Alva John Kiehle is a fine name, but obviously not snappy enough for an ambitious young writer.
John started experimenting with pseudonyms early and often. The usual was the simplified spelling, John Keel; he later added the middle initial A to distinguish himself from another John Keel. Or so he said: it made sense, but I have no idea who this other JK was.
But there were other pseudonyms. A few follow; I’m sure there were more.
JAKEEL: John started using this when he was a boy. Even in later years, it was the name of choice for informal letters, and for some of his hi-jinks with mail order and classified ads.
STONEHEAD McGUIRE: An early working title for Jadoo was Pattern for Adventure, by Stonehead McGuire.
SMEDLEY LIPSCHITZ: Smedley was responsible for a 1955 short story, “I’ll Spit on Your Grave!” As far as I know, this has no relation to Boris Vian’s novel of the same name.
HARRY GIBBS: John came up with this one from his father’s first name, and his grandparents’ last. He used it for (among other things) the novel Three Women.
GREG HAMILTON: This was one of the “house names” for Midwood Books, a publisher specializing in risque fiction in the ’60s. John’s novel Town Tease was written as Harry Gibbs, but Greg Hamilton was credited on the cover.
THORNTON M. VASELTARP: John used this splendid name, often trailing assorted doctorates, for his bawdy humor pieces for Screw, which were mostly mock-scientific sex surveys. Dr. Vaseltarp was also one of the characters in the proposed novel, Prurient Interests. After I mentioned the name in a bio I wrote for the Fortean Times, the novelist William Gibson put it in his book Pattern Recognition: the character Parkaboy takes it as an alias. Naturally, Gibson’s readers have started using it on blogs and bulletin boards. Dr. Vaseltarp lives on!
MAYNARD GIBSON: Another Screw pseudonym.
DR. THADDEUS L. FARNBOGGLE: Another Screw pseudonym.
CLAYMORE FINCH: The pen name for the proposed comic novel Kiss My Gun.
DARWIN FUDWOPPLE, D. D. S.: John sometimes used burlesque names on his TV scripts; this was the byline for an episode of “Mack and Myer.”
RANDOLPH HALSEY-QUINCE: This distinguished character wrote a diet book, How to Turn Yourself Inside Out, and a proposed comic novel, Prurient Interests. One of his early appearances was as the author of “I Fed My Arm to a Tiger,” in Escape to Adventure, July 1957.