C. M. Kornbluth
(July 2, 1923 – March 21, 1958)
Cyril M. Kornbluth, a New York fan and pro writer, was a notable member of the Futurians, having met Dick Wilson at a skating rink on June 23, 1937. He started writing in 1939 with "The Rocket of 1955," which was published in the fanzine Escape, but he went off to war and did not turn to professional writing until 1949. He was married to Mary Kornbluth (Mary G. Byers).
He came into fandom through the Washington Heights SFL and soon joined the GNYSFL and the Futurians. He lived for a time at various Futurian Houses. He was one of the six who were banned from the 1939 Worldcon in the Exclusion Act). He was later kicked out of the Futurians in one of their internal feuds (See X Document.)
He was a member of the CPASF. He belonged to FAPA and participated in the Blitzkrieg. He attended Centracon during his stay in Chicago. See Dadaism, Pro-crasher, and Metaphysical Poetry for more Kornbluth fannishness.
During his decade of writing he particularly excelled in short fiction, including classics like "The Little Black Bag", "Two Dooms", and "The Marching Morons", but he also wrote novels, mostly in collaboration with fellow Futurians Frederik Pohl or Judith Merril. He was fond of pennames, including Cecil Corwin, Samuel D. Gottesman, Ivar Towers (a joint nom de fan with Dick Wilson), and many others.
Pohl tells the story that Kornbluth decided to educate himself by reading his way through an entire encyclopedia from A to Z; in the course of this effort, he acquired a great deal of esoteric knowledge that found its way into his stories ... in alphabetical order by subject. When Kornbluth wrote a story that mentioned the ancient Roman weapon ballista, Pohl knew that Kornbluth had finished the "A" volume and had started the "B".
Kornbluth died at age 34; after shoveling out his driveway and then running to make his train, he suffered a heart attack on the platform of the train station. His death, along with a number of others caused fandom (which was still very young) to call 1958 "the Year of the Jackpot".
- For an early short biography, see Who's Who in Fandom 1940, page 8.
- Entry in the Science Fiction Encyclopedia
Awards, Honors and GoHships:
- 1956 -- Best Novel Hugo nominee
- 1959 -- Best Short Story Hugo nominee
- 1973 -- Best Short Story Hugo for The Meeting (co-authored with Fred Pohl)
- 1997 -- Readercon 9 memorial guest
- 2001 -- 1951 Best Novelette Retro Hugo for The Little Black Bag
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