Fearn, John Russell

Tagged: Author

(1908-1960) UK writer; extremely prolific, he used many pseudonyms. During the 1930s he wrote for magazines, including the US Pulp magazines, but during World War Two he switched to books. He became a central figure in the post-war paperback boom, writing numerous Westerns, crime stories and romances as well as his sf, most of which appeared under the names Vargo Statten and Volsted Gridban (the latter pseudonym being taken over from E C Tubb). In the pulps he wrote many stories as Thornton Ayre and Polton Cross, and also used the names Geoffrey Armstrong, Dennis Clive, John Cotton and Ephriam Winiki; his sf books and crime stories with sf elements include items signed with the personal pseudonyms Mark Denholm, Spike Gordon, Conrad G Holt, Laurence F Rose, John Russell and Earl Titan, and the house names Astron Del Martia, "Griff", Paul Lorraine and Brian Shaw. One pseudonym often wrongly ascribed to Fearn is Vector Magroon.

Fearn's first Genre-SF work was the early Superman story The Intelligence Gigantic (June-July 1933 Amazing; 1943). It was followed by the extravagant Liners of Time (May-August 1935 Amazing; 1947) and its sequel Science Metropolis (December 1937-April 1938 Amazing as "Zagribud" as by Fearn; cut 1952) as by Vargo Statten; he subsequently wrote a good deal for Astounding Science-Fiction while it was edited by F Orlin Tremaine, contributing numerous Thought-Variant stories, some of which he later expanded into Vargo Statten novels, including Nebula X (Fall 1946 Thrilling Wonder as "The Multillionth Chance" as by Fearn; rev 1950), The Sun Makers (January 1937 Astounding as "Metamorphosis" as by Fearn; rev 1950), The Avenging Martian (January 1938 Astounding as "Red Heritage" as by Fearn; rev 1950), The Renegade Star (September 1935 Astounding as "The Blue Infinity" as by Fearn; rev 1951), The Inner Cosmos (March 1937 Astounding as "Worlds Within" as by Fearn; rev 1952), To the Ultimate (February, May 1936 Astounding as "Mathematica" and "Mathematica Plus" as by Fearn; rev 1952) and The Dust Destroyer (March 1934 Astounding as "The Man Who Stopped the Dust" as by Fearn; rev 1953). The rewrites did little to modernize the stories, though The Avenging Martian has its moments and has been cited by some minor UK sf writers as having helped attract them to the genre.

Four Thornton Ayre novelettes which appeared in Fantastic Adventures – "The Golden Amazon" (July 1939 Fantastic Adventures), "The Amazon Fights Again" (June 1940 Fantastic Adventures), "The Golden Amazon Returns" (January 1941 Fantastic Adventures) and "Children of the Golden Amazon" (April 1943 Fantastic Adventures) – introduced the superwoman (> Superman) Violet Ray, known as the Golden Amazon. Fearn abandoned this Pulp material and gave the character an entirely different origin story for the original novel The Golden Amazon (1944), which despite claims in several bibliographies is not a mere reworking of the magazine stories. The early novelettes were eventually assembled by Philip Harbottle as The Golden Amazon of Venus (stories July 1939-April 1943 Fantastic Adventures; coll of linked stories 2006). The 1944 novel was reprinted in The Toronto Star Weekly to such acclaim that twenty-three sequels followed, the last appearing posthumously there in 1961. They began appearing in book form as The Golden Amazon Returns (3 November 1945 The Toronto Star Weekly; 1949; vt The Deathless Amazon 1955), The Golden Amazon's Triumph (27 April 1946 The Toronto Star Weekly; 1953), The Amazon's Diamond Quest (8 February 1947 The Toronto Star Weekly as "Diamond Quest"; 1953), The Amazon Strikes Again (21 December 1948 The Toronto Star Weekly; 1954), Twin of the Amazon (13 November 1948 The Toronto Star Weekly; 1954), Conquest of the Amazon (2 April 1949 The Toronto Star Weekly; 1973 chap) and Lord of Atlantis (8 October 1949 The Toronto Star Weekly; 1991 chap), the last being a typically exuberant Fearn plot involving not only Atlantis but an Atlantean colony on Jupiter, and some heated intimations of Sex; more recently, Philip Harbottle has edited a series of book republications of later tales [see Checklist], including a collection of the magazine stories which established the character (as above).

Two other series are Edgar Rice Burroughs imitations: the Clayton Drew interplanetary romances Emperor of Mars (1950), Warrior of Mars (1950), Red Men of Mars (1950) and Goddess of Mars (1950); and the Anjani sequence of Tarzan imitations signed Earl Titan: The Gold of Akada (1951) and Anjani, the Mighty (1951). Fearn also wrote the book of the notable 1954 schlock-horror film The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) as Vargo Statten; it may be his best-known single title. Scion, publishers of Vargo Statten, created the Vargo Statten Science Fiction Magazine, although Fearn did not become its editor immediately; it underwent several title changes in the course of its short life.

