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Pinkwater, Daniel M

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1941-    ) US author whose many stories for children and Young Adult readers from 1970 have as well attracted large adult audiences for their surreal wit, their supple and astringent wisdom and (for sf readers in particular) the wry hilarity of their use of sf venues and themes. After several non-genre works as Manus Pinkwater (a form of his name which appears only in books of the 1970s), he began writing tales of genre interest with Wizard Crystal (1973) and Magic Camera (1974), attracting considerable attention with Lizard Music (1976), an sf fantasia in which a young boy begins seeing musical lizards everywhere, finds they are real and in secret occupancy of a nearby invisible Island, and later discovers that they have allied themselves with the "right" sort of humans to oppose pod-people from space. Many of Pinkwater's books are either explicitly constructed as series – like the Magic Moscow sequence, the more interesting Snarkout Boys sequence comprising The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death (1982), which includes adventures with a Mad Scientist, and The Snarkout Boys and the Baconburg Horror (1984) and the Neddie, Iggy and Seamus sequence of inventive fantasies – or share venues and characters with one another.

In the end, no Pinkwater book stands alone: all occupy, in one way or another, a region whose children tend to be lonely but clear-sighted and whose adults are either blind (or astonishingly open) to the crowded marvellousness of the Universe. Some of the more outstanding singletons for older children include Wingman (1975) as Manus Pinkwater; Fat Men from Space (1976) as Daniel Manus Pinkwater; Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars (1979), whose kitchen-sink plot incorporates a genuine boy from Mars and other Aliens, Matter Transmission, Atlantis, ESP powers and Parallel Worlds; Yobgorgle: Mysterious Monster of Lake Ontario (1979), Java Jack (1980) with Luqman Keele, The Worms of Kukumlima (1981); Borgel (1990), Borgel being a time tourist (see Time Travel). Only slightly darker than his early work, a late "romp" like Crazy in Poughkeepsie (2022) comes close to understanding the world as a Comic Inferno.

The books for younger children, heavily illustrated and written in a bumptious though easy-to-follow style, are almost as intriguing; they are usually fantasy, sf normally being restricted to his Young Adult audience. However, the titular muffin-stealing criminal of The Muffin Fiend (1986 chap) is unmasked by composer-detective Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as an Extraterrestrial. [JC]

Daniel Manus Pinkwater

born Memphis, Tennessee: 15 November 1941

works (selected)

Picture books are not normally listed.

for older readers


Snarkout Boys

Neddie, Iggy and Seamus

individual titles

for younger children



  • Blue Moose (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1975) as Manus Pinkwater [chap: Moose: hb/Daniel Pinkwater]
  • The Return of the Moose (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1979) as Daniel M Pinkwater [chap: Moose: hb/Daniel Pinkwater]
  • The Moosepire (Boston, Massachusetts: Little, Brown and Company, 1986) [chap: Moose: hb/Daniel Pinkwater]

Magic Moscow

Werewolf Club

individual titles (highly selected)

  • Wizard Crystal (New York: Dodd, Mead and Co, 1973) as Manus Pinkwater [hb/Daniel Pinkwater]
  • Magic Camera (New York: Dodd, Mead and Co, 1974) as Manus Pinkwater [chap: hb/Daniel Pinkwater]
  • The Big Orange Splot (New York: Scholastic, 1977) [chap: pb/]
  • Roger's Umbrella (New York: E P Dutton, 1982) as by Honest Dan'l Pinkwater [chap: hb/James Marshall]
  • Jolly Roger: A Dog of Hoboken (New York: Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books, 1985) [chap: illus/hb/Daniel Pinkwater]
  • The Muffin Fiend (New York: Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books, 1986) [chap: illus/hb/Daniel Pinkwater]
  • Guys from Space (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co, 1989) [chap: hb/Daniel Pinkwater]
  • Wempires (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co, 1991) [chap: hb/Daniel Pinkwater]
  • The Afterlife Diet: A Novel (New York: Random House, 1995) [hb/Marc Burckhardt]
  • Mush: A Dog from Space (New York: Simon and Schuster/Aladdin, 2002) [chap: pb/Jill Pinkwater]



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