|Born||Donald Albert Wandrei|
April 20, 1908
Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
|Died||October 15, 1987 79) (aged|
Saint Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
|Genre||Fantasy, science fiction, weird fiction, mystery fiction|
|Relatives||Howard Wandrei (brother)|
Donald Albert Wandrei (20 April 1908 – 15 October 1987)was an American science fiction, fantasy and weird fiction writer, poet and editor. He was the older brother of science fiction writer and artist Howard Wandrei. He had fourteen stories in Weird Tales , another sixteen in Astounding Stories , plus a few in other magazines including Esquire . Wandrei was the co-founder (with August Derleth) of the prestigious fantasy/horror publishing house Arkham House.
Wandrei was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota. All of his grandparents were early Minnesota settlers. Donald's father, Albert Christian Wandrei, became chief editor of West Publishing Company, America's leading publisher of law books. Donald grew up in his parents' house at 1152 Portland Ave, St Paul and lived there most of his life save for a stint in the Army and occasional sojourns in New York and Hollywood. Donald loved frequent rambles in the woods along the Minnesota River; it was Wandrei who later taught August Derleth the fine art of morel hunting.
Wandrei attended Central High in St Paul from 1921–24, during which he published short compositions in the school newspaper and avidly read the magazine Science and Invention . In 1923, he began work part-time as a "page-boy" in the Circulation Room of the Saint Paul Public Library, filling reader's requests for books from the storage stacks; this expanded his access to, and reading of, a wide variety of literature. In 1923 and 1924, Wandrei also worked evenings at the Hill Reference Library. He attended the University of Minnesota. While there, he was a student editor and regular columnist on the student newspaper The Minnesota Daily and was also associated with the Minnesota Quarterly Magazine, as well as contributing pieces (often unsigned or pseudonymous) to the campus humour magazine Ski-U-Mah, which was edited by classmate Carl Jacobi. At that time he was enormously influenced by a reading of Arthur Machen's novel The Hill of Dreams . Wandrei graduated in 1928, with a BA in English.
At the age of 16, Wandrei completed his short story "The Red Brain", in which a mysterious Cosmic Dust sweeps through the universe, obliterating the stars. Only Antares, inhabited by a race of viscous Brains, survives – and this last remnant of universal sentience entrusts its fate to the unique, laboratory-created Red Brain in a compelling fable that leaves behind the concerns of human aquarium to revel in the cosmos and the ultimate terror waiting there.
Wandrei started writing in 1926 and his writing career took off around 1932. In late 1927 he hitchhiked from Minnesota to Rhode Island to visit H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft conducted him on a grand antiquarian tour of Providence and then on to similar tours in Boston, Salem and Marblehead. There was also an excursion to Warren, Rhode Island, later made famous by Wandrei's reminiscences in the Arkham House volume Marginalia (1944) during which Wandrei, Lovecraft and James Ferdinand Morton each sampled twenty-eight different flavors of ice cream at Maxfield's ice-cream parlour.
In 1925, Wandrei gave Clark Ashton Smith $50 so the Auburn poet could see Sandalwood through the press.
Wandrei's first book, begun at age 18 and published when he was but 20, was the poetry volume Ecstasy & Other Poems which was published by W. Paul Cook's The Recluse Press in 1928. The book's verse shows homage to Clark Ashton Smith and to Smith's poetic mentor George Sterling.
Wandrei was active in pulp magazines until the late 1930s. He was a member of the "Lovecraft Circle", as a friend and protégé of H. P. Lovecraft, corresponding with other members of the circle (Frank Belknap Long, Clark Ashton Smith, etc.). Wandrei personally made the case for Weird Tales to publish Lovecraft's "The Call of Cthulhu" telling Farnsworth Wright that unless he published the tale, Lovecraft would look for other magazines to submit stories to.
As an accomplished poet, Wandrei was the first to write a series of sonnets for Weird Tales, "Sonnets of the Midnight Hours". Lovecraft liked the idea so much, he embarked on his own series, "Fungi From Yuggoth". Robert E. Howard also wrote his own series with "Sonnets out of Bedlam".
Wandrei's second book and second book of verse) was Dark Odyssey (Webb Publishing Co, 1931) illustrated with five illustrations by his brother Howard Wandrei.
