John Eric Holmes
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|John Eric Holmes|
February 16, 1930|
|Died||March 20, 2010(aged 80)|
|Resting place||National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific|
|Genre||Non-fiction, fantasy, science fiction|
|Notable works||Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set|
|Relatives||Wilfred Holmes, Isabelle West Holmes|
John Eric Holmes (February 16, 1930 – March 20, 2010) was an American professor of neurology and writer of non-fiction, fantasy and science fiction. His writings appeared under his full name and under variants such as Eric Holmes and J. Eric Holmes and the pen name Sidney Leland.
Holmes was the son of US Naval officer Wilfred "Jasper" Holmes and his wife Isabelle West Holmes. Wilfred Holmes was also a writer of adventure stories under the pen name Alec Hudson. Like his father, John Eric Holmes also served in the armed forces, as a first lieutenant in the Marine Corps. He fought for two years in Korea. He was a medical doctor and an associate professor of neurology at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. He had a son named Christopher West Holmes.
Holmes was a long-time science fiction fan, particularly of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. P. Lovecraft, and an enthusiast of fantasy role-playing games. His writings reflected both his chosen profession and his hobbies, beginning with an early short story published in 1951 and factual articles on neurology for the science fiction magazine Astounding and its successor Analog in the early 1960s.
He later wrote on Dungeons & Dragons, from the perspectives of both a Dungeon Master and an authority on the psychology of gaming, serving as editor of the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set RPG rule book, and writing a series of fantasies set in a D&D-influenced world, including four short stories and one novel.
Holmes approached TSR with an offer to write an introductory version of D&D, to expand the game's demographics to younger players and possibly get it into the mass market as well. His Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977) was a revision of Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson's original game plus the early supplements, Greyhawk, Blackmoor, and Eldritch Wizardry. Holmes created the wereshark monster for Dungeons & Dragons, first publishing it in Alarums & Excursions #13 (July 1976).
Taking his writing more "mainstream," he wrote with David F. Lindsley the textbook Basic Human Neurophysiology (1984), and on his own pastiche speculative fiction novels set in the inner world of Edgar Rice Burroughs's Pellucidar, the fictional future of Philip Francis Nowlan's Buck Rogers, and the fictional past of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian.
Holmes's two Pellucidar novels were Mahars of Pellucidar, authorized by the Burroughs estate, and Red Axe of Pellucidar, reportedly blocked by the same authority. Ready for publication in 1980, it only saw print thirteen years later in a private printing. A planned third novel in the series, Swordsmen of Pellucidar, remained unfinished.
His other pastiches also met with mixed success. While Mordred, his Buck Rogers novel, saw print, his Conan novel, while contracted and paid for by Tor Books, was ultimately rejected. Another novel, Danton Doring, a collaboration with Burroughs' son John Coleman Burroughs, whom he helped treat for Parkinson's disease, was never completed.
Holmes was a regular guest at Burroughs fan conventions such as the Edgar Rice Burroughs Chain of Friendship (ECOF). He received its Lifetime Achievement Award for his Burroughs pastiches at ECOF '93 in Willows, California. He was slated to appear as Guest of Honor at 2004's ECOF Convention in Sacramento, California, but suffered a stroke and was unable to attend. He was a special guest at the June 2005 ECOF in Portland, Oregon.
Boinger the Halfling and Zereth the Elf
- "The Adventure of the Lost City," in Alarums and Excursions, no. 17 (Dec. 1976) and no. 19 (Feb. 1977)
- "Trollshead," in The Dragon, no. 31 (Nov. 1979)
- "The Sorcerer's Jewel," in The Dragon, no. 46 (Feb. 1981)
- "In the Bag," in The Dragon, no. 58 (Feb. 1982)
- The Maze of Peril (ISBN 0-917053-05-2) (Nov. 1986)
- Mahars of Pellucidar (ISBN 0-441-51590-8) (1976)
- Red Axe of Pellucidar (1993 - privately printed)
- Swordsmen of Pellucidar (unfinished)
- "Beachhead on the Moon," in Blue Book, v. 92, no. 4 (Feb. 1951)
- "The Cenote," in Doppelganger, no. 8 (1987)
- Danton Doring (with John Coleman Burroughs) (unfinished)
- Conan on the River of Doom (unfinished)
- "Brain Waves and Thought Patterns" in Analog Science Fact -> Science Fiction, v. 69, no. 5 (Jul. 1962)
- "The Educated Flatworms" in Analog Science Fact -> Science Fiction, v. 70, no. 3 (Nov. 1962)
- "The Split Brain" in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, v. 93, no. 6 (Aug. 1974)
- "Lovecraftian Mythos in D&D," in The Dragon, no. 12 (Feb. 1978)
- "A Rebuttal to 'The Cthulhu Mythos Revisted'," in The Dragon, no. 16 (May 1978)
- "Lost Civilizations: Fantasy Supplement for Source of the Nile," in The Dragon, no. 24 (Apr. 1979)
- "The Psychopathology of Wargamers: Shrinks and Simulations," in Space Gamer, no. 26 (Jan./Feb. 1980)
- "Confessions of a Dungeon Master," in Psychology Today, v. 14, no. 6 (Nov. 1980)
- Fantasy Role Playing Games - Dungeons, Dragons and Adventures in Fantasy Gaming (ISBN 0-88254-514-0) (1981)
- "Basic D&D Points of View,"in The Dragon, no. 52 (Aug. 1981)
- Basic Human Neurophysiology (ISBN 0-444-00797-0) (with David F. Lindsley) (1984)
- "Mail-Call of Machen Society Cthulhu Meeting," in Crypt of Cthulhu, v. 7, no. 7 (1988)
- "Lovecraft in the Comic Books: an Update," in Crypt of Cthulhu, v. 17, no. 1 (1997)
- "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JGT2-D4X : accessed 12 Feb 2013), Johneric Holmes, 20 March 2010; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
- "John E "Eric" Holmes". Find a Grave. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
- "In memory of John-Eric Holmes". Leber Funeral Home. Legacy.com. Retrieved 2010-05-16.
- Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
- "Who's Who in This Issue", Blue Book, p. 145, February 1951
- University of Hawaii biography of Wilfred Holmes
- Martin, John. "John Eric Holmes: Mahars of Pellucidar and Red Axe of Pellucidar".
- Holmes, John Eric. Alarums and Excursions #13 (Lee Gold, July 1976)
- "Save or Die Podcast #122". 2016-05-11. Retrieved 2016-05-31.
- John Eric Holmes: Mahars of Pellucidar and Red Axe of Pellucidar - article by John Martin
- John Eric Holmes at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database