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Hunter, Evan

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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One of the first pseudonyms and from 1952 the adopted legal name of US author born Salvatore Albert Lombino (1926-2005), who ultimately became better known as Ed McBain, under which byline he wrote at least over fifty laconic police procedurals as well as some action-detections in the John D MacDonald mould. All in all, Hunter/McBain published about 150 books. As Hunter he is most famous for novels like The Blackboard Jungle (1954) and Strangers When We Meet (1958); his later career had little to do with sf, most of his work in the genre having appeared in the 1950s as S A Lombino (seven stories 1951-1953), and as by D A Addams, Hunt Collins, Dean Hudson and Richard Marsten. This early output included a number of magazine sf stories beginning with "Reaching for the Moon" in Science Fiction Quarterly for November 1951 as by S A Lombino – some of these were assembled in The Jungle Kids (coll 1956; rev vt The Last Spin and Other Stories 1960) and Happy New Year, Herbie (coll 1963) – and the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963). His first three sf novels were Young Adult: the protagonist in Find the Feathered Serpent (1952), which was his first book under any name, utilizes his father's Time-Travel device to return to, and to participate in, the founding of the Mayan empire; Rocket to Luna (1953) as by Richard Marsten puts students on the first trip to the Moon; and Danger: Dinosaurs! (1953) as by Richard Marsten again takes its heroes by time-travel into an exciting era. His first adult sf novel, Tomorrow's World (January 1954 If as "Malice in Wonderland" as Evan Hunter; exp 1956; vt Tomorrow and Tomorrow 1956) as by Hunt Collins takes a somewhat Satirical look at a future dominated by organized Drug addicts. In a marketing decision somewhat at odds with Hunter's normal practice, the book was later published unchanged (1979) as by Ed McBain: it is certainly not in the McBain style.

The Sentries (1965) as by Ed McBain, a tale of marginally Near Future political Paranoia, describes how a body of "super-patriots" takes over a Florida town in order to deepen the Cold War. Nobody Knew They Were There (1971) is set in 1974, but is a tale of campus violence only marginally displaced into sf. The plot of Ghosts: An 87th Precinct Novel (1980), one of his extensive series of 87th Precinct police-procedural tales as by Ed McBain, surprisingly hinges on parapsychological manifestations (see ESP), to the detriment of its merit as a detection. Transgressions (anth 2005) edited as by McBain, is an Original Anthology of novellas including work by Stephen King, Sharyn McCrumb, Walter Mosley, Joyce Carol Oates and Donald E Westlake. Hunter's long inactivity as an sf writer, understandable given his great success in other modes, was nevertheless the genre's loss. [JC]

see also: Leisure; Pulp.

Evan Hunter

born New York: 15 October 1926

died Weston, Connecticut: 6 July 2005

works (highly selected)


works as editor

  • Transgressions (New York: Tor/Forge, 2005) as by Ed McBain [anth: hb/Drive Communications]


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