Nelson Bond

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(November 23, 1908 -- November 6, 2006)

Nelson Slade Bond -- a science fiction and fantasy author who wrote extensively for books, magazines, radio, television, and the stage -- was born in Scranton, PA, and grew up in Philadelphia. His parents were Richard Slade Bond, a publicist, and Mary Beadle Bond. Nelson attended Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia, from 1932 to 1934, and that was also where he met his future wife, Betty Gough Folsom; they married in 1934. He was a member of The Hell Pavers.

Bond was a pioneer in early science fiction and fantasy. His published fiction is mainly short stories, most of which appeared in pulp magazines in the 1930s-1940s. Many of his stories were published in Blue Book Magazine. He's remembered today mainly for his Lancelot Biggs series of stories (1939-1943) and for his Meg the Priestess tales (1939-1941), which introduced one of the first strong female characters in SF. Other Bond series were about Pat Pending and his peculiar inventions (1942-1957) and the Hank Horse-Sense stories (1940-1942) in Amazing.

In high school he reviewed plays for The Philadelphia Inquirer. While at college he contributed to the Huntington Herald Advertiser and edited the college newspaper, The Parthenon. He then worked as a public relations field director for the province of Nova Scotia before beginning his writing career in 1935 with non-fiction for various periodicals. His first published SF story was "Down the Dimensions" in the April, 1937, issue of Astounding.

He once wrote of himself: "I began writing for radio after they started adapting some of my stories. I thought, 'Well, hell, I can do better than that,' and I started adapting them myself. After a while, a couple of series opened up, and they asked me to become the writer. I wrote 52 weeks of Hot Copy and about 26 weeks of The Sheriff show, a comedy western. Then television came along. I had just written "Mr. Megenthwirker's Lobblies" as a radio series, and I adapted it for television. It became the first television play ever aired on a network. The network, however, consisted of Boston, New York, and Washington."

Bond had an extensive correspondence with famous fantasy author James Branch Cabell, and after Cabell's death became his literary executor. At one time Bond was also a rare book dealer.

In 1998 SFWA named Bond an Author Emeritus. In 2002 he donated his personal papers to the Marshall University Library, which created a replica of his home office in order to exhibit his works. Bond occasionally used the pseudonyms of George Danzell and Hubert Mavity.

Bond died of complications from heart problems on November 6, 2006, seventeen days before his 98th birthday.

Bond has been described by more than one critic as a comic fantasist. Indeed, he himself once said that he was not a SF writer but instead a fantasist who wrote for the SF magazines. Some of his stories have been compared favorably to the stories of Saki and John Collier.

Isaac Asimov had an interesting anecdote to tell regarding Bond: "I met Nelson Bond only once, to my knowledge, and that was at the first world science fiction convention in 1939. He did me a great service some time later, though. I was unable to forget I was a fan and I argued with readers over my stories in the letter columns of the magazines -- until Nelson dropped me a short note saying, 'You're a writer now, Isaac. Let the readers have their opinions.' -- and I followed his advice."

A "neglected genre author" article about Bond by Jon D. Swartz was published in the National Fantasy Fan for February, 2019 (Volume 78, Number 2).

Awards, Honors and GoHships:

Person 19082006
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