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Brand, Max

Entry updated 11 September 2023. Tagged: Author.

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Best-known pseudonym of US poet and author Frederick Faust (1892-1944), who from before 1920 used many names and produced innumerable tales and filmscripts in many genres, including the Western classic Destry Rides Again (1930); it was first filmed in 1932, and became famous through the 1939 version, with James Stewart and Marlene Dietrich. The psychic contortions that attend the discovery of a Missing Link in Africa (see Apes as Human) impart a lurid glow to That Receding Brow (15 February 1919 All-Story Weekly; 2021 ebook), which may be his first tale of genre interest, though he had already been publishing fiction, starting with "Convalescence" (March 1917 All-Story Weekly). Some of his shorter work – he published something like 30,000,000 words altogether – has been assembled as The Collected Stories of Max Brand: Centennial Edition (coll 1994).

Brand began publishing books in volume form with The Untamed (7 December 1918-11 January 1919 All-Story Weekly; 1919), the first volume of the Dan Barry sequence of Westerns, whose protagonist, a Mysterious Stranger figure known as Whistlin' Dan, "Pan of the desert" (see Gods and Demons), enjoys a strangely intimate rapport with wild animals, including his black stallion and his black dog, who is possibly a Werewolf; intermittently, Barry displays superhuman strength (see Superpowers). The series continued with The Night Horseman (1920), The Seventh Man (1921) and Dan Barry's Daughter (1923). Though many of his exceedingly numerous Westerns were nonfantastic, an aura of theatrical otherness marked them from the first; and effectively created the genre as an almost abstract arena for violent paradigmatic dramas.

The Garden of Eden (1922) is a Lost-World story; The Smoking Land (29 May-3 July 1937 Argosy as by George Challis; 1980) stereotypically discloses another lost world, in the Arctic, complete with futuristic aircraft and rumbustious action. Throughout Brand/Faust's work, illuminating the most pulp-like plots, can be discerned the voice of a slyly civilized writer; one extended narrative poem, Dionysus in Hades (1931 chap) as by Frederick Faust, contains elements of the fantastic.

While serving as a combat correspondent in World War Two, Faust died during the Italian campaign. [JC]

Frederick Schiller Faust

born Seattle, Washington: 29 May 1892

died Santa Maria Infante, Italy (killed in action): 12 May 1944


as by Max Brand


Dan Barry

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about the author


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