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Sunday, February 02, 2020

Eric Frank Russell cover gallery

The first science fiction story that really had an impact on me was Eric Frank Russell's 'Alamagoosa' which I remember reading when I was about 12 years old, a fabulous and hilarious story that looses nothing however many times I read it.

I was inspired to revamp this old gallery (from 2008) after reading Into Your Tent by John L. Ingham, a highly detailed biography of Russell, which I heavily recommend to anyone who likes his work. It takes a little while to get into the meat of Russell's life – there's a lot of family background in the first 50 or so pages and Ingham has gone into it in overly meticulous detail (and, yes, that's coming from me, a man who is not known for his brevity) – but I've found learning about his life and discovering / re-discovering his stories a real joy. If you can find a copy (it was published by Plantech (UK) in 2010 as a paperback original at the cheap price of  £9.99), grab it.

When I wrote a little introduction to this gallery back in 2008, I said "Russell published far too little and there's a fair amount of work that remains uncollected—I'd love to do a volume of 'The Early Eric Frank Russell', for instance, to rescue a few of his pre-1950s tales that have never reappeared. They're mostly of archaeological interest only, but I still think it would make a nice collection. Indeed, he's one author I'd love to have a set of 'Complete Stories of...' volumes for on my shelves. Maybe... one day..."I think that still holds true.

One thing I learned from Ingham's book was that some of the paperbacks I had on my shelf were not the definitive versions of the texts, e.g. the latest printings of Wasp are based on the cut text of the American hardback, rather than the complete text of the British hardback. So my old Panther paperbacks have the complete text while the later Methuen and Gollancz editions are abridged. Something to watch out for and a good excuse for me to update my gallery, I thought.


Sinister Barrier (in Unknown Worlds, 1939). Kingswood, Surrey, World’s Work, 1943; revised, Reading, Penn., Fantasy Press, 1948; London, Dobson, 1967.
Cherry Tree Book 407, nd (1952), 190pp, 1/6. Cover by Terry Maloney 
Methuen 0413-58870-X, (Feb) 1986, 201pp, £2.50. Cover by Terry Oakes

Dreadful Sanctuary (serial: Astounding, Jun-Aug 1948). Reading, Penn., Fantasy Press, 1948; London, Museum Press, 1953; revised & abridged [by Russell], New York, Paperback Library, 1963; revised [updating Fantasy Press text] London, New English Library, 1967.
Four Square 1719, 1967, 255pp, 5/-. 
Mandarin 0749-30073-6, (Jul) 1989, 255pp, £3.50.
Sentinels From Space (as The Star Watchers, in Startling Stories, 1951). New York, Bouregy Curl, 1953; London, Museum, 1954; as Sentinels of Space, New York, Ace, 1954.
Methuen 0413-15640-0, (Nov) 1987, vii+227pp, £2.95. Cover by Alan Craddock

Three to Conquer (as Call Him Dead in Astounding Science Fiction, 1955). New York, Avalon, 1956; London, Dobson, 1957. [Note: all book editions follow Avalon text, cut by  c.5,000 words from serial version]
Corgi S596, 1958, 224pp, 2/6. Cover by John Richards
Penguin 2005, 1963, 202pp, 3/6. Cover: 'Orange Blossom' by Max Ernst (1930)
Methuen 0413-15650-9, (Nov) 1987, 211pp, £2.95. Cover by Alan Craddock

Wasp. (abridged) New York, Avalon, 1957; (unabridged), London, Dobson, 1958.
Panther 1487, 1963, 143pp, 2/6. Cover by Richard Powers
Panther 1487-X, 1968, 143pp, 3/6. Cover: photo
Methuen 0413-48850-2, (Feb) 1986, 175pp, £2.50. Cover by Terry Oakes [Avalon text]
Gollancz 0575-07095-1, (Apr) 2000, 175pp, £9.99. Cover: design [Avalon text]
---- [imp.], (Jan) 2001, 175pp, £9.99. Cover by Jim Burns [Avalon text]

