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I found out, much to my surprise, that Eric Temple Bell wrote a number of science fiction novels under the name John Taine. Eric Temple Bell is well known as a mathematician who wrote a book of "embellished" biographies called Men of Mathematics, that inspired some prominent people to become mathematicians, including John Nash (of the Beautiful Mind) and Andrew Wiles (of the Last Fermat Theorem). In hindsight, this somewhat explains the style of his biographies.

Wikipedia mentions that "during the early 1920s, Bell wrote several long poems. He also wrote several science fiction novels, which independently invented some of the earliest devices and ideas of science fiction".

I am curious what these ideas and devices are, and what "independently invented" means here?

EDIT: I read user14111's link, and it seems Bell pioneered mutant stories, and possibly use of atomic power in SF (it was just barely discovered in 1920s, right?), including for transmutation of metals. Are there other innovations? Do we know that he reinvented dinosaurs and time travel on his own, rather than got the ideas from Conan-Doyle and H.G. Wells respectively? Interesting detail:"Although Bell (as John Taine) was known as one of the leading science fiction writers of his day, these books have not become classics and are today little read."

Four short novels by John Taine, including Before the Dawn, are available for online reading. By the way, "Taine" was the name of Bell's son.

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    @user14111, that's not a comment, that's an answer. – SQB May 30 '15 at 6:04
  • Fascinating book: Constance Reid. The Search for E T Bell, Also Known as John Taine (The Mathematical Association of America, 1993). – GEdgar May 30 '15 at 16:19
  • I had no idea Taine was a pen name. I recently found one of his novellas, Before the Dawn, about a device that replays images captured in rocks (it's full of dinosaurs, natch). Good stuff. – Viergacht May 30 '15 at 19:17
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    The answers to this old questin cite examples of science fiction stories about atomic energy from as far back as 1895. – user14111 Jun 2 '15 at 4:12

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