Lester del Rey at Minicon 8 in 1974
Lester del Rey (June 2, 1915 – May 10, 1993) was an American science fiction author and editor. Del Rey is especially famous for his juvenile novels such as those in the Winston Science Fiction series, and for Del Rey Books, the fantasy and science fiction branch of Ballantine Books edited by Lester del Rey and his fourth wife Judy-Lynn del Rey.

Del Rey first started publishing stories in pulp magazines in the late 1930s, at the dawn of the Golden Age of Science Fiction. He was closely associated with the leading science fiction magazine of the era, Astounding Science Fiction, and its editor, John W. Campbell, Jr. In the 1950s, del Rey was one of the three leading science fiction writers writing for adolescents along with Robert A. Heinlein and Andre Norton. During this time some of his fiction was published under the name "Erik van Lhin".

He later made his way into editing for several pulp magazines and then for book publishers. In 1952 and 1953, del Rey edited Space SF, Fantasy Fiction, Science Fiction Adventures (as Philip St. John), Rocket Stories (as Wade Kaempfert), and Fantasy Fiction (as Cameron Hall). He was most successful editing for Ballantine Books with his final wife, Judy-Lynn del Rey, and founded a popular science fiction imprint with her at Ballantine, Del Rey Books, in 1977.

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Philip-jos-farmer.jpg
Philip José Farmer (January 26, 1918 – February 25, 2009) was an American author, principally known for his award-winning science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories. Farmer is best known for his novel series, especially the World of Tiers (1965-93) and Riverworld (1971-83) novels. He is noted for the pioneering use of sexual and religious themes in his work, his fascination for and reworking of the lore of celebrated pulp heroes, and occasional tongue-in-cheek pseudonymous works written as if by fictional characters.

Farmer’s first literary success came in 1952 with a novella called “The Lovers,” about a sexual relationship between a human and an extraterrestrial. It won him the Hugo Award as "most promising new writer", the first of his three Hugo Awards. Thus encouraged, he quit his job to become a full-time writer, entered a publisher’s contest, and promptly won the $4,000 first prize for a novel that contained the germ of his later Riverworld series. The book was not published and Farmer did not get the money. Literary success did not translate into financial security, and in 1956 he left Peoria to launch a career as a technical writer. The next 14 years were spent working in that capacity for various defense contractors, from Syracuse, New York to Los Angeles, California, while writing science fiction in his spare time.

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Portal:Speculative fiction/Selected biography/45 John Wyndham was the pen name used by the often post-apocalyptic English science fiction writer John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris (10 July 1903 – 11 March 1969). Early in his career, Wyndham used various other combinations of his names, such as "John Beynon" or "Lucas Parkes".

Wyndham tried several careers including farming, law, commercial art and advertising, but mostly relied on an allowance from his family. He eventually turned to writing for money in 1925, and by 1931 was selling short stories and serial fiction to American science fiction pulp magazines, most under the pen names of 'John Beynon' or 'John Beynon Harris', though he also wrote some detective stories.

After World War II, Wyndham returned to writing, inspired by the success of his brother who had had four novels published. He altered his writing style and by 1951, using the John Wyndham pen name for the first time, wrote the novel The Day of the Triffids. His prewar writing career was not mentioned in the book's publicity, and people were allowed to assume that it was a first novel from a previously unknown writer.

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James Gunn
James Edwin Gunn (born 1923 in Kansas City, Missouri) is an American science fiction author, editor, scholar, and anthologist. His work from the 1960s and 70s is considered his most significant fiction, and his Road to Science Fiction collections are considered his most important scholarly books. He won a Hugo Award for a non-fiction book in 1983 for Isaac Asimov: The Foundations of Science Fiction. He has been named the 2007 Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Gunn began his career as a science fiction author in 1948. Gunn went on to become a faculty member of the University of Kansas, where he served as the university's director of public relations and as a professor of English, specializing in science fiction and fiction writing. He is now a professor emeritus and director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction, which awards the annual John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award at the Campbell Conference in Lawrence, Kansas, every July.

He has had almost 100 stories published in magazines and anthologies and has authored 26 books and edited 10. Many of his stories and books have been reprinted around the world.

