Probationary Martyr/Heroic Theory/Philip Wylie

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Philip Gordon Wylie (May 12, 1902 – October 25, 1971) was an American author. In the MMO City of Heroes, his novel Gladiator has become a pivotal and influential text, being the first novel to explore the creation and deconstruction of a superhuman hero with an alias. It's a mandatory reading in the ficticious school of Heroic Theory.

Philip Wylie is an actual person, though his involvement in the MMO is ficticious. This page was taken from Philip Wylie's actual Wikipedia page.



Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, he was the son of Presbyterian minister Edmund Melville Wylie and the former Edna Edwards, a novelist, who died when he was five years old. His family moved to Montclair, New Jersey and he later attended Princeton University during 1920–1923. Some of his papers, writings, and other possessions are in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Princeton University Library. He married Frederica Ballard who was born and raised in Rushford, New York; they are both buried in Rushford.

A writer of fiction and nonfiction, his output included hundreds of short stories, articles, serials, syndicated newspaper columns, novels, and works of social criticism. He also wrote screenplays while in Hollywood, was an editor for Farrar & Rinehart, served on the Dade County, Florida Defense Council, was a director of the Lerner Marine Laboratory, and at one time was a special advisor to the chairman of the Joint Committee for Atomic Energy. Most of his major writings contain critical, though often philosophical, views on man and society as a result of his studies and interest in psychology, biology, ethnology and physics.

While today he would be considered a techno-thriller writer, similar to Tom Clancy, his earliest books exercised great influence in twentieth-century science fiction pulp magazines and comicbooks:

Writing as he did when we had less potent current technology available to us, he applied engineering principles and the scientific method quite broadly in his work. His novel The Disappearance, written in 1951, is about what happens when everyone wakes up one day and finds that anyone of the opposite sex is missing (all the men have to get along without women, and vice versa). Wylie delves into double standard between men and women that existed prior the woman's movement of the 70's; exploring the nature of the relationship between men and women and the issues of women's rights and homosexuality. Many people at the time considered it as relevant to science fiction as his Experiment in Crime.

The novel The Paradise Crater written in 1945 was cause for his house arrest by the federal government, it described a post-WWII 1965 Nazism attempt to rule the world with atomic power.

His nonfiction book of essays, Generation of Vipers (1942), was a best-seller during the 1940s and inspired the term "Momism". Some people have accused Generation of Vipers of being misogynistic. The Disappearance shows his thinking on the subject is very complex. (His only child, Karen Wylie Pryor, is the author of a classic book for breastfeeding mothers, Nursing Your Baby, and has commented that her father was far from a misogynist.) His novel of manners Finnley Wren was also highly regarded in its time.

He wrote over 100 "Crunch and Des" stories for the Saturday Evening Post, about the adventures of Captain Crunch Adams, master of the charter boat Poseidon, (there was even a brief television series). His "Crunch and Des" stories were an apparent influence on John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee books.

He also wrote as Leatrice Homesley.



TV Series


Short stories



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