(February 20, 1909 – March 2, 1966)
Rog Phillips was the stfnal penname of Roger Phillip Graham, who was both a fan and a pro. He used several other pseudonyms, including house names; 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.
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 bring many new people into fandom, including Robert Silverberg who learned of fandom while reading Amazing in 1948.
Graham was married in 1938 to Eleanor Cora Smith. They seem to have divorced as in 1950 he married Mari Wolf, his second wife, 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 an actifan, 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. Phillips and Wood were both on the Solacon concom.
Graham 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.
Graham also wrote mystery and detective fiction, often under his John Wiley pseudonym. His sf novels included Time Trap (1949), Worlds Within (1950), World of If (1951), and The Involuntary Immortals (1959). 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. Armchair Fiction (Medford, Oregon) reprinted several of his stories in paperback.
Graham was born in Spokane, WA, graduated from Gonzaga University and then did graduate work at The University of Washington. 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.
He died of heart failure in California in 1966.
- Entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
- Article on his early SF paperbacks in the October, 2011, issue (#79) of Paperback Parade.
- Works at Project Gutenberg.
Awards, Honors and GoHships:
- 1956 -- 1956 Best Feature Writer Hugo nominee
- 1959 -- 1959 Best Novelette Hugo nominee
- Made an honorary member of the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F) in the early 1950s
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