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Damon Knight

Role  Author
Name  Damon Knight
Period  1940–2002
Nationality  American

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Born  Damon Francis Knight September 19, 1922 Baker, Oregon, USA (1922-09-19)
Pen name  Conanight, Stuart Fleming
Genre  Science fiction, primarily short stories
Died  April 15, 2002, Eugene, Oregon, United States
Awards  Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award
Short stories  To Serve Man, The Country of the Kind
Nominations  Nebula Award for Best Short Story
Books  Creating Short Fiction, A for Anything, Hell's Pavement, In Search of Wonder, The Best of Damon Knight
Similar People  Kate Wilhelm, Frederik Pohl, Clifford D Simak, L Sprague de Camp, Jack Williamson

Occupation  Author, editor, critic

Damon knight on early science fiction lucian poe verne

Damon Francis Knight (September 19, 1922 – April 15, 2002) was an American science fiction author, editor and critic. He is the author of "To Serve Man", a 1950 short story adapted for The Twilight Zone. He was married to fellow writer Kate Wilhelm.


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Knight was born in Baker, Oregon in 1922, and grew up in Hood River, Oregon. He entered science-fiction fandom at the age of eleven and published two issues of a fanzine entitled Snide.

Knight's first professional sale was a cartoon drawing to a science-fiction magazine, Amazing Stories. His first story, "The Itching Hour," appeared in the Summer 1940 number of Futuria Fantasia, edited and published by Ray Bradbury. "Resilience" followed in the February 1941 number of Stirring Science Stories, edited by Donald Wolheim. An editorial error made the latter story's ending incomprehensible; it was reprinted in a 1978 magazine in four pages with a two-page introduction by Knight.

At the time of his first story sale, he was living in New York, and was a member of the Futurians. One of his short stories describes paranormal disruption of a science fiction fan group, and contains cameo appearances of various Futurians and others under thinly-disguised names: for instance, non-Futurian SF writer H. Beam Piper is identified as "H. Dreyne Fifer".

Knight's forte was short stories and he is widely acknowledged as having been a master of the genre. To the general public, he is best known as the author of "To Serve Man", a 1950 short story adapted for The Twilight Zone. It won a 50-year Retro Hugo in 2001 as the best short story of 1950. He also became well known as a science fiction critic, a career which began when he wrote in 1945 that A. E. van Vogt "is not a giant as often maintained. He's only a pygmy who has learned to operate an overgrown typewriter." After nine years, he ceased reviewing when a magazine refused to publish one review exactly as he wrote it. These reviews were later collected in In Search of Wonder. The term "idiot plot", a story that only functions because almost everyone in it is an idiot, became well-known through Knight's frequent use of it in his reviews, though he believed the term was probably invented by James Blish. Knight's only non-Retro Hugo Award was for "Best Reviewer", in 1956.

Knight was the founder of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), cofounder of the National Fantasy Fan Federation, cofounder of the Milford Writer's Workshop, and cofounder of the Clarion Writers Workshop. The SFWA officers and past presidents named Knight its 13th Grand Master in 1994 (presented 1995). After his death, the associated award was renamed the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award in his honor. The Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted him in 2003.

Until his death, Knight lived in Eugene, Oregon, with his second wife, author Kate Wilhelm. His papers are held in the University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archive.


  • Hell's Pavement (1955)
  • A for Anything (1961) (original version titled The People Maker, 1959)
  • Masters of Evolution (1959)
  • The Sun Saboteurs (1961)
  • Beyond the Barrier (1964)
  • Mind Switch (1965)
  • Double Meaning (1965)
  • The Earth Quarter (1970)
  • World without Children (1970)
  • The World and Thorinn (1980)
  • The Man in the Tree (1984)
  • CV (1985)
  • The Observers (1988)
  • A Reasonable World (1991)
  • God's Nose (1991)
  • Why Do Birds (1992)
  • Humpty Dumpty: An Oval (1996)
  • Short stories and other writings

  • "Not with a Bang" (1949)
  • "To Serve Man" (1950)
  • "Ask Me Anything" (1951)
  • "Cabin Boy" (1951)
  • "Catch that Martian" (1952)
  • "The Analogues" (1952)
  • "Beachcomber" (1952)
  • "Ticket to Anywhere" (1952)
  • "Anachron" (1953)
  • "Babel II" (1953)
  • "Four in One" (1953)
  • "Special Delivery" (1953)
  • "Natural State" (1954)
  • "Rule Golden" (1954)
  • "The Country of the Kind" (1955)
  • "Dulcie and Decorum" (1955)
  • "You're Another" (1955)
  • "This way to the Regress (1956)
  • "Extempore" (1956)
  • "The Last Word" (1956)
  • "Stranger Station" (1956)
  • "Dio" (1957)
  • "The Dying Man" (1957)
  • "The Enemy" (1958)
  • "An Eye for a What?" (1957)
  • "Be My Guest" (1958)
  • "Eripmav" (1958)
  • "Idiot Stick" (1958)
  • "Thing of Beauty" (1958)
  • "The Handler" (1960)
  • "Time Enough" (1960)
  • A Century of Science Fiction (1962) (editor)
  • "The Big Pat Boom" (1963)
  • God's Nose (1964)
  • Maid to Measure (1964)
  • "Shall the Dust Praise Thee?" (1967)
  • "Masks'" (1968)
  • I See You (1976)
  • Forever (1981)
  • O (1983)
  • Strangers on Paradise (1986)
  • Not a Creature (1993)
  • Fortyday (1994)
  • Life Edit (1996)
  • "Double Meaning"
  • "In the Beginning"
  • Literary criticism and analysis

  • In Search of Wonder (1956) (collected reviews and critical pieces)
  • Creating Short Fiction (1981) (advice on writing short stories)
  • Turning Points (editor/contributor: critical anthology)
  • Orbit (editor)
  • The Futurians (1977, memoir/history)
  • Short story collections

  • Far Out (1961) (contains "To Serve Man")
  • In Deep (1963) (contains "The Country of the Kind")
  • Off Center (1965) (contains "Be My Guest")
  • Turning On (1966)
  • References

    Damon Knight Wikipedia

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