We like Van Tassel Sutphen’s work a lot — open up and read a bit to see why; he’s an enormously lucid and engaging writer — but, try as we might, we’ve had a hard time finding much out about him. Oh, there are a few lines in the Science Fiction encyclopedia to the effect that he was an American writer who lived from 1861 to 1945; that he wrote a bunch of golf stories and a terse description of his 1906 postholocaust novel, The Doomsman. (Yes, 1906 — bet you thought all this end-of-the-world thinking came out of the inventionn of the A Bomb, but no, Sutphen just barely lived to see that.) The Tuck encyclopedia adds his place of birth (Philadelphia) and lists a bunch of indivivual stories. But we’d love to know more and can’t imagine how we’d learn it. Sigh. At least the work’s still available to read: enjoy it; he really was a fine writer.