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Rocklynne, Ross

Entry updated 6 February 2023. Tagged: Author.

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Working name of US author Ross Louis Rocklin (1913-1988) for his sf stories, most of which appeared in such magazines as Astounding from the mid-1930s up to 1947, beginning with "Man of Iron" for Astounding in 1935. He specialized in Space-Opera plots constructed around sometimes ingenious "scientific" problems, such as how to escape from the centre of a hollow planet in "At the Center of Gravity" (June 1936 Astounding), the first of the Colbie and Deverel series assembled with similar material in The Men and the Mirror (coll of linked stories 1973); the story is flawed by the fact that Rocklynne did not realize that a symmetrical hollow shell does not have an internal, centrally directed Gravity field. A second series, The Darkness, was assembled as The Sun Destroyers (fixup 1973 dos); it features vast, nebula-like beings (see Living Worlds) and follows their life-courses through millions of years from galaxy to galaxy without the intervention of mankind. Two book-length tales – "The Day of the Cloud" (November 1942 Startling) and "Pirates of the Time Trail" (September 1943 Startling) – were not published in book form.

Rocklynne had one of the most interesting, if florid, imaginations of the Pulp-magazine writers of his time, and wrote very much better than most. He continued to publish sf, rather sporadically, up to 1954 (he was interested in Dianetics at that time); and later made a formidable comeback with several stories in 1968, demonstrating that he had no difficulty at all in adjusting his narrative voice to the more sophisticated demands of the later period – as in "Ching Witch!", one of the most assured tours de force in Harlan Ellison's Again, Dangerous Visions (anth 1972), an ironic tale about the curious morality of a man who, as a result of Genetic Engineering, has a lot of Cat in him. [JC/PN]

see also: Alternate History; Crime and Punishment; Future War; Time Paradoxes.

Ross Louis Rocklin

born Cincinnati, Ohio: 21 February 1913

died Los Angeles, California: 29 October 1988


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