Edmond Hamilton

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Edmond Hamilton
Hamilton c. 1956
Born Edmond Moore Hamilton
(1904-10-21)October 21, 1904
Youngstown, Ohio, US
Died February 1, 1977(1977-02-01) (aged 72)
Lancaster, California
Occupation Writer
Nationality American
Genre Science fiction, comic books
Spouse Leigh Brackett (m. 1946–77) (his death)
The August 1926 Weird Tales featured Hamilton's first published story
"The Star-Stealers" was first published in the February 1929 issue of Weird Tales.
The first "Star Kings" story was cover-featured on the September 1947 issue of Amazing Stories
Hamilton's novella "The Daughter of Thor" was the cover story for the August 1942 issue of Fantastic Adventures.
Hamilton's short novel "Starman Come Home", the cover story in the September 1954 issue of Universe Science Fiction, was published in book form as The Sun Smasher five years later
Hamilton's novella "Last Call for Doomsday!", written for Imagination under the house name "S. M. Tenneshaw", has never been included in an authorized Hamilton collection
Hamilton's short novel "Fugitive from the Stars", cover-featured on the December 1958 issue of Imagination, was revised and published in an Ace Double in 1965

Edmond Moore Hamilton (October 21, 1904 – February 1, 1977)[1] 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 Hamilton's 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. 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. Hamilton is wrote one of the first hardcover compilations 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".

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 subgenre 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,[4] a 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 1942 Hamilton began writing for DC Comics,[5] specializing in stories for their characters Superman and Batman. His first comics story was "Bandits in Toyland" in Batman #11 (June-July 1942).[5] He wrote the short-lived science fiction series Chris KL-99 in Strange Adventures,[6] which was loosely based on Captain Future. He and artist Sheldon Moldoff created Batwoman in Detective Comics #233 (July 1956).[7] Hamilton co-created Space Ranger in Showcase #15 (July-Aug. 1958) with Gardner Fox and Bob Brown.[8][9] Hamilton was instrumental in the early growth of the Legion of Super-Heroes feature, as one of its first regular writers. He introduced many of the early Legion concepts including the Time Trapper in Adventure Comics #317 (Feb. 1964)[10] and Timber Wolf in Adventure Comics #327 (Dec. 1964).[11] Hamilton retired from comics with the publication of "The Cape and Cowl Crooks" in World's Finest Comics #159 (August 1966).[5]

In 1969, the Macfadden/Bartell Corporation 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 screenwriter Leigh Brackett in San Gabriel, California, 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 originally intended for Harlan Ellison's The Last Dangerous Visions, 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)[12] 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.[12]

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."[13]

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 fix-up 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)


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)


  • 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)
Frank R. Paul's cover for the December 1931 Wonder Stories, illustrating Hamilton's "The Reign of the Robots", was revived in 2013 for the cover of a volume of Hamilton's collected fiction

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 (2013)
  • The Six Sleepers, The Collected Edmond Hamilton, Volume Five (not yet released)
  • The Collected Captain Future, Volume One (2009)
  • The Collected Captain Future, Volume Two (2010)
  • The Collected Captain Future, Volume Three (2014)

Comic books[edit]

DC Comics[edit]

