Frank M. Robinson

Frank M. Robinson (August 9, 1926 – June 30, 2014) was an American science fiction and techno-thriller writer.

Frank M. Robinson
Frank Malcolm Robinson

August 9, 1926
DiedJune 30, 2014 (aged 87)


Born in Chicago, Illinois.[1] Robinson was the son of a check forger.[2] He started out in his teens working as a copy boy for International News Service and then became an office boy for Ziff Davis.[2] He was drafted into the Navy for World War II, and when his tour was over attended Beloit College, where he majored in physics, graduating in 1950. Because he could find no work as a writer, he ended up back in the Navy to serve in Korea, where he kept writing, read a lot, and published in Astounding magazine.

After the Navy, he attended graduate school in journalism, then worked for a Chicago-based Sunday supplement. Soon he switched to Science Digest, where he worked from 1956 to 1959. From there, he moved into men's magazines: Rogue (1959–65) and Cavalier (1965–66). In 1969, Playboy asked him to take over the Playboy Advisor column. He remained there until 1973, when he left to write full-time.

After moving to San Francisco in the 1970s, Robinson, who was gay, was a speechwriter for gay politician Harvey Milk; he had a small role in the film Milk.[3][4] After Milk's assassination, Robinson was co-executor, with Scott Smith, of Milk's last will and testament.[5]

Robinson was the author of 16 books, the editor of two others, and has penned numerous articles.[2] Three of his novels have been made into movies. The Power (1956) was a supernatural science fiction and government conspiracy novel about people with superhuman skills, filmed in 1968 as The Power. The technothriller The Glass Inferno, co-written with Thomas N. Scortia, was combined with Richard Martin Stern's The Tower to produce the 1974 movie The Towering Inferno. The Gold Crew, also co-written Scortia, was a nuclear threat thriller filmed as an NBC miniseries and re-titled The Fifth Missile.

He collaborated on several other works with Scortia, including The Prometheus Crisis, The Nightmare Factor, and Blow-Out. More recent works include The Dark Beyond the Stars (1991), and an updated version of The Power (2000), which closely followed Waiting (1999), a novel with similar themes to The Power. His novel is a medical thriller about organ theft called The Donor.[6]

In the 1970s, Robinson started seriously collecting the vintage pulp-fiction magazines that he had grown up reading. The collection spawned a book on the history of the pulps as seen through their vivid cover art: Pulp Culture: The Art of Fiction Magazines (with co-author Lawrence Davidson).[7] He attended numerous pulp conventions and in 2000 won the coveted Lamont Award for lifetime achievement at Pulpcon.[8]

In 2009 he was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.[9]



Short story collections

  • A Life in the Day of... and Other Short Stories (1981). Contains 9 short stories:
    • "The Maze" (1950)
    • "The Reluctant Heroes" (1951). Novelette
    • "The Fire and the Sword" (1951). Novelette
    • "The Santa Claus Planet" (1951). Novelette
    • "The Hunting Season" (1951). Novelette
    • "The Wreck of the Ship John B." (1967). Novelette
    • ""East Wind, West Wind"" (1972). Novelette
    • "A Life in the Day of..." (1969)
    • "Downhill All the Way" (1974)
  • Through My Glasses Darkly (2002). Contains 5 short stories:
    • "Causes" (1997). Novelette
    • ""East Wind, West Wind"" (1972). Novelette
    • "The Hunting Season" (1951). Novelette
    • "A Life in the Day Of..." (1969)
    • "Hail, Hail, Rock and Roll" (1994)

Short stories

Uncollected short stories.

  • "Situation Thirty" (1951)
  • "Two Weeks in August" (1951)
  • "Beyond the Ultra-Violet" (1951)
  • ""Good Luck, Columbus!"" (1951)
  • "Untitled Story" (1951). Novelette
  • "You've Got to Believe" (1951)
  • "The Girls from Earth" (1952). Novelette
  • "Viewpoint" (1953)
  • "The Night Shift" (1953)
  • "Muscle Man" (1953)
  • "Quiz Game" (1953)
  • "The Day the World Ended" (1953)
  • "Decision" (1953)
  • "Guaranteed - Forever!" (1953)
  • "The Siren Sounds at Midnight" (1953)
  • "Planted!, AKA The Observer" (1953)
  • "Quarter in the Slot" (1954)
  • "The Lonely Man" (1954)
  • "The Worlds of Joe Shannon" (1954)
  • "One Thousand Miles Up" (1954)
  • "The Oceans Are Wide" (1954). Novelette
  • "The Dead End Kids of Space" (1954). Novelette
  • "Cosmic Saboteur" (1955). Novelette
  • "Dream Street" (1955)
  • "Four Hours to Eternity" (1955)
  • "You Don't Walk Alone" (1955)
  • "Wanted: One Sane Man" (1955). Novelette
  • "A Rover I Will Be" (1960)
  • "Merry Christmas, No. 30267" (1993)
  • "The Greatest Dying" (1993)
  • "1969 Hail, Hail, Rock and Roll" (1994)
  • "Dealer's Choice" (1994)
  • "One Month in 1907" (1994)
  • "The Phantom of the Barbary Coast" (1995). Novelette
  • "Love Story" (2003)
  • "The Errand Boy" (2010). Novelette


