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Latham, Philip

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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Pseudonym used for his sf by US astronomer Robert Shirley Richardson (1902-1981). He began publishing sf in the magazines with "N Day" (January 1946 Astounding), and continued to 1977, with twenty or so stories in all; many had astronomical themes (see Astronomy). The most anthologized is "The Xi Effect" (January 1950 Astounding), in which Earth is found to be in a segment of the Universe that is contracting without limit – leading to Disaster as the shrinkage eventually makes light itself (whose various wavelengths remain constant) inaccessible to human Perception (see Alternate Cosmos). Many of his later stories, oddly, are as much about Magic as they are Hard SF.

Latham wrote two Children's SF novels: Five against Venus (1952) and Missing Men of Saturn (1953), and around the same time also wrote scripts for the juvenile television series Captain Video. As Robert S Richardson he wrote many astronomical and scientific articles for sf magazines, the story "Kid Anderson" (Spring 1957 Space Science Fiction Magazine), the semifictional Second Satellite (1956), and more than ten books on astronomy, including the juvenile Exploring Mars (1954; vt Man and the Planets 1954). His essay "Inside Out Matter" (December 1941 Astounding) as R S Richardson contains the earliest known use of "contraterrene" to describe Antimatter. [PN/DRL]

see also: Outer Planets; Physics; Scientists; Sun; Venus.

Robert Shirley Richardson

born Kokomo, Indiana: 22 April 1902

died Altadena, California: 12 November 1981

works as by Philip Latham

works as Robert S Richardson


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