Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Today Livia and I stopped by to visit for a little while with my mother, who is 89. Tonight I'm about to start reading THE STONEHENGE GATE, the new novel by Jack Williamson. That got me to thinking that when Williamson published his first story and became a professional writer, my mother and father were both 12 years old. Livia's parents were alive, but probably not walking and talking yet. And yet Williamson is still publishing novels on a fairly regular basis. If any author has ever had a more long-lasting career, especially at such a high level, I'm not aware of it. Hugh Cave came close, and Nelson Bond is in the neighborhood, but I think Jack Williamson may be the champ when it comes to staying power.


Juri said...

I saw recently a list of authors who had the longest careers. Curt Siodmak was the winner, with 81 years, although he didn't publish much in his late years. The recently decease Chinese writer Ba Jim came second.

Williamson is still alive and active, so he might win after all. I think that besides writing he does still some teaching. Now, *that* is amazing.

James Reasoner said...

I think your source may be in error, Juri. The earliest credit for Siodmak that I can find is the screenplay for a German film in 1929. Given that he died in 2000, that would give him a 71-year career. Of course, no matter what the length, it was a pretty illustrious career, what with a classic novel (DONOVAN'S BRAIN) and several classic screenplays including THE WOLFMAN and I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE.

Now I'm in the mood to watch an old horror movie.

Juri said...

It was Mike Ashley of all people - I don't think he's ever in error! I think Curt Siodmak wrote prose before he started scripting movies.

James Reasoner said...

Yes, I trust Mike's information, too, and since he almost surely knows more about Siodmak's early career than I do, I'm more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.