Swain, Dwight V

Tagged: Author

(1915-1992) US author, very variously employed in jobs ranging from migrant labourer to university lecturer to scriptwriter. His first sf story, "Henry Horn's Super-Solvent" for Fantastic Adventures in November 1941, initiated the Henry Horn series of tales about a bumblingly incompetent would-be Scientist; the others are "Henry Horn's Blitz Bomb" (June 1942 Amazing), "Henry Horn's Racing Ray" (February 1942 Fantastic Adventures) and Henry Horn's X-Ray Eye Glasses (December 1942 Amazing; 2010 ebook). He also wrote three stories in 1942 as Clark South, including The Time Mirror (December 1942 Amazing; 2010 ebook), released in book form under his own name. Swain published several sf novels up to the end of the 1950s which did not reach book form in his lifetime, the exception being The Transposed Man (November 1953 Thrilling Wonder; 1955 chap dos) [the 1957 printing is an anth with an added story by E C Tubb], in which a human rebel wins through to the stars. Two full-length tales from this period – "The Weapon from Eternity" (September 1952 Imagination) and "Terror Station" (September 1955 Imaginative Tales) – were eventually assembled as Terror Station/The Weapon from Eternity (coll 2011).

In his later career, he concentrated on his work in educational film-making, also publishing several nonfiction books on the art of successful writing, including Tricks & Techniques of the Selling Writer (1965; vt Techniques of the Selling Writer 1974) and Creating Characters: How to Build Story People (1990). Occasionally, however, he returned to adventure tales of the sort he clearly preferred, writing one Nick Carter novel, The Pemex Chart (1979), and two further tales, The Planet Murderer (1984) as John Cleve (in collaboration with Andrew J Offutt), and Monster (1991).

In 1991, the Oklahoma Professional Writers' Hall of Fame named him a "grand master", along with C J Cherryh. [JC]

Dwight Vreeland Swain

born Rochester, Michigan: 17 November 1915

died Norman, Oklahoma: 24 February 1992


nonfiction (selected)


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