Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Brennan, Joseph Payne

(1918-1990) US writer, poet and librarian, one of the last memorable names to emerge from Weird Tales before its first demise in 1954. He started with "The Green Parrot" (1952), a routine Ghost Story. An early classic was "Slime" (1953 WT), featuring a blob-like entity. JPB's Horror and ghost stories are often derivative but are always strong on setting and atmosphere and hence are much beloved by traditionalists; they often share a common locale, Juniper Hill. They are collected as 9 Horrors and a Dream (coll 1959), The Dark Returners (coll 1959), Scream at Midnight (coll 1963), Stories of Darkness and Dread (coll 1973), The Shapes of Midnight (coll 1980) and The Borders Just Beyond (coll 1986).

In 1957 JPB began his own small-press Magazine as a successor to WT: Macabre (23 issues 1957-1976). It was in this magazine that he introduced his stories featuring Lucius Leffing, a small-town Occult Detective with a penchant for the Victorian age. Leffing's investigations (not all supernatural) are collected as The Casebook of Lucius Leffing (coll 1973), The Chronicles of Lucius Leffing (coll 1977), The Adventures of Lucius Leffing (coll 1990) and the Recursive Fantasy Act of Providence (1979) with Donald M Grant (1927-2009). JPB produced another mystery novel with horror overtones, Evil Always Ends (1982).

A long-time devotee of Weird Fiction, JPB privately published A Select Bibliography of H.P. Lovecraft (1952 chap; exp vt H.P. Lovecraft, A Bibliography 1952 chap) and H.P. Lovecraft, An Evaluation (1955 chap). JPB's volumes of poetry include Heart of Earth (coll 1950 chap), The Humming Stair (coll 1953 chap), The Wind of Time (coll 1961 chap), Nightmare Need (coll 1964), Edges of Night (coll 1974 chap), Webs of Time (coll 1979), Creep to Death (coll 1981), Sixty Selected Poems (coll 1985) and Look Back on Laurel Hills (coll 1989). [MA]

Joseph Payne Brennan


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.