El-Ron and the City of Brass

fantastic_aug_75Title: El-Ron and the City of Brass

Author: L. Sprague de Camp

Full Text Online: HTML


This is an critical assessment of L Ron Hubbard’s writing (and early life) examining a series of fantasy stories he wrote for pulp magazines. The critic is a fellow author, who was highly respected in the field, and it was published in “Fantastic”, a magazine dedicated to the ‘Swords and Sorcery’ genre of literary fantasy.

De Camp’s  bottom line is that Hubbard’s stories suffered from “slapdash haste and carelessness” and, after he created “Dianetics”, his writing descended into pretentious incoherence.

It is an interesting read, which includes some telling period detail. The only minor flaw is that De Camp accepts Hubbard’s account of his early life and military service (including the claim that his father was a Montana cattle baron). These fabrications were not debunked until years later.


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