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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.
"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."
Poems by Basil Wells
"Shadows in a Void"
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.
"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"
"Letter to the Editor"
"Letter to the Editor"
Articles by Basil Wells
"The Trails of Houghton"
"War of the Moles"
"Money? Sharing of Ideas? Egoboo?"
"Thud and Blunder"
"Thud and Blunder, Then and Now, or Now and Then"
"The Westward Tide" (guest editorial)
"End of a Legend"
"The Pseudonymous Lovecraft"
"The Last Thousand"
"I Remember Planet" (an article about the pulp magazine Planet Stories)
"The Good Neighbors" (an article about Wells' enduring friendship with Leigh
Brackett and Edmond Hamilton)
"Birth of a Planet" (an article about Wells' series of stories set on the
world of Thrane)
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"
"Basil Wells and the Weird Tradition" by Armas Salminen
"A Working Class Hero" by Richard A. Lupoff
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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