Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Friday, February 1, 2013

FORGOTTEN BOOK: 333, a bibliography of the science-fantasy novel

333, a bibliography of the science-fantasy novel by Joseph H. Crawford, Jr., James J. Donahue, and Donald M. Grant (1953).

This little piece of science fiction history was a labor of love  for the three fans who compiled it.  In 1953, Crawford was 21 and had just graduated from Providence College with a BA in political science.  Grant had previously established two small presses (Grant-Hadley Enterprises and The Buffalo Book Company) and in 1948, at age 21, joined with Donahue to form The Grandon Company.  333 was the third book published by Grandon (following Otis Adlebert Kline's The Port of Peril and A. Merrit's Dwellers in the Mirage).  Grant went on to found the publishing company that bears his name, best known (at first) for first edition Robert E. Howard books and (more recently) for first edition Stephen King books.

333 gives a short description of  333 science-fantasy books.  The term science-fantasy is a wide-ranging one and the authors break it down into nine subdivisions:  the gothic romance, the weird tale, science fiction, fantasy, lost race, fantastic adventure, unknown worlds (to indicate the type of fantasy that appeared in Unknown {later Unknown Worlds] magazine, the oriental novel, and associational (works often credited as science-fantasy that really were not).  The book was never meant to be all-inclusive and a number of important works are missing.

The cut-off date for inclusion was 1951; only books published before then are included.  As far as I can tell only hardcover books are listed; paperback science fiction/fantasy works were few and far between in the early 50s.  In fact, hardcover works of science fiction and fantasy were also pretty scarce at that time.  A number of books listed were published by the few small press outfits specializing in science fiction at that time (Gnome Press, Fantasy House, etc.); a good number were books that Mary Gnaedinger had reprinted in Famous Fantastic Mysteries; and a heck of a lot of them were obscure titles that I had never heard of.

Being, at its heart, a fan publication, there are flaws.  The listed authors' names are given as they appeared on the books themselves, depending on what edition was read.  Thus La Motte Fougue's Undine is listed as by F. Lamotte Fougue, and there is no indication that George U. Fletcher was really Fletcher Pratt or that Will Stewart was Jack Williamson (the entries under those pseudonyms were more famously later republished under the authors' real names).  No mention that Jack Mann and E. charles Vivian were the same person.  The plot summary for L. Sprague de Camp and P. Schuyler Miller's Genus Homo was mistakenly listed under de Camp' and Pratt's The Incomplete Enchanter.  Strangely, Talbot Mundy's The Purple Pirate and Queen Cleopatra (both later parts, albeit one tangently, of his Tros cycle) are listed, although 1934's  progenitor Tros of Samothrace is not.

The book's greatest strength (IMHO) -- and possibly one of its geatest weaknesses -- is that the plot descriptions are just that:  descriptions.  There is no editorializing, no Gosh! Wow! This is great! comments or personal prejudices added.  But this also means that no historical perspective is given.

333, along with E. F. Blieler's Checklist of Fantastic Literature (1948) and Bradford M. Day's various checklists and bibliographies, was one of those sublimely interesting volumes that paved the way for science fiction studies.

A number of the more obscure items listed in the book have been recently been republished by Black Dog, Ramble House, and other small presses (and some had earlier been reprinted by Grant's Centaur Press).  Many  of the items are -- and still remain -- "Forgotten Books."

Here's a listing of the authors (and collaborations) this book covers.  How many names do you recognize?

Joseph Bushnell Ames, Edwin Lester Arnold, Herbert Asbury, Isaac Asimov, Frank Aubrey.

Edwin Balmer & Philip Wylie, J. M. Barrie, Richard Barry, Charles Willing Beale, Jack Bechdolt, William Beckford, Robert Ames Bennett, Pierre Benoit, J. D. Beresford, Herbert Best, William Beyer, Alfred H. Bill, Eando Binder, Elizabeth G. Birkmeier, Farnham Bishop & Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur, Algernon Blackwood, Mabel Fuller Blodgett, Nelson Bond, William R. Bradshaw, Precy Brebner, Charles Brockden Brown, Fredric Brown, Joseph M. Brown, Muriel Bruce, John buchan, Edward C. Bulwer-Lytton, Edgar Rice Burroughs.

John W. Cambell, Jr., Karel Capek, Robert W. Chambers, Mark Channing, David Cheyney, George Randolph Chester, William L. Chester, Hal Clement, Herbert Clock & Eric Boetzel, Stanton A. Coblentz, Gilbert Collins, Erle Cox, Isabell C. Crawford, S. R. Crockett, Ray Cummings.

L. Sprague de Camp, [L. Sprague de Camp & P. Schuyler Miller -- authors' names and book title omitted, as explained above], L. Sprague de Camp & Fletcher Pratt, Warwick Deeping, Walter de la Mare, Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, H. B. Drake, Alexander Dumas, Lord Dunsany.

