ELLIS, Edward S(ylvester)
(1840-1916)
   US teacher, editor and author of boys' books, popular history, miscellaneous work and a very large number of US dime novels, mainly Westerns, under his own name and many pseudonyms. His enormous bibliography, though studied exhaustively by Denis Rogers (in various issues of Dime Novel Round-Up), remains unsettled. ESE established the dime novel as a commercial field with Seth Jones (1860), and instigated DIME-NOVEL SF through his adaptation of the historical Newark Steam Man into a Western: The Steam Man of the Prairies (1868; vt The Huge Hunter, or The Steam Man of the Prairies 1876; vt Baldy's Boy Partner, or Young Brainerd's Steam Man 1888); sf soon became one of the popular dime-novel genres. ESE's use of the Steam Man (not a ROBOT, simply a man-shaped mobile steam engine which cannot go into reverse) was uninspired, with little recognition of the potential of the device. The Steam Man has been conveniently reprinted in E.F. BLEILER's Eight Dime Novels (anth 1974) with a full introduction to the field. Of ESE's huge body of work, a few others are of some interest: Land of Mystery (1889), a lost-race (LOST WORLDS) tale, The Monarch of the Air (1907), a fantastic aeronautics story as by Seward D. Lisle (an anagram pseudonym), and The Dragon of the Skies (1915 UK).
   EFB/JC
   See also: EDISONADE; HISTORY OF SF.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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