David Wright O'Brien

David Wright O’Brien (1918–1944) was an American fantasy and science fiction writer. A nephew of Farnsworth Wright, editor of Weird Tales, he was 22 years old when his first story ("Truth Is a Plague!") appeared in the February 1940 issue of Amazing Stories.[1] Between January 1941 and August 1942, he had more than fifty-seven stories published in pulp magazines like Amazing Stories and Fantastic Adventures,[2] most of them written under the pen names John York Cabot, Duncan Farnsworth, Clee Garson and Richard Vardon. Some of the stories were co-written with his close friend William P. McGivern, with whom O'Brien shared an office in Chicago. He continued writing even after he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, adding “corporal” before all his pseudonyms. O’Brien died at age twenty-six, while flying a bombing raid over Berlin.[3]

Short stories

Amazing stories 194004
O'Brien's second published story, "Fish Men of Venus" was cover-featured on the April 1940 issue of Amazing Stories, illustrated by H. R. Hammond
Fantastic adventures 194101
O'Brien's novella "The Floating Robot" was the cover story for the January 1941 issue of Fantastic Adventures, illustrated by Harold W. McCauley
Fantastic adventures 194201
O'Brien's novella "The Daughter of Genghis Khan", published under his John York Cabot byline, was the cover story for the January 1942 issue of Fantastic Adventures, illustrated by Harold W. McCauley
  • Truth Is a Plague! (Amazing Stories February 1940)
  • Treasure Trove in Time (Amazing Stories November 1940)
  • The Man the World Forgot (1940) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Fish Men of Venus (1940)
  • John Brown's Body (Amazing Stories May 1940) with William P. McGivern
  • Trapped on Titan (Amazing Stories June 1940)
  • Suicide Squadrons of Space (Amazing Stories August 1940)
  • The Strange Voyage of Hector Squinch (1940)
  • The Genius of Mr. Pry (1941) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • The Truthful Liar (1941) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • The Goddess of Love (1941) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • Miracle at Dunkirk (1941) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Problem on Mars (1941) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • Three Terrible People (1941) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Bill of Rights, 5000 A.D. (1941) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • The Man Who Murdered Himself (1941) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • Twenty-Fifth Century Sherlock (1941) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • The Thought Robot (1941) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • The Floating Robot (1941)
  • Skidmore's Strange Experiment (1941)
  • Hammer of the Gods (1941) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • The Last Analysis (1941) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Murder in the Past (1941) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • The Man Who Lived Next Week (1941)
  • Beyond the Time Door (1941)
  • The Man Who Forgot (1941) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Return of the Space Hawk (1941) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • Secret of the Lost Planet (1941)
  • Pepper Pot Planet (1941) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • 10 Seconds from Nowhere (1941)
  • The Man Who Got Everything (1941) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Mr. Muddle Does as He Pleases (1941) with William P. McGivern
  • Ferdinand Finknodle's Perfect Day (1941)
  • Mystery of the Mummy (1941) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • Sergeant Shane of the Space Marines (1941) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Nicolbee's Nightmare (1941) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • The Odds on Sergeant Shane (1941) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Rayhouse in Space (1941) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • The Beauty and the Beasties (1941)
