(1891-1973) US teacher, naval officer, author and financial auditor (in that order), whose work was restricted primarily to the Pulp magazines. His earliest sale was an article in Youth's Companion in 1916; his first fiction sale, and also his first work of sf, was "The Demise of Professor Manried" for All-Story Weekly, 18 August 1917. Here the eponymous professor is able to use electricity to amplify and harness thought waves (see Telepathy; Psi Powers). In several more of Fisher's stories, electricity is the key to new Inventions and new perils – notably the novella "Beyond the Pole" (May 1924 Munsey's Magazine), where members of an expedition to the North Pole by Airship finds themselves trapped in a vortex of electricity that eventually makes them all invisible. Invisibility is also the end result of an experiment in vibrations in "The Strange Case of Lemuel Jenkins" (26 July 1919 All-Story Weekly) whilst the concept of various vibrational frequencies marking the difference between coexistent Parallel Worlds is central to "Worlds Within Worlds" (13 May 1922 Argosy), which also seeks to describe an advanced Utopia. Fisher's years as a naval officer provided him with experiences for several strange maritime stories such as "The Ship of Silent Men" (3 January 1920 All-Story Weekly) and "Fungus Isle" (27 October 1923 Argosy), both of which also seem influenced by the works of William Hope Hodgson. Fisher returned to this nautical subgenre in one of his last stories, "The Floating Island" (May 1951 Blue Book).
He wrote only one novel, Vanishing Ships (November 1925-April 1926 Holland's Magazine as "The Radio Wreckers"; rev 1943), which despite its final title is non-sf. The majority of Fisher's short sf and fantasy tales are collected in Beyond the Pole (coll 2013); this excludes the weak story "The Lady of the Moon" (September 1935 Astounding), in which by unexplained Rays and beams an inventor seems to have been transported (see Matter Transmission) to the Moon. At his best Fisher was a capable visionary writer, but he relied too heavily on formula and repetition. [MA]
see also: Islands; Munsey's Magazine.
Philip Melancthon Fisher Jr
born Oakland, California: 8 July 1891
died Oakland, California: 1 November 1973
- Vanishing Ships (New York: M S Mill, 1943) [first published November 1925-April 1926 Holland's Magazine as "The Radio Wreckers": hb/]
- Beyond the Pole (Normal, Illinois: Black Dog Books, 2013) [coll: edited by Gene Christie: introduction by Stefan Dziemianowicz: pb/Tom Roberts]
Previous versions of this entry