Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Gold, Horace L

(1914-1996) Canadian-born writer and editor, long resident in the USA and holding dual nationality. HLG is best-known for Science Fiction, in particular for his editorship of Galaxy Magazine, which he founded in 1950 and edited until 1961. HLG edited a short-lived companion, Beyond Fantasy Fiction, which sought to emulate Unknown in presenting adult treatments of fantasy.

HLG's first story, "Inflexure" for Astounding Science Fiction in 1934, was one of five published under the pseudonym Clyde Crane Campbell (he also used the names Dudley Dell, Harold C Fosse, Christopher Grimm, Leigh Keith and Richard Storey); it considers all time as simultaneous. His first story under his own name, "A Matter of Form" (1938 Astounding), is about Identity Exchange between a man and a dog. His work was ideally suited to Unknown; it is a pity that only four of his stories appeared there. All of HLG's best fantasies are in a similar format: an unpretentious person either acquires or discovers he has some special Talent. The stories always focus on the "little man". This has some special significance in HLG's case as he became increasingly agoraphobic and by the 1950s was conducting all of his business from his home.

"Trouble With Water" (1939) is a classic. With just the right balance of Humour and logic, it shows a man cursed (see Curses) by a gnome so that all water will avoid him. "Day Off" (1939), where the protagonist's imagination creates people, was less successful, but "Warm, Dark Places" (1940), where a man is again cursed, this time to be confronted with all the filth and detritus he creates, was on form. HLG's only novel-length work was "None But Lucifer" (1939), which was revised by L Sprague de Camp for publication (to HLG's annoyance). It tells of a man who believes Earth is Hell and who not only confronts Lucifer but begins to outdo him in creating misery in the world. Among HLG's later fantasies are: "And Three to Get Ready" (1952) about a man who can kill anyone merely by speaking their name Three times (see Magic Words; True Names); "Don't Take it to Heart" (1953) where a man realizes that Superstitions are there for a purpose; and "What Price Wings?" (1962) about a man who is too angelic for his own good. HLG's fantasies have not been collected as a single volume; only two appear in The Old Die Rich (coll 1955). [MA]

Horace Leonard Gold


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.