E. R. Eddington, Gawain Edwards, Max Ehrligh, Willis George Emerson, Guy Endore, George Allan England, Hanns Heinz Ewers.

Ralph Milne Farley, Claude Farrere, Charles G. Finney, George U. Fletcher, C. S. Forrester, Dion Fortune, Jay Franklin, Oscar Friend.

Ganpat, Francis Gerard, Hugo Gernsback, Robert Graves, Fitzhugh Green, Franklin Gregory.

H. Rider Haggard, Harry F. Haley, Leland Hall, Edmond Hamilton, Milo Hastings, H. F. heard, Robert Heinlein, Louis Herrman, James Hilton, William Hope Hodgson, Robert E. Howard, Thomas Temple Hoyne, L. Ron Hubbard, W. H. Hudson, Barbara Hunt, C. J. Cutcliffe Hyne.

Eleanor Ingram.

M.R. James, Thomas A. Janvier, Edgar Jepson.

David H. Keller, James Paul Kelly, Jessie Douglas Kerruish, Otis Adelbert Kline, Henry Kuttner.

Slater La Master, Harold Lamb, Fouque F. Lamotte [see explaination, above], Fritz Leiber, Murray Leinster, C. S. Lewis, M. G. Lewis, Jack London, H. P. Lovecraft, H. P. Lovecraft & August Derleth.

Dorothy Macardle, Arthur MacArthur, Arthur Machen, Fred MacIssac, Jack Mann, Captain Marryat, Richard Marsh, Edison Marshall, Walter S. Masterman, Charles Robert Maturin, Judith Merril, A. Merritt, A. Merritt & Hannes Bok, J. A. Mitchell, J. Leslie Mitchell, Ward Moore, Louis Moresby, Talbot Mundy.

Arthur A. Nelson, J. U. Nicholson, Alfred Noyes, Pierrepont B. Noyes.

Joseph O'Neill, Baroness Orczy, George Orwell.

David Parry, Festus Pragnell.

Dorothy Quick.

Mrs. Ann Ratcliffe (Radcliffe), George B(rydges) Rodney, Sax Rohmer, Eroic Frank Russell.

Edwoin L. Sabin, Juanita Savage, Frank Savile, C. E. Scoggins, Ella Scrymsour, Charles Summer Seeley, Robert W. Service, Garrett P Serviss, Edward Shanks, Mary W. Shelley, R. C. Sherriff, M. P. Shiel, Francis Sibson, Clifford D, Simak, William Sloane, Arthur D. Howden Smith, Edward . Smith & Mrs. Lee Hawkins Garby, George O. Smith, Wayland Smith, (W.) Olaf Stapledon, James Stephens, Will Stewart, J. C. Snaith, Edmuns Snell, Bram Stoker, [the anonymous author of A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder; i.e, James DeMille], Theodore Sturgeon, Alan Sullivan, Van Tassel Sutphen, Virginia Swain.

John Taine, Signe Toksvig, Arthur Train & Robert Williams Wood, Mark Twain.

A. E. van Vogt, Jules Verne, A Hyatt Verrill, E. Charles Vivian, Horace Walpole, Evangeline Walton, William Henry Walter, Stanley G. Weinbaum, H. G. Wells, Dennis Wheatley, T. H. White [this was before several novels were collected in the omnibus The Once and Future King, remember], Oscar Wilde, T. A. Willard, Jack Williamson, G. McLeod Winsor, S. Fowler Wright, Philip Wylie.

Francis Brett Young.

Arthur Leo Zagat.

Here's the link to 333.  It's a fun book to dip into and maybe you'll be inspired to look up some of these titles and give them a try.

Evan Lewis has the reins for today's Forgotten Books at his blog, Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and the Wild West.  Be there or be square.


  1. I recognize most of those names...if you ask how many I've read, that fraction narrows considerably...

  2. I suspect there have been few people named Slater La Master in human history...

  3. Which Slater La Master are we talking about? The one from Boston? Or the one from Pittsburg? Or the one from Houston? The red-headed Slater La Master, or the one with a scar?

  4. The economics of today's publishing make a book like 333 an impossibility. Maybe as an ebook. I occasionally look at the shelf of reference books I own and realize they're relics of a completely different publishing model.

    1. Sad, but true, George. I understand that's the reason Bill Pronzini and Marcia Muller never did a follow-up to 1001 MIDNIGHTS.

    2. Well...the small presses are still game, if slow...but the truly enormous references, such as the new ClutePedia, might just live online more readily...

  5. Look at the recent freshet of 100 BOOKS compilations, for example...and most of them from main-line publishers...