Look what just came in the mail: a copy of Murray Leinster: the Life and Works, by his daughters Billee J. Stallings and Jo-an J. Evans. This the first biography ever of Will F. Jenkins, the man who wrote science fiction under the name of Murray Leinster and indeed who invented a great deal of what we call science fiction. In the introduction, James Gunn notes that "He originated more SF concepts than any writer since H.G. Wells." Think about that. More than Heinlein! More than Asimov! More than Clarke!
But what really knocks me out most on a visceral level is the photograph in the book (shown above in an admittedly crude snapshot) of the 13--year-old Will proudly posing with the glider which he built and flew himself.
They built boys spunky back then. And competent.
Those of you who need this book sufficiently to drop forty bucks on a trade paperback (and you know who you are) can buy it directly from McFarland here. Or, if you're feeling virtuous, you can order it through a bookstore.
And speaking of Billee . . .
I've actually met Billee Stallings and think very highly of her. At a recent convention, she gave an hour-long presentation on her father and her book. Marianne video'd it and I put it up in six installments on YouTube.
You can view the first segment here.
The second segment here.
The third segment here.
The fourth segment here.
The fifth segment here.
And the sixth segment here.
There are also rumors that the New York Review of Science Fiction reading series in New York City is going to be doing a special Murray Leinster evening. If and when that happens, I'll let you know.