The Space Willies (based on the story Plus X). (abridged) New York, Ace, 1958; (unabridged) as Next of Kin, London, Dobson, 1959; edited & abridged, University of London Press (Pilot Books 44), 1964.
Mayflower A14, (Jan) 1962, 160ppm 2/6.
Sphere [SF Classic 13] 0722-17542-6, 1973, 160pp, 30p. Cover by Chris Foss
Mandarin 9743-30072-8, (Jul) 1989, 181pp, £2.99. Cover by Angus McKie
Gollancz 0575-07240-7, (Jun) 2001, 181pp, £9.99. Cover: design
---- [imp.], 2002, 181pp, £9.99. Cover by Chris Moore

The Great Explosion (incorporates the story ...And Then There Were None). London, Dobson, 1962; New York, Dodd, Mead & Co., 1962.
Panther 1625, (Jan) 1964, 144pp, 2/6.
?? Gollancz, 2010

With a Strange Device. London, Dobson, 1964; as The Mind Warpers, New York, Lancer, 1965.
Penguin 2358, (Oct) 1965, 155pp, 3/6. Cover by Allbert Gleizes
Mandarin 0749-30102-3, (Oct) 1989, 154pp, £2.99. Cover by Peter Elson

Design for Great-Day, with Alan Dean Foster. New York, Tor Books, 1995.
(no UK paperback)


Entities: The Selected Short Novels of Eric Frank Russell (contains, Wasp; Sentinels from Space; Call Him Dead; Next of Kin; Sinister Barrier; Legwork; Mana; The Mechanical Mice). NESFA Press, Sep 2001.


Deep Space. New York, Fantasy Press, 1954; London, Eyre Spottiswoode, 1956; also with one story omitted, New York, Bantam, 1955
(contains: First Person—Singular; The Witness; Last Blast; Homo Saps; The Timid Tiger; A Little Oil; Rainbows End; The Undecided; Second Genesis. NOTE: First Person—Singular omitted from some editions)
Mandarin 0749-30103-1, (Oct) 1989, 249pp, £3.50. Cover by Peter Elson

Men, Martians and Machines. London, Dobson, 1955; New York, Roy, 1956
(contains: Jay Score; Mechanistra; Symbiotica; Mesmerica)
Corgi S424, 1957, 190pp, 2/6. Cover by John Richards
Panther 1890, Jul 1965, 191pp, 3/6. Cover by Josh Kirby
---- 1890-5, 1968, 191pp, 5/-. Cover by ?

Six Worlds Yonder. New York, Ace, 1958
(contains: The Waitabits; Tieline; Top Secret; Nothing New; Into Your Tent I’ll Creep; Diabologic)
(no UK paperback)

Far Stars. London, Dobson, 1961
(contains: The Waitabits; P.S.; Allamagoosa; Legwork; Diabologic; The Timeless Ones)
Panther 1691, Jun 1964, 128pp, 2/6. 

Dark Tides. London, Dobson, 1962
(contains: The Sin of Hyacinth Peuch; With a Blunt Instrument; A Matter of Instinct; I’m a Stranger Here Myself; This Ones On Me; I Hear You Calling; Wisel The Ponderer; Sole Solution; Rhythm of the Rats; Me and My Shadow; Bitter End)
Panther 1599, Nov 1963, 128pp, 2/6. 
----, (Dec) 1964, 128pp, 2/6.

Somewhere a Voice. London, Dobson, 1965; New York, Ace, 1966
(contains: Somewhere A Voice; U-Turn; Seat of Oblivion; Tieline; Displaced Person; Dear Devil; I Am Nothing)
Penguin 2722, 1968, 188pp, 4/-. Cover by Carl Strüwe

Like Nothing On Earth. London, Dobson, 1975; expanded, London, Methuen, 1986.
(contains: Allamagoosa; Hobbyist; The Mechanical Mice; Into Your Tent Ill Creep; Nothing New; Exposure; Ultima Thule)
Methuen 0413-60010-6, 1986, 159pp, £1.95. Cover by Terry Oakes [adds Allamagoosa]

The Best of Eric Frank Russell, introduced by Alan Dean Foster. New York, Ballentine, 1978.
(contains: Mana; Jay Score; Homo Saps; Metamorphosite; Hobbyist; Late Night Final; Dear Devil; Fast Falls the Eventide; I Am Nothing; Weak Spot; Alamagoosa; Into Your Tent Ill Creep; Study In Still Life (n-f))
(no UK paperback)

