Philip Wylie is one of science fiction’s best-kept secrets. Not many, today, are aware that he even existed, much less the extraordinary influence he has had on popular culture.
Wylie is probably best known for his 1933 novel When Worlds Collide, written with Edwin Balmer, which was filmed in 1951 by George Pal‘s production company. However, his most lasting influence on modern culture is by way of the 1930 novel Gladiator, in which a young man is endowed from the womb with incredible physical abilities, gifted him by the pre-natal intervention of his scientist father. The young protagonist who could jump higher than a house, run faster than a train and bend iron bars in his bare hands was the primary inspiration behind Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster’s Superman.
If you’re looking for a place to start reading Philip Wylie, then naturally, we recommend Gladiator . . .
And here’s a promotional clip of the movie: