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Quinn, Seabury

(1889-1969) American lawyer and weird-fiction author whose first published story was "The Law of the Movies" (December 1917 The Motion Picture Magazine). Seabury Quinn was by far the most prolific contributor to Weird Tales; during its 31-year life he published well over a hundred stories there, appearing on average in roughly every other issue. Many of these contributions – 93 in all – featured his occult detective Jules de Grandin (whose surname was taken from Quinn's own middle name) together with his assistant Dr Trowbridge [for Occult Detectives see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. The first story in this series – although it featured only Trowbridge – was "The Stone Image" (1 May 1919 Thrill Book). Ten of these episodes were included, revised, in The Phantom-Fighter (coll 1966); a more comprehensive 1970s reprinting from Popular Library, edited by Robert Weinberg, comprises The Adventures of Jules de Grandin (coll 1976), The Casebook of Jules de Grandin (coll 1976), The Hellfire Files of Jules de Grandin (coll 1976), The Skeleton Closet of Jules de Grandin (coll 1976), The Devil's Bride (February-July 1932 Weird Tales; 1976) and The Horror Chambers of Jules de Grandin (coll 1976); more recently this material was resorted as The Compleat Adventures of Jules de Grandin (coll 2001 3vols).

Quinn was Weird Tales's most popular author, although his stories, padded and overwritten, have not survived as well as those by authors he once overshadowed, in particular Robert E Howard, H P Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith. Though his mysteries occasionally contained rationalized sf explanations, they are more appropriately regarded as occult Fantasy. His posthumously published novel Alien Flesh (1977) is an erotic fantasy centred on a male Egyptologist who undergoes magical gender change into a young female beauty (see Transgender SF).

As a lawyer, Quinn was a specialist in mortuary jurisprudence; his nonfiction books on this topic are not included in the Checklist below. Another of his activities seemed ideal for an author of his persuasion: for some fifteen years he edited a trade journal for undertakers, called Casket & Sunnyside. He was the unnamed writer who figured in an anecdote related in Kingsley Amis's New Maps of Hell: A Survey of Science Fiction (1960): visiting a bordello on one occasion, he found his stories so popular with the girls there that he was offered a night "on the house". [DRL/MJE]

see also: Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award.

Seabury Grandin Quinn

born Washington, District of Columbia: December 1889

died 24 December 1969



Jules de Grandin

Jules de Grandin: Compleat Adventures

A resorting of the above material.

Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin

Another resorting of the above material.

individual titles

collections and stories



Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 09:54 am on 24 June 2024.