Murray Leinster
Biographical notes by Blake Wilfong

"Mathematically, it's...an odds-on bet that somewhere in our galaxy [is] another race with a civilization equal to or further advanced than ours."

Murray Leinster was the pen name of American author William Fitzgerald Jenkins (1896-1975). Born in Norfolk, VA, Leinster served his country in both World Wars and wrote westerns and mysteries (including screenplays). But all else pales compared to his amazing 50+ year career as a science fiction author.

Consider: Leinster's SF tale "The Runaway Skyscraper" appeared in 1919, years before Hugo Gernsback invented the "scientifiction" genre. From 1926 to 1937--the days of early magazine science fiction before the "Golden Age"--Leinster continued to produce innovative stories. "Sidewise in Time" (1934), for example, was the first true parallel worlds tale. After John W. Campbell, Jr. became editor of Astounding in 1937 and raised science fiction to new literary and scientific heights, Leinster was one of the few early authors who adapted successfully to the new environment, with now-famous stories like "First Contact" (1945) and the 1956 Hugo award winner "Exploration Team". After the Golden Age, Leinster went on writing SF almost until his death.

No one else has matched the sheer breadth of Leinster's career. No one ever will. He is justly known as "the dean of science fiction", and his works reflect every major period in the development of SF.

(Apologies to Mr. Leinster for my feeble attempt to draw his portrait. If you know where I can obtain a public domain or royalty-free image of Murray Leinster, please let me know. Thanks!)

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