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Lester del Rey

Bio: Lester del Rey (a contraction of his real name, Ramon Alvarez del Rey) wrote of his early years in extensive autobiographical commentary to his collection, THE EARLY DEL REY (l975). A midwesterner who came to New York in the middle of the Depression years, del Rey was a science fiction reader and enthusiast who, he wrote, had thrown the latest issue of ASTOUNDING on the floor in disgust and said to his girlfriend, "I can write a better story than that and sell it." "Then why don't you do it?" his girlfriend said. Rising fearfully to a challenge he had not expected, del Rey wrote THE FAITHFUL in two hours and sent it to ASTOUNDING's editor, John W. Campbell. Several weeks later, a check for $40 - no letter, no explanation - arrived from the magazine. (Del Rey learned in due course that this was Campbell's method of accepting stories. Non-routine rejections or requests for revision commanded single-spaced letters which could go on for thousands of words. Del Rey, who had been working at a series of unpublished-writer-type jobs - short order cook, messenger, typist, dishwasher - decided that he had made a great discovery, "I had spent a couple of hours doing something I liked and had been paid more for it than I had ever earned in a week." He wrote three more stories for Campbell, all rejected and del Rey decided that his sale had been a fluke. But then, he received a note from Campbell, "Your story, THE FAITHFUL, has gotten some very good responses from the readers and is moving up nicely in the polls. I expect you to write more." Encouraged, del Rey did write more, sold his next story to Campbell and by the early l940's had become one of the key contributors to ASTOUNDING's great first decade under Campbell's editorship. Del Rey also contributed to Street&Smith's fantasy companion to ASTOUNDING, UNKNOWN WORLDS, and in l947 sold his first book, a collection of short stories AND SOME WERE HUMAN, to the Prime Press. After the war, del Rey worked as an editor at the offices of his new literary agent, Scott Meredith, before becoming a full-time freelancer; he also edited SPACE SCIENCE FICTION, a short lived l950's digest magazine and with THE RUNAWAY ROBOT (l952) inaugurated a series of juvenile science fiction novels for Winston Publishers which were popular and influential. He married Judy-Lynn (nee Benjamin) in l970 and with her became joint publisher of Ballantine's Del Rey books in l975. Del Rey Books under their guidance became the most important and successful of all science fiction publishers, bringing bestseller status to many writers such s Anne McCaffrey, Terry Brooks (Lester del Rey's discovery), Stephen Donaldson. Judy-Lynn del Rey died suddenly in l986, Lester del Rey presided alone until his retirement five years later. Awarded the SFFWA Grand Master in l99l, del Rey died in New York City in l993.

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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 items in this category.   

1 Badge of Infamy [MultiFormat]
by Lester del Rey
  The computer seemed to work as it should. The speed was within acceptable limits. He gave up trying to see the ground and was forced to trust the machinery designed for amateur pilots. The flare bloomed, and he yanked down on the little lever. It could have been worse. They hit the ground, bounced twice, and turned over. The ship was a mess when Feldman freed himself from the elastic straps of the seat. Chris had shrieked as they hit, but she was unbuckling herself now. He threw her her spacesui... more info>> (Published: 1931)

Words: 31184 - Reading Time: 89-124 min.
Category: Science Fiction
15 Reader Ratings:
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2 I Am Tomorrow [MultiFormat]
by Lester del Rey
  Thomas Blake has just become president. He has plans to change the world. To be a benevolent leader that will give the power to the people. But when he is wrenched out of his body and finds himself in the body of a rebel assassin who's job is to kill the Bigshot dictator. The dictator is Blake forty years hence, and now he was obviously falling in love with a girl who believed his highest mission in life was to shoot his older self!

