Garrett Putnam Serviss (1851-1929) was an astronomer, popularizer of astronomy, and early science fiction writer. Serviss showed a talent for explaining scientific details in a way that made them clear to the ordinary reader. Serviss’s favorite topic was astronomy, as shown by the fact that of the fifteen books he wrote, eight are devoted to that science. He unquestionably was more widely read by the public on that topic than anyone prior to his time. In his private life Serviss was an enthusiastic mountain climber, describing his reaching the summit of the Matterhorn at the age of 43 as part of an effort “to get as far away from terrestrial gravity as possible.” Five of Serviss’s books are science fiction (a term not invented when he wrote).
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