As we’ve noted before, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction‘s excellent On This Day function makes for fascinating reading and, occasionally throws up days with an infeasibly high level of cool people being born. And, at the risk of disagreeing with the heir of Elendil, it is, in fact, this day.
For this day, 24th July, saw the birth, in 1802, of Alexandre Dumas – he of The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask and The Count of Monte Cristo (among many others) fame. Many are the SF writers who have taken inspiration from Dumas – not least Alfred Bester, whose The Stars My Destination is very much an SFnal take on The Count of Monte Cristo.
In 1878, Edward Plunkett, Baron Dunsany – better known to the world at large as Lord Dunsany was born. He was, of course, the author The King of Elfland’s Daughter (again, among many more).
Seventeen years later, it was Robert Graves turn to be bornied (or ‘born’ – really, can we grow up a bit? – Ed.), in Wimbledon, London. While a poet of great note and the author of accomplished fantasy (The Golden Fleece) and historical novels (I, Claudius), and non-fiction (The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth), he is probablty best remembered for his curation and analysis of The Greek Myths.
Finally, in 1939, Barry N. Malzberg, author, editor and walking encyclopedia of 20th century SF knowledge.
Quite a birth register for a single day. Clearly, there must have been something in the water . . .