Reginald Bretnor

Reginald Bretnor (born Alfred Reginald Kahn; July 30, 1911 – July 22, 1992)[1] was a science fiction author who flourished between the 1950s and 1980s. Most of his fiction was in short story form, and usually featured a whimsical story line or ironic plot twist. He also wrote on military theory and public affairs, and edited some of the earliest books to consider SF from a literary theory and criticism perspective.

Bretnor’s father, Grigory Kahn, was born in Russia, but he and his family left Siberia for Japan in 1917 and later settled in the United States. Bretnor’s mother was born a British subject, became a Russian subject, spent from 1917 to 1920 in Japan, then settled in the United States with her children Reginald and Margaret. Reginald Bretnor himself was born in Vladivostok, Russia. He was married to Helen Harding, a translator and U.C. Berkeley librarian, from 1948 until her death in 1967. He subsequently married Rosalie, whom he referred to in a letter in the Southern Oregon Historical Society Archives as Rosalie McShane, although she wrote under the name Rosalie Bodrero.

According to papers in the SOHS Archives, Bretnor’s military background included service in the last cavalry unit in the U.S. Army. Health issues led to his discharge in August 1941. He tried to reenlist in 1942, but was rejected. He was hired by the Office of War Intelligence to write propaganda to be sent to Japan, and papers related to his work are held in the SOHS Archives. After World War II, Bretnor worked for the U.S. State Department until ill health once again caused him to resign.
He died, aged 80, in Medford, Oregon.

In addition to wars, weaponry and science fiction, Bretnor’s interests included cats. He translated Les Chats, the first known book about cats, written by Augustin Paradis de Moncrif in 1727. He also wrote multiple articles about cats, always owned cats, and considered himself to have a psychic connection to cats.

It has been alleged that Bretnor was an early associate of Anton Szandor LaVey in the days before the founding of the Church of Satan, and that Bretnor and other science fiction authors were members of LaVey's "Order of the Trapezoid" in the early 1950s.[2]

Reginald Bretnor
BornJuly 30, 1911
DiedJuly 22, 1992 (aged 80)


  • Maybe Just A Little One (short story, 1947)[3]
  • A Killing in Swords (1978)
  • The Doorstep, first published in Astounding and later in The Year's Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy.[4]
  • The Man On Top
  • Cat
  • Genius of the Species
  • The Past and Its Dead People
  • Old Uncle Tom Cobleigh and All
  • The Proud Foot of the Conqueror
  • Unknown Things
  • The Timeless Tales of Reginald Bretnor (posthumous collection of 15 short stories)

Papa Schimmelhorn series

  • The Gnurrs Come From the Voodvork Out (short story, 1950)
  • Little Anton (novelette, 1951)
  • Papa Schimmelhorn and the S.O.D.O.M. Serum (1973)
  • Count Von Schimmelhorn and the Time-Pony (novella, 1974)
  • The Ladies of Beetlegoose Nine (novella, 1976)
  • Papa Schimmelhorn's Yang (novelette, 1978)
  • The Schimmelhorn File: Memoirs of a Dirty Old Genius (collection, 1979)
  • Schimmelhorn's Gold (novel, 1986)
  • Nobelist Schimmelhorn (novelette, 1987)


  • The Future at War I: Thor's Hammer (1979, editor)
  • The Future at War II: The Spear of Mars (1980, editor)
  • The Future at War III: Orion's Sword (1980, editor)

Ferdinand Feghoot series

Under the pseudonym Grendel Briarton (an anagram of Reginald Bretnor), he published a series of over eighty science-fiction themed shaggy-dog vignettes featuring the time-traveling hero Ferdinand Feghoot. Known as "Feghoots", the stories involved Feghoot resolving a situation encountered while traveling through time and space (à la Doctor Who) with a bad pun. In one example, he explained his inability to pay his dues for a Sherlock Holmes fan society by turning out his empty pockets and declaring "share lack". In his adventures, Feghoot worked for the Society for the Aesthetic Re-Arrangement of History and traveled via a device that had no name but was typographically represented as the ")(". In 1980, The Compleat Feghoot collected all of Bretnor's Feghoots published up to that time and included a selection of winners and honorable mentions from a contest run by The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. The book is, as of 2006, out of print and very rare.


Arthur Bretnor invited leading SF authors and science writers to participate in virtual "symposiums" by contributing essays (to fill Bretnor's own table of contents)[5] discussing the science fiction genre.

In 1969, Bretnor published a book on warfare titled Decisive Warfare: A Study in Military Theory. Largely unnoticed by his science fiction readership but hinted at by his Future at War series, it proved him a scholar of varied talents.

