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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Authors

Philip Latham

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Philip Latham

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Full Name: Robert Shirley Richardson
Born: January 1, 1902
Died: January 1, 1981
Occupation: Astronomer, Writer


Pseudonym used for his sf by US astronomer Robert Shirley Richardson (1902-1981). He began publishing sf in the magazines with "N Day" and continued to 1977, with twenty or so stories in all; many had astronomical themes. The most anthologized is "The Xi Effect", 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. Many of his later stories, oddly, are as much about Magic as they are Hard SF.

Latham wrote two 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", the semifictional Second Satellite (1956), and more than ten books on astronomy, including the juvenile Exploring Mars (1954; Man and the Planets 1954). His essay "Inside Out Matter" as R S Richardson contains the earliest known use of "contraterrene" to describe Antimatter.

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