  • Action Comics #119, 135, 137-138, 147-148, 151, 167, 186, 189, 191, 223, 229, 234, 239, 293-294, 300-301, 303, 309, 314, 318-319, 321, 327, 329-330, 336, 338-339 (1948-1966)
  • Adventure Comics #144-146, 149-150, 156, 161, 167, 172, 240 (Superboy); #306-319, 321-322, 324-325, 327, 332, 334-337, 339, 341-345 (Legion of Super-Heroes) (1949-1966)
  • Batman #11, 38, 76-78, 83, 85-86, 88, 91, 93-95, 98-99, 101, 104, 109-112 (1942-1957)
  • Detective Comics #91, 124, 127, 133, 135, 158, 165, 198, 201, 203, 211, 215-217, 225-226, 231, 233-234, 241, 243, 245, 251 (1944-1958)
  • Green Lantern #18 (1945)
  • Mystery in Space #2, 4, 30, 34-35, 37-38 (1951-1957)
  • Showcase #15-16 (Space Ranger) (1958)
  • Strange Adventures #1-5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15-16, 55-56, 63, 67, 69, 72-75, 77, 79 (1950-1957)
  • Superboy #1, 8-9, 18, 21-22, 24-25, 27, 103-104, 106, 119-120, 123 (1949-1965)
  • Superman #50, 52, 57, 63-64, 68, 70-72, 74-76, 78-81, 90, 102, 105-106, 109, 119, 148, 153-159, 161, 163-164, 166-168, 171-172, 174-175, 181 (1948-1965)
  • Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #15, 21, 54, 56-57 (1960-1965)
  • Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #64, 66-67, 69, 71, 85 (1962-1965)
  • World's Finest Comics #34-35, 37-39, 41, 46, 57, 62-63, 73, 76-82, 84-86, 88-92, 94, 96, 141-153, 155-159 (1948-1966)

Standard Comics[edit]

  • America's Best Comics #14-18 (1945-1946)
  • Black Terror #12-14 (1945-1946)


  1. ^ "FamilySearch, Edmond Hamilton, February 1977". United States Social Security Death Index. n.d. Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ Estep, Larry (n.d.). "Edmond Hamilton". Pulpgen.com. The peak of Hamilton's popularity probably came in the 20's and 30's where he proved as popular with the readers of Weird Tales as such prominent authors as Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Edmond Hamilton – Summary Bibliography". ISFDB. Retrieved July 10, 2014. 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. ^ Weinberg, Robert (n.d.). "Captain Future". RobertWeinberg.net. Archived from the original on March 14, 2016. Edmond Hamilton took [Mort] Weisinger's so-so idea about 'Mr. Future' and turned the concept into 'Captain Future'. 
  5. ^ a b c Edmond Hamilton at the Grand Comics Database
  6. ^ Irvine, Alex; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1950s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. [Strange Adventures] issue #1 also saw the first appearance of...Chris KL-99, from legendary sci-fi author Edmond Hamilton and artist Howard Sherman. 
  7. ^ Irvine "1950s" in Dolan, p. 80: "In the story 'The Batwoman' by writer Edmond Hamilton and penciler Sheldon Moldoff (as Bob Kane), Bruce Wayne took notice of a young admirer who...was fighting crime while wearing a bat-costume very similar to the one the Dark Knight wore."
  8. ^ Irvine "1950s" in Dolan, p. 91: "Space Ranger...debuted in Showcase #15 in stories by writer Edmond Hamilton and artist Bob Brown."
  9. ^ Markstein, Don (2008). "Space Ranger". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on October 18, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2012. Editor Jack Schiff took charge of the character, and handed him over to writers Edmond Hamilton and Gardner Fox for development. Bob Brown illustrated their script. 
  10. ^ McAvennie, Michael "1960s" in Dolan, p. 110: "Writer Edmond Hamilton and artist John Forte made the first-ever reference to the nefarious Time Trapper."
  11. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 113: "Writer Edmond Hamilton and artist John Forte introduced them to Karth Arn, a super-strong acrobat calling himself 'Lone Wolf'...The hero soon adopted the moniker of Timber Wolf."
  12. ^ a b Truesdale, Dave (December 12, 2009). "Tangent Online Presents: An Interview with Leigh Brackett & Edmond Hamilton". Tangent Online. Archived from the original on April 3, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2014.  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).
  13. ^ "Edmond Hamilton Day". Locus. July 5, 2009. Archived from the original on May 7, 2016. 
Reprint (1973). Westport, CT: Hyperion Press. ISBN 9780883551295. OCLC 213785300.

External links[edit]