Wikipedia talk:List of hoaxes on Wikipedia/Henry Abner

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{{WikiProjectBannerShell|1= {{WikiProject Biography|living=no |class=C |a&e-work-group=yes |a&e-priority=Low |listas=Abner, Henry }} {{WikiProject Novels|class=C|importance=Low|crime-task-force=yes|crime-importance=Low}} {{WikiProject United States|class=C|importance=Low}} {{WikiProject Articles for creation|class=B|ts=20150326224036|reviewer=Oo7565}} }}


This article appears to be FAKE PR. Can anyone cite any publication that this author's works have appeared? Authorreads (talk) 16:02, 26 April 2017 (UTC)

This does appear to be fake. The first novel listed as his, "Death wears Yellow Garters" is not at all a real book but a parody title invented by Raymond Chandler. Source: — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:C7D:8E4E:2E00:EC91:50AD:8DD3:B74E (talk) 12:54, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

  • Note This post was edited by Jonas Corporation to try to hide the concerns. (Since restored). Eagleash (talk) 13:36, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

Scam SF book

There appears to be a self-publishing 'publisher' that's alleging to have published a new science fiction book by this author, that keeps inserting it on this page. There is no reliable source outside this self-publisher's own website for this book actually having been authored by Henry Abner, and there is no previous record of Abner having written science fiction.

Can users refrain from adding that book without citing a reliable source other than that self-publisher's website? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2A02:C7D:8E4E:2E00:1940:88CA:F733:B150 (talk) 10:23, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

No external record of any of these novels

I just went on an google/amazon/abebooks hunt for any of the four 'Novels' titles, and can't find any record of any of them existing. Can anybody else?

The only non-deadlink online reference used (the Chandler essay) makes no reference to a character called Henry Abner, and the title of the book attributed to this author in the wikipedia article appears to be a parody one invented by Chandler himself.

Will pursue some of the offline references when I can, but this profile seems quite suspicious. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Landscape repton (talkcontribs) 13:09, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

Update: The Robert Sampson book, cited repeatedly in this article, doesn't appear to contain a reference to a 'Henry Abner' at all (not listed in the index). The only 'Abner' it refers to is an 'Uncle Abner', who is a fictional character in books by Melville Davisson Post. Landscape repton (talk) 13:17, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

Update 2: The Gerould article cited a few times can be seen here. There is no reference to a Henry Abner, nor does it contain the quotes presented in the wikipedia article as being from it.

This is looking very like a hoax at this stage. I am new to wikipedia, could someone advise on how to proceed? Landscape repton (talk) 13:37, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

@Landscape repton: Good work, do any of the books 'check out'? Have you been able to check them all? Eagleash (talk) 13:41, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
Update I have alerted an Admin. Eagleash (talk) 13:47, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

@Eagleash. Thank you for contacting an admin. Unfortunately the relevant articles of Publishers' Weekly aren't online in full. It will allow you to run a text search and tell you how many results hit. For the earlier edition, the supposed interview, there is one case of the word 'Abner' in the while edition, and zero cases of 'Henry Abner's, so it seems unlikely to be an interview with the character. I'll try and access a hard copy to make absolutely certain, but that won't be until after the weekend.

I can find a record of a quarterly called 'New York Libraries', but no record of it still being run by the time of the alleged article cited here. That's going to make it tricky to verify either way.

Combined with the previously mentioned, that rounds up all the references that were supposed to testify to him as an author. Tomorrow I'll see if any of the magazines the short stories were in have been digitised. Landscape repton (talk) 22:28, 8 July 2017 (UTC) Landscape repton (talk) 22:28, 8 July 2017 (UTC)

