Search SFE    Search EoF

  Omit cross-reference entries  

Kelly, Robert

Entry updated 24 July 2023. Tagged: Author.

Icon made by Freepik from


(1935-    ) US academic, poet – extremely prolific from about 1960, with at least fifty volumes published – and author. His novel The Scorpions (1967) has been read as sf because of its baroquely Paranoid rendering of a psychiatrist's conviction that a rich patient does in fact have contact with the Scorpions, a race of ultraviolet people (see Psychology). However, like Cities (1971 chap), the book is more plausibly viewed as a Fabulation, depicting US life after the fashion of Harry Mathews (1930-2017) and Thomas Pynchon. In the 1980s Kelly began to publish short fiction in the same vein, collected in A Transparent Tree: Fictions (coll 1985), Doctor of Silence: Fictions (coll 1988), Queen of Terrors: Fictions (coll 2005) and The Logic of the World and Other Fictions (coll 2010). In this later work, sf tropes are occasionally the subject of surreal Parody, though The Book from the Sky (2008) focuses these tools of perception and Equipoise into a tale of Alien abduction involving UFOs and Doppelgangers that can be read as literal sf.

Senator Robert Kelly, a character in the X-Men universe, was named after Kelly by Chris Claremont, who had been a student of his at Bard College, where he has taught for many years. [JC]

Robert Kelly

born New York: 24 September 1935

works (highly selected)

  • The Scorpions (Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, 1967) [hb/Milton Glaser]
  • Cities (Newbury, Massachusetts: Frontier Press, 1971) [chap: pb/nonpictorial]
  • The Book from the Sky (Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 2008) [pb/Paula Morrison]



previous versions of this entry

This website uses cookies.  More information here. Accept Cookies