Otis Adelbert Kline

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Otis Adelbert Kline
Otis Adelbert Kline, date unknown
Otis Adelbert Kline, date unknown
Born(1891-07-01)July 1, 1891
Chicago, Illinois
DiedOctober 24, 1946(1946-10-24) (aged 55)
Short Beach, Connecticut
OccupationNovelist, literary agent
GenreScience fiction

Otis Adelbert Kline (July 1, 1891 – October 24, 1946) born in Chicago, Illinois, USA, was a songwriter,[1] an adventure novelist and literary agent during the pulp era. Much of his work first appeared in the magazine Weird Tales. Kline was an amateur orientalist and a student of Arabic, like his friend and sometime collaborator, E. Hoffmann Price.

Kline and Burroughs[edit]

Kline is best known for an apocryphal literary feud with fellow author Edgar Rice Burroughs, in which he supposedly raised the latter's ire by producing close imitations (The Planet of Peril (1929) and two sequels) of Burroughs's Martian novels, though set on Venus; Burroughs, the story goes, then retaliated by writing his own Venus novels, whereupon Kline responded with an even more direct intrusion on Burroughs's territory by boldly setting two novels on Mars. Kline's jungle adventure stories, reminiscent of Burroughs's Tarzan tales, have also been cited as evidence of the conflict.[2] While the two authors did write the works in question, the theory that they did so in contention with each other is supported only circumstantially, by the resemblance and publication dates of the works themselves. The feud theory was originally set forth in a fan press article, "The Kline-Burroughs War," by Donald A. Wollheim (Science Fiction News, November, 1936), and afterward given wider circulation by Sam Moskowitz in his book Explorers of the Infinite (1963). Richard A. Lupoff debunked the case in his book Edgar Rice Burroughs: Master of Adventure (1965). Among the evidence cited by Lupoff discounting the feud: (1) no comment from either writer acknowledging the feud is documented, and (2) family members of the two authors have no recollection of ever hearing them mention it. In response to Lupoff's investigations, Moskowitz identified his original source as Wollheim's article, while Wollheim stated, when questioned on the source of his own information: "I made it up!"

Kline and Weird Tales[edit]

Kline was an assistant editor at Weird Tales from its inception. He contributed numerous stories to the magazine and edited a single issue — that for May–July 1924 (which also contained his short story "The Malignant Entity").[citation needed]

Literary agent[edit]

In the mid-1930s Kline largely abandoned writing to concentrate on his career as a literary agent (most famously for fellow Weird Tales author Robert E. Howard, pioneer sword and sorcery writer and creator of Conan the Barbarian). Kline represented Howard from the spring of 1933 till Howard's death in June 1936, and continued to act as literary agent for Howard's estate thereafter. It has been suggested that Kline may have completed Howard's "planetary romance" Almuric, which he submitted to Weird Tales for posthumous publication in 1939,[3] although this claim is disputed.[4]


Kline's novels normally received serial publication in magazines before their release in book form. The Mars novels appeared in Argosy, and The Port of Peril in Weird Tales (as Buccaneers of Venus).

Venus series[edit]

  1. The Planet of Peril (1929)
  2. The Prince of Peril (1930)
  3. The Port of Peril (1932)

Mars series[edit]

  1. The Swordsman of Mars (1933)
  2. The Outlaws of Mars (1933)

Jan of the Jungle[edit]

  1. The Call of the Savage, or Jan of the Jungle (1931)
  2. Jan in India (1935)
"The Dragoman's Slave Girl" was originally published in the Summer 1931 issue of Oriental Stories

Other novels and stories[edit]

Weird Tales stories[edit]

The serialization of Kline's novella "The Bride of Osiris" began in the August 1927 Weird Tales



  • "Writing the Fantastic Story," The Writer, January 1931
  • "The Modern Detective Story," The Author & Journalist, July 1937
  • "I Have a Radio Mind," True Mystic Science, December 1938
  • "What Is the Source of Prophecy?," True Mystic Science, April 1939
  • "The Blind Shall 'See'," Tomorrow, November 1941


  • Sheldon Jaffery and Fred Cook, The Collector's Index to Weird Tales, Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1985.
  • John Locke, "Otis Adelbert Kline and the Invisible Hand" in The Thing's Incredible! The Secret Origins of Weird Tales. Elkhorn, CA: Off-Trail Publications, 2018, ISBN 1935031252.
  • E. Hoffmann Price, "Chapter II: Otis Adelbert Kline" in Book of the Dead: Friends of Yesteryear: Fictioneers & Others, Sauk City, Wisconsin: Arkham House, 2001.
  • David Anthony Kraft, "Otis Adelbert Kline: Visionary of Venus," in Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction, Magazine Management, Vol. 1, No. 4, July 1975, p. 24. (Issue includes a comics adaptation of Kline's "A Vision of Venus" from 1931, by Tim Conrad on pp. 25–29.)

External links[edit]