Harry Bates

Harry Bates books and biography

Harry Bates

Born 1900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died 1981
Pen name Anthony Gilmore, H.B. Winter
Occupation editor, author
Nationality American
Citizenship USA
Writing period 1930-1953
Genres Science Fiction
Notable work(s) "Farewell to the Master"
Notable award(s) First Fandom Hall of Fame

Harry Bates (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 9, 1900 – September 1981) was an American science fiction editor and writer. One of his short stories was the basis of the classic 1951 science fiction movie The Day the Earth Stood Still.


Bates was born Hiram Gilmore Bates III.

Bates began working for William Clayton in the 1920s as the editor of adventure pulp magazines. When Clayton proposed a period adventure magazine, Bates suggested several alternatives that he felt would be easier to edit and Astounding Science Fiction was the result. Bates, who was not a fan of science fiction [2], edited the magazine from its inception in January 1930, until March, 1933, when Clayton went bankrupt and the magazine was sold to Street and Smith. During that time, he edited other magazines for Clayton, including Strange Tales, calculated to compete with Weird Tales.

Clayton was willing to pay four times more than the rates offered by Hugo Gernsback's rival Amazing Stories. Bates had a different view of science fiction than Gernsback. Bates felt that the science needed to be exciting but not necessarily accurate[citation needed] and that story and pacing were more important, thus starting science fiction's change from its "pulp" origins.

Using the pseudonyms Anthony Gilmore and H.B. Winter, Bates and his assistant editor Desmond W. Hall collaborated on the "Hawk Carse" series and other stories. Bates's most famous story is "Farewell to the Master" (Astounding, October 1940), which had more than a few alterations when it was filmed in 1951 as The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Two novellas by Bates appeared in Gernsback's Science-Fiction+, edited by Sam Moskowitz. "The Death of a Sensitive" (May 1953) was ranked by Moskowitz as the best story he ever ran in the magazine. However, both Gernsback and Moskowitz wanted changes in "The Triggered Dimension" (December 1953), and Bates arrived at 25 West Broadway to make the requested cuts and revisions. That same year Moskowitz began teaching what is believed to be the first college course in science fiction at City College. Bates had agreed to speak as a guest lecturer at the first class. However, in a move of calculated revenge for the cutting of his story, Bates intentionally did not show up for the class, putting Moskowitz in an awkward spot. Moskowitz recalled the aftermath:

Seven years later, I received a letter from Harry Bates dated October 2, 1960. In essence, it revealed that Bates was now totally disabled due to progressive arthritis and was trying to get early Social Security at 60. He had a doctor's statement that he was suffering from that condition at present, but they wanted proof that it was progressive and prevented him from writing stories for income. He asked if I would be willing to supply a statement that he had written stories for me with the greatest difficulty. He didn't know if he had ever mentioned it to me, but any validation would help. It so happened that he had shown me his swollen knuckles in 1953, but beyond that, I had a letter from him describing the difficulty, written earlier that year. I mailed him back the letter, for which I still had the dated envelope, and he got his Social Security—his only income for the next 20 years! Christmas of 1962 I received a card from him on which he scrawled: "I ain't mad at you no more."[3]


  1. ^ "First Fandom Hall of Fame Award". Retrieved on 2008-08-23.
  2. ^ del Rey, Lester [11 1979]. "6", The Worlds of Science Fiction - The History of a Subculture (in English). New York: Ballantine Books, 57. ISBN 345-2452-X. "Harry Bates was no fan of the literature when he began editing Astounding." 
  3. ^ Moskowitz, Sam (November 1996). "The First College-Level Course in Science Fiction". Science Fiction Studies #70 Volume 23 Part 3. Retrieved on 2007-08-15.

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
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