Russell, Eric Frank (1905–1978)
Prolific science-fiction writer, who based some of his stories
on the ideas and data of Charles Fort; British representative
of the Fortean Society. Russell was born on January 6, 1905,
at Sandhurst, Surrey, England. He spent his early years at military
bases abroad before returning to England, where he had
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a scientific and technical education. In the 1930s he published
science-fiction stories, later serving in the Royal Air Force during
World War II. He was active in promoting Fortean ideas at
a time when Fort’s books were little known in Britain and difficult
to obtain.
His first major novel Sinister Barrier (1943), published serially
in 1939, was built around the Fortean theme ‘‘I think we’re
property,’’ suggesting that the inhabitants of Earth may be controlled
by alien entities. His story Three to Conquer (1956) is a
science-fiction treatment of the theme of psi powers.
Other Russell books include Dreadful Sanctuary (1953), Sentinels
From Space (1954), Deep Space (1956), Men, Martians & Machines
(1956), Wasp (1958), The Space Willies (U.K. title Next of
Kin) (1959), Far Stars (1961), The Great Explosion (1962), With
a Strange Device (1964), and Somewhere a Voice (1965).
With the decline of the Fortean Society, his enthusiasm
waned and during the 1960s he also stopped writing.
Although never officially dissolved, the work of the Fortean
Society was later taken over by the International Fortean Organization
in North America and the Fortean Times in Great
Britain. Russell died February 28, 1978.
Sources
Russell, Rick Frank. The Best of Eric Frank Russell. Edited by
Alan Dean Foster. New York Del Rey, 1978.
———. Sinister Barrier. Reading, Pa. Fantasy Press, 1948