Philip Latham

(1902 — 1981)

Philip Latham was the pseudonym used for his SF writing by United States astronomer Robert Shirley Richardson.

He began publishing SF in the magazines with “N Day” (January, 1946, Astounding), and continued to 1977, with a total of about twenty stories in all. The most anthologized of his stories is “The Xi Effect” (January, 1950, Astounding), in which Earth is found to be in a segment of the Universe that is contracting without limit. Many of his later stories, are fantasy rather than SF.

Latham wrote two SF novels for children: Five Against Venus (1952) and Missing Men of Saturn (1953). He also wrote scripts for the television series Captain Video.

Under his real name, he wrote many scientific articles for SF magazines, and more than ten books on astronomy. His essay, “Inside Out Matter” (December, 1941, Astounding), contains the earliest known use of the word “contraterrene” to describe antimatter.

He was one of Harry Stubbs' professors while he was a student at Harvard and Stubbs wrote under the pseudonym Hal Clement initially to prevent his professors from knowing that he wrote SF — not knowing that Richardson did also.

SF Encyclopedia entry


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