  • I found this page on Amazon which seems related, though the three books currently on sale (Ride, Relativity, The Mantrap) aren't mentioned in this article. Mz7 (talk) 23:54, 8 July 2017 (UTC)
    • The images in this article appear to come from [1] or [2] – both are albums on Imgur, an image hosting website/online community. It's certainly not a reliable source, but there are some interesting snippets of newspaper articles in that imgur gallery. Also, some of the photos in this article may need to be deleted as copyright violations of this Imgur album. Mz7 (talk) 00:00, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
    • See also This "Janos Corporation" appears to be trying to revive this author. I'm inclined to believe that Henry Abner did indeed exist, but I'm not sure whether he wrote all of the books listed in this article... Mz7 (talk) 00:08, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
      • Both worldcat and British Library catalogue searches come up empty for any books by an author called 'Henry Abner'. Also, the title of the first alleged novel 'Death Wears Yellow Garters' was a parody title of a pulp book by Raymond Chandler, per this source. There was a 2016 novel which used the title by Rae D. Magdon, but that seems unconnected. None of the novels seem to exist on Abebooks or Amazon either.
I'm trying to check out the short stories, but since no magazine titles or references are provided I'm not sure how to do this other than simply googling the titles. I've not yet found one of them to exist.
It's also worth noting that when this page was created by PulpFan35 (the only contributor to have made significant contributions to the page prior to 'Janos Corporations involvement), they used an image of Dashiell Hammett, a real pulp author, in doing so. This stood until the same user later changed the image to the present one.
The only reference to an author called Henry Abner seems to be in the promotional material for the 2016 book Relativity, such as that imugr post. Landscape repton (talk) 08:18, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
Edit to add: it appears the current image has been cropped and colourised from this image and then mocked up to look like an old faily photograph. Landscape repton (talk) 08:39, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
      • He's been bestowed a "literary award" by the same corporation that sells his books. – Uanfala 00:22, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
FWIW, there is no record of Henry Abner (or H.A. Sturdivant) in the (online) Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. This work (which is under continual updating and expansion) is very comprehensive and I'd be extremely surprised to find it omitted a science fiction novel published prior to WW2, supposedly by a "very successful" author.
The covers of the Janoscorp books look to me like typical productions of an existing application that produces pulp-era style cover art (not in itself a bad thing), used in order to lend indirect verisimilitude to the claims of their origin.
All the web search hits I'm finding for Henry Abner appear to be entries on publishing-related websites, and all appear to be near copies of one another.
I'm inclined to think that Henry Abner Sturdivant did exist (per some of the Imgur material) but was not a writer, and that someone (perhaps his descendent as claimed) is using old family records in a well-executed hoax to present him as the author of what is really recently-written material. There is precedent for this: for example, David Langford's spoof An Account of a Meeting with Denizens of Another World 1871, which utilized documents and photos about a genuine family ancestor of his wife (who has a pub named after him!) to present a supposed 19th century UFO encounter. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 07:24, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

Update 3: Short stories

The contents pages of Flynn's magazine (mentioned in the article) are available online. I've checked the May, June and July 1925 editions, and there doesn't seem to be a story called “Cold, Dark Night” or an author called "Henry Abner". Landscape repton (talk) 10:04, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

As noted previously, with the exception of "Cold, Dark Night", no titles of any magazines for the short stories are given. Googling there titles, I've not found a single positive hit. I've gone through all of the references supplied for the short stories, with the exception of the one reference to Publishers' Weekly which I'll track down during the week. In every case I've checked, the reference does not support the claims made in this article or the existence of any of these stories.


  • Sampson's 'Yesterday's Faces' contains no reference to a story/book titled 'Jiggaboo Shakedown'. The absence of any reference to Henry Abner is noted in a previous update.
  • I can find no record to the quarterly *New York Libraries* still being in publication by 1941, the date of the supposed issue used to reference "Grand Theft Murder" and "King Bastard".
  • Sampson's book contains no reference to a character called 'Clyde Brown' as alleged in the "Big Easy Takedown" section of the wikipedia article. The Gerould article, which I've linked to earlier on this talk page, also contains no reference to a Jazz Club in New Orleans.
  • Sampson's book does not discuss a character called 'Charles White', as alleged in article entry for "The Dark Gets Darker".
  • Gerould's article does not discuss a story called "Cheap Chin Music".
  • Sampson's book does not discuss a 'Whit McCullers', as alleged in the entry for "Bang! Bang! Bang!".

Landscape repton (talk) 11:32, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

The 'Crime, Mystery, & Gangster Fiction Magazine Index', which catalogues a large collection of pulp magazines including Flynn's, contains no record of a Henry Abner. Landscape repton (talk) 11:47, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

I have not been able to check every title mentioned (about 50% I think). I have not found anything that corroborates information in the article. Eagleash (talk) 12:19, 9 July 2017 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and nominated this for deletion. Please comment at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Henry Abner. Deor (talk) 17:44, 9 July 2017 (UTC)

Update 4: Publishers' Weekly & New York Libraries

The full archive of Publishers' Weekly, the subject of 5 of the references in this article, is text-searchable. It produces no results for "Henry Abner", or for a story titled "Million Dollar Pistol" (for which it is the source in the article.) "Million Dollar Murder" returns results only from 1954 onwards, and refer to the Thomas Black novel published that year.Landscape repton (talk) 09:17, 10 July 2017 (UTC)

New York Libraries produced its final edition in August 1939, a couple of years before the supposed edition cited twice in this article. (Additional source listing all volumes.)Landscape repton (talk) 09:28, 10 July 2017 (UTC)