  • The Nether Gardens (1945)


  • Not So Good a Gay Man: A Memoir (2017)
  • Pulp Culture: The Art of Fiction Magazines (1998, with Lawrence Davidson)
  • Science Fiction of the 20th Century: An Illustrated History (1999)
Help self
  • Therapeutic Re-Creation: Ideas and Experiences (1974)
  • A Holistic Perspective on the Disabled Child: Applications in Camping, Recreation, and Community Life (1985)
  • Coping+plus: Dimensions of Disability (1995, with Dwight Woodworth Jr., Doe West)


  1. ^ Smith, Curtis C.; R. E. Briney (1981), Twentieth-Century Science-Fiction Writers, St. Martin's, p. 452, ISBN 978-0-312-82420-4
  2. ^ a b c Frank M. Robinson's Official Website, retrieved 2008-12-05
  3. ^ Duin, Steve (March 11, 2008). "Van Sant's "Milk" helps writer visit the past". The Oregonian.
  4. ^ Davis, Andrew (November 19, 2008). "Frank Robinson: On Harvey Milk". Windy City Times.
  5. ^ "Scott Smith — Harvey Milk Friend". SFGate. February 7, 1995.
  6. ^ Locus Publications (2014-06-30). "Locus Online News » Frank M. Robinson (1926-2014)". Retrieved 2014-06-30.
  7. ^ Frank M. Robinson and Lawrence Davidson, Pulp Culture: The Art of Fiction Magazines (Portland, OR: Collectors Press, 2001).
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved November 1, 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links

Cavalier (magazine)

Cavalier is an American magazine that was launched by Fawcett Publications in 1952 and has continued for decades, eventually evolving into a Playboy-style men's magazine. It has no connection with the Frank Munsey pulp, The Cavalier, published in the early years of the 20th century.

In its original format, Cavalier was planned by Fawcett to feature novelettes and novel excerpts by Fawcett's Gold Medal authors, including Richard Prather and Mickey Spillane.

Dimension X (radio program)

Dimension X was an NBC radio program broadcast on an unsponsored, sustaining basis from April 8, 1950 to September 29, 1951. The first 13 episodes were broadcast live, and the remainder were pre-recorded. Fred Wiehe and Edward King were the directors, and Norman Rose was heard as both announcer and narrator, opening the show with: "Adventures in time and space... told in future tense..."

Every Boy's Book of Outer Space Stories

Every Boy’s Book of Outer Space Stories is a 1960 anthology of science fiction short stories edited by T. E. Dikty and published by Fredrick Fell. Most of the stories had originally appeared in the magazines Astounding, Thrilling Wonder Stories and Galaxy Science Fiction.

Frank Mason Robinson

Frank Mason Robinson (1845 in Corinth, Maine – 1923 in Atlanta, Georgia), was an important early marketer and advertiser of what became known as Coca-Cola.

Originally from Maine, as a young man he was in Iowa where he married Laura Clapp. During the winter of 1885, Robinson and his business partner, David Doe, came to the South in order to sell a machine they invented called a "chromatic printing device" which had the capability to produce two colors in one imprint. Upon arrival in Atlanta, Robinson and David Doe approached Dr. John S. Pemberton, a chemist and pharmacist, and struck a deal. In 1886 Frank Robinson officially settled in Atlanta where a new business was made called the Pemberton Chemical Company consisting of Robinson, Pemberton, David Doe and Pemberton's old partner, Ed Holland. Pemberton was experimenting with a medicinal formula which included coca leaves and kola nuts as sources of its ingredients. Robinson, who served as bookkeeper and partner to Pemberton, gave the syrup formula the name Coca-Cola, where Coca came from the coca leaves used and Cola for the kola nuts. The name Coca-Cola was also chosen "because it was euphonious, and on account of my familiarity with such names as 'S.S.S; and 'B.B.B'" said Robinson himself. He was also responsible for writing the Coca-Cola name in Spencerian script which was popular with bookkeepers of the era and remains one of the most recognized trademarks in the world.

