Entry updated 7 December 2019. Tagged: Author.
(1887-1949) Canadian-born author, mostly in the US from the turn of the century, later a naturalized US citizen, one of the most prolific and popular pulp writers over the course of his professional career (circa 1910-1949); of his approximately 1200 short stories, at least 10% were fantasy, Pulp sf or horror; and of his nearly 100 novels, several – e.g., The Star Woman (1924), set in Canada during the fur-trading territorial disputes of the seventeenth century – were sf adventures. His work appeared almost exclusively in the Pulp magazines – The Magic Carpet, Golden Fleece, All-Story Weekly, Argosy, Blue Book, Short Story and numerous others – under at least fifteen pseudonyms, including Allan Hawkwood, Gordon Keyne and the House Name Gordon Stuart (see below). Most of his stories were historical adventures, sometimes with sf or weird elements as a basic framework. Unsurprisingly (given his attachment to historical fiction) much of his sf is Lost World, including "The Buddha's Elephant" (August 1916 All Around) as by Allan Hawkwood, featuring a lost Chinese region settled by stray Greeks from Alexander's conquering armies, and "Khmer the Mysterious" (25 January 1919 People's Favorite Magazine) with its sequel "The Golden Woman of Khmer" (10 March 1919 People's Favorite Magazine), both as by Allan Hawkwood; there were many others, some almost certainly not yet identified. Other early work included the Yellow Peril tales "Mr Shen of Shensi" (18 August 1917 All-Story Weekly) and "Fang Tung, Magician" (2 August 1919 All-Story Weekly).
More influential than these were some titles in the early John Solomon series, not all of which were fantastic [see Checklist below for all titles] but which as a whole remain Bedford-Jones's best-known work. Those titles of sf interest include Solomon's Quest (March 1915 People's Magazine as H Bedford-Jones; 1924 UK as by Allan Hawkwood), set in "Theopolis", an Island-based Lost World surrounded by quicksand, and containing the purloined corpse of Mohammed; The Seal of John Solomon (June 1915 Argosy as H Bedford-Jones; 1924 UK as by Allan Hawkwood), about a community established by Crusaders in a volcano in the Arabian desert, where they guard an important secret; Gentleman Solomon (June 1915 People's Magazine as H Bedford-Jones; 1925 UK as by Allan Hawkwood), about an unknown race of white dwarfs in the Belgian Congo; plus "The Mysterious John Solomon" (25 January 1930 Argosy), an Invention tale featuring a projector-less movie. Other titles in the sequence hint at Lost Worlds, but do not arrive there. Bedford-Jones contributed three marginal Airplane Boys tales to the Boy Scouts of the Air sequence: The Boy Scouts of the Air in Dismal Swamp (1920), The Boy Scouts of the Air at Cape Peril (1921) and The Boy Scouts of the Air on Baldcrest (1922), all as by Gordon Stuart. Further titles of potential interest include Splendour of the Gods (1924); Blood of the Peacock (1924), which features an encounter with a giant moth; The Wizard of the Atlas (1928 UK as by Allan Hawkwood); The Twisted Tree (1929) with Mary Bedford-Jones (his second wife); Drums of Dambala (1932) and The Temple of the Ten (10 March 1921 Adventure; 1973 with W C Robertson), another Lost Race tale.
