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Hall, Austin

Entry updated 9 January 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1880-1933) US author who claimed to have written over 600 stories in various pulp genres, mainly Westerns. He began publishing sf and fantasy with "Almost Immortal" for All-Story Weekly, 7 October 1916. "The Rebel Soul" (30 June 1917 All-Story Weekly) and its sequel, the book-length "Into the Infinite" (12 April-17 May 1919 All-Story Weekly), typically infuse Immortality-through-vampirism and Time Travel with pulp clichés, not always ineffectively; in their concern with the nature of human personality all three are derivative of Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886 chap). Perhaps less implausibly, the protagonist of The Man Who Saved the Earth (13 December 1919 All-Story Weekly; 2013 ebook) saves us from an attempt by Martians (see Mars) to steal our water, as their world is dying of thirst.

Possibly confused by the collaborative process, The Blind Spot (14 May-18 June 1921 Argosy; 1951) with Homer Eon Flint cloaks a central plot – involving an interdimensional portal into a Parallel World – in layers of unresolved melodrama. Cruelly, Damon Knight quoted extensively from it in a critical piece (reprinted as part of Chapter 3 of In Search of Wonder, coll 1956; exp 1967; exp 1996) to demonstrate its infelicities. The second volume in the Blind Spot sequence, The Spot of Life (13 August-10 September 1932 Argosy Weekly; 1964), was by Hall alone; it offers scientific explanations for the gateway (or blind spot) plus doses of dynastic politicking in the parallel world. People of the Comet (September-October 1923 Weird Tales as "The People of the Comet"; 1948), a weaker tale, is a variant on the theme of solar-system-as-atom in a greater macrocosm (see Great and Small; Pocket Universe). [JC]

see also: Fantastic Novels; History of SF.

Austin Javen Hall

born Santa Clara, California: 27 July 1880

died San Jose, California: 29 July 1933



Blind Spot

  • The Blind Spot (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Prime Press, 1951) with Homer Eon Flint [first appeared 14 May-18 June 1921 Argosy: Blind Spot: hb/Hannes Bok]
  • The Spot of Life (New York: Ace Books, 1964) [first appeared 13 August-10 September 1932 Argosy Weekly: Blind Spot: pb/]

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