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Garis, Howard R

Entry updated 1 April 2024. Tagged: Author.

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(1873-1962) US author active from about 1896, known mainly for such work outside the sf field as his Uncle Wiggily series, which began in 1910 in the Newark Evening News, and ran to nearly 15,000 widely syndicated episodes, some of which were gathered into the seventy-nine published volumes in the series; the newspaper column, in various late incarnations, only stopped in the year of his death. Much of the work he wrote for Edward Stratemeyer's Stratemeyer Syndicate, through which most of his non-Wiggily fiction was published, consisted of non-fantastic tales for various juvenile markets under House Names, including many if not all of the twenty-two Motor Boys tales as by Clarence Young. The Bobbsey Twins tales as by Laura Lee Hope, which have been ascribed to him, were in fact by his wife and writing partner, Lilian Garis (1873-1954).

During his prolific early years with the Stratemeyer Syndicate, Garis contributed three Lost Race tales to the Motor Boys sequence, beginning with The Motor Boys in Mexico; Or, the Secret of the Buried City (1906) under the House Name Clarence Young. Under the House Name Roy Rockwood, and following plot outlines laid down by Stratemeyer, he also wrote the first six volumes of the Great Marvel series, sanitized Edisonades clearly influenced in subject matter, geography and plot structure by the work of Jules Verne: Through the Air to the North Pole (1906), Under the Ocean to the South Pole (1907), Five Thousand Miles Underground (1908) – a Hollow Earth tale – Through Space to Mars (1910), Lost on the Moon (1911) and On a Torn-Away World (1913); for the entire series, including those not by Garis, see Roy Rockwood. These tales were of a considerable imaginative power which he did not match in his contributions to the Tom Swift series, for which he wrote – again to Stratemeyer synopses – the first thirty-five (of thirty-eight) episodes of the first series, under the House Name Victor Appleton, beginning with Tom Swift and His Motor-Cycle; Or, Fun and Adventure on the Road (1910) to Tom Swift and His Giant Magnet; Or, Bringing up the Lost Submarine (1932) (see Magnetism). Most of these tales normally include one or two Inventions per volume to shape the story, which is often carried (literally) by radically improved forms of Transportation into farflung venues occupied (pro tem) by inferior races. A good example of these patterns is Tom Swift in Captivity; Or, a Daring Escape by Airship (1912), in which an advanced biplane helps in the discovery of a Lost Race of giants (see Great and Small) in Patagonia. It is a sign of the intensity of production required of writers like Garis that the first fourteen Tom Swift volumes came out over a two-year period; later titles were by other hands. The series as a whole exemplifies both the virtues and some of the disturbing undercurrents implicit in the Edisonade.

A final series of sf tales, the Rocket Riders sequence beginning with Rocket Riders Across the Ice, or Racing against Time (1933), bases its speculations about future forms of Transportation on the Invention of a highly flexible Rocket engine, which variously powers – one mode per volume – power sleds, automobiles, boats and aeroplanes. The three young heroes, whose virtues interact in a way typical of the Airplane Boys tale, have adventures befitting these various modes of transportation, but do not seek to change the world.

A singleton under his own name, Tam of the Fire Cave (1927), is Prehistoric SF story whose crippled protagonist creates a series of Inventions, saving his threatened world. [JC/EFB]

see also: Frank V Webster.

Howard Roger Garis

born Binghamton, New York: 25 April 1873

died Amherst, Massachusetts: 6 November 1962



Great Marvel

Titles by Garis only.

Motor Boys

Titles by Garis only.

Tom Swift

Titles by Garis only.

The Radio Boys

Title by Garis only.

Don Sturdy

Title by Garis only.

Rocket Riders



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