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Stilson, Charles B

Entry updated 29 September 2020. Tagged: Author.

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(1880-1932) US journalist and editor, active in the early decades of the century with serialized novels and some stories for the Frank A Munsey magazines. His Edgar Rice Burroughs-inspired sf/fantasy trilogy (see also Tarzan) – Polaris of the Snows (18 December 1915-1 January 1916 All-Story as Polaris – of the Snows; 1965), Minos of Sardanes (12-26 August 1916 All-Story; 1966) and Polaris and the Immortals (15 September-13 October 1917 All-Story as "Polaris and the Goddess Glorian"; 1968) – features the improbably durable, Tarzan-like Polaris Janess, who spends his Antarctic childhood killing polar bears [sic] by hand and as an adult enjoys adventures in a Lost-World colony of Greeks and with technologically advanced survivors of Atlantis.

"The Sky Woman" (25 September 1920 All-Story) concludes with the tragic death of a Martian woman borne to Earth in a meteorite. The more sophisticated "Dr Martone's Microscope" (27 March 1920 All-Story) is a homage to Fitz-James O'Brien's "The Diamond Lens" (January 1858 Atlantic Monthly) and Ray Cummings's The Girl in the Golden Atom (stories 5 March 1919-24 February 1920 All-Story; fixup 1922), both of which are mentioned by name. At the same time it invokes a surreptitious sexuality: the doctor's microscope has been used for voyeuristic purposes. The two book-length tales assembled as A Man Named Jones (coll of linked stories "A Man Named Jones" 25 October-15 November 1919 All-Story and "Land of the Shadow People" 26 June-17 July 1920 All-Story; 2009) climaxes in the discovery of an inhuman Lost Race on a Pacific Island. Some other titles [see Checklist below] are swashbucklers with hints of fantasy. At his best Stilson was a writer who transcended Pulp-magazine formulae. [RB/JC]

see also: Eschatology.

Charles Billings Stilson

born Albion, New York: 3 October 1880

died Rochester, New York: 22 October 1932




individual titles

  • The Island God Forgot (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1922) with Charles Beahan [first appeared September 1921-February 1922 Ace-High Magazine: hb/]
  • The Ace of Blades (New York: G Howard Watt, 1924) [hb/]
  • A Cavalier of Navarre (New York: G Howard Watt, 1925) [first appeared January-February 1924 Argosy as "The Centaur of Navarre": hb/]
  • Sword Play (New York: G Howard Watt, 1926) [hb/]
  • The Seven Blue Diamonds (New York: G Howard Watt, 1927) [early version appeared 25 August 1923 Short Stories as "Seven Blue Diamonds of Baroda": hb/]
  • A Man Named Jones (Scotts Valley, California: CreateSpace, 2009) as Charles Billings Stilson [coll of linked stories: first appeared as "A Man Named Jones" (25 October-15 November 1919 All-Story) and as "Land of the Shadow People" (26 June-17 July 1920 All-Story): pb/]


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