  • The Legend of Mark Shayne (1942) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Daughter of the Snake God (1942) with William P. McGivern [only as by William P. McGivern and John York Cabot ]
  • Talu's Fan (1942) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • The Daughter of Genghis Khan (1942) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • V is for Vengeance (1942) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • The Outsiders (1942) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • The Tenant on the 13th Floor (1942) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Marlow's Malicious Mirror (1942) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Madagascar Ghost (1942) [only as by Clee Garson ]
  • The Incredible Antique (1942) [only as by Bruce Dennis ]
  • Sharbeau's Startling Statue (1942) [only as by Clee Garson ]
  • That Dreadful Night (1942) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Mr. Hibbard's Magic Hat (1942) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Cupid Takes a Holiday (1942) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • The Giant from Jupiter (1942) with William P. McGivern [only as by Gerald Vance and Bruce Dennis ]
  • Afraid to Live (1942) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • The Fantastic Twins (1942) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Spook for Yourself (1942)
  • Q Ship of Space (1942) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • The Man Who Changed History (1942) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Suicide Ship to Earth (1942) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • The Living Manikins (1942)
  • Lord of the Crystal Bow (1942) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • Twenty-Four Terrible Hours (1942) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Return of Joan of Arc (1942)
  • Sergeant Shane Goes to War (1942) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • The Incredible Mr. Kismet (1942)
  • Blitzkrieg in the Past (1942) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Squadron of the Damned (1942)
  • Hokum Hotel (1942)
  • The Case of Jonathan Lane (1942) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Creegar Dares to Die (1942)
  • Resurrection from Hell (1942)
  • Flight from Farisha (1942) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • Pegasus Plays Priorities (1942)
  • Rats in the Belfry (1943) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • The Money Machine (1943) [only as by Clee Garson ]
  • Direct Wire (1943) [only as by Clee Garson ]
  • Have You Seen Me? (1943) [only as by Richard Vardon ]
  • The Last Case of Jules de Granjerque (1943) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • The Merchant of Venus (1943) [only as by Clee Garson ]
  • Where in the Warehouse? (1943) [only as by Bruce Dennis ]
  • Trail of the Magic Slippers (1943) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • The Other Abner Small (1943) [only as by Clee Garson ]
  • Club of the Damned (1943) [only as by Clee Garson ]
  • The Great Train Robbery (1943) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Saunders' Strange Second Sight (1943) [only as by Clee Garson ]
  • Mister Trouble (1943)
  • Yesterday's Clock (1943)
  • Victory from the Void (1943) with William P. McGivern
  • Bring Back My Body (1943)
  • Periscope Prey (1943)
  • Furlough from Eternity (1943)
  • The Curious Coat (1943)
  • Stenton's Shadow (1943)
  • The Devil's Planet (1943)
  • I'll See You Again (1944) [only as by Duncan Farnsworth ]
  • Matches and Kings (1944) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Time on Your Hands (1944) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • The Place Is Familiar (1944)
  • Private Prune Speaking (1944)
  • Mister Anonymous (1945)
  • A Room with a View (1946)
  • Christopher Crissom's Cravat (1946)
  • The Softly Silken Wallet (1946)
  • Painting of the Prophet (1947)
  • The Spoilers of Lern (1951) [only as by Clee Garson ]
  • Let's Give Away Mars! (1951) [only as by Clee Garson ]
  • The Martian Cross (1952) [only as by Clee Garson ]