The collection Of Force and Violence and Other Imponderables: Essays on War, Politics, and Government was published in 1992.

Bretnor also wrote nonfiction articles for the survivalist newsletter P.S. Letter, edited by Mel Tappan.

See also


  1. ^ Fred Flaxman. "Bretnor Biography". Retrieved 2010-02-15.
  2. ^ Barton, Blanche. "The Church of Satan—A Brief History". Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  3. ^ "First publications (by author)". The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  4. ^ The Year's Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy, Judith Merril editor, June 1957, pp. 89-97.
  5. ^ Nicol, Charles (Spring 1974). "Bretnor Returns". Science Fiction Studies #3. DePauw University. Archived from the original on 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  6. ^ Google Book Search: Science Fiction, Today and Tomorrow. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  7. ^ Google Book Search: The Craft of Science Fiction. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  8. ^ Google Book Search: Modern Science Fiction: Its Meaning and Its Future. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
  9. ^ Google Book Search: Modern Science Fiction: Its Meaning and Its Future 'second edition'. Retrieved 2008-12-12.

External links

1911 in science fiction

The year 1911 was marked, in science fiction, by the following events.

Blanche Barton

Blanche Barton (born Sharon Leigh Densely; October 1, 1961) is an American religious leader who is Magistra Templi Rex within the Church of Satan, and is addressed by Satanists as Magistra Barton.


Bretnor may refer to:

Reginald Bretnor (1911–1992), science fiction author

Thomas Bretnor, almanac maker

Bretnor Apartments, a historic apartment block in Portland, Oregon

Dick Francis (illustrator)

Dick Francis is an artist best known for his Galaxy Science Fiction illustrations during the 1950s and 1960s.In 1951-53, Francis was illustrating for Amazing Stories, Fantastic Adventures and Galaxy. In the January 1957 issue of Galaxy, Francis illustrated the lead story by Kris Neville, prompting Gabriel Mckee's comment:

It's for Kris Neville's "Moral Equivalent," the lead story in the same issue of Galaxy. The Bible doesn't figure nearly as much in that story as the illustration suggests.Francis employed a loose, sketchy style that sometimes resembled the illustrational approach of Ed Emshwiller. Unlike Emshwiller, he did not do covers for Galaxy, only interior illustrations. In the January 1954 issue of Galaxy, the interiors were by Francis, Emshwiller, Don Sibley and Sandy Kossin, and editor H. L. Gold employed this core group to illustrate for Galaxy on a regular basis during the 1950s.Francis also contributed to Gold's Beyond Fantasy Fiction. the fantasy companion magazine to Galaxy, beginning with his illustration for Frederik Pohl's "The Ghost Maker" in the January 1954 issue. For Beyond he also illustrated stories by Theodore R. Cogswell and Reginald Bretnor.During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Francis lived at 105 Christopher Street in Greenwich Village.


A feghoot (also known as a story pun or poetic story joke) is a humorous short story or vignette ending in a pun (typically a play on a well-known phrase), where the story contains sufficient context to recognize the punning humor. It can be considered a type of shaggy dog story.

Frank Herbert bibliography

This is a list of works by the science fiction author Frank Herbert.

Genius of the Species

"Genius of the Species" is a short story by Reginald Bretnor (first published with the author name "R. Bretnor"), which originally appeared in the anthology 9 Tales of Space and Time edited by Raymond Healy.

The story is set in the Soviet Union where a rat problem is getting out of control due to the laziness of cats. This problem is solved by a government program to use artificial means to raise the intelligence of cats to an IQ of 20.2 so that they can be taught Marxism and subsequently realize catching rats is for the greater good. However, due to a calculation error on part of the scientist responsible for this program, the cats end up with an IQ of 202 rather than 20.2. With this superior intellect cats become the dominant species in the Communist world.

Grendel (disambiguation)

Grendel is the antagonist in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf.

Grendel or Grendal may also refer to:

In literature:

Grendel's mother, mother of the above Grendel

Grendel (novel), a novel by John Gardner that retells Beowulf from Grendel's point of view

Beowulf and Grendel (book), a 2005 book by John Grigsby

"Grendel" (short story), a short story by Larry Niven written in 1968

Grendel (comics), comic books by Matt Wagner featuring a fictional assassin called Grendel

Grendels, a predatory alien species in the science-fiction novels The Legacy of Heorot and Beowulf's ChildrenIn music:

Grendel (band), a Netherlands-based dark electro/hard EBM band

Grendel (opera), an opera composed by Elliot Goldenthal and directed by Julie Taymor

