Ambrose Bierce was a brilliant, bitter, and cynical journalist. He is also the author of several collections of ironic epigrams and at least one powerful story, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." Bierce was born in Ohio, where he had an unhappy childhood. He served in the Union army during the Civil War. Following the war, he moved to San Francisco, where he worked as a columnist for the newspaper the Examiner, for which he wrote a number of satirical sketches. Bierce wrote a number of horror stories, some poetry, and countless essays. He is best known, however, for The Cynic's Word Book (1906), retitled The Devil's Dictionary in 1911, a collection of such cynical definitions as "Marriage: the state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress, and two slaves, making in all, two." Bierce's own marriage ended in divorce, and his life ended mysteriously. In 1913, he went to Mexico and vanished, presumably killed in the Mexican revolution.
Everett F. Bleiler was born April 30, 1920 in Massachusetts. He received an anthropology degree from Harvard University in 1942 and a degree in the history of culture from the University of Chicago. He started working at Dover Publications in 1955, eventually becoming executive vice president in 1967, and left the company in 1977. After leaving Dover, he worked at Charles Scribner's Sons until 1986. He edited or co-edited numerous works including the annual Best Science Fiction Stories series, the Year's Best Science Fiction Novels series, and several anthologies. His nonfiction work includes The Checklist of Fantastic Literature, The Guide to Supernatural Fiction, Supernatural Fiction Writers: Fantasy and Horror, Science Fiction: The Early Years, and Science Fiction: The Gernsback Years. He received several awards including the 1978 World Fantasy Award (Special, Professional), the 1984 SFRA Pilgrim Award, the 1988 World Fantasy Life Achievement Award, the 1994 First Fandom Award, and the 2004 International Horror Guild Living Legend Award. He died on June 13, 2010 at the age of 90.