DR. LEON EUGENE STOVER
by William F. Drish.
Dr. Leon Eugene Stover, Ph.D., Litt.D., was the author of 23 books in varied categories, including Anthropology, History, Fiction, and Criticism. His major works include Cultural Ecology of Chinese Civilization, China: An Anthropological Perspective (with Takeko K. Stover), Imperial China and the State Cult of Confucius, Science Fiction from Wells to Heinlein, Stonehenge City: A Reconstruction, Stonehenge: Where Atlantis Died (a novel with Harry Harrison), and the massive eight-volume explication of H. G. Wells’ scientific romances as vehicles for expounding Wells’ brand of Saint-Simonian socialism, The Annotated H. G. Wells. His last book, Volume 9: Things To Come, was published by McFarland.
Even though he and Wells would have differed radically on politics, Dr. Stover shared with Wells what might be called “Cosmic Vision,” a view of humanity in the context of vast reaches of space and eons of time.
As a young child, he lived with his grandfather, Lucias Erastus Stover (“The Baron”), in Millheim, Pennsylvania in a large colonial-era stone mansion not far from his grandfather’s bank and block-long construction supply warehouse. Descended from Frederick the Great, and a cousin of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s, he was an extraordinarily brilliant child, and therefore a solitary child. At an early age, he discovered the scientific romances of H. G. Wells, which awakened in him a “sense of wonder”, and it became one of his life-long pursuits to explicate to himself the ramifications of these fascinating novels that took the long view, the cosmic evolutionary view that could be summed up in one short question: Whither Mankind? The nine-volume The Annotated H. G. Wells was the result, and members of the H. G. Wells Society in London referred to Dr. Stover’s view of Wells as Stoverism.
Dr. Stover knew all the legendary figures in modern science fiction: John W. Campbell, Robert A. Heinlein, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, and Brian Aldiss, to mention a few. His closest and oldest friend was world-famous science fiction author Harry Harrison, who co-authored with Dr. Stover the novel Stonehenge: Where Atlantis Died, and who was co-editor with Dr. Stover for the famous anthropological science fiction anthology Apeman, Spaceman. In addition, Dr. Stover was science editor for Amazing Science Fiction Magazine in the early 60s.