Laurence Manning

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Laurence Manning c.1932
Laurence Manning, December, 1951
Top (l-r): Laurence, age 17; father Dr. James W.; brother Frederick Charles. Bottom (l-r): mother Helen G.A. Hanington; sister Helen Marjorie.

Laurence Manning (July 20, 1899 – April 10, 1972) was a Canadian science fiction author.

Manning was born in St. John, New Brunswick and attended Kings College in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In the 1920s he moved to the United States, living initially with his great uncle, Craven Langstroth Betts, the noted Canadian poet<1925 New York State Census, Richmond, New York, US>. In the USA, he lived in Manhattan before moving to Staten Island in 1928, where he began writing short stories for several pulp science fiction magazines. After teaming with SF writer Fletcher Pratt in "City of the Living Dead" in the May, 1930 issue of Science Wonder Stories, he wrote "The Voyage of the 'Asteroid'", which appeared in the Summer 1932 issue of Wonder Stories Quarterly, and The Man Who Awoke, a series of stories that was later published as a novel. He also translated at least one German-language story for Hugo Gernsback's magazines (this may have been the translation of his popular story The Man Who Awoke, published as Der Jartausendschlafer (The Millennium Sleeper). However, In the July, August and September, 1932 issues of Wonder Stories appeared "In the Year 8000", by Otfrid von Hanstein, translated by Manning, teamed with Konrad Schmidt.

Manning gave up his successful writing career at the end of 1935 (with the exceptions of "Coal Thief" in the April, 1936 The Planeteer and "Expedition to Pluto" in the winter, 1939 Planet Stories), and devoted his time to Kelsey mail order nursery business he owned and managed. Apart from several short stories in the 1950s (Good-Bye, Ilha!, Mr. Mottle Goes Pouf, Men on Mars), he never wrote any more science fiction. However, he was the author of a successful book on gardening, The How and Why of Better Gardening (1951), Van Nostrand & Co, used for more than 40 years as a textbook by the Garden Clubs of America.

He was a founding member of the American Rocket Society, serving as both president and editor of the Society's publication, Astronautics. For his involvement in the Society, Manning is recognized by the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum as an early rocketry pioneer. Manning retired from the American Rocket Society in the mid-1940s, stating that rocketry had 'grown up', and was no longer a place for amateurs. It was during his tenure as president of the society that the organization's name was changed from the American Interplanetary Society. In 1961, Manning was awarded a lifetime membership in the Society, that award being presented by then Vice President of the US Lyndon B. Johnson.

Manning married Edith Mary Finette Burrows in 1928 and had three children: Helen Louise, Dorothy, and James Edward. His daughter Dorothy has mentioned that Lawrence was not only a skilled writer, but a pianist as well. He composed his own pieces, primarily as Music Director of his church, though never published any. He also smoked pipe. He lived in Highlands, New Jersey from 1951 until his death in 1972.


Manning's "The Call of the Mech-Men " was the cover story for the November 1933 issue of Wonder Stories
  • Elaiah, an Easter Story (American Forests and Forest Life)
  • Fuzzy (American Forests and Forest Life)
  • Several articles in Better Homes and Gardens (Need Volume/Issue Numbers)
  • City of the Living Dead co-authored with Fletcher Pratt (May, 1930 Science Wonder Stories), reprinted by Gernsback Publications in 1939
  • The Voyage of the Asteroid (Summer, 1932 Wonder Stories Quarterly)
  • In The Year 8000 (by Otfrid von Hanstein, translated by Laurence Manning and Konrad Schmidt)(Jul, Aug, Sep, 1932 Wonder Stories)
  • Wreck of the Asteroid, Part One (Dec, 1932 Wonder Stories)
  • Wreck of the Asteroid, Part Two (January, 1933 Wonder Stories)
  • Wreck of the Asteroid, Part Three (February, 1934 Wonder Stories)
  • The Man Who Awoke, Part 1 (March, 1933 Wonder Stories)
  • Manning with wife Edith Mary Finette Burrows and daughter Helen Louise, ca. winter, 1930.
    The Man Who Awoke, Part 2 (April, 1933 Wonder Stories)
  • The Man Who Awoke, Part 3 (May, 1933 Wonder Stories)
  • The Man Who Awoke, Part 4 (June, 1933 Wonder Stories)
  • The Man Who Awoke, Part 5 (August, 1933 Wonder Stories)
  • The Call of the Mech Men (November, 1933 Wonder Stories)
  • Caverns of Horror (March, 1934 Wonder Stories)
  • Voice of Atlantis (July, 1934 Wonder Stories)
  • Interview with Laurence Manning (July, 1934 Fantasy Magazine)
  • The Living Galaxy (September, 1934 Wonder Stories)
  • The Moth Message (December, 1934 Wonder Stories)
  • The Prophetic Voice (April, 1935 Wonder Stories)
  • Seeds From Space (June, 1935 Wonder Stories)
  • World of the Mist, Part 1 (September, 1935 Wonder Stories)
  • World of the Mist, Part 2 (October, 1935 Wonder Stories)
  • Coal Thief (April, 1936 The Planeteer)
  • Expedition to Pluto (Winter, 1939 Planet Stories (With Fletcher Pratt))


  • "Laurence (Edward) Manning" Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2004.
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 251: Canadian Fantasy and Science-Fiction Writers. A Bruccoli Clark Layman Book. Edited by Douglas Ivison, University of Western Ontario.
  • Oral history passed down by Helen Louise Manning Tomlinson and Dorothy C. Manning Sachs.

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