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Cronin, Bernard

Entry updated 7 August 2023. Tagged: Author.

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Working name of UK-born author Charles Bernard Cronin (1884-1968), in Australia from 1890; he is better known in sf under the pseudonym Eric North, a byline he used mostly on stories for younger readers; he is also credited with other pseudonyms in other genres, normally using his own name for novels set in rural Australia. However, The Treasure of the Tropics (4 May-26 June 1926 Pals; 1928), a Lost World tale set Underground in Australia, where an Ancient Egyptian civilization boasts Immortal priests wielding Death Rays – though intended for juvenile readers – was published under his own name. His novels frequently appeared as serials in Australian journals, notably the Melbourne Herald and the Melbourne Argus, but not all later made it into book form. "The Star Germs" (24 November-28 December 1928 Melbourne Herald; vt "The Satyr" 15 October-17 November 1937 The Advocate (Tasmania); vt "Three Against the Stars" 2-30 July 1938 Argosy Weekly US as by Eric North) has a Scientist trying to create life from stardust, an experiment which produces beings from lesser Dimensions and other worlds – including a satyr-like Monster.

Other novels include Toad (15 September-26 November 1928 Melbourne Herald as "The Green Flame"; 24 February-16 March 1940 Argosy Weekly as "The Green Flame" by Eric North; 1929) as by Bernard Cronin, whose eponymous Villain has Invented a substance which sets water aflame, and threatens to use this Weapon against first Australia and then the world. "The Cruise of the Golden Caterpillar" (22 November 1934-11 April 1935 Melbourne Argus supplement The Junior Argus) is another serial for younger readers, telling of a Scientist father who has invented a multi-wheeled vehicle (see Transportation) which can twist like a caterpillar, is fuelled from the atmosphere (no explanation being given) and may – the descriptions are unclear – be capable of boring through rock or even Matter Penetration. This tale includes the discovery of an underground Lost Race of "yellow gnomes". The author's best known sf novel, The Ant Men (24 December 1954-? The Young Sun; 1955) as by Eric North, is an engaging Lost-World juvenile about giant intelligent ants (see Great and Small).

Cronin's shorter works generally fail to fully develop their themes. Examples include "The Lost Valley" (26 September-10 October 1935 Melbourne Argus supplement The Junior Argus), in which members of the North Australian Mounted Police stumble into a hidden valley where prehistoric creatures (see Dinosaurs) survive, and "The Second Sphere" (October 1956 Fantastic Universe), with two men kidnapped by beings from a different vibratory plane or Dimension. [MA/JC/DRL]

Charles Bernard Cronin

born London: 18 March 1884

died East Camberwell, Victoria: 9 June 1968


  • The Treasure of the Tropics (London: Ward, Lock and Co, 1928) [first appeared 4 May-26 June 1926 Pals: hb/W J Wightman]
  • Toad (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1929) [first appeared 15 September-26 November 1928 Melbourne Herald as "The Green Flame" by Eric North: hb/]
  • The Ant Men (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: John C Winston Company, 1955) as by Eric North [first appeared 24 December 1954-? The Young Sun: hb/Paul Blaisdell]


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