- KELLER, David H(enry)
- (1880-1966)US writer, physician and psychiatrist, deeply involved in the last capacity in WWI work on shell shock; he published a great deal of technical work in his professional role. As a writer of fantasy and sf he was active but unpublished for many years before the period 1928-35, his first sf sale being "The Revolt of the Pedestrians" (DYSTOPIA) to AMZ in 1928. For the next decade he appeared widely in Weird Tales and other PULPMAGAZINES, including AMAZING STORIES, where he published "The Metal Doom" (1932), in which advanced civilization ends when all metal begins to rust. He fell out of wide public notice with the onset of the GOLDEN AGE OF SF, whose optimism about the workability of the Universe he clearly did not share. He remained active in FANDOM, however, and - it is rumoured - wrote a large number of stories, some of which appeared in the 1940s; others were published in the 1970s in response to the continuing appeal of his apparently primitive fiction.DHK's sf is probably inferior to his horror and fantasy work. The Thing in the Cellar (1932 Weird Tales; 1940 chap), for instance, works almost as a hydraulic metaphor (in the Freudian manner) of the relationship between the upstairs daylight of consciousness and the blind tide of unconsciousness beneath our floors. It is much superior to the sf story published as his first book, The Thought Projector (1930 chap).His sf was conservative - against the spirit of theage - in its presentation of the risks inherent in all science; the eponymous detective of the Taine of San Francisco sequence of sf stories (1928-47) generally operates so as to conceal, rather than expose, thetruth behind things. Much of DHK's sf concerns dilemmas created by GENETIC ENGINEERING - the stories in Brian M. STABLEFORD's Sexual Chemistry (coll1991) are readable as a direct rebuttal to DHK's unvarying pessimism - and tends to end in arbitrary apocalypse. His novels are similar. In his first, The Human Termites (1929 Science Wonder Stories; 1979 chap), the human race is almost seen off by invading social insects. Other early novels have not reached book form. In "Life Everlasting" (1934 AMZ), which appears in Life Everlasting and Other Tales of Science, Fantasy and Horror (coll 1947), the human race must choose between IMMORTALITY and fertility.The second (and considerably longer) title in The Solitary Hunters; and The Abyss (coll 1948) again demonstrates, by detailing the terrible consequences of any removal of human repressions, DHK's sense of the fragility of the psychic order.Several of his full-length books were story collections, with some sf included in a preponderantly fantasy mix. They include At the Sign of the Burning Hart (coll of linked stories 1938 France; with appendix added, vt At the Sign of the Burning Hart: A Tale ofArcadia 1948 US), which is UTOPIAN, Tales from Underwood (coll 1952), The Folsom Flint and Other Curious Tales (coll 1969), The Street of Queer Houses and Other Tales (coll 1976) and The Last Magician: Nine Stories from "Weird Tales" (coll 1978 chap).JCOther works: Wolf Hollow Bubbles (?1934 chap); Men of Avalon (1935 chap dos); The Waters of Lethe (1937 chap); The Television Detective (1938 chap); The Devil and the Doctor (fixup 1940), in which Satan is a HERO-figure; The Eternal Conflict (1939Les Primaires, part only; 1949); The Homunculus (1949); The Final War (1949 chap); The Lady Decides (1950); A Figment of a Dream: A New Allegorical Fantasy (1962 chap).
Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. Academic. 2011.