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Portal:Speculative fiction/Selected biography/47 Zenna Chlarson Henderson (November 1, 1917 – May 11, 1983) was an American elementary school teacher who wrote a series of fantasy novellas and short stories. Henderson was one of the first female science fiction authors, and never used a male pen name. Although her work could not be considered feminist, Henderson was one of the few writers in the 1950s and 1960s writing science fiction from a female perspective.

Most of her stories focus on the theme of being different, and often feature children or young people. Most are part of her series on the history of "The People", humanoid beings from a faraway planet who are forced to emigrate to (among other places) Earth when their home world is destroyed in a natural disaster. Scattered mostly throughout the American Southwest during their landing before 1900, they are set apart by their desire to preserve their home culture, including their religious and spiritual beliefs. Their unusual abilities ("Gifts") include telepathy, telekinesis, prophecy and healing, mostly manipulated through the "Signs and Persuasions". The stories describe groups of The People, as well as lonely isolated individuals, most often as they attempt to find communities and remain distinct in a world that does not understand them. This aspect of individuality was a common theme in most of Henderson's writing.

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L. Sprague de Camp and Catherine Crook de Camp
Lyon Sprague de Camp (November 27, 1907 – November 6, 2000) was an American author of science fiction and fantasy books, non-fiction and biography. In a writing career spanning 60 years, he wrote over 100 books, including novels and notable works of non-fiction, including biographies of other important fantasy authors.De Camp was a materialist who wrote works examining society, history, technology and myth. He published numerous short stories, novels, non-fiction works and poems during his long career.

De Camp had the mind of an educator, and a common theme in many of his works is a corrective impulse regarding similar previous works by other authors. A highly rational and logical thinker, he was frequently disturbed by what he regarded as logical lapses and absurdities in others' writings. Thus, his response to Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court was to write a similar time travel novel in which the method of time travel was rationalized and the hero's technical expertise both set at a believable level and constrained by the technological limitations of the age.

In like fashion, he reimagined space opera and planetary romances in his "Viagens Interplanetarias" series, and the prehistoric precursor civilizations characteristic of much heroic fantasy in his "Pusadian series." When he was not debunking literary conventions he was often explaining them, as with the early "Harold Shea", stories co-written with Fletcher Pratt, in which the magical premises behind a number of bodies of myths and legends were accepted as a given but examined and elucidated in terms of their own systems of inherent logic. De Camp's explanatory tendency also carried over into his non-fictional writings.

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Twain on February 7, 1871
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), well-known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. Twain is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884), which has been called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). He is extensively quoted. Twain was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.

Twain was very popular, and his keen wit and incisive satire earned praise from critics and peers. Upon his death he was lauded as the "greatest American humorist of his age", and William Faulkner called Twain "the father of American literature". His book A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court features a time traveler from contemporary America, using his knowledge of science to introduce modern technology to Arthurian England. This type of storyline would later become a common feature of the science fiction sub-genre, Alternate history. Other of his works also contained elements which fall into the genre of science fiction or fantasy, including Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven, Letters from the Earth (a short story collection published posthumously), The Mysterious Stranger (an unfinished work published posthumously), and A Dog's Tale.

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Hans Christian Anderson later in life
Hans Christian Andersen (Danish pronunciation: [ˈhanˀs ˈkʰʁæʂd̥jan ˈɑnɐsn̩], in Denmark he is referred to using the initials: H. C. Andersen) (April 2, 1805 – August 4, 1875) was a Danish author and poet noted for his children's stories. These include "The Steadfast Tin Soldier", "The Snow Queen", "The Little Mermaid", "Thumbelina", "The Little Match Girl", and "The Ugly Duckling".

During his lifetime he was acclaimed for having delighted children worldwide, and was feted by royalty. His poetry and stories have been translated into more than 150 languages. They have inspired motion pictures, plays, ballets, and animated films.

It was during 1835 that Andersen published the first installment of his immortal Fairy Tales (Danish: Eventyr). More stories, completing the first volume, were published in 1836 and 1837. The quality of these stories was not immediately recognized, and they sold poorly. At the same time, Andersen enjoyed more success with two novels: O.T. (1836) and Only a Fiddler. His Specialty book that is still known today was the Ugly Duckling (1837).

In the English-speaking world, stories such as "Thumbelina", "The Snow Queen", "The Ugly Duckling", "The Little Mermaid", "The Emperor's New Clothes", and "The Princess and the Pea" remain popular and are widely read. "The emperor's new clothes" and "ugly duckling" have both passed into the English language as well-known expressions.

