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Morris, Anthony P

Entry updated 20 November 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1849-1921) US businessman, farmer, journalist and author, active in the latter capacity from about 1867, publishing dime novels for publishers like Beadle from around 1872, a typical title being The Man of Steel; Or, the Masked Knight of the White Plume (1882 chap); he may have used pseudonyms, which have not been identified, and some of his tales, not all of which have been identified, may have been sf (see Dime-Novel SF). Electro Pete, the Man of Fire; Or, the Wharf Rats of Locust Point: A Baltimore Detective Tale (1883), which introduces a marginal Invention, also seems typical. Of perhaps greater interest in the history of sf are two tales revolving around sexual issues (see Sex) clearly transgressive in the late nineteenth century. The protagonist of The Serpent Sin (1892) begets extramarital offspring in another world or Dimension accessed by occult means. The more ambitious A Modern Monk (circa 1893) anonymous is understood to be the first American pornographic sf story. The plot is perhaps unduly contorted. Darius Shankdig – a disgraced Scientist who has founded a sexually liberated Utopia whose members he keeps under Hypnotic control (see Sex) – constructs a telescope through which he observes the inhabitants of Mars, who are capable of Space Flight, and a ship hurtling towards Earth. Rightly assuming that the impact of its arrival will destroy the planet, Shankdig flies in a Balloon to the North Pole with various sexual partners, and descends from there into the Hollow Earth beneath, where everyone dies, perhaps orgasmically, as the Martian ship strikes. [JC]

Anthony Paschal Morris, Jr

born Safe Harbor, Pennsylvania: 15 October 1849

died Berkeley, California: 27 December 1921

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