  • Introduction to a Stranger (1939)


  • Meet the Authors: David Wright O'Brien (1940)
  • It's a Wonderful World! (1941) [only as by John York Cabot ]
  • Progress Is a Headache (1941) [only as by John York Cabot ]


  1. ^ Marshall B. Tymm, Science fiction, fantasy, and weird fiction magazines. Greenwood Press, 1985. ISBN 978-0-313-21221-5
  2. ^ Terry Carr, Classic science fiction: the first golden age. HarperCollins, 1978. ISBN 978-0-06-010634-8
  3. ^ Michael Ashley, Time Machines: The Story of the Science-Fiction Pulp Magazines from the Beginning to 1950. Liverpoll University Press, 2001. ISBN 978-0-85323-855-3

External links

2015 in public domain

This is a list of authors whose works enter the public domain in part of the world in 2015.

Amazing Stories

Amazing Stories is an American science fiction magazine launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback's Experimenter Publishing. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction. Science fiction stories had made regular appearances in other magazines, including some published by Gernsback, but Amazing helped define and launch a new genre of pulp fiction.

As of 2018, Amazing has been published, with some interruptions, for ninety-two years, going through a half-dozen owners and many editors as it struggled to be profitable. Gernsback was forced into bankruptcy and lost control of the magazine in 1929. In 1938 it was purchased by Ziff-Davis, who hired Raymond A. Palmer as editor. Palmer made the magazine successful though it was not regarded as a quality magazine within the science fiction community. In the late 1940s Amazing presented as fact stories about the Shaver Mystery, a lurid mythos that explained accidents and disaster as the work of robots named deros, which led to dramatically increased circulation but widespread ridicule. Amazing switched to a digest size format in 1953, shortly before the end of the pulp-magazine era. It was sold to Sol Cohen's Universal Publishing Company in 1965, which filled it with reprinted stories but did not pay a reprint fee to the authors, creating a conflict with the newly formed Science Fiction Writers of America. Ted White took over as editor in 1969, eliminated the reprints and made the magazine respected again: Amazing was nominated for the prestigious Hugo Award three times during his tenure in the 1970s. Several other owners attempted to create a modern incarnation of the magazine in the following decades, but publication was suspended after the March 2005 issue. A new incarnation appeared in July 2012 as an online magazine. Print publication resumed with the Fall 2018 issue.

Gernsback's initial editorial approach was to blend instruction with entertainment; he believed science fiction could educate readers. His audience rapidly showed a preference for implausible adventures, and the movement away from Gernsback's idealism accelerated when the magazine changed hands in 1929. Despite this, Gernsback had an enormous impact on the field: the creation of a specialist magazine for science fiction spawned an entire genre publishing industry. The letter columns in Amazing, where fans could make contact with each other, led to the formation of science fiction fandom, which in turn had a strong influence on the development of the field. Writers whose first story was published in the magazine include John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Howard Fast, Ursula K. Le Guin, Roger Zelazny, and Thomas M. Disch. Overall, though, Amazing itself was rarely an influential magazine within the genre after the 1920s. Some critics have commented that by "ghettoizing" science fiction, Gernsback harmed its literary growth, but this viewpoint has been countered by the argument that science fiction needed an independent market to develop in to reach its potential.

Fantastic Adventures

Fantastic Adventures was an American pulp fantasy and science fiction magazine, published from 1939 to 1953 by Ziff-Davis. It was initially edited by Raymond A. Palmer, who was also the editor of Amazing Stories, Ziff-Davis's other science fiction title. The first nine issues were in bedsheet format, but in June 1940 the magazine switched to a standard pulp size. It was almost cancelled at the end of 1940, but the October 1940 issue enjoyed unexpectedly good sales, helped by a strong cover by J. Allen St. John for Robert Moore Williams' Jongor of Lost Land. By May 1941 the magazine was on a regular monthly schedule. Historians of science fiction consider that Palmer was unable to maintain a consistently high standard of fiction, but Fantastic Adventures soon developed a reputation for light-hearted and whimsical stories. Much of the material was written by a small group of writers under both their own names and house names. The cover art, like those of many other pulps of the era, focused on beautiful women in melodramatic action scenes. One regular cover artist was H.W. McCauley, whose glamorous "MacGirl" covers were popular with the readers, though the emphasis on depictions of attractive and often partly clothed women did draw some objections.

In 1949 Palmer left Ziff-Davis and was replaced by Howard Browne, who was knowledgeable and enthusiastic about fantasy fiction. Browne briefly managed to improve the quality of the fiction in Fantastic Adventures, and the period around 1951 has been described as the magazine's heyday. Browne lost interest when his plan to take Amazing Stories upmarket collapsed, and the magazine fell back into predictability. In 1952, Ziff-Davis launched another fantasy magazine, titled Fantastic, in a digest format; it was successful, and within a few months the decision was taken to end Fantastic Adventures in favor of Fantastic. The March 1953 issue of Fantastic Adventures was the last.

