Entry updated 16 April 2021. Tagged: Author.
Pseudonym of US author born Leslie Frances Rubenstein (1905-1991), who for her sf work adapted her writer mother's own pseudonym, Lillian Spellman Stone; in her non-writing life, she took the surname of the journalist William Silberberg, whom she had married in 1927. She began publishing light nonfantastic fiction as early as 1920; her first sf tale, "Men with Wings" for Air Wonder Stories in 1929, describes from an anti-Eugenics point of view an attempt to create superior winged males through a breeding programme that almost inevitably kills mothers in childbirth (see also Genetic Engineering). She remained active in the field for the next decade, publishing about twenty stories. Her two sf books are When the Sun Went Out (1929 chap), a Far-Future tale which appeared in Hugo Gernsback's Science Fiction Series, and the sequence The Void beginning with Out of the Void (August-September 1929 Amazing; rev 1967), a Space Opera set partially on the ninth planet, Abrui, inhabited by various Alien races, some of them Telepaths, and featuring adventures in the style of the Planetary Romance; a novel-length sequel, "Across the Void" (April-June 1931 Amazing), was a Fantastic Voyage tale, climaxing in the Alpha Centauri system (see Life on Other Worlds); it attained magazine publication only.
Stone remains best known for "The Conquest of Gola" (April 1931 Wonder Stories), in which the Telepathic females who govern Gola (ie Venus) more or less effortlessly spurn the capitalist lures of intruding males from Detaxal (ie Earth), who find it hard to believe that women could be in charge. When the Detaxalans attempt to take over (see Invasion; Women in SF), they are effortlessly defeated; the Feminism of the story is both early and surprisingly explicit for Genre SF.
Stone's sexually ambivalent first name, which she was given at birth, caused her to be mentioned by Isaac Asimov and Frederik Pohl and others as one of the early Women SF Writers who disguised their sex because of sf's male readership; she did not, in fact, attempt to conceal her identity: any assumption that she had to be male was imposed. [JC]
Leslie Frances Silberberg [née Rubenstein]
born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 8 June 1905
died Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 21 March 1991
- When the Sun Went Out (New York: Stellar Publishing, 1929) [chap: in the publisher's Science Fiction Series: illus/Frank R Paul: pb/nonpictorial]
- Out of the Void (New York: Avalon Books, 1967) [first version appeared August-September 1929 Amazing: The Void: hb/Michael M Peters]
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