(1915-1986) US writer, better remembered for his Science Fiction despite a regular production of short fantasy stories for over 30 years after "The Black Deep Thou Wingest" (1953 Startling Stories). Like many of his best stories, this had a strong sentimental flavour, almost of Belatedness. He used this to strong effect in his short fiction, where he was able to demonstrate the effect of Thinning, whether on this world, as in "The Forest of Unreason" (1961 Fantastic), "Neither Stairs Nor Door" (1963 Fantastic) and "The House that Time Forgot" (1963 Fantastic), or a colonized planet, as in "To Fell a Tree" (1959 F&SF; exp as The Last Yggdrasil 1982), an early example of ecological sf. RFY's fascination for Giants is found in "Goddess in Granite" (1957 F&SF), "The Giantess" (1973 F&SF) and the Gulliver-like "The Journal of Nathaniel Worth" (1978 Fantastic).
RFY could also be humorous, often satirical, particularly in a number of Revisionist Fantasies that he produced based on old Legends and Fairytales. These include "Santa Clause" (1959 F&SF), "There Was an Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe" (1962 F&SF), "A Knyght Ther Was" (1963 Analog), "The Quest of the Holy Grille" (1964 Amazing; exp trans as La Quête de la Sainte Grille 1975 France), "Peeping Tommy" (1965 Galaxy), "Rumpelstiltskinski" (1965 Amazing), and the Arabian Fantasy "City of Brass" (1965 Amazing; exp as The Vizier's Second Daughter 1985). Right until his last story, "The Giant, the Colleen, and the Twenty-One Cows" (1987 F&SF), RFY continued to transplant Folktales – in this case Jack and the beanstalk – to new worlds.
Most of RFY's best sf was collected as The Worlds of Robert F. Young (coll 1965) and A Glass of Stars (coll 1968), but his best fantasies are uncollected. [MA]
other works: Starfinder (fixup 1980); Eridahn (1964 If as "When Time was New"; exp 1983), a Time-Travel adventure in prehistory.
Robert Franklin Young