Wednesday, March 18, 1970

Author - Runyon, Charles W.

Birth: June 4, 1928.

Death: He was reported dead in May 1987, but appears to still be alive.

Comments: Charles W. Runyon was one of those science fiction writers of the pulp magazine era of the 1950s and 1960s who has faded to obscurity to such an extent that it is difficulty to find any reliable information about him. Even locating a picture of the author has proved impossible.

Like many writers of the era, he was a professional writer who wrote whatever would pay, so he produced numerous stories for the many science fiction and mystery magazines of the day, even taking a turn as a ghost writer for an Ellery Queen mystery.

My reviews of Charles W. Runyon's books:

Other books by Charles W. Runyon that I have read but not reviewed:

Short fiction by Charles W. Runyon appearing in works that I have reviewed:
First Man in a Satellite found in Tales from Super-Science Fiction

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  1. As I have indicated on other blog posts, Charles Runyon is not dead and you can find a photo of him on most of the dust jackets of the hard bound books, e.g., I Weapon. I've got plenty, including one in which he is riding a camel while he was in Khyrghistan. He looks much the same today in 2014 as he did back then in the 60's and 70's. His "obscurity," as you call it was not voluntary, as he was blackballed during the 70s; but he continues to write, just not publish. The interim has been interesting for him: graduate school, teaching, joining the Peace Corps and traveling while continuing to write and teach writing. He wrote for the market; so what?

  2. @Pattyskypants: The reports of his death were quite widespread, and apparently he let them be treated as credible in order to try to restart his career "fresh". I have corrected the entry.

    My contact with Runyon is in the arena of short fiction, and I don't own any of his novels. As a result, I still have not been able to locate a picture that I can conclusively identify as being the correct Charles Runyon (as there are several people by that name).

    I have not seen any reports concerning his alleged blackballing. Looking at his ISFDB entry, he appears to have published several pieces of short fiction in the 1970s, so any blackballing would have to be later than that. I haven't read them, but most of his novels appear to be regarded quite poorly, which would be a much simpler explanation for his current obscurity.

    I don't think that it is a negative for a writer to write to the market. Many writers do exactly that. I'm not sure why you would think that description would somehow be derogatory.