More germane to the genre were the several series that later appeared in The Blue Book Magazine; none of these have reached book form. The first is the Trumpets from Oblivion series, comprising thirteen stories running from "The Stagnant Death" (November 1938 Blue Book) to "The Serpent-People" (November 1939 Blue Book). In these tales a device capable of recording sounds and images from the past (see Time Viewer) is used to establish a rational origin for various myths and legends. A similar gadget is employed in the nine Counterclockwise stories, running from "Counterclockwise" (November 1943 Blue Book) to "The Gods Do Not Forget" (December 1944 Blue Book). Also in The Blue Book Magazine appeared two futuristic series written as by Gordon Keyne: the first, Tomorrow's Men – comprising "Peace Hath her Victories" (January 1943 Blue Book), "The Battle for France" (February 1943 Blue Book), "Sahara Dawn" (March 1943 Blue Book) and "Tomorrow in Egypt" (June 1943 Blue Book) – deals with the struggle to maintain peace in the post-World War Two years (see Pax Aeronautica); the second, Quest, Inc., – with twelve stories from "The Affair of the Drifting Face" (July 1943 Blue Book) to "The Case of the Final Hoard" (July 1945 Blue Book) – concerns a post-World War Two Bureau of Missing Persons. Other series included The Halfway House sequence (stories 1938-1939 Argosy and All-American Fiction), The Adventures of a Professional Corpse (July 1940-March 1941 Weird Tales), Carson's Folly (stories July 1945-?? 1946 Blue Book) and The Sphinx Emerald (stories 1946-1947 Blue Book), which last traces the malign influence of a gem throughout history. Interestingly, Bedford-Jones published several singletons in which various supernatural interventions positively affect the course of World War Two; these include "Sons of Kalewa" (May 1940 Blue Book), in which (rather hopefully) old Finn gods repel invaders; and "From Out the Dark Water" (December 1940 Blue Book) as by Captain Michael Gallister also invokes supernatural aid (in this case leprechauns) in saving Britain from the Nazis. Of Bedford-Jones's vast output, much remains to be plumbed. [JC/JE/PH/DH]
Henry James O'Brien Bedford-Jones
born Napanee, Ontario: 29 April 1887
died Beverly Hills, California: 6 May 1949
Boy Scouts of the Air (titles by Bedford-Jones only)
- The Boy Scouts of the Air in Dismal Swamp (Chicago, Illinois: Reilly and Lee, 1920) as by Gordon Stuart [Boy Scouts of the Air: hb/]
- The Boy Scouts of the Air at Cape Peril (Chicago, Illinois: Reilly and Lee, 1921) as by Gordon Stuart [Boy Scouts of the Air: hb/]
- The Boy Scouts of the Air on Baldcrest (Chicago, Illinois: Reilly and Lee, 1922) as by Gordon Stuart [Boy Scouts of the Air: hb/]
All magazine appearance as by Bedford-Jones: see above.
- John Solomon, Supercargo (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1924) as by Allan Hawkwood [first appeared July 1914 Argosy: John Solomon: hb/]
- Solomon's Quest (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1924) as by Allan Hawkwood [first appeared March 1915 People's Magazine: John Solomon: hb/]
- The Seal of John Solomon (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1924) as by Allan Hawkwood [first appeared June 1915 Argosy: John Solomon: hb/]
- Gentleman Solomon (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1924) as by Allan Hawkwood [first appeared June 1915 People's Magazine: John Solomon: hb/]
- Solomon's Carpet (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1925) as by Allan Hawkwood [first appeared October 1915 People's Magazine: John Solomon: hb/]
- The Shawl of Solomon (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1925) as by Allan Hawkwood [first appeared January 1917 People's Magazine: John Solomon: hb/]
- John Solomon, Incognito (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1925) as by Allan Hawkwood [first appeared 25 October-10 December 1921 People's Favorite Magazine and (last instalment only) People's Story Magazine: John Solomon: hb/]
- Splendour of the Gods (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1924) [hb/]
- Blood of the Peacock (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1924) [hb/]
- The Star Woman (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1924) [hb/des Rariers]
- The Star Woman (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1928) as by Allan Hawkwood [text unchanged: hb/]
- The Wizard of the Atlas (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1928) as by Allan Hawkwood [hb/]
- The Twisted Tree (New York: Stratford Press, 1929) with Mary Bedford-Jones [chap: hb/]
- Drums of Dambala (New York: Covici-Friede, 1932) [hb/]
- The Temple of the Ten (West Kingston, Rhode Island: Grant, 1973) with W C Robertson [first appeared 10 March 1921 Adventure: hb/Richard Robertson]
about the author
- Victor A Berch, Darrell C Richardson and Peter Ruber. King of the Pulps: The Life and Writings of H Bedford-Jones (Shelburne, Ontario: The Battered Silicon Despatch Box, 2003) [nonfiction: pb/photo of author]
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