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Mitchell, Edward Page

Entry updated 10 April 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1852-1927) US newspaperman and author, associated from 1875 until his death with the New York Sun, serving as editor-in-chief 1903-1920. Page's sf, which came from the first decade of his career and most of which first appeared in his own journal, was restricted to about thirty short stories beginning with "The Tachypomp" (January 1874 The Sun anon), which envisaged a means of attaining unlimited speed by running successive trains on top of one another (see Transportation). A kind of humanoid calculator – in effect a Cyborg augmented by a clockwork Computer (see Charles Babbage) – is the eponym of "The Ablest Man in the World" (May 1879 The Sun anon). Other stories' subject matters range widely, including Time Travel in the fantasy "The Clock that Went Backward" (September 1881 The Sun anon), which may well be the first tale to propose the use of a mechanical device or Time Machine to effect the transition; the topos of the Hollow Earth in "The Inside of the Earth: A Big Hole through the Planet from Pole to Pole" (27 February 1876 The Sun); Matter Transmission in "The Man Without a Body" (March 1877 The Sun anon); Food Pills to avoid desiccation during Suspended Animation in "The Senator's Daughter" (27 July 1879 The Sun); and Invisibility in "The Crystal Man" (January 1881 The Sun anon). Mitchell's work, which in its variety and imaginative power may have influenced H G Wells and others, came to be noticed in the sf field through the publication of The Crystal Man: Landmark Science Fiction (coll 1973), edited and with a long and informative introduction by Sam Moskowitz. [JC/DRL]

see also: Forgotten Futures.

Edward Page Mitchell

born Bath, Maine: 24 March 1852

died New London, Connecticut: 22 January 1927



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