Major Ingredients, ed. Rick Katze. Framingham, MA, NESFA Press, Sep 2000.
(contains: Editor’s Introduction (by Rick Katze); Eric Frank Russell (by Jack L. Chalker); Allamagoosa; …And Then There Were None; The Army Comes to Venus; Basic Right; Dear Devil; Diabologic; Fast Falls the Eventide; Hobbyist; Homo Saps; I Am Nothing; Into Your Tent I’ll Creep; Jay Score; Last Blast; Late Night Final; A Little Oil; Meeting on Kangshan; Metamorphosite; Minor Ingredient; Now Inhale; Nuisance Value; Panic Button; Plus X; Study in Still Life; Tieline; The Timid Tiger; Top Secret; The Ultimate Invader; The Undecided; U-Turn; The Waitabits; The Man Who (Almost) Never Was (by Mike Resnick))
(no UK paperback) 

Darker Tides: The Weird Tales of Eric Frank Russell, ed. John Pelan & Phil Stephensen-Payne. Seattle, Midnight House, Jul 2006.
(contains: The Sin of Hyacinth Peuch; With a Blunt Instrument; The Ponderer; Rhythm of the Rats; Me and My Shadow; Displaced Person; Vampire from the Void; Hell's Bells; The Big Shot; Appointment at Noon; Take a Seat; Bitter End; Down, Rover, Down; A Divvil with the Women; I Hear You Calling; I'm a Stranger Here Myself; A Matter of Instinct; It's in the Blood; Poor Dead Fool; Seat of Oblivion; Sole Solution; Storm Warning; This One's on Me; Wisel)
(no UK paperback)


Great World Mysteries. London: Dobson, 1957; New York: Roy, 1957
Mayflower, 1962, 160pp.
Mayflower, 1967, 160pp. Cover by Victor Kalin
Mayflower-Dell, 1967, 160pp, 3/6. Cover by Victor Kalin

The Rabble Rousers. Evanstown, Ill.: Regency, 1963.
(no UK paperback)

The ABZ of Scouse: How to Talk Proper in Liverpool Vol. 2 (as Linacre Lane). Liverpool, Scouse Press, 1966; also as Lern Yerself Scouse Volume 2: The ABZ of Scouse, Liverpool, Scouse Press, n.d..
Scouse Press, 1966. 
---- [later ed.], n.d., 121pp, £1.95. Cover: design

(* That last one really is Eric Frank Russell writing in the guise of Linacre Lane, Bachelor of Scouse; I believe it only came to light when some of Russell's papers were donated to the Science Fiction Foundation by his daughter in 1994.)

(* Originally published 20 July 2008.)


  1. My brother had LERN YERSELF SCOUSE -- it was hilarious -- I even put a line from it into a recent issue of ELEPHANTMEN -- "I'm sweating like a glassblower's arse!" Translation: "I am perspiring profusely."


  2. That's odd. 'Alamagoosa' was my first too - converting me overnight from a hardened Enid Blyton fanatic to a neophyte SF fan! Before that it never even occurred to me that there might be books in the 'Grown Up Library' that I would enjoy.

    - Phil Rushton

  3. I'd read science fiction before 'Alamagoosa'—the first would probably have been one of the Dr. Palfrey/Department Z5 global catastrophe novels by John Creasey as my Dad was a big fan of Creasey and his books were always laying around. The first SF I remember actively seeking out was the Star Trek adaptations by James Blish and some of the Edgar Rice Burroughs Mars and Venus novels (which had naked/semi-naked women on the covers).

    But reading Tom Boardman's Connoisseur's Science Fiction anthology and the reprints of Arthur C. Clarke's stories that appeared in Speed & Power (which began publishing a couple of weeks before my 12th birthday) was the real turning point.

  4. My favourite author and I suspect many others SF fans as well. I think he achieved his stated ambition 'to entertain so many readers so well that some may have a momentary regret when they bury me'. I loved his gentle humour and quirky story lines.
    I have managed to have pretty much obtained a 'Complete Stories of ...' collection now including stuff from pulps, fanzines and photo copies from the Liverpool and Leeds university archives. But I still look out for more!

  5. chris kinakaid24 Jul 2010, 19:25:00

    There is a new biography of Russell just published (2010) called Into Your Tent with a Foreward by Alan Dean Foster.

    Listed on

  6. Thanks Chris,

    For anyone looking for a copy of Into Your Tent: The Life and Work and Family Background of Eric Frank Russell by John L. Ingham it's available from Amazon here