Clifford Ball

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Clifford Ball
NationalityUnited States
Period1937 - 1941

Clifford Ball (1896?-1947?) was an American fantasy writer whose primary distinction was having been one of the earliest post-Howard writers in the sword and sorcery subgenre of fantasy.

Before dropping from sight, Ball contributed six short stories to the pulp magazine Weird Tales during its heyday in the 1930s and 1940s under the editorships of Farnsworth Wright and Dorothy McIlwraith. The setting of the first three is vaguely like Howard's Hyborian Age of warring kingdoms, and features the barbarian adventurers Duar, an amnesiac king protected by a guardian sprite, and Rald, a thief and mercenary. The remaining stories are more conventional fantasies.[1]

In the October 1937 issue of Weird Tales (Volume 30, issue 4) the following biographical information is given: This 29-year-old newest sensation of Weird Tales has led a life as adventurous as that of either of his two barbarian heroes. He went through high school in Millerstown, Pennsylvania, experiencing great difficulty with his mathematics and with a young and attractive school-teacher of whom he became enamored. After he had been graduated, he took a job in the license bureau of the State Highway Department. A few months later he began to hate the place, and left. The Miami catastrophe of 1927 occurred, and he and a friend trekked south to Florida, expecting to find heavy salaries waiting for eager workers. The state was "broke;" and tourists, alarmed by the tidal wave, were frightened away. Ball has slung hash, worked on dynamite crews as a capper, fry-cooked, run a dice table in a gambling-house, dug ditches, leveled auto springs, spread cloth in a shirt factory, and served beer in a Virginia tavern. This will always remain in Ball's memory, he says, as the best moments of his life. (page 510)

Some of Ball's stories have been reprinted from the 1970s onward, most notably in the celebrated Ballantine Adult Fantasy series edited by Lin Carter.

Ball's novelette "The Thief of Forthe" was the cover story in the July 1937 Weird Tales


All of Ball's known works were published in Weird Tales, in the issues for the dates indicated.


  1. ^ L. Sprague de Camp, Literary Swordsmen and Sorcerers: the Makers of Heroic Fantasy, Sawk City, Wisc., Arkham House, 1976; pp. 277-278.

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