(1897-1973) US author, primarily associated throughout his career with the The New Yorker, for which he worked, and to which he contributed many stories. He is mainly of interest to the sf field for his first novel, The Eater of Darkness (1926; rev 1929), which, written before he had fully assimilated the sometimes restrictive urbanity of The New Yorker style, quite brilliantly applies a wide arsenal of literary devices and references, some of the more nihilistic derived from Dada, to the exaggeratedly spoof-like tale of a criminal Mad Scientist and his absurd super-Weapon, which sees through solids and produces remote-control heat to kill people invisibly; beneath the spoofing and the cosmopolitan style lies a sense of horror. The Hour after Westerly and Other Stories (coll 1957) contains some fantasy of interest, mostly from the The New Yorker, though in general his later work lacks some of the fire of his first book. [JC]
see also: Mathematics.
Robert Myron Coates
born New Haven, Connecticut: 6 April 1897
died New York: 8 February 1973
Previous versions of this entry