Wandrei's only full-length fantastic novel, Dead Titans, Waken!, written in 1932, was rejected successively by three publishers – Harpers, Kendall and John Day – and finally shelved indefinitely by its author. However it was eventually destined to be published in a heavily revised version in 1948 by Arkham House as The Web of Easter Island . The original version was scheduled to be published in the late 1990s by weird fiction specialty publishing house Fedogan and Bremer but due to the dormancy of F&B, the edition was held up. It was finally published by Centipede Press in a limited edition of 300 copies in March 2012. The volume includes Wandrei's mainstream novel "Invisible Sun".
During 1933, Wandrei lived in a studio apartment in New York that was within easy walking distance of the offices of Street & Smith, who published Astounding Stories , so that Wandrei could easily bring in a new story by hand. His story "Colossus" was the first "thought variant" story (stories based on some new or not-yet-overworked idea such as other dimensions or the timetravel paradox), and helped revive the fortunes of Astounding under the editorship of his editorial mentor, F. Orlin Tremaine.
During the 1930s, Wandrei wrote two more (non-fantastic) novels and several plays, one a collaboration with his brother Howard but none were published although they were submitted to various publishers and agents.
At this period Wandrei also broke into the crime pulps with stories of his detective I.V. Frost published in such magazines as Clues Detective Stories (Half of these are gathered in Frost (2000)) and others for Black Mask . He also broke into the 'slicks' with stories published in Esquire.
Wandrei contributed two stories to the Cthulhu Mythos: "The Fire Vampires" (1933) and "The Tree-Men of M'Bwa" (1933).
In 1939, Wandrei and August Derleth later co-founded the publishing house Arkham House to keep Lovecraft's legacy alive, an action for which Wandrei is perhaps better remembered than for his own fiction. Wandrei and Derleth co-edited the omnibus collections The Outsider and Others and Beyond the Wall of Sleep . Much of the editorial work on Lovecraft's Selected Letters series (published by Arkham House in five volumes between 1964 and 1976) was performed by Wandrei. Wandrei's interest in Arkham House centred primarily on seeing the Lovecraft writings into print; it was Derleth who brought a wider program to the press when Wandrei entered the army in 1942.
Wandrei wrote some outlines for Gang Busters and other comic books in the 1940s, and also attempted writing song lyrics in Hollywood. After World War II, he continued writing speculative fiction stories, although at a greatly reduced rate. Some of his stories were adapted for the comic book Weird Science – "Divide and Conquer" (issue 6), based on his "A Scientist Divides" and "Monster From the Fourth Dimension" (issue 7) based on "A Monster From Nowhere".
The author note on Wandrei's story collection (his first prose volume), The Eye and the Finger (1944), says: "An inveterate traveler, he has ranged from New York to Hollywood, and from Quebec to New Orleans, with extensions to Panama and Cuba" and also notes that his active hobby was photography. Furthermore, "he prefers to work at night, and has often written a complete story in a single night. Some of his tales have originated in the form of dreams, of which he says he has a hair-raising variety, and have been written with few changes."
Wandrei served almost four years with the U.S. Army in World War II, and as a technical sergeant, Third Battalion, 259th Infantry, 65th Division, a unit of General Patton's famous Third Army, took part in the final drive across Germany into Austria – the Rhineland and Central Europe campaigns.
Post-World War II, Wandrei's fiction output dropped considerably. His time with the army had left him little time to write, and although he worked on several novels and plays, none of these was published.
In 1964, Arkham House published Wandrei's third book of poetry, Poems for Midnight. This volume, like his earlier Dark Odyssey, was supplemented with four pen-and-ink illustrations by his brother Howard Wandrei. The complete sonnet sequence "Sonnets of the Midnight Hours" is included, along with many other poems dating back as far as 1926 and including several reprints from both his earlier volumes of verse. Some of the early poems were revised radically for their appearance in Poems for Midnight
In 1965, Arkham House published Wandrei's second collection of short stories, Strange Harvest, which gathered 17 tales published in Weird Tales, Astounding Stories and Fantasy Magazine. The jacket drawing was by the author's brother Howard Wandrei, who had died in 1956.
In 1967, a new tale, "The Crater", appeared in the Arkham House anthology Travellers by Night.
Wandrei occupied his time editing Lovecraft's Selected Letters, whose first two volumes appeared successively in 1965 and 1968. Volume Three followed in 1971, and Volumes 4 and 5 eventually reached print in 1976.
