Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Munn, H Warner

(1903-1981) US occasional writer, remembered best for his early stories in Weird Tales. His first, "The Werewolf of Ponkert" (1925 WT), arose from a comment by H P Lovecraft suggesting a story written from the Werewolf's viewpoint. HWM's resulting tale became the first of a series, The Tales of the Master. The series included a serial, "The Werewolf's Daughter" (1928 WT), and this and the initial story appeared as The Werewolf of Ponkert (fixup 1958). HWM later reworked the other stories and added extensively to the series, most of these tales appearing initially in Robert Weinberg's Lost Fantasies series, and then in book form as Tales of the Werewolf Clan, #1: In the Tomb of the Bishop (coll of linked stories 1979) and #2: The Master Goes Home (coll of linked stories 1979).

HWM's other main achievement for WT, before family responsibilities took him away from writing for almost 30 years, was King of the World's Edge (1939 WT; 1966). This starts in the last days of Arthur, and follows the adventures of Myrdhinn (see Merlin), Gwalchmai (see Gawain) and a Roman centurion, who leave Britain for new lands to the west, and find themselves in the kingdom of the Aztecs. The sequel, The Ship from Atlantis (1967), remained unpublished for 26 years; it follows the further adventures of Gwalchmai, who sets out for Rome but becomes lost in the Sargasso Sea and encounters a survivor from Atlantis. These two novels, later combined as Merlin's Godson (omni 1976), are a precursor to HWM's magnum opus, Merlin's Ring (1974), which explores the Atlantean and Arthurian influences down through history to the time of Joan of Arc. HWM was fascinated by the Maid, and wrote an extensive narrative poem about her, The Banner of Joan (1975). Although essentially nonfantastic – other than in Joan's spirit-driven zeal (see Possession) – the poem may be seen as an epilogue to the Merlin sequence.

HWM's only other published novel was The Lost Legion (1980), a sister to King of the World's Edge but set 400 years earlier at the time of Caligula.

Throughout his life HWM was fascinated with the occult, and was often known as the Warlock of Tacoma (where he lived in Washington State). This knowledge pervades all of his fiction, particularly the later stories. After his retirement he produced a number of stories for Small-Press magazines, especially Weirdbook. He developed a new sequence that sought to link Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos stories with a Machen-esque ancient race of Pictish Fairies. The published tales are "The Merlin Stone" (1977), "The Stairway to the Sea" (1978) and "The Wanderers of the Waters" (1981), all in Weirdbook.

Every birthday and Christmas 1974-1980 HWM issued a booklet as a gift. These were usually poetry, but several are short fantasies: The Affair of the Cuckolded Warlock (1975 chap), What Dreams May Come (1978 chap), In the Hulks (1979 chap), The Transient (1979 chap) and The Baby Dryad (1980 chap). [MA]

other works: Poetry and reflections published as Christmas Comes to Little Horse (1974 chap), Twenty-Five Poems (1975 chap), To All Amis (1976 chap), Season Greetings with Spooky Stuff (1976 chap), There Was a Man (1977 chap), The Pioneers (1977 chap), In Regard to the Opening of Doors (1979 chap), Dawn Woman (1979 chap), Fairy Gold (1979 chap), Of Life and Love and Loneliness (1979 chap) and The Book of Munn, or A Recipe for Roast Camel (1979).

Harold Warner Munn


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.