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Schlossel, J

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1902-1977) US author who was a pioneer contributor of Space Opera to the Pulp magazines, ahead of Edmond Hamilton and E E Smith. Schlossel was born in New York but raised in Toronto, Canada, continuing his father's trade as a tailor, returning to the USA in 1921. He published just six stories, enough to make a moderate collection, but none was reissued in book form. Although his last story was published in 1931, that may have been a delayed appearance: his writing career, such as it was, took place between 1925 and 1928. His first, "Invaders from Outside" (January 1925 Weird Tales), is set aeons hence in the Solar System's past when Earth carried only primitive life but where intelligent life exists on Earth's Moon, Mars several of the satellites of Jupiter and Saturn (see Outer Planets) plus a Fifth Planet between Mars and Jupiter which at the end of the story is destroyed and forms the Asteroid belt. This life forms a confederation which is benign but which has to do battle with a violent parasitic Alien planet that enters the solar system (see Invasion). Galactic expansion reappears in "The Second Swarm" (Spring 1928 Amazing Stories Quarterly) which describes as background Earth's attempts at colonizing worlds around distant stars (see Colonization of Other Worlds) and the resultant conflict with intelligent life in the system around Sirius. The discovery that the galaxy is full of alien lifeforms, many of them hostile, is central to Schlossel's final story "Extra-Galactic Invaders" (Spring 1931 Amazing Stories Quarterly). Schlossel presents these stories more as cosmic overviews, rather like the visions of Olaf Stapledon, than as individual adventures. But "Hurled Into the Infinite" (June-July 1925 Weird Tales), his longest story, takes place closer to home, where a secret society is dedicated to protecting the human race and is able to Teleport people to other Earth-like planets. Schlossel also saw the significance of Television. In "A Message from Space" (March 1926 Weird Tales) a radio ham manages to build a television that receives images from another world. In "To the Moon by Proxy" (October 1928 Amazing) a partially paralysed inventor builds a radio-controlled Robot which he sends to the Moon by Rocket and monitors progress via television, the first such use in sf. Schlossel's writing was basic but his imagination and vision made him one of the more significant contributors to the early SF Magazines.

Schlossel stopped writing during the Depression, during which he was an active Technocrat, when his trade as a tailor failed and he entered the metal-plating business. [MA]

Joseph Schlossel

born possibly Toronto, Canada: 21 December 1902

died Castleton on Hudson, New York: 1 December 1977


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