Sterling, George

Tagged: Author

(1869-1926) US poet and author whose reputation peaked during the first decade of the twentieth century, partly due to the fervent advocacy of Ambrose Bierce and Jack London; he is now almost entirely forgotten. The title poem of The Testimony of the Suns and Other Poems (coll 1903) is an extended essay in Cosmology whose relegation of Homo sapiens to utter insignificance conveys sensations akin to Horror in SF. Other similar texts include "A Wine of Wizardry" (September 1907 Cosmopolitan), later assembled in A Wine of Wizardry and Other Poems (coll 1909; rev vt A Wine of Wizardry and Three Other Poems 1964); and Lilith: A Dramatic Poem (1926), a verse play in which Lilith, servant of the Devil, opens men's eyes to the dread vacancy of the cosmos. California landscapes backdrop much of his work; his sadly bathetic love of a San Francisco to come is clear in a poem like "The Cool Grey City of Love" (11 December 1920 The Bulletin): "The winds of the Future wait / At the iron walls of her Gate". Sterling is of more direct sf interest for Outland (1910) with Mary Austin, writing together as by Gordon Stairs, a Lost Race tale [for details see her entry]. His six-part Prehistoric SF series "Babes in the Wood" (1 February-15 April 1914 The Popular Magazine) was not assembled in book form. [JC]

George Sterling

born Sag Harbor, New York: 1 December 1869

died San Francisco, California: 17 November 1926

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