Farnsworth Wright

Farnsworth Wright (July 29, 1888 – June 12, 1940) was the editor of the pulp magazine Weird Tales during the magazine's heyday, editing 179 issues from November 1924-March 1940. Jack Williamson called Wright "the first great fantasy editor".

History of US science fiction and fantasy magazines to 1950

Science fiction and fantasy magazines began to be published in the United States in the 1920s. Stories with science fiction themes had been appearing for decades in pulp magazines such as Argosy, but there were no magazines that specialized in a single genre until 1915, when Street & Smith, one of the major pulp publishers, brought out Detective Story Magazine. The first magazine to focus solely on fantasy and horror was Weird Tales, which was launched in 1923, and established itself as the leading weird fiction magazine over the next two decades; writers such as H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard became regular contributors. In 1926 Weird Tales was joined by Amazing Stories, published by Hugo Gernsback; Amazing printed only science fiction, and no fantasy. Gernsback included a letter column in Amazing Stories, and this led to the creation of organized science fiction fandom, as fans contacted each other using the addresses published with the letters. Gernsback wanted the fiction he printed to be scientifically accurate, and educational, as well as entertaining, but found it difficult to obtain stories that met his goals; he printed "The Moon Pool" by Abraham Merritt in 1927, despite it being completely unscientific. Gernsback lost control of Amazing Stories in 1929, but quickly started several new magazines. Wonder Stories, one of Gernsback's titles, was edited by David Lasser, who worked to improve the quality of the fiction he received. Another early competitor was Astounding Stories of Super-Science, which appeared in 1930, edited by Harry Bates, but Bates printed only the most basic adventure stories with minimal scientific content, and little of the material from his era is now remembered.

In 1933 Astounding was acquired by Street & Smith, and it soon became the leading magazine in the new genre, publishing early classics such as Murray Leinster's "Sidewise in Time" in 1934. A couple of competitors to Weird Tales for fantasy and weird fiction appeared, but none lasted, and the 1930s is regarded as Weird Tales' heyday. Between 1939 and 1941 there was a boom in science fiction and fantasy magazines: several publishers entered the field, including Standard Magazines, with Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories (a retitling of Wonder Stories); Popular Publications, with Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories; and Fiction House, with Planet Stories, which focused on melodramatic tales of interplanetary adventure. Ziff-Davis launched Fantastic Adventures, a fantasy companion to Amazing. Astounding extended its pre-eminence in the field during the boom: the editor, John W. Campbell, developed a stable of young writers that included Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and A.E. van Vogt. The period starting in 1938, when Campbell took control of Astounding, is often referred to as the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Well-known stories from this era include Slan, by van Vogt, and "Nightfall", by Asimov. Campbell also launched Unknown, a fantasy companion to Astounding, in 1939; this was the first serious competitor for Weird Tales. Although wartime paper shortages forced Unknown's cancellation in 1943, it is now regarded as one of the most influential pulp magazines.

Only eight science fiction and fantasy magazines survived World War II. All were still in pulp magazine format except for Astounding, which had switched to a digest format in 1943. Astounding continued to publish popular stories, including "Vintage Season" by C. L. Moore, and "With Folded Hands ..." by Jack Williamson. The quality of the fiction in the other magazines improved over the decade: Startling Stories and Thrilling Wonder in particular published some excellent material and challenged Astounding for the leadership of the field. A few more pulps were launched in the late 1940s, but almost all were intended as vehicles to reprint old classics. One exception, Out of This World Adventures, was an experiment by Avon, combining fiction with some pages of comics. It was a failure and lasted only two issues. Magazines in digest format began to appear towards the end of the decade, including Other Worlds, edited by Raymond Palmer. In 1949, the first issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction appeared, followed in October 1950 by the first issue of Galaxy Science Fiction; both were digests, and between them soon dominated the field. Very few science fiction or fantasy pulps were launched after this date; the 1950s was the beginning of the era of digest magazines, though the leading pulps continued until the mid-1950s, and authors began selling to mainstream magazines and large book publishers.

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