Charles Leonard Harness was born on December 29, 1915 in Colorado City, Texas, USA.
Charles L. Harness earned degrees in chemistry and law at George Washington University and in 1947 started working as a patent attorney. That was his main activity until 1981, when he retired. Harness also started writing science fiction and in 1948 he published his first story, “Time Trap”, which contains some elements that became recurrent in his works such as time travel and a transcendental experience for the protagonist.
In 1949 Charles L. Harness published the novella “Flight Into Yesterday”. It was later expanded and published as a novel in 1953 and under the title “Paradox Men” in 1955. In 1953 Harness also wrote “The Rose” but its publication was complex, so much that it happened in the USA only in 1969.
Those vicissitudes led Charles L. Harness to stop for several years his work as a writer, which he was already conducting part-time. Only in the second half of the ’60s he resumed that activity and after some short fiction he published his second novel, “The Ring of Ritornel”, in 1968. Again, however, he almost completely stopped writing and for a decade he published just some short fiction until 1978, when he published the novel “Wolfhead”.
With his retirement from his activity as a lawyer approaching, Charles L. Harness started devoting more time to being a writer. For this reason the ’80s and early’ 90s were incredibly fertile by his standards. In fact he published the novels: “The Catalyst” in 1980, “Firebird” in 1981, “The Venetian Court” in 1982, “Redworld” in 1986, “Kronos” in 1988, “Lurid Dreams” in 1990 and “Lunar Justice” in 1991.
After his last break in the rest of the ’90, Charles L. Harness published his last stories at the beginning of the third millennium. His last novel was “Cybele, With Bluebonnets” in 2002. In 2004 he was named Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He died on September 20, 2005.
During his writing career, Charles L. Harness has often been compared to A.E. van Vogt for some themes of his works and for the way he distorted scientific concepts according to his needs. However, he wasn’t as prolific as his fellow writer so he tends to be remembered less than him. His style had some flaws but In my opinion he could usually give some order to the chaos of the ideas he developed creating stories that could be really intriguing.