Thursday, August 30, 2007

Short stories & novels of Eric Frank Russell: A reading guide

Picture of science fiction author Eric Frank Russell
List below was originally seeded from ISFDB, then edited based on other sources & my own reading. My ratings are in brackets. Read stories are listed first.

Note: I intended this list to be ordered by my preference (best first), but now I find doing this is very hard even to my own satisfaction, so I've given up the pretense of even trying this.

Update 25 March 2012: I update this list infrequently. More recent posts on his stories might be available here.
  1. [novel] "Wasp"; download; New Worlds Science Fiction, Mar/Apr/May 1958: Humor. Adventures of a very resourceful spy saboteur. I've collected some quotes from this novel.
  2. [ss] "Allamagoosa" (A); download here, or here, or scans as part of a larger package; 1955: Humor. Data fudging can have unforeseen consequences!
  3. [novella] "The Ultimate Invader" aka "Design for Great-Day" (A); Planet Stories, January 1953; space opera: Mythical intergalactic super-cops are out to enforce new war-free rules for space lanes!
  4. [novelette] "Dear Devil" (A); download scans as part of a larger package; Other Worlds Science Stories, May 1950; science fiction: Humanity rises from post-nuclear-war apocalypse - with some external help.
  5. [novel] "Next of Kin" (A); 1959; originally a short story called "Plus X" (1956); expanded to novel "The Space Willis" (1958); then to a longer novel "Next of Kin" (1959): Humor. Adult version of the smart money/dumb crocodile kids' story. Incredulous, but great fun.
  6. [novel] "...And Then There Were None" (A); download; 1951; later expanded into "The Great Explosion": A gang of imperialists is frustrated by a planetful of Gandhian natives.
  7. [ss] "The Witness" (A); Other Worlds Science Stories, September 1951; science fiction: An alien seeking asylum has created major public fear of alien invaders. Should it be granted asylum?
  8. [novel] "The Great Explosion" (A), 1962; later half is identical to "... And Then There Were None": Imperialists get repeatedly frustrated on various worlds.
  9. [ss] With Maurice G Hugi: "Mechanical Mice" (A); 1941: Thriller. Robots programmed for survival terrorize a neighborhood.
  10. [novel] "Three to Conquer" aka  "Call Him Dead" (A); Astounding, August/September/October 1955: Invasion by intelligent microbial parasites of Venus! 
  11. [novelette] "Venturer of the Martian Mimics" aka "Spiro" aka "I, Spy!" (A); download as part of a larger package; Tales of Wonder, #12 (Autumn 1940): Adventures of a Martian spy on earth.
  12. [ss] "The Rhythm of the Rats" (A); Weird Tales, July 1950; fantasy: In a haunted village, a suspected wizard is suspected of turning children into rats!
  13. [ss] "The Waitabits" (A); Astounding, July 1955; science fiction: Different people run their lives at different pace. What happens when faster ones try to bring up the slower ones to their pace?
  14. [novel] "With a Strange Device" aka "The Mindwarpers" (A): 1965: A Cold War spy thriller. Slow & mundane first half; quick & great second half.
  15. [ss] "Late Night Final" (A); Astounding, December 1948; science fiction: A variant of "... And Then There Were None", but with a very different ending.
  16. [ss] "Afternoon of a Fahn" aka "Rainbow's End" (A); download scans as part of a larger package; Imagination, April 1951: When human explorers landed on a "trap" world...
  17. [ss] "Bitter End" (A); Science-Fiction Plus, December 1953.: Predicament of the crew of the first successful Mars round-trip...
  18. [ss] "The Army Comes to Venus" aka "Sustained Pressure" (A); download as part of a larger package; Nebula Science Fiction, December 1953: Persistence pays.
