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Science Fiction Authors > Frances M. Deegan

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message 1: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) I wasn't sure where to put this, sorry.
(short stories? pulp era? other?)
I almost always avoid stuff that's non-traditionally published, but the thought of a woman writing in the 40s & 50s under her own name is ever so intriguing.

I saw this book promoted in the SFFBC and thought that it would be an even better fit here, surprised not to see it. Especially because I know that some of you are avid readers of audiobooks, and this current promotion is for the audio of this book.

I just sent a request off for a code for the kindle edition. Even if they don't send me a code, I'll probably buy it, as it's only $3 in kindle.

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 2: by Jim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
I don't see why she shouldn't have her own topic with other SF authors, Cheryl.

Here is a bio of her:
https://futurespasteditions.com/?p=1804

This link shows a different idea. She might have been a pseudonym.
http://www.isfdb.org/wiki/index.php/B...


message 3: by Dan (last edited Jun 20, 2018 12:15AM) (new)

Dan I doubt the name is a pseudonym. Some women were adopting male pseudonyms at that time, not the other way around!

ISFDB lists precisely seventeen science fiction short stories written by her. They probably don't list her four (?) detective stories.

During her active period of writing, 1944-1952 (Why did it span only nine years?), it was next to impossible to publish a science fiction novel if it was written for adults. Heinlein, for exmple, didn't want to write juveniles. It was the only game in town. So I don't consider it a strike against Frances M. Deegan at all that she was only able to publish short stories.

If anyone finds the text of any of her science fiction stories available somewhere, can you share here where you find it? I'd love to read a few.

The only text by here I was able to find was a very short (just six pages) detective story published in 1945 here: https://archive.org/details/Detective...

Edit: Oh wow! Here's quite a few of her stories at a website I've never come across before: http://www.unz.com/print/author/Deega...


message 4: by Dan (last edited Jun 20, 2018 01:21AM) (new)

Dan I printed out and read the first story, "The Cat Snake". The first two thirds of the way through I did not think I was reading science fiction, but perhaps some weird sort of fantasy. It eventually became a time travel story of a sort. I wasn't greatly impressed with the story or the writing. I give it a generous three stars.

The writing style was strangely masculine. The dialogue between the two men and the slight misogyny gives credence to the pseudonym theory.


message 5: by Jim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
Interesting, Dan. Thanks for looking into it & finding the stories. I'll try to look at them later.


message 6: by Jim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
I read "The Cat-Snake" & "The Green Cat". The latter was much better. She definitely writes like one of the old hard-boiled guys with all the "dolls" & such.


message 7: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 2098 comments Mod
The book Partners in Wonder: Women and the Birth of Science Fiction, 1926-1965 dismisses the pseudonym idea and has a short bio of her taken from January 1946 Mammoth Detective. (I haven't read the book, but Google Books allows seeing the relevant excerpt.)

She talks about hanging around with gangsters and one time riding with a gangster and being "beaten to a bloody pulp with his gun butt. I'm still alive, but he isn't."


message 8: by Jim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
Interesting. After reading some stuff by Anonymous-9 & Christa Faust, I shouldn't be surprised.


message 9: by Dan (new)

Dan Thanks for sharing that book, Ed. How fortunate we are to be able to read about Frances Deegan on pages 377-378. Otherwise we would know so much less.

Five feet two and weighed 90-odd pounds! Never married because nobody asked? What a fascinating life she seems to have lived. I wonder if getting married in 1952, if she did, might have been the cause of ceased production. Probably not. Her gravestone lists her name as Frances Deegan, making it seem unlikely she ever married. Maybe she just did other things after she turned 51 and stopped writing. I wonder if she wrote more detective stories than she wrote science fiction.


message 10: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 2098 comments Mod
Looks like an interesting book. Though I'd probably like something shorter. I'd enjoy a discussion of women in pulp SF, but don't necessarily want to read 400 pages about it. And the current price is steep. $36 for a kindle version!


message 11: by Dan (last edited Jun 21, 2018 01:11AM) (new)

Dan I recommend changing her name in this folder to include her middle initial "M", since she always published with it. There are other Frances Deegans apparently.

I am reading "The Martian and the Milkmaid" currently, her first science fiction story. It's a hoot so far.


message 12: by Jim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
Name change made. Good catch.


message 13: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 2098 comments Mod
Over on another group, Jim wrote "She wrote 21 stories and 35 articles under her own name for the science fiction pulps between 1944 and 1952, when few other women were selling to them at all."

That fits with what I've always heard. The book I referenced above, Partners in Wonder, claims that there were actually lots of women published in the pulps. That is why I'm curious to read it, but probably won't.


message 14: by Jim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
Ed wrote: "Over on another group, Jim wrote "She wrote 21 stories and 35 articles under her own name for the science fiction pulps between 1944 and 1952, when few other women were selling to them at all."..."

That was in the Sci-Fi & Heroic Fantasy group, wasn't it? It's another Jim & that was copied from the link I listed below as her bio. It's here:
https://futurespasteditions.com/?p=1804


message 15: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 2098 comments Mod
Jim wrote: "It's another Jim..."

Sorry, I didn't notice that. Anyway my point is still that I'd like to know more about the true percentage of women writers and readers in the pulp era.


message 16: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) I just read The Early Asimov and The Early del Rey, in which the authors intersperse memoirs with previously un-anthologized stories. Both of those did admit a dearth of women colleagues, an experience that the tribe was all-male.


message 17: by Jim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
I meant to address that & got called to dinner, so forgot. I was reading a book about comic books which mentioned something that got me googling. I saved this article in my Pocket. It touches on some of the pulp women.
https://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/01/bo...