From 1944 Fearn diversified into other genres, beginning with better-written hardcover detective novels and then producing routine Westerns (using "pesky varmint" dialogue with Hollywood panache), adventure yarns and romances. However, he seemingly interpreted the belated book appearance of E E Smith's The Skylark of Space (August-October 1928 Amazing; 1946), and the success of his own Golden Amazon series in Canada, as indications of a continuing readership for simple thirties-style sf. His sf paperback originals for Scion, beginning in 1949, created a UK mini-boom in such books; although colourful and inventive, their old-fashioned tone dismayed many experienced sf fans, and over-imitation by cruder writers brought a swift end to the boom. After Fearn's marriage in November 1956 he reduced his writing in favour of other work.

Fearn's writing was unpolished and his use of ideas imaginatively reckless, but his best work is vigorous and occasionally vivid. His works have sometimes proved popular in translation; he enjoyed something of a boom in Italy in the 1970s. In recent decades many of Fearn's estimated 180 books have been republished, mainly benefiting libraries and collectors, his own name often replacing an earlier pseudonym. [BS/JC/DRL/DR]

see also: Boys' Papers; Clones; Time Travel.

John Francis Russell Fearn

born Worlsey, Lancashire: 5 June 1908

died Blackpool, Lancashire: 18 September 1960

works

Given the complexity of Fearn's oeuvre and the large number of stories published in magazines (most often as by Fearn but released in book form under various pseudonyms), all novels known to have been first published in magazines are cited here. Moreover, because pseudonyms were applied seemingly without relation to the nature of the stories told, we list first works written as John Russell Fearn (we follow the same practice with R L Fanthorpe) and then pseudonymous works. Pseudonymous works are arranged under each pseudonym separately; pseudonyms are arrayed according to the first book publication under that particular name.

works as John Russell Fearn

series

Golden Amazon

  • The Golden Amazon (London: World's Work, 1944) [#1: Golden Amazon: hb/]
  • The Golden Amazon Returns (London: World's Work, 1949) [#2: first appeared 3 November 1945 The Toronto Star Weekly: Golden Amazon: hb/]
    • The Deathless Amazon (Toronto, Ontario: Harlequin Books, 1955) [vt of the above; Golden Amazon: pb/]
  • The Golden Amazon's Triumph (London: World's Work, 1953) [#3: first appeared 27 April 1946 The Toronto Star Weekly: Golden Amazon: hb/]
  • The Amazon's Diamond Quest (London: World's Work, 1949) [#4: first appeared 8 February 1947 The Toronto Star Weekly as "Diamond Quest": Golden Amazon: hb/]
  • The Amazon Strikes Again (London: World's Work, 1954) [#5: first appeared 21 December 1948 The Toronto Star Weekly: Golden Amazon: hb/]
  • Twin of the Amazon (London: World's Work, 1954) [#6: first appeared 13 November 1948 The Toronto Star Weekly: Golden Amazon: hb/]
  • Conquest of the Amazon (London: Futura, 1976) [#7: first appeared 2 April 1949 The Toronto Star Weekly: Golden Amazon: hb/]
  • Lord of Atlantis (Marsh, Westbury: Zeon Books, 1991) [chap: #8: first appeared 8 October 1949 The Toronto Star Weekly: Golden Amazon: pb/]
  • Triangle of Power (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 1999) [#9: first appeared 13 May 1950 The Toronto Star Weekly: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • The Amethyst City (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2000) [#10: first appeared 3 March 1951 The Toronto Star Weekly: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • Daughter of the Golden Amazon (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2001) [#11: first appeared 25 October 1952 The Toronto Star Weekly: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • Quorne Returns (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2001) [#12: first appeared 25 October 1952 The Toronto Star Weekly: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • The Central Intelligence (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2001) [#13: first appeared 22 August 1953 The Toronto Star Weekly: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • The Cosmic Crusaders (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2002) [#14: first appeared 12 February 1955 The Toronto Star Weekly: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • Parasite Planet (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2002) [#15: first appeared 27 August 1955 The Toronto Star Weekly: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • World Out of Step (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2003) [coll: #16: first appeared 17 November 1956 The Toronto Star Weekly: with one (non-series) story added: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • The Shadow People (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2003) [coll: #17: first appeared 6 April 1957 The Toronto Star Weekly: with one (non-series) story added: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • Kingpin Planet (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2004) [coll: #18: first appeared 6 April 1957 The Toronto Star Weekly: with one (non-series) story added: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • World in Reverse (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2004) [coll: #19: first appeared 26 April 1958 The Toronto Star Weekly: with one (non-series) story added: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • Dwellers in Darkness (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2004) [coll: #20: first appeared 29 November 1958 The Toronto Star Weekly: with one (non-series) story added: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • World in Duplicate (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2004) [coll: #21: first appeared 16 May 1959 The Toronto Star Weekly: with one (non-series) story added: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • Lords of Creation (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2004) [#22: no prior serialization: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • Duel with Colossus (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2004) [#23: no prior serialization: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • Standstill Planet (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2005) [#24: cut version first appeared 26 March 1960 The Toronto Star Weekly: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • Ghost World (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2005) [coll: #25: cut version first appeared 17 December 1960 The Toronto Star Weekly: with two (non-series) stories added: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • Earth Divided (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2005) [coll: #26: cut version first appeared 14 June 1961 The Toronto Star Weekly: with one (non-series) story added: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • The Golden Amazon of Venus (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2005) edited by Philip Harbottle [coll: the original four Golden Amazon stories, first appeared July 1939-April 1943 Fantastic Adventures: not regarded as part of the above numbered sequence: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]
  • Chameleon Planet (Brooklyn, New York: Gryphon Books, 2006) with Philip Harbottle [coll: Golden Amazon: pb/Ron Turner]

