Entry updated 12 September 2022. 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 Garret Ford). FPCI was one of the central fan presses of the era, publishing L Sprague de Camp's The Undesired Princess (coll 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 Garret 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: 10 September 1911
died Los Angeles County, California: 25 January 1984
- 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.
- Science Fiction Bibliography (Austin, Texas: The Science Fiction Syndicate, 1935) as by The Science Fiction Syndicate [bibliography: chap: listed as Vol 1 No 1, but no further volumes published: printed by Crawford and seemingly by him with D R Welch: pb/nonpictorial]
- The Garden of Fear by Robert E Howard and Other Stories of the Bizarre and Fantastic (Los Angeles, California: Crawford, 1945) [anth: chap: pb/Alva Rogers]
- Griffin Science-Fantasy Booklet One (Los Angeles, California: Griffin Publishing Co, 1949) anonymous [anth: chap: pb/Alva Rogers]
- The Machine-God Laughs (Los Angeles, California: Griffin Publishing Co, 1949) anonymous [anth: chap: pb/Lora Ruth Crozetti]
- Science and Sorcery (Los Angeles, California: Fantasy Publishing Company, 1953) as Garret Ford [anth: hb/Lora Ruth Crozetti and Walter]
- Science-Fantasy Quintette (Los Angeles, California: Fantasy Publishing Company, 1953) anonymous [anth: assembling two FPCI titles, Triton; and Battle of Wizards (coll 1949) by L Ron Hubbard and The Radium Pool (coll 1949) by Ed Earl Repp: hb/Lora Ruth Crozetti]
- Fantasy Twin (Los Angeles, California: Fantasy Publishing Company, 1953) anonymous [anth: assembling two FPCI titles: hb/Lora Ruth Crozetti]
- Quadratic (Los Angeles, California: Fantasy Publishing Company, 1953) anonymous [anth: assembling two FPCI titles: hb/Walter]
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