From the comic book & other reading, I get the feeling that editors & publishers didn't really know who was reading their stuff.


message 18: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 2098 comments Mod
Dan wrote: "I am reading "The Martian and the Milkmaid" currently, her first science fiction story..."

I just read that, too, using the link in message 3, and it was fine. Then I went ahead and read the next story in the magazine, "Fair Exchange" by Miles Shelton which was also fun. A sort of Freaky-Friday story of a hen-pecked husband and his parrot-pecked dog. Not Great Literature, but fun.

In the letters section is a letter from, gasp, a woman reader, who "absolutely jelled in broad daylight" over one of the stories in a previous volume and will be buying Fantastic Adventures from now on.

Also Remember: Buy More Bonds!


message 19: by Jim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
The ads in those old magazines are almost as fun reading as the stories themselves, aren't they?


message 20: by Jim (last edited Jun 29, 2018 03:49PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
I read most of the short stories you found by her, Ed. Not very good, but interesting in various ways. I reviewed them in the only book I could find that had one of her stories in it. I only gave it a 2 star review here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 21: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 2098 comments Mod
Jim wrote: "I read most of the short stories you found by her, Ed...."

Dan found them first.


message 22: by Jim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
Oh, my apologies. Thanks, Dan!


message 23: by Dan (last edited Jun 29, 2018 05:45PM) (new)

Dan Hi Jim. That was a really good synopsis and coverage of her short stories, something like what I hope to do when I find the time. I wonder if when I finish I'll agree with your assessments.

I recommend you attach your review here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7... rather than where you did. You probably didn't find the book I recommend because the original creator of it failed to use the author's middle initial "M" making two Frances Deegans in GoodReads, something I've just corrected.


message 24: by Jim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
Thanks, Dan. I did swap & should have started with this since it's the one you posted. My only excuse is that it was a rough week. I read these stories while waiting to see what problems servers would have as they rebooted. The new review is here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 25: by Dan (last edited Jul 26, 2018 12:08AM) (new)

Dan Wow! In message #7 above the book mentioned (Partners in Wonder: Women and the Birth of Science Fiction, 1926-1965) is by Eric Leif Davin. I know Eric! I worked with him extensively for several months a few years ago when I was a professional editor to edit his book about female vampire pirates: The Scarlet Queen. I didn't do much to the plot of the book. That was strong and well established. But I copy edited the crap out of every sentence of every paragraph.

Anyway, what a small world! I never would have equated the two books as having the same author. The book mentioned above in message #7 is a scholarly achievement with fantastic research full of really obscure yet important information to the history of the field of science fiction, particularly if you want to know how women contributed to its origination. It's full of facts I had no idea about and is a writing achievement that impresses the hell out of me. The Scarlet Queen was intellectually so much lighter, even rather silly at points, I'm afraid to say. I knew The Scarlet Queen would never be a best seller. I just can't believe these two authors are the same person.


message 26: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 2098 comments Mod
Dan wrote: "Wow! In message #7 above the book mentioned (Partners in Wonder: Women and the Birth of Science Fiction, 1926-1965) is by Eric Leif Davin. I know Eric! ..."

Cool. Neat when that happens.

So did you read Partners in Wonder ? It does look interesting.


message 27: by Dan (new)

Dan I recently ordered a copy. They are out of print and not possible to locate for much under forty dollars, which is about five times more than I like to pay for any book. But this book I just had to have. So many names of writers of good fiction I know nothing about....


message 28: by Dan (last edited Aug 06, 2018 03:58PM) (new)

Dan My copy finally arrived today. It is absolutely sensational, far and away the best book on science fiction history I have ever seen or read.

I thought I knew my science fiction authors well. Of the 203 women listed who published nearly 1000 science fiction stories between April 1926 and 1960, I've heard of maybe five percent. The biographic and bibliographic information on them here is invaluable.

Not only that, but this book is no mere encyclopedia. The chapters are history articles written in formal Academese. Davin sheds a lot of light on all the major writers. Who knew Asimov was so lecherous all his life, all hands on deck with every woman it seems he ever met, and such a vociferous critic of women SF writers in his early days? He railed at them in letters columns for writing what he called sentimental "slop".

Great stuff here, and I'm only up to page 4 of 429. I'll share some of the facts found in the content by gradually posting author topics of (women) writers long forgotten as time goes on, like this topic here on Deegan.


message 29: by Jim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
It sounds really good, Dan. I found a copy for $33 on AbeBooks.


message 30: by Dan (new)

Dan It's well worth it. I know you share this interest and will therefore not be disappointed.


message 31: by Jim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
Super. What really amazes me is the Kindle edition is so bloody expensive. $42, I think. Ridiculous!


message 32: by Dan (last edited Aug 07, 2018 07:19AM) (new)

Dan The book is a formal history book, the same genre and form as a college classroom textbook. That price is actually not out of line with such books. Its production values are beautiful: good paper, nice cover and binding. I agree it's a lot to pay. It took me several weeks of consideration to do so.


message 33: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 2098 comments Mod
Dan wrote: "The chapters are ... written in formal Academese...."

Yikes! That sounds scary!


message 34: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 2098 comments Mod
I stumbled upon another book with the title Partners in Wonder by Harlan Ellison and co-authors. Totally unrelated, except for the title. This one collects stories that Ellison wrote with collaborators. Could be fun.


message 35: by Jim (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 4280 comments Mod
Ed wrote: "I stumbled upon another book with the title Partners in Wonder by Harlan Ellison and co-authors. Totally unrelated, except for the title. This one collects stories that..."

It is a great collection. I think the Jack the Ripper stories he wrote with Bloch were the most memorable for me, but they're almost all fantastic. I highly recommend it.


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