Robertson, Morgan

Tagged: Author

(1861-1915) US sailor and author, almost always on nautical themes; many of his stories are sf or fantasy. The fantasy tales, typical of their maritime venues, tend to the mystical, the fog-girt, the occult and the morose, the most useful assembly of this material being Over the Border (coll 1914). His sf is sometimes similarly atmospheric, though a story like "The Battle of the Monsters" (16 July 1899 Saturday Evening Post) is one of several late nineteenth-century tales featuring microscopic observers (see Great and Small) who report back on events within the human body, in this case a battle between rabies bacilli and antitoxins (see Medicine). Of his Future-War tales, "The Submarine Destroyer" (September 1905 Everybody's Magazine) – in which the Invention of a torpedo-deflecting warship enables America to enforce the repatriation of Japanese-Americans to a reluctant Japan (see Yellow Peril) – is perhaps the strongest; though "A Matter of Induction" (15 April 1910 Popular Magazine) – featuring the continuing character Finnegan who becomes a genius when drunk, and is consequently able to fly a brand-new experimental plane that no one else knows how to pilot – is also a future-war tale of interest.

Robertson is best remembered for Futility: The Wreck of the Titan (1898; vt Futility; Or, the Wreck of the Titan 1912; vt The Wreck of the Titan; Or, Futility 1912; exp as coll, vt The Wreck of the "Titan" 1914; vt The Wreck of the Titan; Or, Futility: The Doomed Unsinkable Ship 1974), which proved remarkably predictive in telling the Near Future tale of a great new "indestructible" British-built ocean liner called the Titan which steams at an arrogant pace into an iceberg in the North Atlantic in April and sinks (see Titanic). [JC/MA]

Morgan Andrew Robertson

born Oswego, New York: 30 September 1861

died Atlantic City, New Jersey: 24 March 1915

works

collections

links

Previous versions of this entry

Website design and build: STEEL

Site ©2011 Gollancz, SFE content ©2011 SFE Ltd.