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Fictional Authors

  1. Apr 12, 2006 #1
    Tim Powers and James Blaylock went beyond the nom de plume and created the poet William Ashbless apparently as a response (or prank) to the poets printed in the Cal State Fullerton magazine of their time. Since then Mr. Ashbless has made cameos in books by both writers. Two books have been written by the two friends in William Ashbless' name.

    Does anyone else know of any fictitious authors or interesting occurances of authors using nom de plumes? I understand Gulliver's Travels was written under a nom de plume by Swift.
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  3. Apr 13, 2006 #2
    Penelope Ashe was the fictitious author of Naked Came the Stranger, a trashy sex novel published around 1970. Each chapter was written by a different person. The result was understandably so bad that it became a bestseller, as predicted by the editor of Newsday at the time who came up with the idea.

    I first thought Kurt Vonnegut had written books under Kilgore Trout, but it turns out he hadn't, although this was in Wikipedia:

  4. Apr 14, 2006 #3
    Thank you. Interesting.
    Powers and Blaylock wrote the poetry of Ashbless in a similar manner to the book discribed in your post. One would write one line then pass it to the next back and forth. I had found a quote where Powers described it but I can't find it at the moment.
    Ashbless has apparently been mentioned by other authors like Kilgore Trout has. That may be where the two have been linked.

    Come on. Any one else know of any?
    Is it just that no one really pays much attention to this section of PF?
  5. Apr 14, 2006 #4


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  6. Apr 16, 2006 #5


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    The books they wrote as Bourbaki were noted for their abstract approach, strictly lemma - theorem - corollary presentation, and serenely arrogant tone. And the name "Bourbaki" cme to denote these tendencies in mathematics and was resisted and revolted against by later mathematicians.

    According to the story I heard, they got the name Bourbaki from the Greek general Bourbaki, a hero of Greek independence. A statue of him existed in the provincial French college town where one of the group was teaching.
  7. Oct 31, 2011 #6
    One answer to a specific question and one to a general question:
    1. According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilgore_Trout
    Kilgore Trout is a fictional character created by author Kurt Vonnegut. He was originally created as a fictionalized version of author Theodore Sturgeon (Vonnegut's colleague in the genre of science fiction), although Trout's consistent presence in Vonnegut's works has also led critics to view him as the author's own alter ego. Trout is also the titular author of the novel Venus on the Half-Shell, pseudonymously written by Philip José Farmer.

    2. On the TV show "Castle", Richard Castle is a fictional character who writes novels. There are now 4 novels supposedly authored by him: 3 about Nikki Heat and one a prequel novel about Derek Storm. The latter has acknowledged real author but the Nikki Heat novels have only Richard Castle as an author.

    (Since the last preceding note in this thread was 5 years ago, I'd be very surprised in anyone ever reads this note.)
  8. Dec 27, 2011 #7
  9. Jun 21, 2012 #8
    The Princess Bride was written by William Goldman, but it's presented as though it's an abridged version of a book by the fictitious S. Morgenstern.

    Also, in John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, there is a fairly involved subplot involving the characters' attempts to contact their favorite writer, Peter Van Houten, who "wrote" An Imperial Affliction.
  10. Jun 21, 2012 #9


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  11. Jun 21, 2012 #10


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    Nils Runeberg was always my favorite theologian
  12. Jul 5, 2012 #11
    Iain Banks publishes sci fi as Iain M. Banks. I don't know how he hopes to secure a fan base with that kind of cryptic subterfuge...commercial suicide.
  13. Jul 11, 2012 #12


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    I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not but Iain (M) Banks has been a successful author for nearly three decades. His decision to include his initial on his SF books is a good one IMO, it allows people who read his books to easily pick out what they like (i.e. they may only like M books or vise versa). Also in the editions I have of his novels on the inside of the front cover is an advert for of all his books from one name and on the inside of the back cover is an advert for the others.
  14. Jul 11, 2012 #13
    Yes indeed I was being sarcastic. Dead pan humour takes on a new light in the world of teh internet - I should probably cut it out. I'm a fan of Iain M. Banks (I've read most of the Iain Banks books too) - I just finished "Surface Detail" - a more graphic depiction of (mythical) eternal damnation you couldn't imagine. Not his best mind...unique though...maybe one of the best...excellent : )
  15. Jul 11, 2012 #14


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    I've read all the culture novels aside from the short story collection, indeed the description of hells in matter was quite horrifying.
  16. Jul 15, 2012 #15
    Not sure if it’s what you are looking for but someone created a fictional letter writer named Henry Root. In this guise they wrote many letters to celebrities to which they received genuine replies. Henry Root was a somewhat pompous, sometimes sycophantic, other times confrontational, totally inconsistent character, frequently lacking in self-awareness. The results were published in a series of books in the 1980s and were, as you might imagine, side-achingly funny.
  17. Jul 15, 2012 #16


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    Benjamin Franklin used various pseudonyms:
    There is a list of pseudonyms used by Franklin.
  18. Jul 15, 2012 #17
    Benjamin Franklin often wrote newspaper articles under pseudonyms. He used them to satirize all sorts of things. Franklin used pseudonyms his entire life. Here is one example.
    Two years before he died, he wrote an article pretending to be an Arab holding white slaves. The hypothetical Arab rationalized holding white slaves in all sorts of ways. Of course, similar rationalizations were used to justify holding black slaves. This article disturbed many white people in the former colonies. Franklin was one funny guy.

    There are a lot more examples. Here is a link on an article on Franklin’s gender-bending personnas.
    “Benjamin Franklin's Female and Male Pseudonyms: Sex, Gender, Culture, and Name Suppression from Boston to Philadelphia and Beyond
    An examination of Franklin's earlier years provides a useful glimpse into early eighteenth-century culture in Boston, Philadelphia, and New England in general. Using Franklin's earlier writing, this glimpse, then, can contribute to our understanding ofcolonial New England's changing sex and gender stereotypes. Therefore, by beginning exactly where Morgan advises we should not, with the female pseudonym, Silence Dogood, this essay will draw out a lesser-known aspect of an extraordinarily well-known historical figure.”
  19. Jul 15, 2012 #18


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    It was the norm in colonial America to write under a pen name. Alex Hamilton was a prolific writer and had a very sharp pin, shall we say. His anonymous works were directly involved in the dispute with Aaron Burr as the identies of the more common writers were soon figured out.
  20. Jul 15, 2012 #19

    How has he not been brought up yet?


    He was in the link that Evo posted, but I would still assume that he would be one of the more prominent authors to have used a pseudonym. Maybe the terminology of the OP confused some people, what with it not being the normal term used to describe an author writing under another name.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2012
  21. Jul 16, 2012 #20
    "Matter" is the one with the aristocratic family, the shell world and the hidden implanted cerebral "matter/anti-matter" explosive suicide bomber device. Surface Detail is the one with the hells and the tatoo'd fem who bites off the baddy's nose at the start. I have read the collection of short stories - 'twas good fun.
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