Robert Cromie

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Mr. Robert Cromie
A Plunge into Space, 1890

Robert Cromie (1855–1907) was a Belfast journalist and novelist. He was the third son of Dr. Cromie of Clough where he was born on July 17, 1855. Cromie was educated at the Royal Belfast Academical Institution where, according to one article, he claimed "an unbeaten record in the matter of examinations, having never once failed, by reason...of having never once entered".[1]

Instead of pursuing an academic path Cromie instead worked for the Ulster Bank in various parts of Ireland including Donegal, Trim and Derry. His final posting was to the Ulster Bank's head office in Waring Street, Belfast. While working in Trim, Cromie developed a close friendship with Charles Reichel, Bishop of Meath, an association regarded as influential on the development of Cromie's style.[1]

His first book, For England's Sake, was published in 1889.

A Plunge into Space, a science fiction novel, was published in 1890. This work predates H. G. Wells's The First Men in the Moon by some 10 years, but contains a number of similarities. Cromie pointed these out in letters to the Academy journal.[2][3] Cromie's 1895 novel The Crack of Doom was his most successful and contains the first description of an atomic explosion.[4]

Cromie's other great passion was golf. He was a member of the Ormeau Golf Club and the captain in 1898.

Robert Cromie died in his rooms at 95 South Parade Belfast in April 1907.[5][6]


  • For England's Sake, London & New York: Frederick Warne & Co., 1889
  • A Plunge into Space, London & New York: Frederick Warne & Co, 1890
  • The Crack of Doom, London: Digby, Long & Co, 1895
  • The Next Crusade, London: Hutchinson & Co, 1896
  • The King's Oak, and Other Stories, London: R. Aickin & Co; Belfast: Geo. Newnes, 1897
  • The Lost Liner, London: R. Aickin & Co; Belfast: Geo. Newnes, 1898
  • Through Southern Norway, Belfast: R. Aickin & Co. Ltd., 1898
  • Kitty's Victoria Cross, London & New York: Frederick Warne & Co, 1901
  • A New Messiah: A Novel, London: Digby, Long & Co, 1901
  • The Shadow of the Cross, London: Ward, Lock & Co, 1902
  • The Romance of Poisons: being weird episodes from life, London: Jarrold & Sons, 1903. (co-authored with T. S. Wilson)
  • El Dorado, London: Ward, Lock & Co, 1904
  • Told in the Twilight, Dublin: Sealy, Bryers & Walker, 1907[?]


  1. ^ a b "Mr. Robert Cromie", The Whitehall Review, July 13, 1895.
  2. ^ Cromie, Robert "Rights in Gravitation.", Academy, 1545 (1901:Dec. 14) p.597
  3. ^ Cromie, Robert "Rights in Gravitation.", Academy, 62:1548 (1902:Jan. 4) p.659
  4. ^ Hourican, Bridget "Reading between the lines: why sci-fi sometimes gets it right", Technology Ireland, January 2007
  5. ^ Kennedy, Diarmuid "Belfast Boom", Verbal Magazine, November 2010
  6. ^ "Mr. Robert Cromie: a successful local author", Belfast Evening Telegraph, April 8, 1907

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