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Oddments and Miscellany

Trivia and Notes of Interest

On June 8th, 1957, Basil Wells threw an all day party at his farm in Pennsylvania, having sent out a general invitation via the National Fantasy Fan Federation. Among the guests were such science fiction luminaries as Donald A. Wollheim, Andre Norton, P. Schuyler Miller, Betsy Curtis, Edmond Hamilton and Leigh Brackett. This picnic was recalled in an interview given by Andre Norton and in an email to me by Maggie Thompson, the daughter of science fiction writer Betsy Curtis.

1957 Jun 8 web.jpg (176674 bytes)
Photo courtesy of Maggie Thompson.
Back row from L to R: Basil Wells, Don Thompson, P. Schuyler Miller, Maggie Thompson (née Curtis).
Front row from L to R: Mary Curtis, Margaret Wells.

"A deliciously wacky hunk of screwiness" (!!!) was how a Joe Kennedy of Dover, New Jersey described Wells' short story "Scrambled World" in the readers' letters column of the Summer 1947 issue of Planet Stories.

Wells' original title for the story "Valkyrie from the Void" (Planet Stories, Fall 1948) was "Dryland Trek", a title he much preferred.

Three of Basil Wells' short stories are available to read on-line. "Top it Off with Death" (1946) and "Fog of the Forgotten" (1946) can be downloaded from Larry Estep's On-line Pulps website, and "New Moon" (1941) is available to read at the Real Pulp Fiction website.

A brief obituary for Basil Wells appeared in the June 2004 issue of Locus Magazine. The Locus obituary states that Wells died on May 3, 2004. Wells did in fact pass away on December 23, 2003. Locus ran a correction to their obituary in the October 2004 issue.

Another obituary for Wells appeared in the Gainesville Sun newspaper on December 27, 2003. This obituary gives the correct date for Basil Wells' passing, but strangely makes no mention of his writing career.

Ramble House have republished in 2011 the Basil Wells collections Planets of Adventure and Doorways to Space in a combined edition entitled "The Basil Wells Omnibus." The book has an introduction by Richard A. Lupoff and is available to order directly from the Ramble House website here.

In 1976, shortly before Wells self-published his last two short story collections Little Monsters and Silverskin and Other Little Monsters, he made his first attempt at editing and publishing with a book written by his mother Gertrude Wells (née Worden) about the old way of life in rural Pennsylvania. This book was limited to 500 copies and contains sketches and family reminiscences by Wells' mother, old photographs and an essay by Basil Wells entitled "The End of a Legend."

thesevenofus.jpg (844963 bytes)

Poems by Basil Wells

The Houghton Star (freshman edition), May 20, 1932

"Shadows in a Void"
Fantastic Worlds 5 (fanzine), Fall 1953

Note: An on-line transcription of this poem is available to read at the Fanac website. Please click here to read "Shadows in a Void". With special thanks to Alec MacCall (PhD), who brought to my attention the existence of the poem "Mugs", which was published while Basil Wells was attending Houghton College, N.Y. in 1932.

Unpublished Works

"Fantastic Friends" (poem)

"Aunt Vickry" (short story)

"Bigfoot Hollow" (short story)

"The Plateau Empire" (a novel set on the world of Thrane)

"Island of the Fog Sea" (a short story set on the world of Thrane)

Letters by Basil Wells

"Letter to the Editor"
Future Fiction, November 1940

"Letter to the Editor"
Future Combined with Science Fiction, December 1941

"Letter to the Editor"
Fantastic Collectibles Magazine, No. 137, August 1998

Articles by Basil Wells

"The Trails of Houghton"
The Houghton Star, March 18, 1932

The Houghton Star (freshman edition), May 20, 1932

"War of the Moles"
Agenbite of Inwit (fanzine), Vanguard Amateur Press Association, Vol. 3, No. 1, January 1946

"Money? Sharing of Ideas? Egoboo?"
JD, No. 22, October-November 1955

"Realistic Dreams"
The Burroughs Bulletin, No. 12, 1956

"Thud and Blunder"
JD, No. 23, October 1957

"Thud and Blunder, Then and Now, or Now and Then"
The Pulp Era, No. 67, May-August 1967

"The Westward Tide" (guest editorial)
The Pulp Era: New Series, No. 1, undated (1976?)

"End of a Legend"
The Seven of Us, Gertrude Wells, 1976

"The Pseudonymous Lovecraft"
Xenophile, No. 28, November-December 1976

"Dust Jackets"
The Age of the Unicorn, No. 2, June 1979

"The Last Thousand"
The Age of the Unicorn, No, 5, December 1979

"I Remember Planet" (an article about the pulp magazine Planet Stories)
Other Worlds, No. 2, December 1988

"The Good Neighbors" (an article about Wells' enduring friendship with Leigh Brackett and Edmond Hamilton)
Other Worlds, No. 3, July 1989

"Birth of a Planet" (an article about Wells' series of stories set on the world of Thrane)
Fantastic Collectibles Magazine, No. 114, February 1993

Note: Basil Wells wrote a regular column called "Thud and Blunder" in the TLMA club fanzine, as well as several articles for the magazine Popular Science. If anyone has any further information, or knows of articles by Wells in other publications then I would be very interested in hearing from them. With thanks to Alec MacCall (PhD) who brought to my attention the two articles listed above that were published in The Houghton Star (a school newspaper) in 1932, while Basil Wells was studying at the time at Houghton college, N.Y.

Articles about Basil Wells

"Mini Books of Basil Wells"
Xenophile, Vol. 1, No. 9, December 1974

"Basil Wells and the Weird Tradition" by Armas Salminen
Fantasy Mongers, No. 13, Winter 1984-85

"A Working Class Hero" by Richard A. Lupoff
The Basil Wells Omnibus, Ramble House, 2011

Other Authors and Projects

Among the many other writers I enjoy reading are Raymond F. Jones, Arthur Porges, Jack Ritchie, C. T. Stoneham, Rosemary Timperley, H. B. Hickey, Ursula Bloom and Amelia Reynolds Long.

I am also the author of the following three on-line fiction indexes: The Evening News Short Story Index, An Index to the Fiction Published in The Star and The Daily Mail Fiction Index: 1896 - 1950.



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