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Author Information: Wyman Guin

 
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There is little information available about Wyman Woods Guin, 1915-1989, beyond his middle name and dates of birth and death. No biographical information is included in any edition of his writings, though we know from H. L. Gold's introduction to the Galaxy publication of Beyond Bedlam, in 1951, that he was then advertising director of the pharmaceutical house, Lakeside Laboratories, and obliged to keep up with medical science as part of his job. (An advertising man! Was he a pharmacist or chemist as well? Stay tuned...) Even his date of birth is called into question when we consider that Colin Collins, hero of Guin's only novel, was born February 1st, 1914. This near-coincidence of dates is suggestive, but of what?

Certainly Guin, like Colin, was a Depression kid, coming of age in the early 30's. And it's likely that the 'blacksnake' episode in The Standing Joy, in which Colin and a friend dump a bucketful of snakes on the sidewalk in front of a movie house, is an incident from Guin's own boyhood. Why? Because the story is told in almost the same form in his 1956 story 'Volpla'.

Though he may have preferred to keep his private life private, Guin was, judging by their praise of his work, well known and loved by his colleagues in the field of Science Fiction. H.L. Gold, for instance, wrote: 'Wyman Guin has the intellect of a Heinlein, the sensitivity of a C. L. Moore, the guts of a Philip Josť Farmer -- combined with ideas so profoundly original that they are decades ahead of the field.' Now, Gold, as the editor of Galaxy magazine, knew half a dozen SF writers of comparable stature. Granted that the quote was a blurb intended to impress the reading public, such praise seems excessive for a writer who in his whole career published only one novel and a mere handful of stories, some great, some not so great.

Was praise accorded Wyman Guin by Gold, Robert Silverberg, Groff Conklin, Isaac Asimov, based solely on his writing? Or was it praise for Wyman Guin, the man? Except for the sparse information above, we know Wyman Guin, USA 1915-1989, only by his work.

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