Stanley G. Weinbaum, the first cult science fiction writer, was born 122 years ago

After selling the romance novel The Lady Dances (1934 as by Marge Stanley) to King Features Syndicate, Stanley G. Weinbaum in a scant eighteen months (July 1934 to December 1935), produced some of the finest science fiction stories of the 1930s. Beginning with the “A Martian Odyssey” and primarily in the legendary publications Astounding and Wonder Stories, Weinbaum sold thirteen stories, some of the genre’s most important and seminal works. After his untimely death from lung cancer in December, 1935, Weinbaum became arguably the first cult science fiction writer with many of his works published posthumously.

Before his death, Weinbaum wrote several novels including The New Adam (1939), The Dark Other (1950), and the mash up The Black Flame, which incorporated the previously unpublished short stories “Dawn of Flame” and “The Black Flame” along with new material. While the short stories individually appeared in 1936 (Dawn of Flame: The Stanley G. Weinbaum Memorial Volume) and 1939 (Startling), the novel wasn’t published until 1948 (Fantasy Press).

Cover by Michael Dashow

His story “The Adaptive Ultimate” was dramatized on the radio program Escape (1949), was adapted for episodes of Studio One (1949), Tales of Tomorrow (1952), Science Fiction Theatre (1955), and as the feature film She-Devil (1957).

Following the discovery of Weinbaum’s papers in the basement of his grandson’s house which contained a carbon copy of a substantially longer THE BLACK FLAME manuscript, Tachyon published the restored THE BLACK FLAME in 1995.