Edmond Moore Hamilton (October 21, 1904 – February 1, 1977) was an American author of science fiction stories and novels during the mid-twentieth century. Born in Youngstown, Ohio, he was raised there and in nearby New Castle, Pennsylvania. Something of a child prodigy, he graduated from high school and started college (Westminster College, New Wilmington, Pennsylvania) at the age of 14, but washed out at 17.
Edmond is credited as the author of the first hardcover compilation of what would eventually come to be known as the science fiction genre, The Horror on The Asteroid and Other Tales of Planetary Horror (1936). The book compiles the following stories: "The Horror on the Asteroid", “The Accursed Galaxy", "The Man Who Saw Everything" ("The Man With the X-Ray Eyes"), "The Earth-Brain", "The Monster-God of Mamurth", and "The Man Who Evolved".
Through the late 1920s and early '30s Hamilton wrote for all of the SF pulp magazines then publishing, and contributed horror and thriller stories to various other magazines as well. He was very popular as an author of space opera, a sub-genre he created along with E.E. "Doc" Smith. His story "The Island of Unreason" (Wonder Stories, May 1933) won the first Jules Verne Prize as the best SF story of the year (this was the first SF prize awarded by the votes of fans, a precursor of the later Hugo Awards). In the later 1930s, in response to the economic strictures of the Great Depression, he also wrote detective and crime stories. Always prolific in stereotypical pulp magazine fashion, Hamilton sometimes saw 4 or 5 of his stories appear in a single month in these years; the February 1937 issue of the pulp Popular Detective featured three Hamilton stories, one under his own name and two under pseudonyms. In the 1940s, Hamilton was the primary force behind the Captain Future franchise, an SF pulp designed for juvenile readers that won him many fans, but diminished his reputation in later years when science fiction moved away from space opera. Hamilton was always associated with an extravagant, romantic, high-adventure style of SF, perhaps best represented by his 1947 novel The Star Kings. As the SF field grew more sophisticated, his brand of extreme adventure seemed ever more quaint, corny, and dated.
In 1946 Hamilton began writing for DC Comics, specializing in stories for their characters Superman and Batman. One of his best known Superman stories was "Superman Under the Red Sun", which appeared in Action Comics No. 300 in 1963 and which has numerous elements in common with his 1951 novel City At World's End. He was instrumental in the early growth of the Legion of Super-Heroes series, as one of its first regular writers. He introduced many of the early Legion concepts into the DC Universe. He also wrote other works for DC, including the short-lived science fiction series Chris KL-99 (in Strange Adventures), which was loosely based on Captain Future. Hamilton retired from comics in 1966.
In 1969, the MacFadden-Bartell Corporation, New York, published a collection of short science fiction stories "Alien Earth and Other Stories" (520-00219-075), where Hamilton's 1949 "Alien Earth" was featured along with novelettes by Isaac Asimov, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke.
On December 31, 1946, Hamilton married fellow science fiction author and screen writer Leigh Brackett in San Gabriel, CA, and moved with her to Kinsman, Ohio. Afterward he would produce some of his best work, including his novels The Star of Life (1947), The Valley of Creation (1948), City at World's End (1951), and The Haunted Stars (1960). In this more mature phase of his career, Hamilton moved away from the romantic and fantastic elements of his earlier fiction to create some unsentimental and realistic stories, such as "What's It Like Out There?" (Thrilling Wonder Stories, Dec. 1952), his single most frequently-reprinted and anthologized work.
Though Hamilton and Leigh Brackett worked side by side for a quarter-century, they rarely shared the task of authorship; their single formal collaboration, Stark and the Star Kings, would not appear in print until 2005. In the early 1960s, it has been speculated that when Brackett had temporarily abandoned SF for screenwriting, Hamilton did an uncredited revision and expansion of two early Brackett stories, "Black Amazon of Mars" and "Queen of the Martian Catacombs"—revised texts were published as the novellas People of the Talisman and The Secret of Sinharat (1964).
Edmond Hamilton died in 1977 in Lancaster, California, of complications following kidney surgery. In the year before his death Toei Animation had launched production of an anime adaptation of his Captain Future novels and Tsuburaya Productions adapted Star Wolf into a tokusatsu series; both series were aired on Japanese television in 1978. The Captain Future adaptation was later exported to Europe, winning Hamilton a new and different fan base than the one that had acclaimed him half a century before, notably in France and Germany.