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Lugosi in the 1940 film The Devil Bat
Béla Lugosi (20 October 1882 – 16 August 1956) was a Hungarian actor of stage and screen, well known for playing Count Dracula in the Broadway play and subsequent film version. In the last years of his career he featured in several of Ed Wood's low budget films.

Through his association with Dracula (in which he appeared with minimal makeup, using his natural, heavily accented voice), Lugosi found himself typecast as a horror villain in such movies as Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Raven, and Son of Frankenstein for Universal, and the independent White Zombie. His accent, while a part of his image, limited the roles he could play.

Lugosi did attempt to break type by auditioning for other roles. He lost out to Lionel Barrymore for the role of Rasputin in Rasputin and the Empress; C. Henry Gordon for the role of Surat Khan in Charge of the Light Brigade; Basil Rathbone for the role of Commissar Dimitri Gorotchenko in Tovarich (a role Lugosi had played on stage).

It is an erroneous popular belief that Lugosi declined the offer to appear in Frankenstein. Lugosi may not have been happy with the onerous makeup job and lack of dialogue, but was still willing to play the part. Nonetheless, James Whale, the film's director, replaced Lugosi and would do this again in Bride of Frankenstein (Lugosi was supposed to play the role of Dr. Pretorius).

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Stevenson ca.1880
Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson (13 November 1850 – 3 December 1894) was a Scottish novelist, poet, essayist and travel writer. Stevenson has been greatly admired by many authors, including Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, Marcel Schwob, Vladimir Nabokov, J. M. Barrie, and G. K. Chesterton, who said of him that he "seemed to pick the right word up on the point of his pen, like a man playing spillikins".

His speculative fiction works include Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which helped establish Stevenson's wider reputation, The Bottle Imp, the story of magical bottle which contains an imp capable of granting wishes for a price, New Arabian Nights, a collection containing Stevenson's first published short fiction, The Merry Men and Other Tales and Fables, another collection of short stories, and Island Nights' Entertainments, a collection of three of his stories (including The Bottle Imp).

Stevenson was seen for much of the 20th century as a writer of the second class, condemned by literary figures such as Virginia Woolf. He is now being re-evaluated as a peer of authors such as Joseph Conrad (whom Stevenson influenced with his South Seas fiction) and Henry James, with new scholarly studies and organizations devoted to Stevenson. No matter what the scholarly reception, Stevenson remains very popular around the world. According to the Index Translationum, Stevenson is ranked the 25th most translated author in the world, ahead of fellow nineteenth-century writers Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde and Edgar Allan Poe.

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Dickens ca.1867-1868
Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era, and one of the most popular of all time, responsible for some of English literature's most iconic characters. Many of his novels, with their recurrent theme of social reform, first appeared in magazines in serialised form, a popular format at the time. Unlike other authors who completed entire novels before serialisation, Dickens often created the episodes as they were being serialized. The practice lent his stories a particular rhythm, punctuated by cliffhangers to keep the public looking forward to the next instalment. The continuing popularity of his novels and short stories is such that they have never gone out of print. His work has been praised for its mastery of prose and unique personalities by writers such as George Gissing and G. K. Chesterton, though the same characteristics prompted others, such as Henry James and Virginia Woolf, to criticise him for sentimentality and implausibility.

While much of his work was considered mainstream fiction, he wrote several well-known genre pieces, including A Christmas Carol, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain, and the collaborative story The Haunted House.

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Le Guin answering questions in 2004.
Ursula Kroeber Le Guin (born October 21, 1929) is an American author. She has written novels, poetry, children's books, essays, and short stories, most notably in the genres of fantasy and science fiction. First published in the 1960s, her works explore Taoist, anarchist, ethnographic, feminist, psychological and sociological themes. She became interested in literature when she was very young. At the age of eleven she submitted her first story to the magazine Astounding Science Fiction, but it was rejected. Her earliest writings, some of which she adapted to include in Orsinian Tales and Malafrena, were non-fantastic stories of imaginary countries. Searching for a publishable way to express her interests, she returned to her early interest in science fiction and began to be published regularly in the early 1960s. She received wide recognition for her novel The Left Hand of Darkness, which won the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1970.

