Bixby, Jerome

Tagged: Author | Editor

(1923-1998) US writer and editor; an extremely prolific story-writer; he produced not only a respectable number of sf, fantasy, horror and western stories, but also contributed large quantities of somewhat salacious stories to men's magazines of the 1960s, which have so far escaped bibliographic attention. Pseudonyms used on stories of genre interest include Jay B Drexel, Thornecliffe Herrick, D B Lewis, Harry Neal and Alger Rome, the last in collaboration with Algis Budrys. Bixby also wrote or co-wrote sf and Horror screenplays and teleplays, including It! the Terror from beyond Space (1958), Curse of the Faceless Man (1958), The Lost Missile (1958), the original story for Fantastic Voyage (1966), an episode of Men into Space (1959-1960), and four episodes of Star Trek; he claimed that Isaac Asimov's Fantastic Voyage II: Destination Brain (1987) was heavily borrowed, perhaps unintentionally, from a film treatment by him and his son (Jan) Emerson Bixby (1963-    ). A final screenplay, about a contemporary man who claims to be thousands of years old, was released as Jerome Bixby's The Man from Earth (2007; vt The Man from Earth). Bixby edited Planet Stories Summer 1950-July 1951 and initiated its companion magazine, Two Complete Science-Adventure Books, editing its first three issues; he also worked on Galaxy Science Fiction, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Startling Stories and several comics, including Planet Comics.

Bixby began publishing sf with "Tubemonkey" for Planet Stories in Winter 1949, and collected some of his output in this genre in Space by the Tale (coll 1964). Devil's Scrapbook (coll 1964; vt Call for an Exorcist 1974) is horror and fantasy. His best-known story, which he never himself collected but which has been widely anthologized, is sf/horror: "It's a Good Life" (in Star Science Fiction Stories 2, anth 1953, ed Frederik Pohl) features a malignant superchild with Psi Powers (see also Children in SF); it was dramatized on television in The Twilight Zone, and later as a segment, directed by Joe Dante, of Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983); an episode of the 2002-2003 revival of The Twilight Zone, "It's Still a Good Life", is a sequel featuring performers from the original episode. Bixby's work is professional and imaginative, but he clearly wrote too hurriedly and all too often excellent ideas fail to generate memorable stories. However, his new film, and a projected collection of his best stories, may inspire a reassessment of his work. [JC/GW]

see also: Leonardo da Vinci; Music; Psychology; Superman.

Drexel Jerome Lewis Bixby

born Los Angeles, California: 11 January 1923

died San Bernardino, California: 28 April 1998

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