Crawford, William L

Tagged: Author | Editor | Fan

(1911-1984) US publisher and editor, one of the first sf fans to become a publisher, editing and producing two Semiprozines: Unusual Stories – ambitiously announced in 1933 but more or less still-born – and Marvel Tales, which came out in 1934. At about the same time, after a chapbook anthology assembling "Men of Avalon" by David H Keller and "The White Sybil" by Clark Ashton Smith, he published, in Mars Mountain (coll 1935) by Eugene George Key, one of the first US Genre-SF books to be produced by a US Small Press founded for that purpose, and the first to be released with any expectation that copies would be sold to buyers who did not know the author personally. A second novel, which would have been Andre Norton's first published sf, was accepted for publication in 1934 but stayed in manuscript – except for a few excerpts – until Crawford finally released it 38 years later as Garan the Eternal (1972). This first press, Fantasy Publications, was followed by Visionary Publishing Company, which published The Shadow over Innsmouth (1936) by H P Lovecraft and Crawford's only novel, Behind the Evidence (1936) with Amelia Reynolds Long, writing together as Peter Reynolds, a Near Future tale of Paranoia set in a fantasticated Germany. Various projects then foundered, and Crawford became successfully active again only in 1945, when as Crawford Publications he released some booklets, including Clifford D Simak's The Creator (March/April 1935 Marvel Tales; 1946 chap) and an anthology, The Garden of Fear by Robert E Howard and Other Stories of the Bizarre and Fantastic (anth 1945 chap) edited by William L Crawford. Two further anthologies, Griffin Science-Fantasy Booklet One (anth 1949) and The Machine-God Laughs (anth 1949), both edited by William L Crawford, appeared under the successor Griffin Publishing Co. imprint. These enterprises all proved less significant than Fantasy Publishing Company Inc. (or FPCI), which Crawford was instrumental in founding in 1947, along with the magazine Fantasy Book (editing the latter under the pseudonym Garrett Ford). FPCI was one of the central fan presses of the era, publishing L Sprague de Camp's The Undesired Princess (1951), L Ron Hubbard's Death's Deputy (1948), A E van Vogt's and E Mayne Hull's Out of the Unknown (coll 1948) and other titles of importance; it failed in the end only through incompetent management.

Crawford himself soldiered on through the 1950s and afterwards, hand to mouth, always hopeful and full of projects, some of which were at least partially realized. He edited Science and Sorcery (anth 1953) as Garrett Ford; launched the magazine Spaceway in 1953; became publisher of the magazine Witchcraft & Sorcery (formerly Coven 13) in the 1970s; and became in the mid-1970s a Conventions entrepreneur. Also, various stray pamphlets appeared. Crawford's diverse projects included the publishing of some scarce and interesting material, and it may well have been the unattractive, amateurish production values which characterized all his work that caused his general lack of commercial success; certainly he knew sf, and loved it. [JC/MJE]

William Levi Crawford

born Trafford, Pennsylvania: 16 September 1911

died 25 January 1984

works

  • Behind the Evidence (Everett, Pennsylvania: Visionary Publishing Company, 1936) with Amelia Reynolds Long, writing together as Peter Reynolds [hb/Clay Ferguson]

works as editor

No works solely as publisher are listed.

links

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