LONG, Frank Belknap

LONG, Frank Belknap
   US writer of sf and fantasy whose working life extended from 1924 to the 1980s; he was married to Lyda Belknap LONG. He produced poetry very early, the best of it appearing in A Man from Genoa and Other Poems (coll 1926) and The Goblin Tower (1935), but is most noted for the weirdfantasy he wrote from the beginning of his fiction career, publishing his first stories, "The Desert Lich" and "Death Waters" in WEIRD TALES in 1924. Influenced by H.P. LOVECRAFT, who had promoted the acceptance of hisfirst work and who remained a close colleague until his death in 1937, FBL tended to create worlds in his mentor's style with a slender sf base. He frequently told of his friendship, personal and professional, with Lovecraft, and gave additional details in the valuable introduction andrunning notes to The Early Long (coll 1976), which assembles stories from 1924-44, the period of his prime as a writer of sf and fantasy. Thecontents of his first ARKHAM HOUSE volume, The Hounds of Tindalos (coll 1946; cut 1963), were variously excerpted as The Dark Beasts (coll 1963)and The Black Druid and Other Stories (coll 1975 UK); these stories represent the cream of his work. A more recent Arkham collection, The Rim of the Unknown (coll 1972), draws from the same prime material.The post-WWII years saw a change of emphasis in FBL's long career, with much more sf being written and published, beginning with John Carstairs: Space Detective (coll of linked stories 1949) which, with "The Ether Robots"(1942) and "The Heavy Man" (1943), formed a series about John Carstairs, detective and biological expert. Most of FBL's sf deals with future-Earth situations, space travel occurring relatively infrequently (Space Station No 1 (1957 dos) occurs off Earth, but the setting is not too distant), though much of his earlier sf featured TIME TRAVEL. Several of his sf books concentrate on INVASION plots in which aliens menace our world, as in Lest Earth be Conquered (1966; vt The Androids 1969 US) and Journey into Darkness (1967); others, like It was the Day of the Robot (1963) and This Strange Tomorrow (1966), depict intrigue-filled future-Earthsocieties. Some of his later books, like Survival World (1971) and The Night of the Wolf (1972), a HORROR fantasy, are among his better works.FBL has published hundreds of short stories over his career, in addition to those collected in his own books; a proper estimate of his stature will have to take them into account, as well as the more routine sf novels of his later years, which for some time obscured the shorter work for which he will finally be remembered. His full-length study, Howard Phillips Lovecraft: Dreamer on the Nightside (1975), is also of interest.
   Other works: Woman from Another Planet (1960); The Mating Center (1961); Mars is my Destination (1962); Three Steps Spaceward (1953 Fantastic Universe as "Little Men of Space"; 1963); The Horror from the Hills (1931 Weird Tales;1963); Odd Science Fiction (coll 1964; vt The Horror from the Hills 1965 UK, not to be confused with the 1963 US title, which prints the novel only); The Martian Visitors (1964); Mission to a Star (1958 Satellite; 1964); So Dark a Heritage (1966); . . . And Others Shall be Born (1968dos); The Three Faces of Time (1969); Monster from Out of Time (1970); In Mayan Splendor (coll 1977), poetry; When Chaugnar Wakes (1978 chap), poem;Night Fear (coll 1979) ed Roy TORGESON; Rehearsal Night (1981 chap); Autobiographical Memoir (1985 chap).As Lyda Belknap Long:To the Dark Tower(1969)Fire of the Witches(1971)The Shape of Fear(1971)The Witch Tree(1971)Hour of the Deadly Nightshade(1972)Legacy of Evil(1973)andThe Crucible of Evil(1974)

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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