Rayer, Francis G

Tagged: Author

(1921-1981) UK author and technical journalist (specializing in radio issues) who began publishing with Juggernaut (1944) for Link House Publications. His first sf novel was the unremarkable Realm of the Alien (1946 chap) as by Chester Delray, and his most notable was perhaps Tomorrow Sometimes Comes (1951), in which the general who has inadvertently caused a nuclear Holocaust awakens from Suspended Animation to save the world from a destructive Computer; this thinking machine gave its name to the Mens Magna series, which includes also "Deus Ex Machina" (Winter 1950 New Worlds), "The Peacemaker" (September 1952 New Worlds), "Ephemeral This City" (March 1955 New Worlds), "Adjustment Period" (September 1960 Science Fiction Adventures) and "Contact Pattern" (March 1961 Science Fiction Adventures). Not entirely dissimilar in its use of ambivalent but ultimately positive authority figures, Cardinal of the Stars (1964; vt Journey to the Stars 1964) features a disguised A E van Vogt-like Superman, the eponymous Cardinal, who has secretly fathered the protagonist and who secretly guides humanity starwards. Rayer was most closely associated with the early New Worlds, both under his own name and as George Longdon (eight stories 1951-1959). He also had several lead novels in the early years of Authentic Science Fiction, which comprised whole single issues of the journal and are cited therefore in this Encyclopedia as separate titles; they are: The Coming of the Darakua (1952); Earth – Our New Eden (1952) and We Cast No Shadow (1952). From about 1960, he specialized in nonfiction, including several popular and technical texts about radios.

Much of Rayer's work was routine; but his portrayal of 1950s England is evocative, and his bent towards Post-Holocaust and Ruined Earth venues – as in the case of his more famous contemporary, John Wyndham – underlines the pessimistic undertow that characterizes so much UK sf in general. [JC]

Francis George Rayer

born Longdon, Worcestershire: 6 June 1921

died Longdon, Worcestershire: 11 July 1981


works as editor

  • Worlds at War (Bolton, Lancashire: Tempest Publications, 1949) [anth: pb/Holden]

about the author


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