R. Lionel Fanthorpe
(February 9, 1935 –)
Robert Lionel Fanthorpe is a British pro, priest and entertainer. At various times he has worked as a dental technician, journalist, teacher, television presenter, author, and lecturer.
Born in Dereham in Norfolk, he currently lives in Cardiff in South Wales, where he was Director of Media Studies and lecturer in Religious Studies at the Sixth form college of the Cardiff Academy.
He has written a vast number of SF/fantasy books -- during his main writing years, 1954–1965, he may have been the most prolific writer in the field. He wrote under many pennames and house pseudonyms, including Mel Jay, Marston Johns, Robert Lionel, Leo Brett, Karl Zeigfreid, John E. Muller, L.P. Kenton, Pel Torro, Bron Fane, Trebor Thorpe, Victor La Salle, Erle Barton and Thornton Bell.
In his peak years, Fanthorpe produced a weekly short (45,000 words) novel or story collection for the UK John Spencer & Co. imprint Badger Books, writing -- or rather, dictating -- in his spare time from a full-time job.
To meet this workload, Fanthorpe made relentless and often tongue-in-cheek use of padding, irrelevant digressions, thesaurus variations, and stealing classic plots from such sources as Shakespeare and the Odyssey. The results were much appreciated by fandom at convention turkey readings. Many well-loved excerpts were collected by Debbie Cross as Down the Badger Hole: R. Lionel Fanthorpe: The Badger Years (1995). This also included a bibliography that was expanded -- along with further quotes -- in the Bibliographic Supplement (1999) edited by Cross and Brian J. Hunt. An expanded ebook edition of Down the Badger Hole, including the supplement and many more Fanthorpe excerpts, was published by Ansible Editions in 2018. See here.
In 1960, Fanthorpe figured in some controversy in the 1960 Hugos. Pittcon tossed out 78 nomination ballots received as a package, not sent separately, each nominating the same novel, short story and publisher, with an accompanying letter saying, "These are all bona fide nominations, as are attested by the individual names and addresses". They nominated a single author, later identified as Fanthorpe. Chair Dirce Archer wrote:
Surely no one could expect us to believe that one English village of something under 7,000 population contains upwards of 60 bona fide fans, many with identical handwriting, seven with identical addresses and last name (the author’s) and ALL with identical nominations! It was our belief that duty required we discard these obvious attempts to stuff the ballot box. We would do the same thing again under such circumstances.
Awards, Honors and GoHships:
- 1993 -- OryCon 15
- 1998 -- OryCon 20
- 1999 -- ArmadaCon 1999
- 2002 -- Reminiscon Fifty to celebrate his 50th anniversary of publishing.
- 2003 -- ArmadaCon 15
- 2004 -- ArmadaCon 16
- 2009 -- ArmadaCon 21
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