Gold, H L

Tagged: Author | Editor

(1914-1996) Canadian-born writer and editor, in the USA from the age of two, though retaining dual nationality. Gold began to publish work of genre interest with "Inflexure" for Astounding in October 1934 as by Clyde Crane Campbell, selling several stories to that market, and to its sister Unknown, notably None But Lucifer (September 1939 Unknown; 2003) with L Sprague de Camp, in which a man tries to outwit Lucifer in the heart of the Great Depression. During this early period he used two pseudonyms, Campbell (five stories in Astounding) and Leigh Keith (one story in Astounding), a gambit necessitated, he has said, by antisemitism on the part of the publishers. After a hiatus, he returned to the magazine under his own name with "A Matter of Form" (December 1938 Astounding), becoming a regular contributor to Unknown with such stories as "Trouble with Water" (March 1939 Unknown), an enjoyable humorous tale of Magic. He was later assistant to Mort Weisinger on the magazines Captain Future, Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories (1939-1941), from which he moved on to true-detective magazines, Comics and radio scripts. During these years he occasionally used two further pseudonyms, Richard Storey in 1943 and Dudley Dell in 1951.

In 1950 he started Galaxy Science Fiction, which from the outset he made one of the leading sf magazines, and for the editing of which he remains best known – indeed, notorious. Afflicted with acute agoraphobia as a result of his wartime experiences, Gold worked from his apartment, doing much of his work by telephone. The emphasis of Galaxy reflected his interests in Psychology and Sociology, as well as Humour, and like John W Campbell Jr – with whom in 1953 he shared the first Hugo to be given for editing a professional magazine – he was credited with suggesting many ideas which his contributors turned into famous stories; he also earned a reputation for overediting. An interesting companion magazine, Beyond Fantasy Fiction, which he also edited, lasted ten issues 1953-1955. He edited Galaxy Science Fiction Novels, an sf and fantasy reprint series of variable quality, in the same format as Galaxy. Later still he became editor of If when it was taken over by Galaxy's owner. He retired from editing both Galaxy and If in 1961.

Over the period of his editorship, Gold compiled a number of anthologies from the pages of Galaxy, beginning with Galaxy Reader of Science Fiction (anth 1952; cut to 13 out of 33 stories 1953) and Second Galaxy Reader of Science Fiction (anth 1954; with 11 stories removed, cut vt The Galaxy Science Fiction Omnibus 1955), and ending with The Sixth Galaxy Reader (anth 1962). He also edited one independent anthology, The Weird Ones (anth 1962).

After the book publication of one tale, The Enormous Room (October-November 1953 Amazing; 1955 chap) with Robert W Krepps, some of Gold's stories were collected in The Old Die Rich and Other Science Fiction Stories (coll 1955; vt How to Write Science Fiction: Working Journal and Best-Known Classics 2002). What Will They Think of Last?: SF for Fun and Profit from the Inside (coll 1976) is a selection of his editorials from Galaxy with an autobiographical postscript. [MJE]

see also: Questar; Perception; Time Viewer.

Horace Leonard Gold

born Montreal, Quebec: 26 April 1914

died Laguna Hills, California: 21 February 1996

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nonfiction

works as editor

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