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Sterling E. Lanier

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Sterling Edmund Lanier
Born(1927-12-18)December 18, 1927
New York City, New York
DiedJune 28, 2007(2007-06-28) (aged 79)
Sarasota, Florida
Pen nameSterling Lanier, Sterling E. Lanier
  • Editor
  • author
  • sculptor
GenreScience fiction, fantasy
Notable workHiero's Journey

Sterling Edmund Lanier (December 18, 1927 – June 28, 2007) was an American editor, science fiction author and sculptor.[1] He is perhaps known best as the editor who championed the publication of Frank Herbert’s bestselling novel Dune.


Lanier was born on December 18, 1927, in New York City to Priscilla Thorne Taylor and Berwick Bruce Lanier.[2] He was trained as an anthropologist and archaeologist and educated at Harvard, from which he graduated in 1951. He was a lifelong devotee of speculative fiction and a cryptozoology enthusiast. Before beginning his literary career, Lanier worked as a research historian at the Winterthur Museum from 1958 to 1960.[3] He died in Sarasota, Florida, at the age of 79.

Literary career[edit]

Lanier's career as an author and editor began in 1961 when his first short story was published, and he became an editor for Chilton Books.

He was with Chilton in 1965, when he was instrumental in persuading the firm to publish Frank Herbert’s Dune. Having read Dune World in Analog magazine, he was responsible for tracking down the author and conveying Chilton's offer. More than twenty other publishing companies had already turned the book down. Despite Lanier's insight into the book's value, he was dismissed from Chilton a year later because of high publication costs and poor initial book sales. Lanier also worked as an editor for the John C. Winston Company and McRae-Smith.

The most prominent of Lanier's writings are his stories of the crypto-adventurer Brigadier Donald Ffellowes (told in the "club story" style of Lord Dunsany's Jorkens tales) and the post-apocalyptic novels Hiero's Journey (1973) and The Unforsaken Hiero (1983). His short story "A Father's Tale" (1974) was a World Fantasy Award nominee.


Lanier's sculptures have been exhibited at several museums, including the Smithsonian Institution. He specialized in miniatures, among which were a series featuring characters from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings . One set was given to Tolkien himself, with whom Lanier corresponded. Tolkien reportedly admired the miniatures but did not want them to be marketed commercially, a wish Lanier respected.


Hiero Desteen[edit]

Brigadier Ffellowes[edit]


  • The War for the Lot (1969)
  • Menace Under Marswood (1983)

Short stories[edit]

  • "Join Our Gang?" (1961)
  • "Deathchild" (1968)
  • "The Kings of the Sea" (1968) [TPEOBF]
  • "Soldier Key" (1968) [TPEOBF]
  • "Such Stuff as Dreams" (1968)
  • "Whose Short Happy Life?" (1968)
  • "A Feminine Jurisdiction" (1969) [TPEOBF]
  • "Fraternity Brother" (1969) [TPEOBF]
  • "The Leftovers" (1969) [TPEOBF]
  • "His Coat So Gay" (1970) [TPEOBF]
  • "His Only Safari" (1970) [TPEOBF]
  • "Never Cry Human" (1970)
  • "And the Voice of the Turtle" (1972) [TCQOBF]
  • "Thinking of the Unthinkable" (1973) [TCQOBF]
  • "A Father's Tale" (1974) [TCQOBF]
  • "No Traveler Returns" (1974)
  • "Ghost of a Crown" (1976) [TCQOBF]
  • "The Syndicated Time" (1978)
  • "Commander in the Mist" (1982) [TCQOBF]
  • "The Brigadier in Check—and Mate" (1986) [TCQOBF; original]

In popular culture[edit]

In the videogame Elite: Dangerous, a Coriolis Starport in the Audheim system is named after Lanier, bearing the name Lanier Ring.


  1. ^ Clute, John (July 11, 2007). "Sterling E. Lanier". The Independent. Independent New and Media. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  2. ^ Reginald, R. (1979). Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature: A Checklist 1700-1974. Vol. 2: Contemporary Science FIction Authors II. Gale Research Company. pp. 968–969. ISBN 978-0-941028-77-6.
  3. ^ Staff writer (June 30, 2007). "Sterling E. Lanier (1928-2007)". SFWA. Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.
  4. ^ The Chilton hardcover was published in June 1973. The Bantam Books paperback edition appeared in May 1974. Intended as the first of an uncompleted trilogy. The paperback was published as "A Frederik Pohl Selection", as it was chosen by the well-known editor. That designation appears on the cover, as well as pages i and ii.

External links[edit]