  19. [ss] "Postscript" aka "P.S." (A); download scans as part of a larger package; Science-Fiction Plus, October 1953: How appearances affect our perception...
  20. [ss] "Jay Score" (A); 1941: Thriller. A passenger ship on earth to Venus voyage is hit by a meteor, & is now headed for Sun!
  21. [ss] "Mesmerica" (B); "Men, Martians, and Machines", 1955: Human adventurers on a planet of hostile telepaths.
  22. [ss] "Symbiotica" (B); Astounding Science Fiction, October 1943: Travails of inadvertently nasty human adventurers on an alien planet where animal & plant life-forms live in a much closer symbiosis than on earth, & where plants can be very nasty once provoked.
  23. [ss] "U-Turn" (as by Duncan H Munro) (B); Astounding, April 1950: State helps a bored man commit "suicide"...
  24. [ss] "A Great Deal of Power" aka "Boomerang" (B); Fantastic Universe, August/September 1953; science fiction: A killer robot for war time use turns out to be more competent than inventors intended!
  25. [ss] "Diabologic" (B); Astounding, March 1955; science fiction, humor: The art of driving other people nuts! And using it as a political strategy!
  26. [ss] "Hobbyist" (B); Astounding, September 1947; science fiction: A stranded spaceman on an alien planet hasn't realized he's actually met god!
  27. [ss] "Top Secret" (B); Astounding, August 1956; science fiction, humor: Fun with data-corrupting communications channels!
  28. [ss] "Nothing New" (B); Astounding, January 1955; science fiction: Human explorers to a world suspected to be home to immortals don't realize they are not the first human expedition there.
  29. [ss] "Heav'n, Heav'n" (B); Future Science Fiction, August 1956: Chance meeting pushes a village boy into the career as a spaceman.
  30. [ss] "Mechanistria" (B); Astounding, January 1942: Thriller. Adventure on planet Mechanistria, a world ruled by very hostile robots. Nowhere near the quality of rest of Russell I have read.
  31. [novelette] "I Am Nothing" (B); Astounding, July 1952: A ruthless dictator has a change of heart...
  32. [novel] "The Star Watchers" aka "Sentinels from Space" aka "Sentinels of Space"(B): download scans as part of a larger package; Startling Stories, November 1951: Humanity's guardian angels get involved in its petty fights...
  33. [novelette] "Seat of Oblivion" (B); Astounding, November 1941: What's the best place to hide for a runaway death row convict? In another man's body!
  34. [ss] "Tieline" [as by Duncan H Munro] (B); Astounding, July 1955; science fiction: Sole man on an entire planet that serves as a space lighthouse is very lonely.
  35. [novella] "Somewhere a Voice" (B); Other Worlds Science Stories, January 1953: Unsuccessful hike to rescue by the stranded on a virgin world.
  36. [ss] "Love Story" (B); Astounding, April 1957: It's easier giving advice than to follow it!
  37. [ss] "It's in the Blood" (B); download scans as part of a larger package; Fantastic Universe, June-July 1953: Don't force your career choice on your child...
  38. [ss] "Sole Solution" (B); download; Fantastic Universe, April 1956; religion: God created the universe because he was bored & lonely!
  39. [novel] "Sinister Barrier" (B); Unknown, sometime in 1939: One of those "conspiracy" stories - humans & earth are property of higher beings. First third is fast moving murder mystery; rest is hopeless.
  40. [ss] "Appointment at Noon" (B); Amazing Stories, March 1954: "Death"'s appointment with a man...
  41. [ss] "Displaced Person" (B); Weird Tales, September 1948; religion: Some revolutionaries aren't welcome anywhere.
