(April 12, 1915 - August 17, 2000)
Author, mostly active from the 40s-60s, born in Milltown, Montana. He was educated at Montana State University, Bozeman.
Best known for the four novels in his “Kalevala” sequence (Saga of Lost Earths, 1966; The Star Mill, 1966; and The Stolen Sun, and Tramontane (1967) [both novels in a single volume], based on the Finnish epic Kalevala [a fifth novel in the sequence was written, but unpublished]. A related title, The Time Twister, appeared in 1968.
Two other popular novels, Lord of the Green Planet (1967) and Doom of the Green Planet (1968), made up his “Green Planet” series. Other novels were The Caves of Mars (1965), The Prism (1968), The Nets of Space (1969), The Path Beyond the Stars (1969), and Seed of the Dreamers (1970). He wrote several other novels that were unpublished at the time of his death. Petaja also wrote poetry and collections of his verse, Brief Candle (illustrated by Hannes Bok) and As Dream and Shadow, were published in 1936 and 1972, respectively.
First publication: “The Two Doors” in Unusual Stories (1935); First professional SF publication: “Time Will Tell” in Amazing (June, 1942); First SF novel: Alpha Yes, Terra No! (Ace, 1965); First SF collection: Stardrift and Other Fantastic Flotsam (Fantasy Press, 1971).
A friend and onetime roommate of SF/fantasy artist Hannes Bok, Petaja founded the Bokanalia Foundation in 1967. He subsequently published the commemorative volume And Flights of Angels: The Life and Legend of Hannes Bok (1968) and edited The Hannes Bok Memorial Showcase of Fantasy Art (1974).
Petaja was once a professional photographer and owned his own portrait studios. He became a full-time writer in 1963. He occasionally published work as Theodore Pine and as H. J. Swanza.
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