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“Not your mind business” or how British science fiction writer Eric Frank Russell became popular only in America

The British science fiction writer who became most famous in America, whom the Americans themselves considered their countryman. In his work, Russell was different from his colleagues living on the same island with him, adopting a more “American” form of storytelling, where an individual who defies an entire planet or race is at the forefront.
Briefly about the writer
Eric Frank Russell was born on January 6, 1905, died on February 28, 1978. British science fiction writer who was better known in the US than in his homeland (most of his works were first published in America). A lot of works were published in the magazines Astounding Science Fiction and Weird Tales, which were already well-known to us (in the last he sent stories in the genre of horror and mysticism).
Interesting Facts
There is an assumption that Russell introduced the English abbreviation for the expression Mind your own business (in Russian, the analogue may be “not your mind’s business”) – MYOB. This abbreviation is commonly used in English, especially in Internet slang. For the first time, she appears in the story “And There Is No One Left …”, published in 1951.

A science fiction writer from England who became famous in America for his early works published before the 60s.

Childhood and youth
Russell was born in 1905 near the town of Sandhurst in Berkshire. His father was an instructor at the Royal Military College. In his youth, Frank became interested in science fiction, which predetermined his future career.

At college, Russell studied chemistry, physics, crystallography, eventually learning how to become an engineer. Subsequently, he worked as a telephone exchange operator, clerk in a government office, and technical representative of the Liverpool Steel Company.

Creative activity and the path to fame
Russell became a writer by accident. In 1934, while living in Liverpool, he saw in the Amazing Stories magazine a letter from a certain Leslie Johnson, who lived nearby. The young people met, became friends, and Johnson beat Russell to try writing. They co-authored a novel called The Seeker of the Future, published by Astounding Stories in 1937.

Then, two years later, Russell publishes his first novel, The Evil Barrier. In it, Russell creates a world where people are controlled by invisible parasitic organisms that are very sensitive to ensure that their existence is not revealed.

During the Second World War, there are two different and mutually exclusive messages about Russell’s military service. According to the official version, he served in the Royal Air Force and served in Europe as commander of a mobile radio unit. However, in the preface to the 1986 edition of The Wasp, Jack Chalker writes that by the time the war began, Russell was already old for active military service and served in the Military Intelligence in London. Russell biographer John Ingham claims that “there is no mention in the Royal Air Force documents that he was anything more than a mechanic or a telecom operator.”

His second novel, Altar of Fear, was published in Astounding Stories in 1948. It is noteworthy that in it Russell was one of the first to raise the theme of global conspiracies and secret communities, from behind the curtains that rule the world.

In the late 1940s. Russell seriously takes up writing. He is actively involved in the life of the British science fiction community. He received his first Hugo Prize in 1955 for the humorous story Abracadabra.

Personal life
Russell married nurse Ellen Van in 1930, and in 1934, Eric’s daughter was born to him.

The last years of life and death
Russell writes less and less, limiting himself to one job a year. Towards the end of his life, he ends his career by publishing the story Eternal Rediffusion in 1973 (not published in Russia).

The writer died on February 28, 1978.

Titles, awards and prizes

Hugo / Hugo Award, 1955 // Story
Abracadabra / Allamagoosa (1955)


Prometheus / Prometheus Awards, 1985 // Hall of Fame
The Great Explosion (1962)


Hall of Fame for Science Fiction and Fantasy / Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, 2000 // (posthumous)


Hugo / Hugo Award, 1951, retrospective // ​​Short story
Dear Devil (1950)


Hugo / Hugo Award, 1956 // Roman
Consider It Dead / Three to Conquer (1955)


Prize of the Italian magazine “Nova SF” / Premio “Nova SF”, 1972 // Small form. 7th place (Great Britain; novel)
→ And a voice was heard … / Somewhere a Voice (1953)
What I wrote about, features
Given that not all of the writer’s novels are sparklingly funny (the names alone are worth it), Russell’s most popular activity in the field of humorous NF stories turned out to be the most popular. Opinion on the classic of American fiction by the cult writer of our time George P.P. Martin:

Eric Frank Russell is the first on my list of my favorite writers – his works are the funniest I have ever read.

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