  42. [ss] "Into Your Tent I'll Creep" (C); Astounding, September 1957; science fiction: Humans are slaves of a master race unknown to them. And now this master race has used humans spawn itself as masters of an alien race too - aliens that are friendly to humans.
  43. [novel] "Dreadful Sanctury"; Astounding Science Fiction, Jun/Jul/Aug 1948: Fortean
  44. [novel] With Alan Dean Foster: "Design for Great-Day" (1995)
  45. [ss] "The Saga of Pelican West" (1937)
  46. [ss] "The Great Radio Peril" (1937)
  47. [ss] With Leslie Johnson: "Seeker of Tomorrow" (1937)
  48. [ss] "Mana" (1937)
  49. [ss] "Impulse" (1938)
  50. [ss] "Sinister Barrier" (1939): Is the novel listed twice, or was there a shorter version too?
  51. [ss] Over the Border (1939)
  52. [ss] Me and My Shadow (1940)
  53. [ss] Homo Saps (1941) [as by Webster Craig]
  54. [ss] "With a Blunt Instrument" (1941)
  55. [ss] Describe a Circle (1942)
  56. [ss] Mr Wisel's Secret (1942)
  57. [ss] The Kid from Kalamazoo (1942)
  58. [ss] Controller (1944)
  59. [ss] Resonance (1945)
  60. [ss] Metamorphosite (1946)
  61. [ss] The Timid Tiger (1947)
  62. [ss] "The Cosmic Relic" aka "Relic" (1947)
  63. [ss] "Muten" (1948) [as by Duncan H Munro]
  64. [ss] The Ponderer (1948)
  65. [ss] A Present from Joe (1949)
  66. [ss] The Glass Eye (1949)
  67. [ss] The Undecided (1949)
  68. [ss] The Big Shot (1949)
  69. [ss] Exposure (1950)
  70. [ss] Follower (1950)
  71. [ss] First Person Singular (1950)
  72. [ss] Machinery (1950)
  73. [ss] Ultima Thule (1951)
  74. [ss] The Illusionaries (1951)
  75. [ss] Second Genesis (1951)
  76. [ss] Test Piece (1951)
  77. [ss] Fast Falls the Eventide (1952)
  78. [ss] Last Blast (1952)
  79. [ss] The Timeless Ones (1952)
  80. [ss] The Sin of Hyacinth Peuch (1952)
  81. [ss] Take a Seat (1952)
  82. [ss] Hell's Bells (1952) [as by Duncan H Munro]
  83. [ss] I'm a Stranger Here Myself (1952)
  84. [ss] A Little Oil (1952)
  85. [ss] This One's on Me (1953)
  86. [ss] Weak Spot (1954)
  87. [ss] I Hear You Calling (1954)
  88. [ss] Anything to Declare? (1954) [as by Naille Wilde]
  89. [ss] "The Courtship of 53 Shotl 9G" (1954) [as by Niall Wilde]
  90. [ss] Fly Away Peter (1954)
  91. [ss] The Door (1954)
  92. [ss] "Down, Rover, Down" (1955)
  93. [ss] Proof (1955)
  94. [ss] Saraband in C Sharp Major (1955)
  95. [ss] Storm Warning (1956)
  96. [ss] Minor Ingredient (1956)
  97. [ss] Legwork (1956)
  98. [ss] Quiz Game (1956)
  99. [ss] Fall Guy (1956)
  100. [ss] Nuisance Value (1957)
  101. [ss] Early Bird (1957)
  102. [ss] Brute Farce (1958)
  103. [ss] Basic Right (1958)
  104. [ss] The Case for Earth (1958)
  105. [ss] There's Always Tomorrow (1958)
  106. [ss] Now Inhale (1959)
  107. [ss] Panic Button (1959)
  108. [ss] "Study in Still Life" aka "Still Life" (1959)
  109. [ss] Wisel (1962)
  110. [ss] A Matter of Instinct (1962)
  111. [ss] Meeting on Kangshan (1965)
  112. [ss] Vampire from the Void (1972)
  113. [ss] With Leslie Johnson: "Eternal Rediffusion" (1973)

2 comments:

Larry said...

Hmmm, an author I've yet to try!

Tinkoo said...

He's among the very best. But very hard to find. Pretty much everything of him is out of print; Gardner Dozois & Eric Flint have publicly expressed disgust at how hard it is to deal with heirs of his estate - reason he no longer appears in new anthologies.

I'm yet to see a sf novel that comes even close to "Wasp" in sheer quality of reading experience & fun. By anyone. Some of his short fiction too is superlative. In the list above, it's very unlikely any of the titles till "Three to Conquer" will disappoint. I've found two more since I last updated this list - "Army Comes to Venus" & "Postscript".

That's the reason I got so excited when I found a half dozen of his stories tucked away in the pulp hoard I've been writing about.