In the 1970s Wandrei commenced a long and tedious process of litigation against Arkham House, the publishing company he had helped to found. After August Derleth's death in 1971, Donald Wandrei briefly acted as editorial director, but declined to resume his interest in the firm permanently.
1971 saw a new original tale from Wandrei, "Requiem for Mankind", which appeared in the Arkham House anthology Dark Things.
Wandrei came in frequent contact during the 1970s with novelist and poet Richard L. Tierney, a Twin Cities resident for nine years in the 1970s.
Though Wandrei had, for reasons unknown, abandoned the writing of poetry around 1934, he wrote four poems in 1977 and 1978 which he circulated amongst friends and colleagues as limited state broadsides.
Wandrei circulated iconoclastic letter-essays that denounced many of the organized forces behind the modern fantasy movement – a movement he, as a founder of Arkham House, was instrumental in setting motion.
In 1984, Wandrei was awarded the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement. However, he refused to accept the award on the basis that the bust representing the award was a demeaning caricature of Lovecraft, whom he had known personally.
Wandrei died in St. Paul in 1987.
In 1976, Philip Rahman had met Wandrei at a convention and the two became friends. Three years after Wandrei's death in 1987, Rahman and his mostly silent partner Dennis Weiler founded the publishing firm of Fedogan and Bremer to issue work by Donald and Howard Wandrei as well as other classic pulp writers.
A Donald Wandrei Miscellany. Ed. D. H. Olson., St Paul, MN: Sidecar Preservation Society, 2001. A sampling of rare fiction, non-fiction, verse, humour and satire.
August William Derleth was an American writer and anthologist. Though best remembered as the first book publisher of the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, and for his own contributions to the Cthulhu Mythos and the cosmic horror genre, as well as his founding of the publisher Arkham House, Derleth was a leading American regional writer of his day, as well as prolific in several other genres, including historical fiction, poetry, detective fiction, science fiction, and biography.
Clark Ashton Smith was an American writer and artist. He achieved early local recognition, largely through the enthusiasm of George Sterling, for traditional verse in the vein of Swinburne. As a poet, Smith is grouped with the West Coast Romantics alongside Joaquin Miller, Sterling, and Nora May French and remembered as "The Last of the Great Romantics" and "The Bard of Auburn". Smith's work was praised by his contemporaries. H. P. Lovecraft stated that "in sheer daemonic strangeness and fertility of conception, Clark Ashton Smith is perhaps unexcelled", and Ray Bradbury said that Smith "filled my mind with incredible worlds, impossibly beautiful cities, and still more fantastic creatures".
Arkham House is an American publishing house specializing in weird fiction. It was founded in Sauk City, Wisconsin, in 1939 by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei to publish hardcover collections of H. P. Lovecraft's best works, which had previously been published only in pulp magazines. The company's name is derived from Lovecraft's fictional New England city, Arkham, Massachusetts. Arkham House editions are noted for the quality of their printing and binding. The colophon for Arkham House was designed by Frank Utpatel.
Fungi from Yuggoth is a sequence of 36 sonnets by cosmic horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. Most of the sonnets were written between 27 December 1929 – 4 January 1930; thereafter individual sonnets appeared in Weird Tales and other genre magazines. The sequence was published complete in Beyond the Wall of Sleep and The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft. Ballantine Books’ mass paperback edition, Fungi From Yuggoth & Other Poems included other poetic works.
Carl Richard Jacobi was an American journalist and writer. He wrote short stories in the horror and fantasy genres for the pulp magazine market, appearing in such pulps of the bizarre and uncanny as Thrilling, Ghost Stories, Startling Stories, Thrilling Wonder Stories and Strange Stories. He also wrote stories crime and adventure which appeared in such pulps as Thrilling Adventures, Complete Stories, Top-Notch, Short Stories, The Skipper, Doc Savage and Dime Adventures Magazine. Jacobi also produced some science fiction, mainly space opera, published in such magazines as Planet Stories. He was one of the last surviving pulp-fictioneers to have contributed to the legendary American horror magazine Weird Tales during its "glory days". His stories have been translated into French, Swedish, Danish and Dutch.
Frank Belknap Long was an American writer of horror fiction, fantasy, science fiction, poetry, gothic romance, comic books, and non-fiction. Though his writing career spanned seven decades, he is best known for his horror and science fiction short stories, including early contributions to the Cthulhu Mythos. During his life, Long received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the First Fandom Hall of Fame Award (1977).
