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Scott, R T M

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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Form of name used independently by two Canadian authors, father and son, both christened Reginald Thomas Maitland Scott, though the son was usually called Robert and sometimes wrote simply as Maitland Scott. Scott Senior (1882-1966) had been a much-travelled marine engineer and subsequent soldier during World War One, with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, before settling in the USA and turning to writing. His first story, "Such Bluff as Dreams Are Made Of" (April 1920 Adventure) introduced the character of Aurelius Smith, known as Secret Service Smith, who became Scott's best known character, appearing in many stories and novels, and served partly as the basis for the later creation of Richard Wentworth, the man behind the vigilante hero the Spider in a long series of novel-length stories published in The Spider pulp magazine. The first two Spider novels, "The Spider Strikes" (October 1933 Spider; 1969) and "The Wheel of Death" (November 1933 Spider; 1969) were credited to R T M Scott and have usually been assumed to have been written by the father. However there is sufficient difference between the two that it has been suggested by Will Murray and others that Scott Junior (1909-1945) might have written one of them, probably the second. Scott Senior was not a prolific writer and would have found it difficult to sustain the pace of a novel a month so his son, who had become an editor at Popular Publications which published The Spider, may have helped with the second novel before the character was handed over to pulpsmith Norvell W Page who wrote the novels under the House Name Grant Stockbridge. Whilst the first two novels create the character of Richard Wentworth and his ruthless crime-fighting alter-ego the Spider, neither revel in any of the more fantastic and eccentric plots that Page later created.

Scott Senior preferred his characters to have a base in reality, although he believed in the occult and was a Director of the American Psychical Institute. One uncharacteristic story, "Nimba, the Cave Girl" (March 1923 Weird Tales) is a violent vignette of the Stone Age (see Prehistoric SF). Amongst his later work, though unpublished, was a biography of Jesus Christ ostensibly dictated psychically. Scott Junior was also interested in psychic matters, contributing the column "True Strange Experiences" to Dime Mystery Magazine and editing the magazine True Mystic Science (November 1938-July/August 1939), which ran for just six issues. It featured no fiction but did include articles by both father and son. Scott Junior contributed stories to several of the bizarre mystery magazines and hero pulps but wrote no science fiction. He was killed in an accident whilst serving in Germany in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps at the end of World War Two. The father returned to writing but without the success he had achieved in the 1920s. [MA]

Reginald Thomas Maitland Scott, Sr

born Woodstock, Ontario, Canada: 14 August 1882

died New York: 5 February 1966

Reginald ["Robert"] Thomas Maitland Scott Jr

born Columbo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka): 23 May 1909

died Germany, 28 August 1945

works (selected)




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