Eric Frank Russell

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Eric Frank Russell (January 6, 1905 - February 28, 1978) was a British author best known for his science fiction novels and short stories. Much of his work was first published in the United States, in John W. Campbell's Astounding Science Fiction and other pulp magazines. Russell also wrote horror fiction for Weird Tales, and non-fiction articles on Fortean topics. A few of his stories were published under pseudonyms, of which Duncan H. Munro was used most often.



Russell was born in 1905 in Sandhurst in Berkshire, where his father was an instructor at the Royal Military Academy.[1] Russell became a fan of science fiction, and in 1934 while living near Liverpool he saw a letter in Amazing Stories written by Leslie J. Johnson, another reader from the same area.[2] Russell met up with Johnson, who encouraged him to embark on a writing career. Together, the two men wrote the novella "Seeker of Tomorrow" which was published in Astounding in July 1937. Both Russell and Johnson became members of the British Interplanetary Society.

Russell's first novel was Sinister Barrier, published in the first issue of Astounding's short-lived sister magazine Unknown (March 1939). This is an explicitly Fortean tale based (as Russell explains in the novel's foreword) on Charles Fort's famous speculation "I think we're property". An often-repeated legend has it that Campbell, on receiving the manuscript for Sinister Barrier, created Unknown primarily as a vehicle for the short novel. There is no real evidence for this, in spite of a statement to that effect in the first volume of Isaac Asimov's autobiography, In Memory Yet Green.

His second novel, Dreadful Sanctuary (serialized in Astounding during 1948) is an early example of conspiracy fiction, in which a paranoid delusion of global proportions is perpetuated by a small but powerful secret society.[3]

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