Words: 15273 - Reading Time: 43-61 min.
Category: Science Fiction

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3 Nerves [Secure eReader]
by Lester del Rey
  At the great atomic plant in Kimberly, a congressional committee makes a surprise inspection raising the level of the men's tension even higher than it has been. By midday there have already been minor accidents but in the giant nuclear converters which are at the heart of the project work goes on at desperate speed. Until converter Number four fails disastrously. Jorgenson, the supervisor of the technical team and his crew had been running through a new and unstable isotope when the walls of t... more info>> (Published: 1956)
Category: Classic Literature
7 Reader Ratings:
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4 Police Your Planet [MultiFormat]
by Lester del Rey
  Bruce Gordon was an ex-fighter, ex-gambler, ex-cop, ex-reporter, and now he was an ex-patriot of Earth. Security shipped him to Mars with a knife, 100 credits, and a yellow card that meant no return. A science fiction novel that would appeal to Mickey Spillane fans, Police Your Planet features lots of violence, beatings, and blood. But this isn't just a crime novel put into space; this is a hard SF novel, and the terraforming of Mars is central to the story. (Published: 1956)

Words: 44797 - Reading Time: 127-179 min.
Category: Science Fiction/Mystery/Crime
41 Reader Ratings:
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5 Preferred Risk [MultiFormat]
by Frederik Pohl, Lester del Rey
  The Company was a powerful, efficient, and monstrous insurance organization that controlled the entire world, scientifically regulating everything in life: war, epidemics, one-a-day food pills and test-tube sex...all through the use of its patented, terrifying human deep-freeze vault. Claims Adjuster Wills, a great believer in the Company, begins to have second thoughts when he meets beautiful and sorrowful Rena, whose radical father lies in a frozen subterranean vault. (Published: 1955)

Words: 59581 - Reading Time: 170-238 min.
Category: Science Fiction
6 Reader Ratings:
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6 The Sky is Falling [MultiFormat]
by Lester del Rey
  Summoned from Earth by magic, Dave Hanson finds himself embroiled in the politics and engineering problems of an alternate Earth named Terah ... for Terah's sky has shattered, and he may be the one man in all the universe who can restore it! But science and sorcery, beautiful women, and fantastic monsters are just the beginning of his problems ... Originally published in shorter form in "Beyond Fantasy Fiction" in 1954, then expanded to novel length, here is Lester del Rey's classic science-fant... more info>> (Published: 1963)

Words: 34462 - Reading Time: 98-137 min.
Category: Science Fiction/Fantasy
15 Reader Ratings:
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7 Three Classic Science Fiction Adventure Novels [MultiFormat]
by James Schmitz, Lester del Rey, E. Everett Evans
  A Trio of SF's Greatest Adventures. Trigger Argee finds herself in peril when her knowledge of alien artifacts unwittingly gives her the key to the future in Legacy. A young cadet with telepathic powers must penetrate an alien enclave to prevent galactic war in Man of Many Minds. Exiled to Mars, outlaw men and women find that to survive they must Police Your Planet. Don't miss these colorful, epic adventures.

Words: 189458 - Reading Time: 541-757 min.
Category: Science Fiction
18 Reader Ratings:
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8 Three More Classic SF Novels: Star Surgeon, The Fourth 'R', Badge of Infamy, The Sky is Falling [MultiFormat]
by Alan E. Nourse, George O. Smith, Lester del Rey
  A Trio of Legendary Science Fiction Masterworks! in Alan Nourse's Star Surgeon, Dal Timgar, of all his medical class, was denied assignment to a general practice patrol ship going out from Hospital Earth to serve the medical needs of the Galactic Confederation. it seemed to him that his eight years of study in the great medical center of the galaxy had ended in failure. He had worked hard and stood at the head of his class, but Dal was different from his medical colleagues in one important way. ... more info>>

Words: 181539 - Reading Time: 518-726 min.
Category: Science Fiction
7 Reader Ratings:
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9 Thunder in Space and Other Stories [MultiFormat]
by Lester del Rey
  While Russia continues to remain wary of American attack, America has grown more suspicious of Russian activities. And the rest of the world is stricken with the painful knowledge that they shall inevitably be caught in the crossfire-- At the back of his mind, Goddard's Acting Commander, Jerry Blane, knew it was bound to happen sooner or later, but he never expected he'd have to blast the enemy under these circumstances: the establishment of friendly--even helpful--relations with their Russian c... more info>>

Words: 76428 - Reading Time: 218-305 min.
Category: Science Fiction

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