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Eshbach, Lloyd Arthur

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1910-2003) US author and publisher, and an sf enthusiast from an early age. Though his work as a publisher has always – and probably rightly – been deemed his main contribution to the field, a splurge of novels in the 1980s, after he had been inactive as a writer for many years, has focused some attention on his auctorial work. This began with the sf "The Man with the Silver Disc" for Scientific Detective Monthly in February 1930; over the next decade or so he wrote 30 or more stories which appeared in the Pulp magazines. The best of this early work was assembled in The Tyrant of Time (coll 1955), a volume published by his own Fantasy Press, which he had formed in 1946. With 32 competently produced titles to its credit, it was probably the best of the Small Presses founded after the war to put into book form the novels and stories that had been accumulating in magazines since the founding of Amazing Stories in 1926. In 1952 Eshbach began a short-lived companion imprint, Polaris Press.

For Fantasy Press Eshbach edited the first published book about modern sf: Of Worlds Beyond: The Science of Science Fiction Writing (anth 1947), a symposium of essays by John W Campbell Jr, L Sprague de Camp, Robert A Heinlein, E E Smith, John Taine, A E van Vogt and Jack Williamson. Over My Shoulder: Reflections on a Science Fiction Era (1983), told in memoir form, is a history of the sf specialist presses from the 1930s to the 1950s. In the 1980s he turned again to fiction. He edited P Schuyler Miller's Alice in Wonderland Parody, Alicia in Blunderland (June 1933-April 1934 Science Fiction Digest and Fantasy Magazine as by Nihil; 1983), and he sorted out and completed a manuscript left by his old friend E E "Doc" Smith, publishing it as Subspace Encounter (1983) by Smith, edited by Eshbach. His major work of the decade, the Gates of Lucifer sequence – The Land Beyond the Gate (1984), The Armlet of the Gods (1986), The Sorceress of Scath (1988) and The Scroll of Lucifer (1990) – does not forge its way into new territory, though the facility which Eshbach displays in putting his protagonist through various paces in various mythic venues is notable in an author who had been so long inactive in the field of fiction. Like Jack Williamson's, his career extended throughout almost the entire history of the modern Genre SF, which he graced in his supporting role. [JC/MJE]

see also: Cyborgs; Longevity in Writers; Speculative Fiction.

Lloyd Arthur Eshbach

born Palm, Pennsylvania: 20 June 1910

died Myerstown, Pennsylvania: 29 October 2003



Gates of Lucifer

individual titles

  • The Tyrant of Time (Reading, Pennsylvania: Fantasy Press, 1955) [coll: hb/Ric Binkley]
  • Subspace Encounter (New York: Berkley Books, 1983) as by E E Smith, edited by Eshbach [text actually completed by Eshbach: Subspace Explorers: pb/Mark Bright]
  • Isle of the Undead (no place given: Project Gutenberg, 2010) [story: ebook: first appeared October 1936 Weird Tales: na/]


works as editor


previous versions of this entry

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