Alexander Laing was born in Great Neck, Long Island, New York in 1903. He attended Dartmouth College, but dropped out before graduation to become the Technical Editor of Radio News. In 1926 he shipped as an ordinary seaman on the S.S. Leviathan, bound for Southampton, England, and spent two years at sea. He then returned to Dartmouth, becoming a tutorial advisor in the English Department in 1930. His first two books, volumes of poetry, were published in 1927 and 1928, and the following year he was awarded the Walt Whitman Prize for poetry. He turned to fiction in 1930 with End of Roaming, a fictionalized account of his own childhood and student life. Laing finally earned his degree in 1933 and remained close to Dartmouth for the remainder of his career, retiring in 1968 as Professor of Belles Lettres. Laing was best known for his seafaring tales, the most popular of which was The Sea Witch (1933), though he is remembered by horror connoisseurs as the author of The Cadaver of Gideon Wyck (1934), a bestseller that Karl Edward Wagner later cited as one of the all-time best science fiction horror novels. Laing died in 1976.