Phillips, Rog

Tagged: Author | Fan

Working name of US author Roger Phillip (not Phillips as often cited) Graham (1909-1966), a prolific contributor to the sf magazines of the late 1940s and 1950s, often writing as by Craig Browning. His first story was "Let Freedom Ring!" in December 1945 for Amazing Stories, which, along with its companion magazine Fantastic Adventures, remained his most regular market. He wrote a series of stories featuring the character Lefty Baker: "Squeeze Play" (November 1947 Amazing) as Craig Browning, "The Immortal Menace" (February 1949 Amazing) as Craig Browning, "The Insane Robot" (November 1949 Fantastic Adventures) as Craig Browning, "'It's Like This'" (November 1952 Fantastic Story Magazine), "Lefty Baker's Nuthouse" (January 1958 Imaginative Tales) and "... But Who Knows Huer or Huen?" (November 1961 Fantastic). These are assembled as The Complete Lefty Baker (coll 2012), edited and introduced by the author's godson Earl Terry Kemp, who has edited further memorial volumes of stories [see Checklist below]. A sequence of pioneering singleton stories in Imagination, notably "The Lost Ego" (January 1953 Imagination), "Repeat Performance" (December 1953 Imagination) and "The Cosmic Junkman" (January 1954 Imagination), creatively explored themes and techniques later used more memorably by Philip K Dick and Robert Bloch.

His best-known story is "The Yellow Pill" (October 1958 Astounding), an ingenious exercise in Perception paradoxes (see also Conceptual Breakthrough; Psychology). Some of his short work also appeared as by Clinton Ames, Franklin Bahl, Gregg Conrad, Inez McGowan, Melva Rogers, Chester Ruppert, William Carter Sawtelle and John Wiley; he also wrote under the House Names Robert Arnette, Alexander Blade, P F Costello, A R Steber, Gerald Vance and Peter Worth. Under the aegis of Amazing editor Raymond A Palmer, Phillips had complete freedom to conduct an influential column of comment and Fanzine reviews, The Club House (March 1948-March 1953), later reviving it in other magazines edited by Palmer: Universe Science Fiction and Other Worlds; these columns were collected by Earl Terry Kemp as Rog Phillips' The Club House (coll 2014). Fiction from the end of the author's active career has been assembled as Rat in the Skull and Other Off-trail Science Fiction (coll 2004 ebook).

Phillips published four novels in book form, none negligible, though less successful than some of his shorter work: Time Trap (1949), Worlds Within (1950), World of If (1951) and The Involuntary Immortals (December 1949 Fantastic Adventures; rev 1959), the last being an example of a kind of tale intrinsic to Genre SF (a more recent example being Nancy Kress's Beggars in Spain [April 1991 Asimov's; 1991; exp 1992]): a group of young paranormals (see Superman) must band together to protect themselves from the vengeance of ungifted normal humans. A further novel, So Shall Ye Reap (August 1947 Amazing; 2011), issued posthumously in book form, presumes that the first atom bombs have generated a slow chain reaction; the tale follows the lead-up to the inevitable Holocaust, during which period the American government creates vast Keeps Underground to house the chosen few for two millennia. The whole story is told within a Ruined Earth frame, in the year 2196. [MJE/JC/DRL/DR]

see also: Fantastic Voyages; Politics; Ziff-Davis.

Roger Phillip Graham

born Spokane, Washington: 20 February 1909

died San Francisco, California: 2 March 1966

works

series

Best of Rog Phillips

individual titles

collections and stories

nonfiction

  • Rog Phillips' The Club House (Golden Valley, Arizona: Goldleaf Books/The Last Stand, 2014) [nonfiction: essays from sf magazines: edited and annotated by Earl Terry Kemp: pb/Steve Stiles]

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