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Paine, Albert Bigelow

Entry updated 16 January 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1861-1937) US author best remembered as Mark Twain's confidant, whose posthumous works he unconscionably tampered with before publication: The Mysterious Stranger (1916) was cobbled together from three separate manuscripts. Mark Twain's Autobiography (1924 2vols) was savagely cut, expurgated, and entirely restructured.

Paine was primarily a writer and editor of children's fiction, though two of his adult novels are of sf interest. The Mystery of Evelin Delorme: A Hypnotic Story (1894) exploits the late nineteenth century's fascination with split personalities (see Psychology), most famously in Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886 chap): Paine's version gives off an affect of prurience, with his eponymous heroine committing Suicide when her socially unacceptable self comes out. In The Great White Way: A Record of an Unusual Voyage of Discovery, and Some Romantic Love Affairs Amid Strange Surroundings (1901) a warm, Utopian, Antarctic Lost World peopled by Telepaths is discovered by a businessman and a real-estate developer, who are forced to flee when the latter's intentions are revealed. In one short story of interest, "The Black Hands" (August 1903 Pearson's Magazine [US edition]), a racist journalist has a railway accident and finds that not only has his skin turned black, but his whole outlook and demeanour has correspondingly been transformed (see Race in SF). [JC]

Albert Bigelow Paine

born New Bedford, Massachusetts: 10 July 1861

died New Smyrna, Florida: 9 April 1937



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