Manly Wade Wellman (1903-1986) was a prolific American writer who worked in practically every genre, but best known for his dark fantasy stories about a traveling musician named John who frequently finds himself battling supernatural menaces in the deep backwoods of Appalachia. Wellman had already written other Occult Detective
stories, demonstrating a talent for weirdness and a quirky sense of humour, but the "Silver John" stories (so-called for disambiguation, although their protagonist is always just plain John) are additionally enlivened by Wellman's enduring interest in the folklore and folk music of backwoods America.
Wellman's short stories were adapted as episodes of The Twilight Zone
("The Valley Was Still"; the adaptation is retitled "Still Valley"), Night Gallery
("The Devil Is Not Mocked") and Monsters
("Rouse Him Not"). Far less successfully, a movie was made based on some of the John stories, The Legend of Hillbilly John
On a completely different note, his other works include Sherlock Holmes's War of the Worlds
. He even wrote a Captain Future novel.
Works by Manly Wade Wellman with their own trope page include:
His other works provide examples of:
- As the Good Book Says: In his lesser-known Parson Jaeger stories, the titular character quotes the Bible quite often, though not always accurately, something lampshaded by other characters.
- Awesome McCoolname: Seriously, his name was Manly! (On the other hand: Wade.)
- External Retcon: Sherlock Holmes's War of the Worlds reveals that the aliens in The War of the Worlds weren't actually from Mars, and also uncovers a few details about Sherlock Holmes's private life that Watson never mentioned.
- Frazetta Man: The Neanderthals of Hok the Mighty
- Occult Detective: Judge Pursuivant, John Thunstone, Hal Stryker, Lee Cobbett, and to some extent, Parson "Bible" Jaeger.
- Sword Cane: Judge Pursuivant has a silver version of one of these, with the words "Sic pereant omnes inimici tui" (thus perish all your enemies) engraved on it. When he becomes too old to wield it, the Judge passes it on to his colleague John Thunstone.
- Tripod Terror: In Sherlock Holmes's War of the Worlds
- Walking the Earth: Lee Cobbett and Hal Stryker have elements of this.
- You Will Be Beethoven: In Twice In Time, a man named Leonard travels back in time to meet Leonardo da Vinci — you can see where this is going.