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Fitz James O'Brien (1828 – April 6, 1862) was an Irish-American writer, best known for his works in the genre of science fiction and fantasy. Born in Cork, Ireland, he migrated to the United States in 1852 after squandering his inheritance.
O'Brien settled in New York City and began his writing career which took off with his contributions to Harper's Magazine and the New York Saturday Press. He quickly gained popularity for his strange and imaginative stories. His most recognized works include "The Diamond Lens" and "What Was It? A Mystery", both of which are considered early contributions to the science fiction genre.
While O'Brien's literary career was on the rise, the American Civil War broke out. He joined the Union Army in 1861 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. Despite his talents as a writer, his military career was short-lived. In February 1862, he was injured in a skirmish and contracted tetanus from his wounds. He died on April 6, 1862, leaving behind a significant body of work that continues to be admired for its innovative and imaginative qualities.
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