BRETNOR, (Alfred) Reginald
(1911-1992)
   US writer and anthologist, born Alfred Reginald Kahn - he changed his name legally to Bretnor after WWII - in Vladivostok, Siberia, but resident in the USA since 1919; active since WWII in a number of genres as an author of both fiction and nonfiction. His interest in military theory, which first generated articles and Decisive Warfare (1969), later inspired the The Future at War series of anthologies: Thor's Hammer (anth 1979), The Spear of Mars (anth 1980) and Orion's Sword (anth 1980).RB began publishing sf with "Maybe Just a Little One" for Harper's Magazine in 1947, and many of his later stories appeared in the slick magazines. His single most famous story is probably the hilarious "The Gnurrs Come from the Voodvork Out" (1950), a tale that, on its first publication in FSF, epitomized for many the wit and literacy of that magazine's new broom. This was the first of a protracted series of stories about Papa Schimmelhorn, assembled as The Schimmelhorn File (coll 1979) and followed by Schimmelhorn's Gold (1986), a comic tale of alchemy which brews sf and fantasy tropes in a pot of hornswoggling. The three critical symposia he edited on sf-Modern Science Fiction, Its Meaning and Its Future (anth 1953; slightly exp 1979), Science Fiction, Today and Tomorrow (anth 1974) and The Craft of Science Fiction (anth 1976) - have proved among the most substantial nonfiction contributions to the field. Each contains articles by well known sf writers: the only critics represented are those who also write sf. One Man's BEM: Thoughts on Science Fiction (1992) vividly represents his own views.As Grendel Briarton, RB from 1956 contributed to FSF a series of joke vignettes whose punch-lines are as a rule distorted or punning catch-phrases. They have become known, from Ferdinand Feghoot, their continuing protagonist, as Feghoots, and can be found assembled in Through Time and Space with Ferdinand Feghoot (coll 1962chap; exp vt The Compleat Feghoot 1975; further exp vt The (Even) More Compleat Feghoot 1980; final exp vt The Collected Feghoot 1992). RB was also a translator and lecturer.
   JC
   Other works: A Killing in Swords (1978), associational, featuring RB's detective hero, Alastair Timoroff; Gilpin's Space (1983 ASF as "Owl's Flight"; exp 1986); Of Force, Violence, and Other Imponderables: Essays on War, Politics, and Government (coll 1993).
   About the author: The Work of Reginald Bretnor: An Annotated Bibliography \& Guide (1989) by Scott Alan Burgess.
   See also: CORPSICLE; CRITICAL AND HISTORICAL WORKS ABOUT SF; DEFINITIONS OF SF; HUMOUR; The MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION ; WAR.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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