Kline, Otis Adelbert

Tagged: Author

(1891-1946) US songwriter, author and literary agent, active in music before beginning to write popular fiction in several genres in the early 1920s. His first sale was the serialized "The Thing of a Thousand Shapes" (March-April 1923 Weird Tales) – beginning in the first issue of Weird Tales – and he wrote further work of genre interest for the The Argosy. With the exception of marginal sf tales like "The Bride of Osiris" (September-October 1927 Weird Tales) and space adventures such as "Race Around the Moon" (August 1939 Thrilling Wonder), most of his genre work is in the style of the Planetary Romance as primarily evolved by Edgar Rice Burroughs; though the argument – presented suppositously by Donald A Wollheim in "The Kline-Burroughs War" (November 1936 Science Fiction News) and picked up later by Sam Moskowitz – that they were written in competition with (and slavishly derived from) Burroughs's work has lost credence.

The Robert Grandon sequence is typical, all the same, of the similarities between the two authors. Comprising The Planet of Peril (20 July-24 August 1929 Argosy; 1929; rev vt as Planet of Peril 1961), The Prince of Peril: The Weird Adventures of Zinlo, Man of Three Worlds, Upon the Mysterious Planet of Venus (2 August-6 September 1930 Argosy; 1930; rev vt as Prince of Peril 1962) and The Port of Peril (November 1932-April 1933 Weird Tales as "Buccaneers of Venus"; 1949), it carries the swashbuckling Grandon to Venus, where he rises from Slavery to marry a princess; the later adventures expand upon this. Linked to this series through the character of Dr Morgan – a scientist who makes interplanetary transfers easy – is the Mars sequence (see Mars) comprising The Swordsman of Mars (7 January-11 February 1933 Argosy; 1960) and its sequel, The Outlaws of Mars (25 November 1933-6 January 1934 Argosy; 1960). The Jan of the Jungle sequence – comprising Call of the Savage (18 April-23 May 1931 Argosy as "Jan of the Jungle"; 1937; vt Jan of the Jungle 1966) and its sequel Jan in India (12-26 January 1935 Argosy; 1974) – again bears close resemblance to earlier Burroughs, the predecessor this time being Tarzan, with an infusion of Lost World motifs. In Maza of the Moon (1930) the P'an-ku who rule the Moon bomb Earth after Earth bombs them.

In the last decade of his life, Kline concentrated on his literary agency. Violently coloured, crudely racist and sniggeringly sexist, his tales represent with considerable energy the worst impulses of fiction at its worst, while being at points compulsive reading. [JC]

see also: Comics; Publishing.

Otis Adelbert Kline

born Chicago, Illinois: 1 July 1891

died 24 October 1946

works

Magazine publication is indicated when substantially earlier than the book release.

series

Robert Grandon

Jan of the Jungle

  • Call of the Savage (New York: Edward J Clode, 1937) [first appeared 18 April-23 May 1931 Argosy as "Jan of the Jungle": Jan of the Jungle: hb/nonpictorial]
    • Jan of the Jungle (New York: Ace Books, 1966) [vt of the above: Jan of the Jungle: pb/Stephen Holland]
  • Jan in India (Lakemont, Georgia: Fictioneer Books, 1974) [first appeared 12-26 January 1935 Argosy: Jan of the Jungle: pb/Steve Leialoha]

Mars

individual titles

collections

works as editor

links

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