"Grendel", a song by Marillion, B-side to their first single "Market Square Heroes"

"Grendel", a song on the album Diary by Sunny Day Real Estate

"Grendel", an epic black metal band from ItalyIn media:

Grendel (film), a made-for-television motion picture adaptation of the Beowulf poem produced by the Sci Fi Channel

Grendel Grendel Grendel, an animated film based on John Gardner's novel and starring Peter Ustinov

Beowulf & Grendel, a 2005 film

Grendel, the Holy City in the Scrapped Princess animeIn computing:

Grendel, a species in the artificial life computer program Creatures

Mozilla Grendel, a Java-based e-mail and Usenet client

The NSDF designation given to the Soviet bomber class ship in Battlezone

Grendal, a character in the computer game Mace: The Dark AgePeople:

Grendel Alvarado, a Philippine fashion model

Erik Grendel, a Slovakian footballer

Grendel Briarton, a pseudonym for author Reginald BretnorOther uses:

Grendel, a superheavyweight combat robot in BattleBots

6.5mm Grendel, a rifle cartridge developed by Alexander Arms

Grendel Inc., a United States firearms manufacturer which produced among others:

Grendel P30

Grendel R31

Grendel S16

Grendel's Den, a bar and restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.

Mount Grendal, a mountain in Antarctica

Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories 18 (1956)

Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories 18 (1956) is the eighteenth volume of Isaac Asimov Presents The Great SF Stories, which is a series of short story collections, edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg, which attempts to list the great science fiction stories from the Golden Age of Science Fiction. They date the Golden Age as beginning in 1939 and lasting until 1963.

This volume was originally published by DAW books in August 1988.

Mel Tappan

Mel Tappan (1933 – 1980, born Melrose H. Tappan III) was the editor of the newsletter Personal Survival ("P.S.") Letter and the books Survival Guns and Tappan on Survival. Tappan was an influential leader of the Survivalist movement who advocated relocation to survival retreats in lightly populated regions.


Mermaids! is a themed anthology of fantasy short works edited by American writers Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois. It was first published in paperback by Ace Books in January 1986. It was reissued as an ebook by Baen Books in July 2013.The book collects seventeen novelettes and short stories by various science fiction authors, together with an introductory essay by Avram Davidson and a bibliography of further reading by the editors.

Nancy Tappan

Nancy Tappan was the co-editor of the newsletter Personal Survival ("P.S.") Letter in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She is now the editor of The New Pioneer magazine. Born Nancy Mack, she is the widow of Mel Tappan.

Rubber science

Rubber science is a science fiction term describing a quasi-scientific explanation for an aspect of a science fiction setting. Rubber science explanations are fictional but convincing enough to avoid upsetting the suspension of disbelief. Rubber science is a feature of most genres of science fiction, with the exception of hard science fiction. It is also frequently invoked in comic books.The term was coined by Norman Spinrad in an essay entitled "Rubber Sciences", in Reginald Bretnor's anthology The Craft of Science Fiction.

Sigil of Baphomet

The Sigil of Baphomet is the official insignia of the Church of Satan and is trademarked and copyrighted by the Church of Satan. The Sigil of Baphomet first appeared on the cover of The Satanic Mass LP in 1968 and later on the cover of The Satanic Bible in 1969. The sigil has been called a "material pentagram" representational of carnality and earthy principles. The Church describes the symbol as the "...preeminent visual distillation of the iconoclastic philosophy of Satanism."

Social science fiction

Social science fiction is a subgenre of science fiction, usually (but not necessarily) soft science fiction, concerned less with technology/space opera and more with speculation about society. In other words, it "absorbs and discusses anthropology" and speculates about human behavior and interactions.Exploration of fictional societies is a significant aspect of science fiction, allowing it to perform predictive (The Time Machine (1895); The Final Circle of Paradise, 1965) and precautionary (Brave New World, 1932; Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1949; Childhood's End, Fahrenheit 451, 1953) functions, to criticize the contemporary world (Gulliver's Travels, 1726; the works of Alexander Gromov, 1995 - Present) and to present solutions (Walden Two, Freedom™), to portray alternative societies (World of the Noon) and to examine the implications of ethical principles, as for example in the works of Sergei Lukyanenko.

The Wizards of Odd

The Wizards of Odd is a 1996 English compilation book of humorous short stories by many great writers in the science-fiction/fantasy genre. The stories were compiled by Peter Haining. The book is separated into three sections: Wizards and Wotsits: Stories of Cosmic Absurdity, Swords and Sorcery: Tales of Heroic Fanticy, and Astronauts and Aliens: Space Opera Yarns.

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