Wednesday, January 7, 2009

SF authors born 1844-53: 1844

1. G.H.P. (George Haven Putnam)


G.H.P. (George Haven Putnam) (1844-1930)

American publisher. Head of major publishing company, George P. Putnam's Sons. Important advocate of international copyright. Author of Memories of a Publisher (1865-1915) (1916), and wrote the now forgotten children's classic The Little Gingerbread Man (1901).

* The Artificial Mother: A Marital Fantasy (Putnam: New York, 1894). The narrator's eighth and ninth children are twins, so — after experimenting with steam, compressed air, and electricity as power sources — he designs and builds a clockwork "artificial mother." It works beautifully, making soothing noises and rocking objects in its arms. While his wife is out, the narrator gives the twins to the artificial mother, which handles them nicely. But his wife returns, becomes upset at what she sees, and tries to take the babies away. The clockwork device fights back, begins to self-destruct. But: It was all a dream.

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