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Sambrot, William

Entry updated 15 November 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1920-2007) US author of more than 200 short stories, fifty of them sf, the latter beginning with "Report to the People" for The Blue Book Magazine in October 1953; his earliest publication was "The Saboteur" (Fall 1951 Suspense Magazine), a non-sf story about an encounter between a submarine and a mine. Most of his work appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and other Slicks and consequently received less attention from within the sf world than it might have done, considering its vigour and polish. Sambrot was a strong supporter of sf and felt it should be treated with more respect, but the majority of his own stories were rarely set more than one step away from the present. Many were warning stories, feeding upon Cold War Paranoia and the nuclear threat, such as "Deadly Decision" (1958 Extension) about the President's dilemma as to whether to press "the button", or "Nine Days to Die" (9 July 1960 Saturday Evening Post), highlighting the problem of what happens if humans are contaminated with nuclear waste. These and similar stories were included in The Island of Fear and Other SF Stories (coll 1963) which also contained the more authentic sf tales "Controle Somnambule" (May 1962 Playboy) where a spaceman is abducted by Aliens and "A Distant Shrine" (24 June 1961 Saturday Evening Post as "A Cathedral of Mars") in which it is discovered that Mars is inhabited by the descendants of the children lured away by the Pied Piper. The author's interest in UFOs gave rise to "Grounded" (Fall 1954 Startling). In what may be his most popular tale, "The Island of Fear" (18 January 1958 Saturday Evening Post), a contemporary man on a Greek island is fatally gazed upon by Medusa [for Gorgons see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. Douglas A Anderson has noted a similarity between this story and C S Lewis's posthumously published "Forms of Things Unknown" (in Of Other Worlds, coll 1966), where the action is transferred to the Moon.

Sambrot compiled a second volume of his sf stories, but it remained unpublished at the time of his death. [MA/JC]

William Anthony Sambrot

born Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: 17 December 1920

died Napa, California: 28 July 2007

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