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Butler, Joan

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

Pseudonym of Irish Writer Robert William Alexander (1905-1979), whose first story of genre interest was "The Grey Parrot" for The Happy Mag. in October 1927, and who published numerous adventure stories in the late 1920s under his own name. Though most of his sf was as by Butler, he did publish under his own name two sf novels, both clearly written in the humorous style he had established for his pseudonymous work, but conveying an underlying seriousness of intent. In Mariners' Rest (1943), a group of children shipwrecked on a South Sea Island during World War Two are discovered some ten years later running their own community (see Robinsonade). Back to Nature (1945) depicts young people abandoning the comforts of a twenty-first-century City for the rigours of a more natural lifestyle.

For the forty-one novels he wrote as Butler, Alexander developed a humorous style with resonances of Thorne Smith and P G Wodehouse. Cloudy Weather (1940) and Deep Freeze (1951) centre on the resurrection of Egyptian mummies by scientific means. Home Run (1947) is about the Invention of pocket-sized atom bombs. Space to Let (1955) features the building of a Venus rocket. ESP plays a prominent part in The Old Firm (1956). Slick Fantasies [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] include Bed and Breakfast (1933), Low Spirits (1945), Full House (1947) and Sheet Lightning (1950), which all flirt with the supernatural. [JE/JC]

Robert William Alexander

born Dublin, Ireland: 21 November 1905

died Dublin, Ireland: 17 December 1979



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