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John Drury Clark, Ph.D. (15 August 1907 July 1988) was a noted American rocket fuel developer, chemist, and science fiction writer and fan. He was instrumental in the revival of interest in Robert E. Howard's Conan stories and influenced the writing careers of L. Sprague de Camp, Fletcher Pratt, and other authors.

Clark and Conan[]

Clark first encountered Robert E. Howard's fantasies of Kull, Conan and Solomon Kane in the magazine Weird Tales. Together with Miller he worked out an outline of Conan's career and a map of the world in Howard's invented Hyborian Age in early 1936 from the then-published stories. Miller sent this material to Howard, whose reply confirmed and corrected their findings. Their revised outline, "A Probable Outline of Conan's Career", was published in the fanzine The Hyborian Age in 1938.

Thus established as an authority on Conan, Clark was invited to provide introductions for the first book editions of Howard's Conan stories, published by Gnome Press in the 1950s. Expanded versions of his and Miller's essay on Conan, retitled "An Informal Biography of Conan the Cimmerian", appeared in the Gnome volume The Coming of Conan in 1953 and (revised by de Camp) in the fanzine Amra, vol. 2, no. 4, in 1959. It was the source of the linking passages between the individual Conan stories in both the Gnome editions and the Lancer paperback editions of the 1960s.

Clark and Miller's Hyborian Age map, together with Howard's own original, are the basis of those published in the Gnome, Lancer, and later editions of the stories.

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