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Thayer, Tiffany

Entry updated 25 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1902-1959) US actor and author, prolific and once immensely popular – his first novel, the courtroom drama Thirteen Men (1930), was reprinted forty times in twenty years; he also wrote as by O B King. After the success of Tiffany Thayer's Three Musketeers (1939), he devoted most of his remaining years to an enormous historical work, «Tiffany Thayer's Mona Lisa»; of its seven projected instalments, only the 1200pp The Prince of Taranto (1956 3vols) ever appeared. Thayer's work of sf interest includes The Greek (1931), about a Near-Future dictatorship and Doctor Arnoldi (1934), which recounts the grisly implications of being both immortal (see Immortality) and unkillable in a world threatened by Overpopulation; in One-Man Show (1937), an afterlife fantasy reminiscent of Thorne Smith's Topper (1926), a screenwriter is killed in an auto crash and returns as a ghost. Thayer was an enthusiastic follower of Charles Fort, co-founding the Fortean Society in 1931 and editing its publication Doubt for many years. Although unknown today except for this affiliation, Thayer exerted an influence that has yet to be assessed: his highly kinetic, sardonic prose was almost certainly known to Alfred Bester, and his Mona Lisa project may well have coloured the description of Fellowes Kraft's opus in John Crowley's Aegypt (1987). [GF]

Tiffany Ellsworth Thayer

born Freeport, Illinois: 1 March 1902

died Nantucket, Massachusetts: 23 August 1959

works

  • The Greek (New York: Albert and Charles Boni, 1931) [illus/hb/Edward Staloff]
  • Doctor Arnoldi (New York: Julian Messner, 1934) [hb/uncredited]
  • One-Man Show (New York: Julian Messner, 1937) [hb/]

works as editor

about the author

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