Rog Phillips

(1909 — March 2, 1966)

Rog Phillips (the stfnal pename of Roger Phillips Graham) was born in Spokane, Washington, graduated from Gonzaga University and then did graduate work at The University of Washington. He was both a fan and a pro.

He wrote most of his science fiction under the pen name of Rog Phillips, although he used several other pseudonyms, including house names; however, only Rog Phillips, Craig Browning, Franklin Bahl, Peter Worth, and Melva Rogers are notable ones used in his science fiction writing. Graham was most associated with the Ziff-Davis magazines in the mid-1940s through the 1950s — principally Amazing Stories and Fantastic Adventures — and some genre critics feel his stories did much to raise the standard of fiction these magazines published at the time.

Before he became a full-time writer after World War II, Graham worked as a power plant engineer and as a shipyard welder. Earlier he had worked at other jobs, including farm laborer, plumber, construction worker, and carpenter. In the same interview in which he listed his several previous occupations, he stated that the last thing he looked like was an author. At one time he taught a writing course to prisoners at San Quentin.

In SF fandom, he was known for conducting an influential fan column, "The Club House," that ran in Amazing during 1948-1953. This column reviewed fanzines and covered other fan affairs — and was later revived in Universe Science Fiction (1954-1955) and still later in Other Worlds Science Stories (1955-1956). The Club House was credited by Ray Palmer with brining many new people into fandom, including Robert Silverberg who learned of fandom while reading Amazing in 1948.

Graham was married for a time to Mari Wolf, who ran a similar column, "Fandora's Box," in the digest SF magazine Imagination. After he and Mari divorced, Graham married Honey Wood in 1956. Wood was also involved in fandom, and at one time all three were members of The Outlanders, a Los Angeles SF club for members of LASFS who lived in the "outlands" of Los Angeles.

Graham also contributed pieces in various fanzines during his time in fandom, including his "autobiography" ("Christ: An Autobiography") that appeared in the September, 1950, issue of Art Rapp's fanzine Spacewarp. Graham wrote that any of his fan writing could be reprinted in any fanzine without his permission — and that he felt his fan articles were some of his best writing.

He was made an honorary member of the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F) in the early 1950s. Both Mari Wolf and Honey Wood were also N3F members. In fact, Wood was quite active, at one time serving on the club's Directorate and also heading up the Membership Activities Department.

Graham also wrote mystery and detective fiction, often under his John Wiley pseudonym.

His genre novels included Time Trap (1949), Worlds Within (1950), World of If (1951), and The Involuntary Immortals (1959). His early SF paperbacks were the subject of an article by Jon D. Swartz in the October, 2011, issue (#79) of Paperback Parade.

Some of his most famous short stories were "Rat in the Skull," "Game Preserve," and "The Yellow Pill." "Rat in the Skull" was nominated for a Hugo Award (best novelette) in 1959.

He was a good friend of fellow SF writer Chad Oliver, and served as his best man when Oliver married in 1952.

Some of Graham's work is currently available online through Project Gutenberg.

See also http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/phillips_rog