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Leahy, John Martin

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Artist, Author.

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(1886-1967) American author and artist, apparently active only during the 1920s; except for his publications, little is known about his life except that he lived in the state of Washington. His longer works are one serialized sf novel that appeared in Science and Invention, "The Living Death" (October 1924-June 1925 Science and Invention), and two serialized novels, heavily influenced by H Rider Haggard, that were published in Weird Tales: "Draconda" (November 1923-May/June/July 1924 Weird Tales), and Drome (January-May 1927 Weird Tales; 1952), a tale about a Lost World found Underground beneath Mount Rainier. Of his four short stories, which all appeared in Weird Tales, the most frequently reprinted is "In Amundsen's Tent" (January 1928 Weird Tales), a Horror story set in Antarctica about an indescribably repulsive creature, said to perhaps come from another planet, that pursues and beheads an explorer whose journal is discovered by later visitors; a sequel of sorts to "The Living Death", the story, which itself seems to have been influenced by Algernon Blackwood's "The Wendigo" (in The Lost Valley and Other Stories, coll 1910), may in turn have influenced later works like H P Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness (cut February 1936 Astounding; restored in The Outsider and Others, coll 1939; 1990 chap) and John W Campbell Jr's "Who Goes There?" (August 1938 Astounding) as by Don A Stuart.

While Leahy is routinely described as an artist, his only known genre works are the interior art and an undistinguished cover for the 1952 Fantasy Press edition of his Drome (1952), showing a woman walking a reptilian creature with bat wings on a leash. A 1917 watercolour painting by Leahy, with a signature that adds that the image is "after A. Penley" (presumably British artist Edwin A Penley [1826-1893]), has been advertised for sale on eBay, and it suggests that he was at best an enthusiastic amateur in this field. [JE/EFB/GW]

John Martin Leahy

born Newcastle, Washington: 16 May 1886

died Seattle, Washington: 26 March 1967


  • Drome (Los Angeles, California: Fantasy Publishing Company, 1952) [first appeared January-May 1927 Weird Tales: hb/John Martin Leahy]


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