The formula was introduced in May 1886 at the Jacobs Pharmacy in Atlanta. It sold 25 US gallons (95 L) the first year. The next year sales increased to 1,049 US gallons (3,970 L). In 1888 Pemberton sold the formula to Asa G. Candler, another Atlanta pharmacist and businessman, for a total investment of $2,300 before Pemberton died. Coca-Cola was granted a charter in 1892 and became the official Georgia Corporation named the Coca-Cola Company with Asa G. Candler, his brother John S. Candler, Frank M. Robinson and two other associates. Robinson served as treasurer and secretary and changed the Coca-Cola syrup formula so as not to include any faint traces of cocaine by the time of the Pure Food and Drug Act initiated by the Federal Government in 1906. The starting capitalization for the company was at $100,000. Robinson overall was responsible for the early advertising of Coca-Cola before and after Candler bought the name and syrup formula from Pemberton, the first ads appearing in The Atlanta Journal in 1887. While still working with Pemberton, Robinson had the initial ads display short phrases such as "Coca-Cola! Delicious! Refreshing! Exhilarating! Invigorating! The new and popular soda fountain drink containing the properties of the wonderful Coca plant and the famous Cola nut." Marketing for the drink showed the syrup beverage with medicinal properties curing headaches but with a unique taste. The initial ads distributed invited citizens to try "the new and popular soda fountain drink." Hand painted oil cloth signs were put outside stores displaying the Coca-Cola brand name with catchy words such as "Drink" in order to inform customers and other people passing by about the new medicinal beverage that was also a soda fountain drink. First year sales showed an average of nine bottles sold per day. Robinson later retired in 1914, but remained one of the company's directors. In The Columbus Enquirer-Sun a newspaper founded in 1874, published an article in 1906 praising Robinson's work with Coca-Cola: "there is one person to whom particular credit is due for the fact that the Coca-Cola formula remained, in the hands of the Georgians, and the further fact that the drink soon became so popular. He is Mr. Robinson, and the present secretary of the Coca-Cola Company...In developing the drink, Mr. Robinson has also developed. He is said to be one of the best posted experts on advertising in America today, all due to his experience in advertising and pushing Coca-Cola." Regarding his personal life Robinson had a home in Druid Hills, an early suburb of Atlanta. He also had a 40-acre (160,000 m2) country home on the Cobb County banks of the Chattahoochee River. The property had been a southern fortification defending the railroad bridge. The property is currently the Frank Mason Robinson Nature Preserve. He owned six residences which were occupied rent free by family and friends.

Robinson taught a large Bible class at the First Christian Church of Atlanta. A large English stained glass window dedicated to his memory is above the pulpit of Peachtree Christian Church. He was a Republican in national politics but a Democrat in state and local politics.

Frank Robinson (disambiguation)

Frank Robinson (1935–2019) was an American baseball player and manager.

Frank Robinson may also refer to:

Frank Mason Robinson (1845–1923), American who named Coca-Cola

Frank W. Robinson (1853–?), American politician and lawyer from Maine

Frank Robinson (field hockey) (1886–1849), Olympic field hockey player

Frank B. Robinson (1886–1948), American Baptist

Frank Robinson (ice hockey) (fl. 1911–1917), Canadian ice hockey executive and soldier

Frank Robinson (jockey) (1898–1919), American Champion jockey

Frank Norman Robinson (1911–1997), Australian ornithologist

Frank M. Robinson (1926–2014), American writer

Frank D. Robinson (born 1930), American businessman and helicopter designer

Frank Robinson (Xylophone Man) (1932–2004), English busker in Nottingham, United Kingdom

Sugar Chile Robinson or Frank Isaac Robinson (born 1938), American blues and boogie-woogie musician

Frank Robinson (Canadian football) (born 1959), former American football player

Frank Robinson (basketball) (born 1984), American professional basketball player

Rogue (magazine)

Rogue was a Chicago-based men's magazine published by William Hamling from 1956 until 1965. Founding editor Frank M. Robinson was followed by other editors, including Harlan Ellison and Bruce Elliott. The magazine was subtitled as Designed for Men.

Sci Fiction

Sci Fiction was an online magazine which ran from 2000 to 2005. At one time, it was the leading online science fiction magazine. Published by Syfy and edited by Ellen Datlow, the work won multiple awards before it was discontinued.

Slaves of Sleep

Slaves of Sleep is a science fantasy novel by American writer L. Ron Hubbard. It was first published in book form in 1948 by Shasta Publishers; the novel originally appeared in 1939 in an issue of the magazine Unknown. The novel presents a story in which a man travels to a parallel universe ruled by Ifrits. The protagonist takes on the identity of a human in this dimension, and becomes involved in the politics of Ifrits in this fictional "Arabian Nights" world.

