Shadow Man
The Life and Works of Eric Frank Russell
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Alan Dean Foster
Alan Dean Foster contacted me in 1997 and had a few insights into Russell's mysterious retirement. Foster took EFR's short story, Design for Great Day, and expanded it into a novel of the same name.

Editing The Best of Eric Frank Russell

Arthur C. Clarke was Judy-Lynn del Rey's first choice to write the intro to The Best of Eric Frank Russell, but he was too busy, so the opportunity fell to me as choice number two.  I wanted to put Design for Great-Day in that collection, but JL decided it would be better from a commercial standpoint to include 3-4 more shorter stories...a hard decision to argue with.

An opportunity to write Design for Great-Day

Years later, Tor books began this program of hiring well-known contemporary SF writers to expand upon classic older short stories.  Silverberg working with Asimov, Benford with Clarke, etc.  When I was asked to participate I at first declined.  Then I remembered Great Day, published in book form only as half an Ace double back in 1954.  I replied that if I could do that story, I would accept the assignment.  Which is how I was able to get my all-time favorite EFR story back in print, and pay a little homage to my favorite SF writer at the same time.

ADF's favourite EFR stories

Russell was also John W. Campbell's favorite SF writer.  I know, because Campbell told me so in 1968. My other EFR favorites would be Next of Kin; Men, Martians, and Machines (especially Symbiotica, which eventually inspired my books Midworld and Mid-Flinx), Metamorphosite, and The Waitabits.  That's just off the top of my head. 

Russell drops out of SF

Russell dropped out of SF about 1965.  Campbell told me he was constantly trying to get stories out of him, but that he had soured on the field.  Something to do with his daughter running off with...an Aussie sf fan!

To find out more about Alan Dean Foster, click here!
 

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