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Grant, John

Entry updated 31 July 2023. Tagged: Author, Editor.

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(1949-2020) Pseudonym of Scottish author and editor Paul Barnett, long resident in England and from 1999 in the USA. Under his own name he wrote the lightweight Strider Chronicles, a Space Opera sequence comprising Strider's Galaxy (1997) and Strider's Universe (1998), plus some ephemeral books, a handful of essays and reviews, and a nonfiction book translation. As Eve Devereux he published several works of nonfiction, chiefly ephemeral. Almost all of his copious remaining work was as Grant, his first of numerous short stories under that name being the fantasy "When All Else Fails" (in Lands of Never, anth 1983, ed Maxim Jakubowski). As a writer of fiction – after some sf spoofs – he focused mainly upon Fantasy, Slipstream, and cross-genre exercises such as The City in These Pages (2008 chap), which is both a cosmological fantasy and a homage to the 87th Precinct novels of Ed McBain (see Evan Hunter). His first novel, The Truth about the Flaming Ghoulies (1984), is an sf comedy which describes in epistolary form a Near-Future rock band (see Music) whose members ultimately prove to be Androids. Earthdoom! (1987) with David Langford is a perhaps overly broad Parody of the Disaster-novel genre, including Invasion by Aliens, the Loch Ness Monster, threatened impact on Earth of an Antimatter Comet, Hitler's journey via Time Machine from the fatal bunker to this book's Near Future where he proceeds to create multiple Clones of himself, and so on through the litany of apocalyptic Clichés.

Albion (1991) is a high fantasy novel set within a Pocket Universe, enclosures of this sort almost necessarily implying a rational architecture; its companion novel, The World (1992), is both more ambitiously structured and more overtly science-fictional, depicting the fusion of two alternate universes (see Parallel Worlds) to form a third. Judge Dredd: The Hundredfold Problem (1994; rev vt The Hundredfold Problem 2003), whose first version is a Tie to the Judge Dredd Comic, is set in a Dyson Sphere. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1995 chap) and Frankenstein (1997 chap) are freely adapted illustrated retellings for children/Young Adults of the Robert Louis Stevenson and Mary Shelley classics. Qinmeartha and the Girl Child LoChi (2002 dos) is part cosmological fantasy, part a playing out of fantasy archetypes. The Far-Enough Window (2002) is an attempt to recapture the Victorian fairy tale à la George MacDonald. Dragonhenge (graph 2002) with Bob Eggleton purports to be extracts from the cosmogonic mythology created by a long-lost dragon species. Its companion volume, The Stardragons (graph 2005), also with Eggleton, is a Stapledonian exercise (see Olaf Stapledon) in which various intergalactic civilizations of von Neumann machines – the "stardragons" of the title – attempt to survive the dying of the universe. The anthology New Writings in the Fantastic (anth 2007) mixes sf, fantasy, horror and slipstream.

Grant was much alarmed by the devastation of the US body politic during the George W Bush years, and by the concomitant promotion of science denial in fields such as Climate Change; the results were, aside from some nonfiction [see Checklist], the fantasticated political satire The Dragons of Manhattan (2008) – originally written some years before book publication as a three-short-episodes-weekly online serial for the international journalism website Blue Ear – which posits a cod conspiracy theory, that the world is really controlled by members of an ancient Shapeshifting draconic species headquartered in New York; and the nonsatirical mosaic novel Leaving Fortusa: A Novel in Ten Episodes (2008), which showed ten cameos, most unremittingly grim, from a Future History that was part fantasticated, part sf. Both novels were much disliked by loyal Bushites.

Before publishing any fiction himself, Barnett had entered the field through editing Aries 1 (anth 1979), which contains the first sf short story by Colin Wilson, with whom he later edited the nonfiction The Book of Time (anth 1980) and The Directory of Possibilities (anth 1981). The solo A Directory of Discarded Ideas (1981), largely on Pseudoscience, led directly to his book-length "nonfiction" Sex Secrets of Ancient Atlantis (1985; rev 2004), a broad Parody of pseudoscience in general and Atlantis studies in particular. His later, serious nonfiction works on flawed science and pseudoscience, beginning with Discarded Science: Ideas That Seemed Good at the Time (2006), are notable references in this field.

By training a publisher's editor, and active with several firms intermittently since the later 1960s, Grant served as Technical Editor for the second edition of this encyclopedia, establishing a firm base for David Langford's transformation of that edition into a version adapted for its current online form. Grant also served as co-editor of The Encyclopedia of Fantasy with John Clute, for which he won a Hugo award and a World Fantasy Award, among other awards, and which contains a more searching entry on his work, as well as discussion of fantasy work like the Legends of Lone Wolf sequence as with Joe Dever (1956-2016) [see Checklist below]. He won another Hugo for The Chesley Awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy Art: A Retrospective (graph 2003) with Elizabeth Humphrey and Pamela D Scoville. He contributed the Cinema section to David Pringle's The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1996), and has done a fair amount of ghostwriting, both fiction and nonfiction.

As Paul Barnett he was commissioning editor 1997-2004 for the fantasy/sf artbook publisher Paper Tiger (see Roger Dean) during the main years of its revival as an imprint of Collins & Brown and then Chrysalis, for this work receiving a 2002 Chesley Award as Best Art Director and a 2003 World Fantasy Award nomination; an offshoot was the book The Paper Tiger Fantasy Art Gallery (graph anth 2002). As John Grant he served 2001-2004 as US Reviews Editor of Infinity Plus; an offshoot from this work was Warm Words and Otherwise: A Blizzard of Book Reviews (coll 2011 ebook). [JC/JGr/DRL]

see also: Cosmology; Eaton Award; Games and Sports; SETI; Tuckerisms; Wandering Jew.

Paul le Page Barnett

born Aberdeen, Scotland: 22 November 1949

died Hewitt, New Jersey: 3 February 2020

works (selected)


Legends of Lone Wolf


  • Albion (London: Headline, 1991) [Albion: hb/Lee Gibbons]
  • The World (London: Headline, 1992) [Albion: hb/Lee Gibbons]

The Strider Chronicles

  • Strider's Galaxy (London: Legend, 1997) as Paul Barnett [The Strider Chronicles: pb/Nick Farmer]
  • Strider's Universe (London: Orbit, 1998) as Paul Barnett [The Strider Chronicles: pb/Roger Harris]

individual titles


  • Take No Prisoners: Short Fiction (Holliston, Massachusetts: Willowgate Press, 2004) [coll: pb/audre]
    • Take No Prisoners (Wivenhoe, Essex: Infinity Plus Ebooks, 2011) [coll: ebook: exp vt of the above: na/NASA photograph]
  • Tell No Lies (Cheadle, Staffordshire: Alchemy Press, 2014) [coll: pb/Peter Coleborn]

nonfiction (selected)


works as editor


Strange Pleasures

individual titles as editor

nonfiction works as editor


previous versions of this entry

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