The Dark Beyond the Stars

The Dark Beyond the Stars (ISBN 0-312-86624-0) is a 1991 science fiction novel by Frank M. Robinson. It is a Lambda Literary Award winner, published by Orb Books. It tells the story of a generational ship and its crew on a long mission to search for extraterrestrial life in the galaxy and the complex conflict brewing within the crew and within the protagonist when the ship begins to fall apart.

The Fifth Missile

The Fifth Missile is a 1986 TV movie starring Robert Conrad, Sam Waterston and David Soul about an American ballistic missile submarine, based on the novel The Gold Crew by Frank M. Robinson and Thomas N. Scortia. With the exception of Cmdr. Van Meer, the ship's crew goes slowly insane due to exposure to paint chemicals onboard and believes a missile test exercise is, in fact, nuclear war. It explores the inability of U.S. command structures to control and prevent rogue submarine officers from launching ballistic missiles.

The Glass Inferno

The Glass Inferno is a 1974 novel by Thomas N. Scortia and Frank M. Robinson. It is one of the two books that was used to create the movie The Towering Inferno, the other being the 1973 novel The Tower by Richard Martin Stern.

The Power

The Power may refer to:

The Power (Robinson novel), a 1956 science fiction novel by Frank M. Robinson

The Power (1968 film), based on the novel

"The Power" (Studio One), an episode of the CBS television anthology series Studio One, adapting the novel

The Power (Alderman novel), a 2016 science fiction novel by Naomi Alderman

"The Power", a short story by Murray Leinster

The Power (self-help book), by Rhonda Byrne

The Power (album), released by Vanessa Amorosi in 2000

"The Power" (Vanessa Amorosi song), a song from the album

"The Power" (Snap! song), released in 1990

"The Power", a song by Die Krupps from their 1992 album I

"The Power", a song by Suede from their 1994 album Dog Man Star

"The Power" (DJ Fresh song), released in 2012

"The Power", a song by Cute from their 2014 single "The Power" / "Kanashiki Heaven" (Single Version)

The Power (1984 film), an American horror film

Phil Taylor (darts player), nicknamed "The Power"

The Power (1968 film)

The Power is a 1968 American science fiction thriller film from MGM, produced by George Pal, directed by Byron Haskin (his final film), that stars George Hamilton and Suzanne Pleshette. It is based on the science fiction novel The Power by Frank M. Robinson.

The storyline concerns two men who have the ability to control or slay others with their minds.

The Power (Alderman novel)

For the novel by Frank M. Robinson, see The Power (Robinson novel). For the self-help book, see The Power (self-help book).The Power is a 2016 science fiction novel by the British writer Naomi Alderman. Its central premise is women developing the ability to release electrical jolts from their fingers, thus leading them to become the dominant gender.In June 2017, The Power won the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. The book was also named by The New York Times as one of the 10 Best Books of 2017. In December 2017, former U.S. President Barack Obama named The Power as one of his favorite books of 2017.

The Power (Robinson novel)

The Power is a 1956 science fiction novel by Frank M. Robinson. It first appeared in the March 1956 edition of Blue Book (magazine) and then in a standalone book published by J. B. Lippincott in May that year. Its protagonist, a researcher named Tanner, discovers evidence of a person with psychic abilities among his coworkers. As he tries to uncover the superhuman, his existence is erased and his associates murdered, until he faces a showdown with an apparently invincible opponent.

The novel was made into a Studio One television episode and a 1968 film under the same name.

The Tower (novel)

The Tower is a 1973 novel by Richard Martin Stern. It is one of the two books drawn upon for the screenplay Stirling Silliphant wrote for the 1974 movie The Towering Inferno, the other being the 1974 novel The Glass Inferno by Thomas N. Scortia and Frank M. Robinson.

The Towering Inferno

The Towering Inferno is a 1974 American drama disaster film produced by Irwin Allen featuring an all-star cast led by Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. The picture was directed by John Guillermin. A co-production between 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros., it was the first film to be a joint venture by two major Hollywood studios. It was adapted by Stirling Silliphant from a pair of novels, The Tower by Richard Martin Stern and The Glass Inferno by Thomas N. Scortia and Frank M. Robinson.The film earned a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Picture and was the highest-grossing film released in 1974. The picture was nominated for eight Oscars in all, winning three. In addition to McQueen and Newman, the cast includes William Holden, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain, O. J. Simpson, Robert Vaughn, Robert Wagner, Susan Flannery, Gregory Sierra, Dabney Coleman and, in her final film, Jennifer Jones.

Thomas N. Scortia

Thomas Nicholas Scortia (August 29, 1926 – April 29, 1986) was a science fiction author. He worked in the American aerospace industry until the late 1960s/early 1970s. He collaborated on several works with fellow author Frank M. Robinson. He sometimes used the pseudonyms "Scott Nichols", "Gerald MacDow", and "Arthur R. Kurtz."

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