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Stover, Leon E

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Critic, Editor.

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(1929-2006) US editor and author, former professor of Anthropology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he also taught sf courses, and science editor of Amazing 1967-1969. He was most active in sf in collaboration with Harry Harrison, editing with him Apeman, Spaceman: Anthropological Science Fiction (anth 1968), and writing with him Stonehenge (1972), a historical novel in which refugees from Atlantis – here rather conventionally identified as the Mediterranean island, Thera (Santorini), which exploded in Mycenaean times – help build the eponymous megalith. With Willis E McNelly he edited Above the Human Landscape: An Anthology of Social Science Fiction (anth 1972). He was founder and first chairman of the John W Campbell Memorial Award.

Stover's critical studies perhaps represent him at his most interesting. La science-fiction américaine: essai d'anthropologie culturelle ["American Science Fiction: An Essay in Cultural Anthropology"] (1972) was based on one of his courses. Ostensibly a Recursive tale, The Shaving of Karl Marx: An Instant Novel of Ideas, after the Manner of Thomas Love Peacock, in which Lenin and H G Wells Talk about the Political Meaning of the Scientific Romances (1982) was more accurately a dramatized debate (see also Thomas Love Peacock). In The Prophetic Soul: A Reading of H.G. Wells' Things to Come together with his Film Treatment "Whither Mankind?" and the Postproduction Script (1987) Stover continued to argue that H G Wells – especially in his Samurai mood – produced Leninist solutions to social problems. His Robert A. Heinlein (1987), more stridently, works better as an assault upon H Bruce Franklin's powerful study of Heinlein than as a balanced presentation of the author; the advocacy of his friend and subject in Harry Harrison (1990) proves ineffective through lack of judicious distance. A more generalist survey, tracing the development of sf from the era of Scientific Romance, is Science Fiction from Wells to Heinlein (2002). Stover additionally introduced, edited and annotated several critical texts of works by H G Wells – see Checklist for details.

Throughout his work, Stover has been perhaps most notable – after his erudition is acknowledged – for a gadfly vigour. [JC/DRL]

see also: Economics.

Leon Eugene Stover

born Lewiston, Pennsylvania: 9 April 1929

died Chicago, Illinois: 25 November 2006


nonfiction (selected)

works as editor


H G Wells critical editions

individual titles as editor


previous versions of this entry

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