Le Guin has received five Hugo awards, six Nebula awards, the Gandalf Grand Master award in 1979, and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master Award in 2003. She has received nineteen Locus Awards for her fiction, more than any other author. Her novel The Farthest Shore won the National Book Award for Children's Books in 1973.

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Howard Tayler
Howard V. Tayler (born February 29, 1968 in Florida) is the award-winning creator of the webcomic Schlock Mercenary. He worked as a volunteer missionary for the LDS Church, then graduated from Brigham Young University. Using his degree in music composition, he started an independent record label.

While working at Novell, Tayler began online publication of Schlock Mercenary. He quit his job at Novell several years later in order to work on the webcomic full time. Schlock Mercenary has been nominated multiple times and won the Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards in two different categories. The webcomic has also been nominated twice for a Hugo Award. Since February 2008, Tayler has produced a weekly writing tips podcast with best-selling fantasy author Brandon Sanderson and horror author Dan Wells.

Tayler's most well-known work is his webcomic, Schlock Mercenary, a comedic webcomic which follows the tribulations of a star-travelling mercenary company in a satiric, mildly dystopian 31st-century space opera setting. The story primarily centers on Captain Kaff Tagon and his mercenary crew, Tagon's Toughs. Members of the crew include resident mad scientist and munitions commander Kevyn Andreyasn, the titular carbosillicate amorph Sergeant Schlock, former artificial intelligence Petey, and the wry AI and former boyband, Ennesby.

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Susanna Clarke (2006)
Susanna Mary Clarke (born 1 November 1959) is a British author best known for her debut novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2004), a Hugo Award-winning alternate history. Clarke began Jonathan Strange in 1993 and worked on it during her spare time. For the next decade, she published short stories from the Strange universe, but it was not until 2003 that Bloomsbury bought her manuscript and began work on its publication. The novel became a bestseller. Two years later, she published a collection of her short stories, The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories (2006). Both Clarke's novel and her short stories are set in a magical England and written in a pastiche of the styles of nineteenth-century writers such as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. While Strange focuses on the relationship of two men, Jonathan Strange and Gilbert Norrell, the stories in Ladies focus on the power women gain through magic.

Clarke first developed the idea for Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell while she was teaching in Bilbao: "I had a kind of waking dream ... about a man in 18th century clothes in a place rather like Venice, talking to some English tourists. And I felt strongly that he had some sort of magical background – he'd been dabbling in magic, and something had gone badly wrong." She had also recently reread J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and afterwards was inspired to "[try] writing a novel of magic and fantasy". After she returned from Spain in 1993, Clarke began to think seriously about writing her novel. She signed up for a five-day fantasy and science-fiction writing workshop, co-taught by science fiction and fantasy writers Colin Greenland and Geoff Ryman. The students were expected to prepare a short story before attending, but Clarke only had "bundles" of material for her novel. From this she extracted "The Ladies of Grace Adieu", a fairy tale about three women secretly practising magic who are discovered by the famous Jonathan Strange.

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Anne McCaffrey 1.jpg
Anne Inez McCaffrey (1 April 1926 – 21 November 2011) was an author of science fiction and fantasy fiction, and was best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series. She published nearly 100 books, mainly fiction, beginning in 1967. Born in the United States, she emigrated to Ireland in 1970, where she lived in a home of her own design, "Dragonhold–Underhill". Formerly, she traveled to many conventions and made other appearances. When her health permitted, she attended Writers of the Future—for which she was a long-time judge—and DragonCon.

Up until 1990 McCaffrey co-authored more than 30 books: at least fifteen with Elizabeth Ann Scarborough; other fiction with Margaret Ball, Mercedes Lackey, Elizabeth Moon, Jody Lynn Nye, and S. M. Stirling; the non-fiction Diversity of Dragons with Richard Woods. During the last decade she and her middle child Todd McCaffrey collaborated to continue the history of Pern. As of June 2011, they had completed four Pern books jointly and Todd has authored three solo. Another collaborative sequel is expected in spring 2012.

In 1968, McCaffrey became the first woman to win a Hugo Award for a work of fiction, and in 1969 became the first woman to win a Nebula Award. She became the first with a science fiction title on The New York Times Best Seller list in 1978, with The White Dragon. The Science Fiction Writers of America in 2005 named her the 22nd Grand Master, a now-annual award to living writers of fantasy and science fiction. The Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted her 17 June 2006.

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