- PRATT, (Murray) Fletcher
- (1897-1956)US writer and historian who began his career as an author and translator for Hugo GERNSBACK's SCIENCE WONDER STORIES and its companions in the early 1930s; his first published story was "The Octopus Cycle" for AMZ in 1928 as with Irvin Lester (a Pratt pseudonym). While doingtranslations of German sf novels FP evolved what became a renowned method of extracting payment from the notoriously slow Gernsback organization: he would submit the first part of a novel, wait until it was set in type, then refuse to deliver the conclusion until paid. He undertook many collaborations, notably "City of the Living Dead" (1930) with Laurence MANNING, and contributed regularly to the sf magazines; but he is now bestremembered for his fantasy, especially for his collaborations with L. Sprague DE CAMP (whom see for fuller details). The most successful werethe Harold Shea stories, among which the main titles are: The Incomplete Enchanter (1940 Unknown; 1941), The Castle of Iron (1941 Unknown; 1950)and The Wall of Serpents (fixup 1960; vt The Enchanter Completed 1980 UK). The first 2 titles were assembled as The Compleat Enchanter: The MagicalMisadventures of Harold Shea (omni 1975), and all 3 were eventually assembled as The Intrepid Enchanter (omni 1988 UK; vt The Complete Compleat Enchanter 1989 US). A second series with De Camp, the Gavagan'sBar CLUB STORIES, assembled in Tales from Gavagan's Bar (coll 1953; exp 1978), comprised mostly high-spirited tall tales, some of them sf. On their collaborations De Camp, as junior partner, would write a first draft after he and FP had jointly outlined the story; FP would then compose the final draft, to which De Camp would put the finishing editorial touches. This routine was varied on only a very few later short stories.FP's ownfantasy novels are The Well of the Unicorn (1948 as by George U. Fletcher; 1967 as by FP) and The Blue Star (1952 in Witches Three ed anon FP; 1969);Witches Three was one of the Twayne Triplets series - Twayne being the publisher - each vol assembling 3 original novellas by different authors with a common theme or setting. The series idea was FP's, and he ed (also anon) 1 later vol, The Petrified Planet (anth 1952). In the end the project proved abortive, but the last title was the first SHARED-WORLD anthology to appear in the genre. FP also wrote several volumes of popular history and 3 books on rockets and space travel including Rockets, Jets, Guided Missiles and Space Ships (1951).MJE/JCOther works: The Land of Unreason (1941) and The Carnelian Cube (1948), both with De Camp; Double in Space (coll 1951; rev 1954 UK), in the 1st edn comprising the 2 novellas "Project Excelsior" and "The Wanderer's Return", the latter being replaced in the UK by "The Conditioned Captain", itself already published in the USA as The Undying Fire (1953); World of Wonder (anth 1951), a Twayne book but not a Triplet; Double Jeopardy (fixup 1952); Invaders fromRigel (1932 Wonder Stories Quarterly as "The Onslaught From Rigel"; 1960); Alien Planet (1932 Amazing Stories Quarterly as "A Voice across the Years"; 1962).About the author: Chapter 7 of Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers (1976) by L. Sprague De Camp.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. Academic. 2011.