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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Authors

Talbot Mundy

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Talbot Mundy

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Full Name: William Lancaster Gribbon
Born: April 23, 1879
Hammersmith, Middlesex, England, UK
Died: August 5, 1940
Anna Maria Island, Manatee County, Florida, USA
Occupation: Writer
Nationality: British
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Biography

Talbot Mundy (born William Lancaster Gribbon) was an English-born American writer of adventure fiction. Based for most of his life in the United States, he also wrote under the pseudonym of Walter Galt. Best known as the author of King of the Khyber Rifles and the Jimgrim series, much of his work was published in pulp magazines.

Mundy was born to a conservative middle-class family in Hammersmith, West London. Educated at Rugby College, he left with no qualifications and moved to British India, where he worked in administration and then journalism. He relocated to East Africa, where he worked as an ivory poacher and then as the town clerk of Kisumu. In 1909 he moved to New York City in the U.S., where he found himself living in poverty. A friend encouraged him to start writing about his life experiences, and he sold his first short story to Frank Munsey's magazine, The Scrap Book, in 1911. He soon began selling short stories and non-fiction articles to a variety of pulp magazines, such as Argosy, Cavalier, and Adventure. In 1914 Mundy published his first novel, Rung Ho!, soon followed by The Winds of the World and King of the Khyber Rifles, all of which were set in British India and drew upon his own experiences. Critically acclaimed, they were published in both the U.S. and U.K.

Becoming a U.S. citizen, in 1918 he joined the Christian Science new religious movement, and with them moved to Jerusalem to establish the city's first English-language newspaper. Returning to the U.S. in 1920 he began writing the Jimgrim series and saw the first film adaptations of his stories. Spending time at the Theosophical community of Lomaland in San Diego, California, he became a friend of Katherine Tingley and embraced Theosophy. Many of his novels produced in the coming years, most notably Om: The Secret of Ahbor Valley and The Devil's Guard, reflected his Theosophical beliefs. He also involved himself in various failed business ventures, including an oil drilling operation in Tijuana, Mexico. During the Great Depression he supplemented his career writing novels and short stories by authoring scripts for the radio series Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy. In later life he suffered from diabetes, eventually dying of complications arising from the disease.

During Mundy's career his work was often compared with that of his more commercially successful contemporaries, H. Rider Haggard and Rudyard Kipling, although unlike their work his adopted an anti-colonialist stance and expressed a positive interest in Eastern religion and philosophy. His work has been cited as an influence on a variety of later science-fiction and fantasy writers, and he has been the subject of two biographies.

Many of his novels, including his first novel Rung Ho!, and his most famous work King of the Khyber Rifles, are set in India during the British Raj in which the loyal British officers encounter ancient Indian mysticism. The novels portray the citizens of Imperial India as enigmatic, romantic and powerful. His British characters have many encounters with the mysterious Thugee Cults. The long buildup to the introduction of his Indian Princess Yasmini and the scenes among the outlaws in the Khinjan Caves clearly influenced fantasy writers Robert E. Howard and Leigh Brackett. Other science-fiction and fantasy writers who cited Mundy as an influence included Robert A. Heinlein, E. Hoffmann Price, Fritz Leiber, Andre Norton, H. Warner Munn, Marion Zimmer Bradley and Daniel Easterman. James Hilton's novel Lost Horizon was partly inspired by Mundy's work.


Works in the WWEnd Database

 Jimgrim / Ramsden

 1. (1916)
 2. (1922)
 3. (1922)
 4. (1923)
 5. (1924)
 6. (1926)
 7. (1931)
 8. (1935)
 
 
 
 

 Tros of Samothrace

 1. (1967)
 2. (1967)
 3. (1967)
 4. (1967)
 5. (1929)
 6. (1935)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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