Born in Ohio, Rocklynne was a regular contributor to several science fiction pulps including Astounding Stories, Fantastic Adventures and Planet Stories from the mid-1930s up to 1947, beginning with “Man of Iron” for Astounding in 1935. He specialized in space-opera plots constructed around sometimes ingenious “scientific” problems, such as how to escape from the centre of a hollow planet in “At the Center of Gravity” (June 1936 Astounding), the first of the Colbie and Deverel series. A second series, The Darkness, was assembled as The Sun Destroyers; it features vast, nebula-like beings and follows their life-courses through millions of years from galaxy to galaxy without the intervention of mankind.
Rocklynne was a professional guest at the first World Science Fiction Convention in 1939. Despite his numerous appearances and solid writing, Rocklynne never quite achieved the fame of his contemporaries Robert A. Heinlein, L. Sprague DeCamp, and Isaac Asimov. His well known stories include 1938’s “The Men and the Mirror,” which was part of his Colbie and Deverel series, and 1941’s “Time Wants a Skeleton”, which has been reprinted in several anthologies, including Asimov’s Mammoth Book of Golden Age Science Fiction.
Rocklynne had one of the most interesting, if florid, imaginations of the Pulp-magazine writers of his time, and wrote very much better than most. He continued to publish sf, rather sporadically, up to 1954; later made a formidable comeback with several stories in 1968, demonstrating that he had no difficulty at all in adjusting his narrative voice to the more sophisticated demands of the later period – as in “Ching Witch!”, one of the most assured tours de force in Harlan Ellison’s original anthology, Again, Dangerous Visions (1972), an ironic tale about the curious morality of a man who, as a result of genetic engineering, has a lot of cat in him. “Ching Witch!” was later nominated for a Nebula award.
Rocklynne died in Los Angeles, California at the age of 75. He was survived by his two sons.