Clayton Drew

individual titles

works under various pseudonyms

as Dennis Clive

  • Valley of Pretenders (New York: Columbia, 1942) as by Dennis Clive [chap: first appeared March 1939 Science Fiction: pb/]
  • The Voice Commands (New York: Columbia, 1942) as by Dennis Clive [chap: pb/]

as Polton Cross

as Astron del Martia

as John Russell

  • Account Settled (London: Paget Publications, 1949) as by John Russell [pb/Oliver Brabbins]

as Vargo Statten

  • Annihilation (London: Scion, 1950) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • The Cosmic Flame (London: Scion, 1950) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • Inferno! (London: Scion, 1950) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • The Micro-Men (London: Scion, 1950) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • The Sun Makers (London: Scion, 1950) as by Vargo Statten [early version first appeared January 1937 Astounding as "Metamorphosis" as by John Russell Fearn: pb/Ron Turner]
  • Wanderer of Space (London: Scion, 1950) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • Nebula X (London: Scion, 1950) as by Vargo Statten [early version first appeared September 1946 Thrilling Wonder Stories as "The Multillionth Chance" as by John Russell Fearn: pb/Ron Turner]
  • 2,000 Years On (London: Scion, 1950) as by Vargo Statten [opening chapter derives from "Wanderer of Time", published Summer 1944 Startling Stories as by Polton Cross: pb/Ron Turner]
  • Cataclysm! (London: Scion, 1950) as by Vargo Statten [early version first appeared Summer 1944 Thrilling Wonder Stories as "The Devouring Tide" as by Polton Cross: pb/Philip Mendoza as "Zero"]
  • The Red Insects (London: Scion, 1950) as by Vargo Statten [early version first appeared Thrilling Wonder Stories in April 1938 as "Lords of 9016" as by John Russell Fearn: pb/Philip Mendoza as "Zero"]
  • The Avenging Martian (London: Scion, 1950) as by Vargo Statten [early version first appeared January 1938 Astounding as "Red Heritage" as by John Russell Fearn: pb/Ron Turner]
    • Survivor of Mars (Wallsend, Tyne and Wear: Cosmos Literary Agency, 1982) [story: chap: vt of the above: pb/]
  • The Catalyst (London: Scion, 1951) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • The New Satellite (London: Scion, 1951) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • Deadline to Pluto (London: Scion, 1951) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • Renegade Star (London: Scion, 1951) as by Vargo Statten [early version first appeared September 1935 Astounding as "The Blue Infinity" as by John Russell Fearn: pb/Ron Turner]
  • The Petrified Planet (London: Scion, 1951) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • Born of Luna (London: Scion, 1951) as by Vargo Statten [pb/George Ratcliffe]
  • The Devouring Fire (London: Scion, 1951) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • The Space Warp (London: Scion, 1952) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • The Eclipse Express (London: Scion, 1952) as by Vargo Statten [fixup: early versions first appeared March 1940 Science Fiction Stories as "Eclipse Bears Witness" as by Ephriam Winiki, plus Valley of Pretenders as by Dennis Clive (see above): pb/Ron Turner]
  • The Inner Cosmos (London: Scion, 1952) as by Vargo Statten [early version first appeared Astounding in March 1937 as "Worlds Within" as by John Russell Fearn: pb/Ron Turner]
  • Science Metropolis (London: Scion, 1950) as by Vargo Statten [longer version first appeared December 1937-April 1938 Astounding as "Zagribud" as by John Russell Fearn: Liners of Time: pb/Philip Mendoza]
  • The Time Bridge (London: Scion, 1952) as by Vargo Statten [early version first published in Science Fiction Stories in May 1942 as "Prisoner of Time" as by Polton Cross: pb/Ron Turner]
  • The Man from Tomorrow (London: Scion, 1952) as by Vargo Statten [early version first appeared 2 September 1950 The Toronto Star Weekly as "Stranger in our Midst" as by John Russell Fearn: pb/Ron Turner]
