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Presslie, Robert

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1920-2000) UK author who worked as a pharmacy manager in London; he is remembered for readable and occasionally memorable short fiction on conventional Genre SF themes. His first sale was "Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted" in Authentic for June 1955. Presslie was notably prolific in the late 1950s, twice achieving the feat of simultaneous publication in three major UK magazines: Authentic, Nebula Science Fiction and Science Fantasy in October 1957, and Nebula Science Fiction, New Worlds and Science Fantasy in December 1958. The New Worlds piece was his most reprinted story "Another Word for Man", though the horror-tinged "Dial O for Operator" (February 1958 Science Fantasy), about a call for help made (tragically) from the future, is very strong (see Horror in SF; Time Radio). His prose and story-treatments were probably too English in style for American readers, although translations appeared in several European countries. His last story was "The Night of the Seventh Finger" (in New Writings in SF 7, anth 1966, ed John Carnell).

Presslie is sometimes cited as the best representative of the many forgotten writers who helped create the typical genre-magazine ambience of that era; his competent stories assisted the gradual improvement in British magazine sf away from Pulp adventures towards more thoughtful works amidst which writers such as Brian Aldiss and J G Ballard could develop. In this Presslie exemplified Kingsley Amis's description in New Maps of Hell (1960) of "the sound minor writer whose example brings into existence the figure of real standing." Unfortunately no full-length novels or collections are known. [DR]

see also: Robots.

Robert Presslie

born Aberdeen: 11 January 1920

died Dudley, West Midlands: 5 September 2000


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