E Hoffmann Price

(1898-1988)

Author Edgar Hoffmann Trooper Price worked in a variety of popular genres, including SF, horror, crime, western, and fantasy; but he was best known for adventure stories with Oriental settings and atmosphere. Unsurprisingly, Price also contributed to the short-lived but fondly-remembered Magic Carpet (1930 - 1934), along with other Weird Tales regulars.

Like many other pulp writers, Price couldn't support himself and his family on his income from writing. In the 1930s, while living in New Orleans, he worked for the Union Carbide Corporation. Nonetheless, he managed to travel widely and maintain friendships with many other pulp writers, including Otis Adelbert Kline and Edmond Hamilton. On a trip to Texas in the mid-1930s, he met Robert Howard.

Originally intending to be a career soldier, Price graduated from the United States Military Academy; he served in World War I and with the American military in Mexico and the Philippines. He was a fencer and a boxer, an amateur Orientalist, and a student of the Arabic language. In his 1984 autobiography Wonder's Child, science fiction legend Jack Williamson called Price a "real live soldier of fortune."

In his literary career Price produced fiction for a wide range of pulp magazines, from Argosy to Terror Tales, from Speed Detective to Spicy Mystery Stories. Yet he was most readily identified as a Weird Tales writer, one of those who wrote regularly for editor Farnsworth Wright, a group of writers that included H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith. Price published 24 solo stories in "the Unique Magazine" between 1925 and 1950, plus three collaborations with Otis Adelbert Kline, and one story with Lovecraft. Price used at least two pseudonyms, Hamlin Daly and Martin McCall, the latter when writing stories in his “Matalaa, the White Savage” series.

He retired from writing in 1952 and devoted himself to the study and practice of Buddhism. Twenty-seven years later he published his first paperback novel, The Devil Wives of Li Fong, “a Chinese fairy tale about a young man who marries two beautiful women who are actually serpent-demons.” He published other SF, fantasy, and adventure novels in the 1970s and 1980s, experiencing something of a literary resurgence. His SF “space opera” series in the 1980s consisted of Operation Misfit (1980), Operation Longlife (1983), Operation Exile (1986), and Operation Isis (1987).

Price was inducted into the First Fandom Hall of Fame in 1978, and received the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1984.

A collection of his literary memoirs, Book of the Dead: Friends of Yesteryear, Fictioneers & Others, was published posthumously in 2001. In addition to those already mentioned, his writing friends/colleagues included Richard L. Tierney, August Derleth, Henry Kuttner, Seabury Quinn, and Ralph Milne Farley. It has been reported that Price died while sitting at his computer, writing.

He will be the subject of a "neglected author" article in an upcoming issue of The National Fantasy Fan.

For more on his career, see http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/price_e_hoffmann

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