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Starzl, R F

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1899-1976) US journalist and author who between 1928 and 1934 had 24 stories published in the Pulp magazines, written primarily as a means of financing his family newspaper, the LeMars Globe-Post, of which he became the proprietor. Most of Starzl's stories are competently written but became increasingly formulaic, though he was especially good at creating different types of Monsters. His first story is his best remembered, "Out of the Sub-Universe" (Summer 1928 Amazing Stories Quarterly) where a man and woman descend into a sub-atomic world (see Great and Small), and a half-hour later by Earth-time several hundred descendants return because a million years have passed in their world. Most of Starzl's stories fall into two categories, with a few singletons. Several involve the Interplanetary Flying Police investigating crime and danger at various times in the future and on various planets, starting with "The Globoid Terror" (November 1930 Amazing), set on Venus. The series has no cohesive structure or consistent setting; "The Power Satellite" (June 1932 Wonder Stories), arguably the best of them, is set on Triton. Others of Starzl's stories take place in a future Chicago which continues to be under the control of gangsters. They range from the near-future "The King of the Black Bowl" (September 1930 Wonder Stories) to a century hence in "The Man Who Changed the Future" (June 1931 Wonder Stories), where Chicago has become Lakopolis. Also of interest are "The Last Planet" (April 1934 Wonder Stories), which depicts the last remnants of humanity millions of years in the future seeking refuge on Mercury, and "The Venus Plague" (November 1932 Wonder Stories), written with Festus Pragnell, where humanity faces extinction due to a virulent Pandemic. Starzl sold several stories to Argosy, of which the best was his last: "The Radiant Enemies" (10 February 1934 Argosy) describing an Alien cometary lifeform. Once Starzl was able to afford a partnership in his father's newspaper he ceased writing fiction. [MA]

Roman Frederick Starzl

born LeMars, Iowa: 10 December 1899

died LeMars, Iowa: 8 April 1976


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