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Sloane, William M

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

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(1906-1974) US playwright, publisher and author whose interest in the occult was reflected in his sf novels, To Walk the Night (1937; rev 1954) and The Edge of Running Water (1939; vt The Unquiet Corpse 1956), both later assembled as The Rim of Morning (omni 1964); along with one story, "Let Nothing You Dismay" (in Stories for Tomorrow, anth 1954, ed Sloane), they are all the sf he wrote. To Walk the Night complexly combines horror and sf in its depiction of an Alien from another Dimension who enters human life as the wife of a famous physicist, whose attempts to gain a working knowledge of the universe as a serial construction that can be traversed (see J W Dunne) force her to kill him; when his natural son carries on his work, "Selena" marries him too, and kills him as well. This first novel is absorbing and polished, with Horror in SF elements that evoke L P Lovecraft. In The Edge of Running Water, rather similarly, a widower's obsession with attempts at Communication with his deceased wife transforms him into a Mad Scientist, and eventually leads to his own death in an inter-dimensional vortex; local prejudice also exacts its toll. This novel was filmed as The Devil Commands (1941) directed by Edward Dmytryk and starring Boris Karloff. "Let Nothing You Dismay" is a moving narrative from the viewpoint of a young mother who, with other colonists (see Colonization of Other Worlds), lands on a distant earthlike planet as our own Sun is dying.

After abandoning his writing career to focus on his work as publisher (he founded William Sloane Associates), Sloane edited two sf anthologies, Space, Space, Space: Stories About the Time When Men Will Be Adventuring to the Stars (anth 1953) and Stories for Tomorrow: An Anthology of Modern Science Fiction (anth 1954; cut 1955); the latter was one of the finest collections of its period. [JC/LW]

William Milligan Sloane III

born Plymouth, Massachusetts: 15 August 1906

died New City, New York: 25 September 1974


plays (highly selected)

works as editor


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