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Dent, Lester

Page history last edited by Jon 11 years, 4 months ago

Lester DentLester Dent (1904-1959) was born in La Plata, Missouri. As an adult he was an imposing physical specimen, at 6'2" and over 200 pounds, who cut a dashing figure and lived a vigorous, exciting, globe-trotting life just as adventurous as the characters he was famous for creating. He often sported a moustache and sometimes a beard. Lester Dent was married to Norma Dent, who also helped him in his writing career acting at times as his secretary.

 

Dent did an amazing amount of things in his life, often mastering something fully and then dropping it completely. In Lester Dent: The Man, His Craft, and His Market, by M. Martin McCarey-Laird, his wife, Norma, is reported as saying that "...he was like this with every adventure in which he involved himself; when he had exhausted his interest, he moved on to something else." But his one life long interest seemed to be writing. After trying his hand at writing when working as a telegraph operator in Oklahoma, Lester Dent struck gold with the sales of some stories and moved to New York City. He began a very successful writing career and became for a while, with the Doc Savage series, the most popular and best selling author of the Pulp Era. After his death, some newspapers called Dent the second most prolific author in the world (though this was before Isaac Asimov). Nevertheless, his output and creativity energy was prodigous. In the Doc Savage series alone, he produced 165 full-length novels (of at least 55,000 words each), one each month for about 17 years, all while living, traveling, exploring, building, and writing various other works as well.

 

Lester Dent is most famous for writing the Doc Savage series (1933-1949), under the pseudonym Kenneth Robeson. Doc Savage is one of the most influential characters in modern American culture, having spawned generations of imitations in literature, comics, cartoons, TV, and film, such as Superman, Batman, James Bond, Johnny Quest, Indiana Jones, and Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt, just to name a very few.

 

As Lee Server noted in The Encyclopedia of Pulp Fiction Writers, "Many a writer found wish fulfillment in their larger-than-life fictional protagonists, but many who knew Lester Dent thought he really did seem a lot like the amazing Doc. Dent was a huge man.... Like Savage, Dent possessed vast and arcane knowledge and was a master of assorted technical skills. He was a pilot, electrician, radio operator, plumber, and architect. ... And like Doc Savage, Lester Dent loved exploring the deserts, sailing tropic waters, and diving for sunken treasure (for three years he sailed the Caribbean on his yacht Albatross, diving for treasure by day, his wife would recall, and sitting on the deck writing Doc Savage stories all night)."

 

Dent was a gadgeteer and throughout his life he worked with and tried innovations in most forms of technology, from telegraph, radio, televison, to cameras, film, planes, electricity, etc. This is one of the many reasons he was hired to write the Doc Savage stories, though he was a young inexperienced writer of 28 at the time. Dent had the creativity to churn out inventions by the ton, but also the technical savvy to make them believeable and probable, if not functional. Philip Jose Farmer, in his semi-biographical study Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, says, "As a prognosticator, Dent's record beat that of Jules Verne. The list of gadgets that first appeared in print in the Doc Savage stories and only came into existence long years later is a long one."

 

Lester Dent was not limited to the Doc Savage series. He also wrote nonfiction, novels, short stories in almost every genre (adventure, action, mystery, western, detective), and scripts for comics, radio, and television.

 

Lester Dent suffered a massive stroke in 1959, and after three weeks in a hospital, died on March 11, 1959. His seriex character was Chance Malloy.

 

Bibliography

 

Death at Take-off (1946)

Lady to Kill (1946)

Lady Afraid (1948)

Lady So Silent (1951)

Cry at Dusk (1952)

Lady in Peril (1959)

Hades and Hocus Pocus (1979)

 

Doc Savage series (1933-1949)

The Man of Bronze

The Land of Terror

Quest of the Spider

The Polar Treasure

Pirate of the Pacific

The Red Skull

The Lost Oasis

The Sargasso Ogre

The Czar of Fear

The Phantom City

Brand of the Werewolf

The Man Who Shook the Earth

Meteor Menace

The Monsters

The Mystery on the Snow

The King Maker

The Thousand-Headed Man

The Squeaking Goblin

Fear Cay

Death in Silver

The Sea Magician

The Annihilist

The Mystic Mullah

Red Snow

Land of Always-Night

The Spook Legion

The Secret in the Sky

The Roar Devil

Quest of Qui

Spook Hole

The Majii

Dust of Death

Murder Melody

The Fantastic lsland

Murder Mirage

Mystery Under the Sea

The Metal Master

The Men Who Smiled No More

The Seven Agate Devils

Haunted Ocean

The Black Spot

The Midas Man

Cold Death

The South Pole Terror

Resurrection Day

The Vanisher

Land of Long Juju

The Derrick Devil

The Mental Wizard

The Terror in the Navy

Mad Eyes

The Land of Fear

He Could Stop the World

Ost

The Feathered Octopus

Repel

The Sea Angel

The Golden Peril

The Living Fire Menace

The Mountain Monster

Devil on the Moon

The Pirate's Ghost

The Motion Menace

The Submarine Mystery

The Giggling Ghosts

The Munitions Master

The Red Terrors

Fortress of Solitude

The Green Death

The Devil Genghis

Mad Mesa

The Yellow Cloud

The Freckled Shark

World's Fair Goblin

The Gold Ogre

The Flaming Falcons

Merchants of Disaster

The Crimson Serpent

Poison Island

The Stone Man

Hex

The Dagger in the Sky

The Other World

The Angry Ghost

The Spotted Men

The Evil Gnome

The Boss of Terror

The Awful Egg

The Flying Goblin

Tunnel Terror

The Purple Dragon

Devils of the Deep

The Awful Dynasty

The Men Vanished

The Devil's Playground

Bequest of Evil

The All-White Elf

The Golden Man

The Pink Lady

The Headless Men

The Green Eagle

Mystery Island

The Mindless Monsters

Birds of Death

The Invisible-Box Murders

Peril in the North

The Rustling Death

Men of Fear

The Too-Wise Owl

The Magic Forest

Pirate Isle

The Speaking Stone

The Man Who Fell Up

The Three Wild Men

The Fiery Menace

The Laugh of Death

They Died Twice

The Devil's Black Rock

The Time Terror

Waves of Death

The Black, Black Witch

The King of Terror

The Talking Devil

The Running Skeletons

Mystery on Happy Bones

The Mental Monster

Hell Below

The Goblins

The Secret of the Su

The Spook of Grandpa Eben

According to Plan of a One-Eyed Mystic

Death Had Yellow Eyes

The Derelict of Skull Shoal

The Whisker of Hercules

The Three Devils

The Pharaoh's Ghost

The Man Who Was Scared

The Shape of Terror

Weird Valley

Jui San

Satan Black

The Lost Giant

Violent Night

Strange Fish

The Ten-Ton Snakes

Cargo Unknown

Rock Sinister

The Terrible Stork

King Joe Cay

The Wee Ones

Terror Takes 7

The Thing That Pursued

Trouble on Parade

The Screaming Man

Measures for a Coffin

Se-Pah-Poo

Terror and the Lonely Widow

Five Fathoms Dead

Death is a Round Black Spot

Colors for Murder

Fire and Ice

Three Times a Corpse

The Exploding Lake

Death in Little Houses

The Devil Is Jones

The Disappearing Lady

Target for Death

The Death Lady

Danger Lies East

No Light to Die By

The Monkey Suit

Let's Kill Ames

Once Over Lightly

I Died Yesterday

The Pure Evil

Terror Wears No Shoes

The Angry Canary

The Swooning Lady

The Green Master

Return From Cormoral

Up From Earth's Center

In Hell, Madonna aka The Red Spider

 

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