Eric Frank Russell

From Fancyclopedia 3
(Redirected from Sinister Barrier)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

(Did you mean the Australian fan?)

(January 6, 1905 – February 29, 1978)

Eric Frank Russell was a British fan and pro. Much of his work was first published in the United States, in Astounding and other pulp magazines. Russell also wrote horror fiction for Weird Tales. Several of his stories were published under the pseudonyms of Webster Craig, Brad Kent, Duncan H. Munroe, and Niall Wilde.

Russell was born in 1905 near Sandhurst in Berkshire, where his father was an instructor at the Royal Military Academy. Russell became a fan of science fiction in 1934. While living near Liverpool, he saw a letter in Amazing from Leslie J. Johnson, another reader from the same area. Russell contacted Johnson, who encouraged him to embark on a writing career. Together, the two men wrote an SF story, "Seeker of Tomorrow," that was published in the July, 1937, issue of Astounding.

He became an active member of British SF fandom and published the one-shot Future. He attended the first British SF Convention

Russell's first novel was Sinister Barrier, cover story for the inaugural, May, 1939, issue of Unknown, Astounding's sister magazine. His second novel, Dreadful Sanctuary (serialized in Astounding during 1948) is an early example of conspiracy fiction. He took up writing full-time in the late 1940s and was the British representative of the Fortean Society. His 1951 novelette "And Then There Were None" gave fandom the concept of the "ob" and the initialism "MYOB".

His biography has been published: Into Your Tent: The World of Eric Frank Russell by John L. Ingham.

Entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.

Awards, Honors and GoHships:

Sinister Barrier[edit]

Russell’s classic novel, first published in Unknown in 1939, is a Fortean tale, with the Vitons based on on Charles Fort's idea, "I think we're property" of some unknown advanced race. The main character, Bill Graham, investigates the suicide of a series of famous scientists and slowly discovers that they all had treated themselves with an odd combination of chemicals, and that something they saw after the treatment drove them to insanity or suicide. (Another victim: Benjamin Bathurst.)

Graham treats himself, and discovers that he can now see gaseous blobs — Vitons — which appear to be feeding off human emotion. Apparently intelligent, they seem to be milking humanity and controlling it to produce the maximum of emotion, causing wars and other evils.

He starts spreading the word and is immediately chased by the Vitons. As more and more people become aware of them, the Vitons switch from herding to extermination.

Sinister Barrier brought Fort's ideas into the mainstream (of sf anyway) as a fertile source of ideas.


From Fancyclopedia 2, ca. 1959
Vitons (E. F. Russell) In Eric Frank Russell's Sinister Barrier, the energy-beings which, in line with the beliefs of Fort (who, asked why ETs hadn't visited us, replied "I think we're property") really own and control the Earth. They were globular creatures with telepathy, ESP, and domineering attitudes, visible in the dying state as ball lightning.
From Fancyclopedia 1, ca. 1944
Vitons – In Sinister Barrier, the extra-terrestrial beings who, in line with Fortean beliefs, really own and control the Earth; visible in their dying state as ball lightning.

See also: Creatures of Fandom.

Person 19051978
This is a biography page. Please extend it by adding more information about the person, such as fanzines and apazines published, awards, clubs, conventions worked on, GoHships, impact on fandom, external links, anecdotes, etc. See Standards for People and The Naming of Names.