Carter, Chickering

Tagged: Author | House name

A House Name – it is also the name of a minor continuing character – used in the Nick Carter sequence of Dime Novels about a detective whose life and powers (non-supernatural) prefigure many of the Pulp magazine-spawned SuperheroES of the twentieth century. However, though it is presumed that others wrote as Chickering Carter, the only contributor specifically associated with the name is Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey, who is credited with several hundred Nick Carter stories, including several sf tales (see Dime-Novel SF) for The New Nick Carter Weekly, a production which can be defined as a magazine or a series of books; we here treat these Nick Carter tales as books. There are two loose series. In the Zaidee sequence comprising The Index of Seven Stars; or, Nick Carter Finds the Hidden City (1907 chap) and An Amazonian Queen or, Nick Carter Becomes a Gladiator (1907 chap), both as by Chickering Carter – Nick discovers a Lost World occupied by a gynarchy of Norsemen up the Amazon River, becomes involved in a love triangle between the Queen and her sister, eventually escaping with the latter. In the second sequence – the Nepal tales beginning with Facing an Unseen Terror; or, Nick Carter's Day of Blunders (1907 chap) – Carter is deposited into another Lost World also ruled by an acceptably pale queen; in this case, the lost race boasts an advanced science based on "vitic energy", a life source which is a kind of Theosophical (see Theosophy) version of vril, the similar Force featured in Lord Lytton's The Coming Race (1872).

As Carter, Dey also created in the course of writing Nick Carter the figure of Dr Quartz, who is introduced in "3,000 Miles by Freight; or, the Mystery of a Piano Box" (1891) in the Nick Carter Dime Library series, and who appears in at least 25 stories all told; a vivisectionist, sadist, organizer of criminal societies, and master of Suspended Animation, Quartz is a very early – if not the first – example in popular literature of the recurring Villain who is, in many ways, the equal of (and as interesting as) the hero.

Dey also wrote under his own name, his most famous signed title being The Magic Story (1900 Success Magazine; 1900 chap), in which the eponymous Story magically transforms a writer's life for the better. [JC]

Frederic Van Rensselaer Dey

born Watkins Glen, New York: 10 February 1861

died New York: 26 April 1922

works

Nick Carter

Highly selected; most Nick Carter stories are non-fantastic.

individual titles

  • The Magic Story (New York: Frank E Morrison, Publisher, 1900) [story: chap: hb/]

links

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