Baird Searles

William Baird Searles (1934–1993) was a science fiction author and critic. He was best known for his long running review columns for the magazines Asimov's (reviewing books), Amazing, and Fantasy & Science Fiction (reviewing films, television and related media). He also did occasional reviews for other publications, including The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and The Village Voice. He wrote several non-fiction works on the science fiction genre. Searles managed a science fiction and fantasy bookstore in New York City's Greenwich Village, the Science Fiction Shop, which is no longer in business.

From about 1963 through 1971, Baird Searles was the Drama and Literature director at WBAI, a listener-sponsored Pacifica Foundation radio station in New York City. He had a beautiful and mellifluous voice for reading and narrating stories, and was an innovative producer and host. On one of his programs, "The New Symposium" broadcast in 1968, he discussed issues 'for and by the homosexual community', being very possibly the first person to bring gay issues in a positive light to broadcast media on a regular basis.

At a time when radio drama had waned to a trickle of obscurity, Searles kept the art alive with collaborators from the science fiction/fantasy community working directly with such writers as Joanna Russ, Roger Zelazny, Theodore Sturgeon and Samuel R. Delany. Searles' two-hour adaptation of Delany's "The Star Pit" was narrated by the author and won critical acclaim. He produced and narrated a complete serialized dramatic reading of Olaf Stapledon's epic novel, "Last and First Men". He also produced a dramatized reading of the "Gormenghast" trilogy by the late British author Mervyn Peake, which helped bring these novels to the attention of readers in the U.S. His weekly series, "Of Unicorns and Universes," was the only program of critical commentary on science fiction and fantasy in its day.

After Searles left WBAI to concentrate on writing, editing, and running his bookstore, he returned to WBAI to narrate "The Council of Elrond" from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Searles and producers Jim Freund, Margot Adler and David Marx authenticated the pronunciations of the characters and the languages by speaking on the phone with Professor Tolkien. This 100-minute reading is still broadcast every year in late December on Jim Freund's "Hour of the Wolf".[1]

Searles and his partner Martin Last moved from New York to Montreal in about 1990, and became involved in the scifi community there. Searles died in 1993 and Last continued to live in Montreal until his death in 2006.


  • The Science Fiction Quizbook - cowritten with Martin Last (1976)
  • A Reader's Guide to Science Fiction - cowritten with Martin Last, Beth Meacham, and Michael Franklin (1979)
  • A Reader's Guide to Fantasy - cowritten with Beth Meacham and Michael Franklin (1982)
  • Films of Science Fiction and Fantasy (1988)


  1. ^ Hour of the Wolf

External links

Baird (given name)

Baird is a given name which may refer to:

Baird Bryant (1927-2008), American cinematographer and filmmaker

Baird Searles (1934-1993), American science fiction author and critic

Baird T. Spalding (1858–1953), American writer

Baird Tipson, American academic and college administrator

Beth Meacham

Beth Meacham (born 1951) is an American writer and editor, best known as a longtime top editor with Tor Books.

Codex Seraphinianus

Codex Seraphinianus, originally published in 1981, is an illustrated encyclopedia of an imaginary world, created by Italian artist, architect and industrial designer Luigi Serafini during 30 months from 1976 to 1978. It is approximately 360 pages (depending on edition) and written in a cipher alphabet in a constructed language.Originally published in Italy, it has been released in several countries.

Darkover series

The Darkover series is a science fiction-fantasy chronology consisting of several novels and short stories set in the fictional world of Darkover as created by author Marion Zimmer Bradley. The word "Darkover" is a registered trademark owned by the Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust.

Commenting on the significance of the Darkover series, science fiction author Baird Searles said that the books were "destined to be The Foundation of the 1970s".

Forbidden Planet (bookstore)

Forbidden Planet is the trading name of two separate science fiction, fantasy and horror bookshop chains across the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States, and is named after the 1956 feature film of the same name.

The shops sell, in addition to books, comic books, graphic novels, manga, DVDs, video games, and a wide variety of toys, clothing and other collectible merchandise.

Hour of the Wolf (radio show)

Hour of the Wolf is a long-running radio program devoted to speculative fiction. Named after an Ingmar Bergman film of the same title, the program was originally hosted and produced by Margot Adler in 1972. Since 1974 it has been hosted by Jim Freund on WBAI in New York.Freund's guests on the show have included speculative fiction writers such as Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C Clarke, Lester Del Rey, Samuel R. Delany, Thomas M. Disch, Joe Haldeman, Frank Herbert, Christopher Lee, Ursula K. Le Guin, Frederik Pohl, Baird Searles, Norman Spinrad, Kurt Vonnegut, Gahan Wilson, Roger Zelazny, and many others.The program ended its 38-year run in the Saturday 5-7 AM time slot on the morning of November 13, 2010, with Adler joining Freund for the occasion. In early December 2010 the show began a new run on early Thursday mornings from 1:30 - 3:00 AM. In February 2017 the slot was extended to run from 1:-3: AM, returning its duration to two hours.

Jane Gaskell

Jane Gaskell is a British fantasy writer. She was born on July 7, 1941, in Lancaster, England and wrote her first novel Strange Evil, when she was 14. It was published two years later and was described by John Grant as "a major work of the fantastic

imagination", comparing it to George MacDonald's Lilith and

David Lindsay's A Voyage to Arcturus. China Miéville lists Strange Evil as one of the top 10 examples of weird fiction whilst John Clute called it "an astonishingly imaginative piece of fantasy by any standards."Gaskell's horror novel The Shiny Narrow Grin (1964) featured a sympathetic, tormented vampire and was described by Brian Stableford as one of the first "revisionist

vampire novels", whose most successful exemplar was Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. The Shiny Narrow Grin was also listed by horror historian Robert S. Hadji

in his list of "unjustedly neglected" horror novels.Her Atlan saga is set in prehistoric South America and in the mythical world of Atlantis. The series is written from the point of view of its clumsy heroine Cija, except for the last book, which is narrated by her daughter Seka. In 1970 she received the Somerset Maugham Award for her novel A Sweet Sweet Summer

(jointly with Piers Paul Read who received it for his Monk Dawson.) A Sweet, Sweet Summer features aliens visiting a violent future Earth; Baird Searles stated the book makes "

A Clockwork Orange look like Winnie the Pooh".From the 1960s to the 1980s, Gaskell worked as a journalist on the Daily Mail. She later became a professional astrologer.

