Entry updated 27 December 2018. Tagged: Author.
Working name of US author Lawrence Eisenberg (1919-2018), for many years Co-Director of the Electronics Laboratory at Rockefeller University. He began publishing sf with "The Mynah Matter" for Fantastic Stories (see Fantastic) in August 1962 as Lawrence Eisenberg, and became known for his comic sequence of stories about Emmett Duckworth; many of these were assembled – some published for the first time – in his only collection, The Best Laid Schemes (coll 1971); a further eight series tales published from 1971 to 1988 remain uncollected. As a borderline Mad Scientist biochemist and inventor whose devices tend to crucially misfire, the Nobel Prize laureate Duckworth might seem a cheap target; but Eisenberg presents his recurring disasters with winning sympathy. A still more comically eccentric scientist features in "What Happened to Auguste Clarot?" (in Dangerous Visions, anth 1967, ed Harlan Ellison). The uncollected stories describing the relationship of humans to the Alien Sentients are very much darker in import, though never unrelentingly so; of these, "Too Many Cooks" (in The Best Laid Schemes) was dramatized for Television in the second series of Out of the Unknown (15 December 1966).
After the 1970s, Eisenberg became relatively inactive in sf, though the final two Duckworth stories appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in February 1986 and March 1988. From 2008 until his death he posted more than 13,000 rhyming verse comments – mainly limericks – to the online New York Times, which brought him a fresh notoriety. He should not be confused with Lawrence (Benjamin) Eisenberg, author of the Timeslip fantasy The Villa of the Ferromonte (1974). [JC/DRL]
born New York: 21 December 1919
died Lincoln, Massachusetts: 25 December 2018
- The Best Laid Schemes (New York: Macmillan, 1971) [coll: Emmett Duckworth: hb/]
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