Frank Belknap Long was an American science fiction and horror writer born in 1901. He won several prestigious awards during his long, prolific career, including The World Fantasy Award For Lifetime Achievement (1978) and The Bram Stoker Award For Lifetime Achievement (1987). Along the way he became friends with several legendary writers, such as H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch and Joseph Payne Brennan. Here’s a look at a few of his short stories.
1. “The Space-Eaters” (1928) – A traveler is hit on the head by an odd piece of genetic material while traveling through a wooded area. He thinks it’s either a liver or a smooth piece of brain. Then he witnesses an impossibly long, thin ethereal arm come down from above, apparently searching for it. He flees to his friend’s house, where they discover he has a deep wound on his forehead. This is all just the beginning for this Lovecraftian-style tale of cosmic horror, as the formless entity begins its brain-seeking quest.
2. “The Hounds of Tindalos” (1929) – A writer discovers how to send his mind into the past where he talks with long dead luminaries and experiences amazing events. Unfortunately, he goes too far back, and his scent is caught by ancient evil creatures that begin to hunt him. These beings travel through angles and corners as they pursue him. The story has been adopted into the collective Cthulhu Mythose by fans.
3. “Second Night Out” (1933) – On a ship to Havana, a passenger gets sea-sick and sits in a chair on deck that should have been removed. He’s overcome by a terrible smell and horrible visions. In a panic he asks a steward about the chairs. The steward appears dismayed and explains that something pulls out the chairs on the second night of every voyage and sits in them. This is a fantastic weird-horror tale on the open water. Highly recommended!
4. “The Elemental” (1939) – When a man discovers he’s attained the ability to do anything he wants, he playfully abuses this power against his peers before flying across the water. Then he learns the source of these newfound abilities.
5. “The Sky Trap” (1941) – Set in the future, a flying weather-manipulation ship gets trapped in a bubble from which it can’t escape. A bizarre plant begins to grow inside the bubble and the crew starts being affected by it. The young hero, with the aid of his android sparring-partner, must figure out a way to free the ship before they all perish.
6. “The Calm Man” (1954) – A science fiction story about a woman who meets and marries the perfect man, only to discover him to be emotionless. Later, she learns the reason behind his strange personality.
Article by Matt Cowan
4 thoughts on “Frank Belknap Long”
This was a gem. I haven’t thought about FBL for years, but this brought back memories. I’ve read The Hounds of Tindalos in a few anthologies, but I once had a pulp magazine reprint that had The Space Eaters and not only did I love the story, but I can still recall the pulp illustrations that accompanied it.
Ooh! I would have loved to see those illustrations!
The best one was an almost surrealist painting of slender silver thread-like arms coming out of tall trees towards the top of a man’s head.