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Pain, Barry

Entry updated 14 July 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1864-1928) UK author active from the 1880s, best known for the supernatural tales assembled in volumes like Stories in the Dark (coll 1901) and Stories in Grey (coll 1911), and for humorous fiction in which he uneasily condescended to the lower orders, the best known of these being the nonfantastic Eliza tales. He frequently made slanting use of sf devices and motifs, as in The Octave of Claudius (1897), whose protagonist submits, for a large sum, to a Mad Scientist's mysterious experiment which will kill him in eight days (ie an octave); but who suddenly becomes rich and famous and engaged during the course of that week; it was filmed as A Blind Bargain (1922) directed by Wallace Worsley. The Immortality of the protagonist of Robinson Crusoe's Return (1906; rev vt The Return and Supperizing Reception of Robinson Crusoe of York, Parrot-Tamer 1921) facilitates the making of a number of Satirical points about modern England. The Exiles of Faloo (1910), set on a mysterious Island in the Pacific, hints at a fantastic reading of events. In An Exchange of Souls (1911) a scientific rationale is posited for the said Identity Exchange. The title story of The New Gulliver and Other Stories (coll 1913) takes its hero to a futuristic Utopia in Ultima Thule, where he fails to gain happiness. Despite a voluminous production of humour in the early years of his career, Pain was a writer whose best works ended in frustration and baulked nostalgia. [JC]

see also: Gulliver.

Barry Eric Odell Pain

born Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: 16 September 1864

died Watford, Hertfordshire, 5 May 1928

works (selected)



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