Jennifer Slept Here

Jennifer Slept Here is an American fantasy sitcom that ran for one season on NBC from October 21, 1983, to September 5, 1984. The series was a Larry Larry production in association with Columbia Pictures Television.

Land of Unreason

Land of Unreason is a fantasy novel by American writers Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp. It was first published in the fantasy magazine Unknown Worlds for October, 1941 as "The Land of Unreason". Revised and expanded, it was first published in book form by Henry Holt and Company in 1942. It has been reprinted numerous times since by various publishers, including by Ballantine Books in January 1970 as the tenth volume of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series. An E-book edition was published by Gollancz's SF Gateway imprint on September 29, 2011 as part of a general release of de Camp's works in electronic form.

Nebula Award Stories Seventeen

Nebula Award Stories Seventeen is an anthology of award winning science fiction short works edited by Joe Haldeman. It was first published in hardcover by Holt, Rinehart and Winston in August 1983; a paperback edition was issued by Ace Books in June 1985 under the variant title Nebula Award Stories 17.

Science fiction, fantasy and horror bookstores

Beginning in the 1970s, with the popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series, a variety of independent bookstores specializing in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and related genres (often mystery, comics, games, and/or collectibles), began opening. Among the first were Bakka-Phoenix Bookstore in Toronto and A Change of Hobbit in Southern California, both established in 1972. As independent bookstores suffered during the business shifts of the late 20th and early 21st century, many of these closed. During their heyday, however, they were a key part of science fiction fandom, facilitating not just publishing, distribution, and promotion of books, but public events, social events, and community-building.

Tappan Wright King

Tappan Wright King (born 1950) is an American editor and author in the field of fantasy fiction, best known for editing The Twilight Zone Magazine and its

companion publication Night Cry in the late 1980s. Much of his work has appeared under a shorter form of his name, Tappan King. He is the grandson of legal scholar and utopian novelist Austin Tappan Wright and the husband of author and editor Beth Meacham. He and his wife live near Tucson, Arizona.

The Black Wheel

The Black Wheel is a fantasy novel by American writers A. Merritt and Hannes Bok. Merritt had completed the first seven chapters, roughly 20,000 words, before his death in 1943. Bok wrote the remainder of the novel, twenty chapters of more than 60,000 words, working from "a sketchy plot outline" left by Merritt. The story concerns the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, complete with the preserved bodies of its crew, and the consequences for the passengers and crew of the cruise ship that comes across it.

The Book of Skulls

The Book of Skulls is a science fiction novel by Robert Silverberg, which was first published in 1972. It was nominated for the Nebula Award in 1972, and both the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1973.

The Final Programme (film)

The Final Programme is a 1973 British fantasy science fiction-thriller film directed by Robert Fuest, and starring Jon Finch and Jenny Runacre. It was based on the first Jerry Cornelius novel (also called The Final Programme) by Michael Moorcock. It was distributed in the United States and elsewhere as The Last Days of Man on Earth. Of Moorcock's many novels, it is the only one to have reached the screen.

The Lurker at the Threshold

The Lurker at the Threshold is a horror novel by American writer August Derleth, based on short fragments written by H. P. Lovecraft, who died in 1937, and published as a collaboration between the two authors. According to S. T. Joshi, of the novel's 50,000 words, 1,200 were written by Lovecraft.The novel was originally published in 1945 by Arkham House in a hardcover edition of 3,041 copies, listed as the second (and final) volume in the "Library of Arkham House Novels of Fantasy and Terror". A British hardcover followed from Museum Press in 1948. The first British paperback was issued in 1970, with an American paperback published by Beagle Books in 1971. The novel has since been regularly reissued by Ballantine Books, then by Carroll & Graf. A French translation, Le rôdeur devant le seuil, appeared in 1973.The Lurker at the Threshold was included in The Watchers Out of Time and Others, the 1974 Arkham House omnibus edition of Derleth's stories credited as collaborations with Lovecraft (but excluded from similarly titled paperback editions compiling those stories).

Twentieth-Century Science-Fiction Writers

Twentieth-Century Science-Fiction Writers is a book by Curtis C. Smith published in October 1981 on science fiction authors in the 20th century. It is the third in the St. Martin's Press's Twentieth-Century Writers of the English Language series with the others being Twentieth-Century Crime and Mystery Writers and Twentieth-Century Children's Writers.


WBAI (99.5 MHz), is a non-commercial, listener-supported radio station licensed to New York City. WBAI is a Freeform radio station, staffed mostly by volunteers. Its programming is a mixture of progressive political news, talk and opinion from a left-leaning, liberal or progressive viewpoint, music programming featuring a variety of music genres and programs that serve New York City's minority communities. The station is owned by the Pacifica Foundation with studios located in Brooklyn and transmitter located at 4 Times Square.

World Fantasy Convention

The World Fantasy Convention is an annual convention of professionals, collectors, and others interested in the field of fantasy. The World Fantasy Awards are presented at the event. Other features include an art show, a dealer's room, and an autograph reception.The convention was conceived and begun by T. E. D. Klein, Kirby McCauley and several others.

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