Joseph Payne Brennan was an American writer of fantasy and horror fiction, and also a poet. Of Irish ancestry, he was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and he lived most of his life in New Haven, Connecticut, and worked as an Acquisitions Assistant at the Sterling Memorial Library of Yale University for over 40 years. Brennan published several hundred short stories, two novellas and reputedly thousands of poems. His stories appeared in over 200 anthologies and have been translated into German, French, Dutch, Italian and Spanish. He was an early bibliographer of the work of H.P. Lovecraft.
The Outsider and Others is a collection of stories by American writer H. P. Lovecraft. It was released in 1939 and was the first book published by Arkham House. 1,268 copies were printed. It went out of print early in 1944 and has never been reprinted.
Beyond the Wall of Sleep is a collection of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories, poems and essays by American author H. P. Lovecraft. It was released in 1943 and was the second collection of Lovecraft's work published by Arkham House. 1,217 copies were printed. The volume is named for the Lovecraft short story "Beyond the Wall of Sleep".
Marginalia is a collection of Fantasy, Horror and Science fiction short stories, essays, biography and poetry by and about the American author H. P. Lovecraft. It was released in 1944 and was the third collection of Lovecraft's work published by Arkham House. 2,035 copies were printed.
Out of Space and Time is a collection of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories by American writer Clark Ashton Smith. It was released in 1942 and was the third book published by Arkham House. 1,054 copies were printed. A British hardcover appeared from Neville Spearman in 1971, with a two-volume paperback reprint following from Panther Books in 1974. Bison Books issued a trade paperback edition in 2006.
The Eye and the Finger is a collection of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories by American writer Donald Wandrei. It was released in 1944 and was his first book published by Arkham House. 1,617 copies were printed.
Richard Louis Tierney was an American writer, poet and scholar of H. P. Lovecraft, probably best known for his heroic fantasy, including his series co-authored of Red Sonja novels, featuring cover art by Boris Vallejo. He lived the latter part of his life in Mason City in the great Corn Steppes of Iowa. Some of his standalone novels utilize the mythology of Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. He is also known for his Simon of Gitta series and his Robert E. Howard completions and utilisation of such Howard-invented characters as Cormac Mac Art, Bran Mak Morn and Cormac Fitzgeoffrey.
Fedogan & Bremer is a weird fiction specialty publishing house founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1985 by Philip Rahman and Dennis Weiler. The name comes from the nicknames of the two founders when they were in college.
Colossus: The Collected Science Fiction of Donald Wandrei is a collection of science fiction short stories by American writer Donald Wandrei. It was released in 1989 by Fedogan & Bremer in an edition of 1,000 copies. Many of the stories originally appeared in the magazines Weird Tales, Astounding Stories, The Minnesota Quarterly, Thrilling Wonder Stories and Leaves.
Howard Elmer Wandrei was a United States artist and writer. He wrote over 200 stories that appeared in the magazines Weird Tales, Astounding, Esquire, Black Mask and others. Wandrei wrote under his own name and as by Robert Coley and H.W. Guernsey.
Time Burial is a collection of science fiction, fantasy and horror stories by American writer Howard Wandrei. It was released in 1995 by Fedogan & Bremer in an edition of 1,500 copies. Most of the stories originally appeared in the magazines Unknown, Astounding Stories, Spicy Mystery Stories, Weird Tales and The Arkham Collector. A collection of this title, but with different contents, was originally announced by Arkham House but never published.
Don't Dream is a collection of science fiction, fantasy and horror stories by author Donald Wandrei. It was released in 1997 by Fedogan & Bremer in an edition of 2,000 copies. The collection also includes a number of Wandrei's essays and prose poems. Many of the stories, essays and poems originally appeared in the magazines The Minnesota Quarterly, Weird Tales, Astounding Stories, Fantasy Magazine, Argosy, Esquire, Unknown and Leaves.
Joseph Vernon Shea (1912–1981) was an American author of horror, fantasy, poetry, and essays; and a correspondent of H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, and August Derleth.
Jon Arfstrom was an American artist of imaginative realism known for his fantastical works in the fantasy and horror genres, active both in the late pulp fiction era of the 1950s, with his Weird Tales cover art and interior illustration work, and then again in science fiction publishing in the 1980s, for his mature cover work, for which he received a Bram Stoker Award in 1994.