John Jakes

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(March 31, 1932 – March 11, 2023)

John Jakes, an author best known for writing American historical fiction novels, wrote science fiction beginning in the 1950s. He used several pseudonyms, including William Ard, Robert Hart Davis, John Lee Gray, Jacob Johns, Alan Payne, Stephen Payne, and Jay Scotland. After achieving massive bestseller status with his historicals (the Bicentennial series) in the mid-70s, he gave up on sf by 1980.

He first sold stories to pulp magazines while still in college in the early 1950s. He studied creative writing at DePauw University, graduating in 1953. He then earned an M.A. (American literature) from Ohio State University.

His first published SF story was "The Dreaming Trees" (Fantastic Adventures, November, 1950). He subsequently published more than a score of SF/fantasy stories during 1951-1953. Jakes published dozens of stories and several novels during the twenty years following completion of college, many of them historical fiction. He began to write full-time in 1971.

He was a member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers Guild of America (SAGA), a group of authors of heroic fantasy founded in the 1960s and led by Lin Carter.

Jakes' SF/fantasy books included several Brak the Barbarian novels (1968-1980), and the following: When The Star Kings Die (1967), The Asylum World (1969), The Hybrid (1969), The Last Magicians (1969), The Planet Wizard (1969), Secrets Of Stardeep (1969), Tonight We Steal the Stars (1969), Mask of Chaos (1970), Six-Gun Planet (1970), Black in Time (1970), Time Gate (1972), On Wheels (1973), and Excalibur! (1980). His short SF was collected in The Best of John Jakes (1977).

Jakes was born in Chicago.

Person 19322023
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