  • The G-Bomb (London: Scion, 1952) as by Vargo Statten [early version first appeared Marvel (> Marvel Science Stories) in April 1941 as "The Last Secret Weapon" as by Polton Cross: pb/Ron Turner]
  • Laughter in Space (London: Scion, 1952) as by Vargo Statten [early version first appeared April 1940 Future as "Laughter Out of Space" as by Dennis Clive: pb/Ron Turner]
  • Across the Ages (London: Scion, 1952) as by Vargo Statten [chap: first appeared 21 February 1952 The Toronto Star Weekly as "Glimpse" as by John Russell Fearn: pb/Norman Light]
  • The Last Martian (London: Scion, 1952) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Norman Light]
  • Worlds to Conquer (London: Scion, 1952) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Norman Light]
    • One Step Too Far (Anstey, Leicestershire: Linford/Ulverscroft, 2008) [vt of the above: pb/]
  • To the Ultimate (London: Scion, 1952) as by Vargo Statten [early version first appeared February and May 1936 Astounding as "Mathematica" and "Mathematica Plus" as by John Russell Fearn: Liners of Time: pb/Gordon C Davies]
  • De-Creation (London: Scion, 1952) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Roger Davis]
  • The Time Trap (London: Scion, 1952) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Roger Davis]
  • The Dust Destroyers (London: Scion, 1950) as by Vargo Statten [early version first appeared March 1934 Astounding as "The Man Who Stopped the Dust" as by John Russell Fearn: Liners of Time: pb/John Richards]
  • Ultra Spectrum (London: Scion, 1953) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • Black-Wing of Mars (London: Scion, 1953) as by Vargo Statten [chap: first appeared 23 May 1953 The Toronto Star Weekly as "Winged Pestilence" as by John Russell Fearn: pb/John Richards]
  • Man in Duplicate (London: Scion, 1953) as by Vargo Statten [pb/John Richards]
  • Zero Hour (London: Scion, 1953) as by Vargo Statten [chap: first appeared 13 December 1952 The Toronto Star Weekly as "Deadline" as by John Russell Fearn: pb/Ron Turner]
  • The Black Avengers (London: Scion, 1953) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • Odyssey of Nine (London: Scion, 1953) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • Pioneer 1990 (London: Scion, 1953) as by Vargo Statten [early version first appeared September 1939 Astounding as "Face in the Sky" as by Thornton Ayre: pb/Philip Mendoza as "Ferrari"]
  • The Interloper (London: Scion, 1953) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Gordon C Davies]
  • Man of Two Worlds (London: Scion, 1953) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • The Lie Destroyer (London: Scion, 1953) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • Black Bargain (London: Scion, 1953) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • The Grand Illusion (London: Scion, 1953) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • Wealth of the Void (London: Scion, 1954) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • A Time Appointed (London: Scion, 1954) as by Vargo Statten [early version first appeared October 1941 Amazing as "Mystery of the Martian Pendulum" as by Thornton Ayer and Ray Palmer writing as by A R Steber: pb/Ron Turner]
  • I Spy (London: Scion, 1954) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • The Multi-Man (London: Scion, 1954) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • 1,000 Year Voyage (London: Scion, 1954) as by Vargo Statten [pb/Ron Turner]
  • Creature from the Black Lagoon (London: Dragon Books, 1954) as by Vargo Statten [tie: novelization of the film: Creature from the Black Lagoon: hb/John Richards]
  • Earth 2 (London: Scion, 1955) as by Vargo Statten [pb/John Richards]

as Hugo Blayn

  • What Happened to Hammond? (London: Dragon Books, 1951) as by Hugo Blayn [all other titles in series are associational only: Inspector Garth/Dr Carruthers: pb/]

as Earl Titan

as Spike Gordon

  • Don't Touch Me (London: Modern Fiction, 1953) as by Spike Gordon [pb/]

as Volsted Gridban

as "Griff"

as Conrad G Holt

as Paul Lorraine

as Laurence F Rose

as Brian Shaw

about the author

links

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