Pseudonym of US biology professor and author Compton Newby Crook (1908-1981), who began his writing career under various undisclosed pseudonyms in the 1930s; none of this early work, which has not been satisfactorily traced, seems to have been sf, which he began publishing as Tall with "The Lights on Precipice Peak" for Galaxy in October 1955. He did not begin to be active in the field until more than a decade later, becoming known initially for the Stardust sequence, beginning with The Stardust Voyages (coll of linked stories 1975), a Space-Opera saga of the crew of the Starship Stardust, whose mission is to assess the potential of various planets and the nature of their Alien inhabitants. Though the stories exhibit a sameness of effect, they are capable expressions of Tall's concern for Ecology, in which discipline he was professionally trained. A sequel, The Ramsgate Paradox (1976), carries the crew into a novel-length adventure. The People Beyond the Wall (1980), is a remarkably late Lost-Race tale set Underground beneath an Alaskan glacier, where a placid Utopia is invaded by the usual suspects.
The Compton Crook/Stephen Tall Memorial Award for best first novel of sf and allied genres was established in 1983. [JC]
see also: Anthropology.
Compton Newby Crook
born Rossville, Tennessee: 14 June 1908
died Phoenix, Maryland: 15 January 1981
Previous versions of this entry