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)


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.