RIP: Nelson S. Bond (1908-2006)

Bond SFWA Author Emeritus, Nelson Slade Bond died as a consequence of heart valve problems on November 4, 2006. He was 97.

Born November 23, 1908, Bond’s professional writing career began in newspapers, but his first short story was published in 1935. He went on to sell hundreds of short stores, most of them to pulp magazines where they appeared in stories in 68 different magazines between 1935 and 1958. His short fiction was published in 8 collections, with the most recent being Other Worlds Than Ours, which was published in 2005. He also wrote the novels; Exiles of Time and That Worlds May Live.

But Bond’s best known work may be his radio and television scripts. During the 1943-44 radio season, he wrote 46 half-hour crime dramas for ABC’s Hot Copy, plus scripts for Dr. Christian, Author’s Playhouse, and Curtain Time. In the following years, he would write scripts for The Black Book, Ford Theatre, Make Believe Time, Mystery on the Air, Dimension X, Molle Mystery Theatre, Escape, and other classic radio shows. In 1946, his script on Mr. Mergenthwirker’s Lobbllies was the first play ever aired over a television network.

In 1998, Nelson Bond was the 4th author honored by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America as Author Emeritus.

Nelson Bond is survived by his sons, Kit and Lynn, and his wife, Betty.


There is so much more that could be said of the fascinating life of Nelson Bond. He never once thought of himself as a science fiction writer but rather as a fantasist in the style of James Branch Cabell or Donn Byrne; two writers he greatly admired, and his best work (stories like "The Bookshop", "The Song" or "Take My Drum to England") reflect this. He was great friends with fellow fantasy writer Manly Wade Wellman and the two sometimes included sly in-jokes to each other in the SF stories they wrote for PLANET STORIES and other pulps in the 1940’s. Nelson’s love of literature extended to a love of the books themselves and he became an expert anitquarian bookseller with an international reputation in the trade. He was a successful private businessman in his hometown of Roanoke, VA, was very active in local affairs and in amateur theater in the region, and in later years became the mentor to a host of fans and admirers who formed The Nelson Bond Society in appreciation of his writing. I knew him for 30 years, and was proud to think of him as a friend.

– Curt Phillips