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Haggard, J Harvey

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1912-2001) US author and railwayman, known primarily for his stories in the early sf Pulp magazines, chiefly Wonder Stories. His first story, "Faster Than Light" (October 1930 Wonder Stories) was written when he was seventeen in response to a contest in Air Wonder Stories and takes on the bold idea of accelerating to the speed of light and breaking through into a new universe. It suffers from its "only a dream" ending, as does his second story, "An Adventure on Eros" (September 1931 Wonder Stories). Haggard's work improved marginally when he conceived the idea of the Earth-Guard Interplanetary Police, which first appeared in the rather weak "Through the Einstein Line" (November 1933 Wonder Stories). Haggard had included them in a previously-written novella, "Evolution Satellite" (December 1933-January 1934 Wonder Stories), which Gernsback had rejected but later published and praised for its downbeat ending. It is set on Ariel, the satellite of Uranus (see Outer Planets), which has not hitherto been explored but turns out to be a world where lifeforms are infinitely adaptable and soon absorb the explorers. Haggard graduated from Wonder Stories to Astounding, though his stories continued his predilection for exotic Alien locales, of which the most unusual is "Human Machines" (December 1935 Astounding), returning to his "only a dream" concept but this time as a genuine part of a story of illusion and mind control. "Moon Crystals" (January 1934 Astounding) features an early Little Green Man on Venus.

Haggard's later stories continue the Sense of Wonder awesomeness of time and space, and only once in a while did he rein himself in to explore new ideas. Arguably his most original story was "The Light that Kills" (February 1939 Amazing), which considers the effects of light-sensitive compounds on the human body: Haggard was contacted by a student at MIT who was researching similar materials and wanted to know Haggard's sources. Haggard wrote little after World War Two, seeking refuge in Planet Stories and other magazines that tolerated his limited style. Though appearing in 1960, his last published story "All the Time in the World" (February 1960 Fantastic) is similar to his earlier work, showing human expansion on alien worlds. Haggard also wrote Poetry under the alias "The Planet Prince". [MA]

see also: First Fandom Hall of Fame.

John Harvey Haggard

born Ozark Township, Missouri: 30 November 1912

died San Bernardino, California: 15 March 2001


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