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Pragnell, Festus

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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Working name of Frank William Pragnell (1905-1977), UK police constable, clerk and author who was known all his life by his father's first name, Festus (even in the 1911 census, his wedding banns and his own will: "Frank William, known as Festus"). He began to publish work of genre interest in the US Pulp magazines with "The Venus Germ" for Wonder Stories in November 1932 with R F Starzl, his own byline here being F Pragnell; one story, "Monsters of the Moon" (1937 Tales of Wonder) appeared as by Francis Parnell. His Don Hargreaves sequence, all set on a lurid Mars, begins with "Ghost of Mars" (December 1938 Amazing) and ends with "Madcap of Mars" (September 1943 Amazing).

Pragnell's first sf novel, The Green Man of Kilsona (July-September 1935 Wonder Stories as "The Green Man of Graypec"; 1936; rev vt The Green Man of Graypec 1950), describes a voyage into a miniature world (see Apes as Human; Great and Small; Little Green Men), where the inhabited planet of Kilsona is discovered. Thieves of the Air (circa 1943 chap) with Benson Herbert describes an attempted theft of Earth's atmosphere. The Terror from Timorkal (1946) sets a world-threatening crisis in an African Lost World, where the Discovery of a new mineral suitable for the manufacture of super Weapons is exploited by unscrupulous politicians. His last work, "The Machine-God Laughs" (February-December 1948 Fantasy Book), was the title story of The Machine-God Laughs (anth 1949) edited by William L Crawford. [JC/MA/DRL]

Frank William Pragnell

born Stourport, Worcester: 16 January 1905

died Shirley, Southampton, Hampshire: 17 December 1977




Don Hargreaves

  • War Lords of Mars (Rialto, California: Pulpville Press, 2012) [coll: all stories originally in Amazing 1938-1942: Don Hargreaves: pb/Robert Fuqua]
  • Twisted Giant of Mars (Rialto, California: Pulpville Press, 2012) [coll: all Pragnell stories originally in Amazing 1942-1943: also contains three stories by other hands: Don Hargreaves: pb/Leo Morey]


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