(1909-1998) US Radio scriptwriter and author, who began publishing work of genre interest with "I Belong to the Beast" in Horror Stories for June 1935, and who was active from around 1940 in radio; some early work appeared as by Roger Howard Norton, Robert Howard Norton and Rogers Howard Norton. His early novels – including Identity Unknown (1945) and The Enchanter (1962), the latter a thriller – were nonfantastic, and directed to adult readers. He remains best known for the Tertius fantasy sequence – Merlin's Mistake (1970) and The Testing of Tertius (1973) – featuring young Tertius, upon whom Merlin has bestowed the dangerous and seemingly unuseful gift of Prediction as regards future science, though he remains ignorant of more practical matters like Magic. In the first volume, Merlin serves as an enigmatic Trickster figure, guiding the course of a complex attempt to redeem an earlier error on his part; a Robin Hood figure appears intermittently. In the second volume, Tertius helps King Arthur cope with Attila the Hun [for Arthur, Matter (of Britain), Merlin, Robin Hood and Trickster see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. Fantasy singletons include Corbie (1966), The Shattered Stone (1975) and The Case of the Baker Street Irregular: A Sherlock Holmes Story (1978; vt A Puzzle for Sherlock Holmes 1979) (see Sherlock Holmes).
Newman is of sf interest for The Boy Who Could Fly (1967), an example of Children's SF that remains comfortably adrift from the early Young Adult tale. Two children, technically orphans but with loving relatives, adjust to life in small-town Connecticut; the protagonist's main challenge is his younger brother – a Telepath, a Teleporter and, through gestalt-like grasp of the whole of Mathematics and Physics, a potential Superman – whom he must teach how to grow up unruined by attention and exploiters.
Robert Newman should not be confused with the UK actor and author Robert Newman (1964- ). [JC]
see also: Theater Five.
Robert Howard Newman
born New York: 3 June 1909
died Branford, Connecticut: 7 December 1988
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