On Aug. 8, Wildside Press released “The Best of Don Wilcox, Vol. 1.” This first volume of a two-part set showcases some of the very best work by Lucas native Cleo Eldon “Don” Wilcox. Wilcox was a popular and underappreciated writer from the “Golden Age” of science fiction of the 1940s and 1950s. He published nearly 100 short stories, essays, and novels in a 53-year career.
Born in Lucas in 1905, Wilcox graduated from the University of Kansas and had a successful teaching career before turning to writing for the Ziff-Davis publication group of Chicago. From 1939 through 1952 Wilcox was among the most popular authors in “Amazing Stories”, “Fantastic Adventures” and other Ziff-Davis science fiction/fantasy magazines of the day. Wilcox passed away in 2000 and lies buried in the Lucas Cemetery.
“Lucas author Von Rothenberger had been working on digitizing the complete works of Don Wilcox, a favorite and underappreciated Golden Age writer, and when he approached me with the project, it seemed a perfect fit for Wildside Press,” said publisher John Betancourt. “Both the editor’s introduction and the introduction by noted scholar Mike Ashley...go a long way toward giving Don Wilcox the due he so richly deserves!”
Volume 1 features six Don Wilcox stories, including one of his most famous, “The Whispering Gorilla” (1940), which almost became a feature film. Other works presented are the novel “The Hollow Planet” (1942) and the stories “The Dictator of Peace”(1939), “Whirlpool in Space” (1939), “Mademoiselle Butterfly” (1941) and “Secret of the Stone Doll” (1941). The volume marks the first compilation of any kind of Wilcox’s work since his first story, “The Pit of Death,” appeared in July 1939—a span of 77 years.
A second volume, “The Best of Don Wilcox, Vol. 2” will be released soon. It features seven more stories, including his iconic “The Voyage That Lasted 600 Years” (1940)—the first generation ship story ever written—as well as “Blueflow” (1992), an Arthurian legend story published in England that Wilcox wrote when he was 87 years old.
The celebration of the legacy of Don Wilcox will continue over the next few months as Wildside Press will be reprinting all of Wilcox’s 97 published stories in seven volumes as part of a MEGAPACK! eBook series.
“The Best of Don Wilcox, Vol. I” is available in paperback and eBook forms at Wildside Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online outlets.