MAJOR INGREDIENTS by Eric Frank Russell

MAJOR INGREDIENTS

The Selected Short Fiction of Eric Frank Russell
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Thirty short stories, 1941–65, from Hugo winner Russell (1905–78; Men, Martians and Machines, 1983), whom NESFA considers with some justification to have been unduly neglected. A favorite of legendary Golden Age Astounding editor John W. Campbell’s, Englishman Russell contrived a wisecracking US prose style. Russell wrote best when following his own instincts: satirizing mindless bureaucracy (“Allamagoosa,” “Study in Still Life”), denouncing war by proposing alternatives (“Late Night Final,” “ . . . And Then There Were None”), and presenting aliens as alien rather than as pseudo- or ersatz humans (“Metamorphosite,” “Hobbyist,” “Dear Devil”). The collection also includes “The Ultimate Invader,” which inspired Alan Dean Foster's 1995 expansion-and-rewrite, Design for Great-Day. Other yarns, however, demonstrate the plodding ordinariness of pieces written to order—pandering to Campbell's anthropocentric chauvinism. The consensus opinion on Russell is that he was a top-flight second-rater; these stories aptly illustrate why.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 1-886778-10-8
Page count: 704pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2000