Frederick Schiller Faust (May 29, 1892 - May 12, 1944) was an American western fiction author. Faust wrote mostly under five pseudonyms, though today he is primarily known by one, Max Brand. Faust was born in Seattle and both his parents died soon after. He grew up in central California and later worked as a cowhand on one of the many ranches of the San Joaquin Valley. Faust attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he began to write frequently. He did not attain a degree, as he was deemed a troublemaker, and he began to travel extensively.
During the 1910s, Faust started to sell stories to the many emerging pulp magazines of the era. Faust attempted to enlist in the armed forces when the United States joined World War I in 1917, but was denied entry. In the 1920s, Faust wrote furiously, achieving success and fame. He soon became overworked and was diagnosed by a doctor with an undefined heart condition. Faust continued to travel and write a massive amount of material, working in many genres. He invented the Western character "Destry" and Dr. Kildare was adapted to radio, television and comic books.
In the 1930s, Faust joined the literary trek to Hollywood and wrote scripts. When World War II broke out, Faust insisted on doing his part by becoming a front line correspondent. Faust was quite famous at this point and the soldiers enjoyed having this popular author among them. While traveling with American soldiers as they battled Germans in Italy, Faust was mortally wounded and died in a foxhole in 1944.
Faust wrote in many genres, though he is mainly known today for his thoughtful and literary Westerns. Contrary to the publicity produced by the magazines he wrote for, Faust heartily disliked the real West and greatly resented it when forced by Argosy Magazine editor Bob Davis to travel to a ranch in 1919.
Faust felt contempt for his pulp work, saving his real name for the classically themed poetry he considered his real vocation. Sadly, his poetry was generally a commercial failure and according to his biographer Robert Easton, perhaps an artistic failure as well. His love for mythology was, however, a constant source of inspiration for his fiction and particularly for his first novel The Untamed, which was also made into a motion picture starring Tom Mix in 1920.
Faust managed a massive outpouring of fiction, rivaling Edgar Wallace and especially, Isaac Asimov as one of the most prolific authors of all time. He may have published more than 500 novels and short stories. His total literary output is estimated to have been between 25,000,000 and 30,000,000 words. Most of the books and stories were turned out at breakneck rate, sometimes as quickly as 12,000 words in the course of a weekend.