A prolific if under-appreciated writer from the Golden Age of science fiction haled from Lucas, Kansas. Now Wildside Press has published “The Best of Don Wilcox, Volume II,” the second volume of a two-part set showcasing some of the very best science fiction/fantasy work by Cleo Eldon “Don” Wilcox.
Wilcox published over 100 short stories, essays and novels in a 53-year.
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 the science fiction/fantasy magazines of the day, said Wildside Press publisher John Betancourt. 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, and when he approached me with the project, it seemed a perfect fit for Wildside Press,” said Betancourt. “(Both) the editor’s introduction and the introduction by noted scholar Mike Ashley go a long way toward giving Don Wilcox the credit he so richly deserves.”
Volume I was published in August 2016 and 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 marked the first compilation of Wilcox’s work since his first story, “The Pit of Death,” appeared in July 1939.
Volume II features seven more stories, beginning with his iconic “The Voyage That Lasted 600 Years” (1940), the first generation ship story ever written; “The Man Who Turned to Smoke” (1942); “The Singing Skulls” (1945); the “The Land of Big Blue Apples” (1946); “Confessions of a Mechanical Man” (1947); “The Battle of the Howling Hatchet” (1952); and “Blueflow” (1992), an Arthurian legend story Wilcox wrote at age 87 that proved to be his last published tale.
The celebration of the legacy of Don Wilcox will continue in the near future as Wildside Press will be reprinting all of Wilcox’s published stories in seven volumes as part of its MEGAPACK! eBook series.
“The Best of Don Wilcox, Volume I & II” are available in both paperback and eBook forms at Wildside Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online outlets.
Wildside Press is an independent publishing company founded in Rockville, Maryland in 1989 by John and Kim Betancourt. While the press was originally conceived as a publisher of speculative fiction in both trade and limited editions, its focus has broadened since then, both in content and format; its website — whose metadata proclaims that Wildside is “The Future of Fantasy” — now also publishes works of mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction, as well as downloadable audiobooks and CDs, eBooks, magazines and physical books. The company has been nominated six times for the World Fantasy Award for publishing excellence as well as numerous other honors in the mystery and horror genres.
Von Rothenberger is an American researcher, author and editor of over 25 works on history and science fiction/fantasy. He self-published his first book at age 12. He received the Certificate of Commendation from the American Association for State and Local History for outstanding field research and scholarship in the publishing of “Sod & Stubble: The Annotated Edition.” He currently lives in Lucas.
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