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Francis George Rayer

portrait of fgr
F G Rayer (1921 - 1981) was a British science fiction author in the days of classic SF (1950's and 1960's) when there were many SF magazines which published lots of short stories. When the UK Science Fiction Book Club (1953-1974, not to be confused with later uses of the name) was started, one of George's books was in the first five issued.

George passed away in July 1981. The stories are still in copyright and should not be used elsewhere without consent.
George indicated that he did not retain copyright of all his work but sold some of it outright- indications are that nearly all the short stories rights were sold.
I have been unable to locate ANY publication of his works in English in the last fifty years, which is ridiculous. (-one short story was republished in Swedish in 1994...). Most of the old SF magazines his stories were in are now (2015 onwards) appearing online, so here is some of George's work brought from Internet sources together in one place. (Usual Internet source is Enjoy.

Read the contextual note to put you in the time these early stories were written- the world was quite different to today.

Background information on UK SF scene around 1949 from issue 4 of Journal of Science Fiction from Chicago. Article written by UK SF fan Kenneth F Slater, who had a regular review column in Nebula SF and was very active in the early days of SF conventions.

Author Profile 1953 by F G Rayer, from "Space Diversions".

Also be sure to read Andrew Darlington's more recent profile of George at zone-sf (archived copy).

1949/1950 letters from FGR to Olaf Stapledon

Basic Fundamental Fantasy No 3 (August 1947)

From Beyond the Dawn New Worlds Issue 3 (1947)

Fearful Barrier (1949) (Worlds at War)

Necessity New Worlds Issue 5 (1949)

Adaptability (Spring 1950) [New Worlds 6]

Quest (1950) (New Worlds 7)

The Ark (Science Fantasy No 2, Winter 1950-51) 29pp

Deus Ex Machina (1950) New Worlds 8.

Prison Trap (Summer 1951) (New Worlds 10)

No Heritage (1951) New Worlds 12. [as by George Longdon]

Time Was (1951) New Worlds 12 [Nick Riordan]

Eve of Tomorrow (1951) Slant #5

The Undying Enemy (Science Fantasy #3) (1951)

When Greed Steps In (Fantastic Adventures January 1952)
(also published as "The Plimsoll Line" in Science Fantasy v2 n4 Spring 1952, editor John Carnell, publisher Nova)

The Coming Of The Darakua (Authentic 17) (Jan 1952)
Or if you prefer this in EPUB format: Coming of the Darakua.epub

Earth Our New Eden (Authentic 20) (April 1952)

Man's Questing Ended New Worlds 16 (July 1952) [Nick Riordan]

The Temporal Rift (New Worlds 16) (July 1952) [as by George Longdon]

The Peacemaker (New Worlds 17) (September 1952)

Of Those Who Came [as by George Longdon] (New Worlds 18) (November 1952)

We Cast No Shadow (Authentic Science Fiction 28) (December 1952)

Thou Pasture Us (Nebula #2 -Spring 1953)

Trader's Planet (Spring 1953) (Science Fantasy 6)

Power Factor (from New Worlds 21 of June 1953) 18pp

Firstling (1953) (Nebula Issue 6) [as by F. G. Rayer]

The Lava Seas Tunnel (from Authentic SF No 43 March 1954, price 1/6d (7.5p)) with E R James (15pp)

Seek Earthmen No More (1954) (Science fantasy 7)

Space Prize (Science Fantasy 8) (May 1954)

Pipe Away Stranger New Worlds Science Fiction, No 25, dated July 1954.

portrait of fgr aka G3OGR Come Away Home New Worlds 27 (Sept 1954)

Dark Summer Science Fantasy #10.(Sept 1954)

Co-Efficiency Zero (1954) (Science Fantasy 11)

Kill Me This Man (New Worlds 31) (Jan 1955)

Ephemeral This City (New Worlds 33) (March 1955)

This Night No More From Nebula 13 of Sept 1955,

Stormhead New Worlds SF No 40 (Oct 1955) 17pp

The Voices Beyond - New Worlds 41 (Nov 1955)

The Jakandi Moduli - New Worlds 42 (December 1955)

The Falsifiers New Worlds 44 (February 1956) [as by George Longdon]

Hyperant New Worlds 45 (March 1956)

Consolidation Area New Worlds 46 (April 1956)

Culture Pattern New Worlds No 47. (May 1956)

Period of Quarantine New Worlds No 48 (June 1956) with E. R. James

Error Potential New Worlds No 50. (August 1956)

Period of Error New Worlds No 52, (October 1956) [as by George Longdon]

Three-Day Tidal New Worlds No 52 (October 1956)

Tree Dweller New Worlds 53 (November 1956) [as by George Longdon]

Beacon Green Nebula No 20 (March 1957) [as by F. G. Rayer]

Stress Complex New Worlds No 60 (June 1957)

Painters of Narve - New Worlds 69, March 1958 -

Wishing Stone Science Fantasy No 30 (August 58)

Searchpoint New Worlds 83 (May 1959)

Sands Our Abode New Worlds 84 (June 1959)

Alien New Worlds 85 (July 1959)

Continuity Man New Worlds 87 (Oct 1959) [as by George Longdon] (also USA NW No 3, May 1960)

I Like You New Worlds 88 (November 1959) [as by George Longdon]

Static Trouble New Worlds 91 (February 1960)

Adjustment Period (Science Fiction Adventures No 16 (September 1960)

Spring Fair Moduli (New Worlds SF No 103, February 1961) 14pp.

Contact Pattern (SF Adventures v4 no 19 1961) (41pp)

Sacrifice New Worlds v40 no 119 (June 1962) (8pp)

Sixth Veil New Worlds No 120 (July 1962)

Variant (New Worlds v41 n121 Aug 1962) (13pp)

Capsid New Worlds No 125. (December 1962)

Aqueduct (New Worlds v43 n128 March 1963) (16pp)

2007 appreciation in Practical Wireless

Stories with common characters:
Jock MacTavish: Plimsoll Line (aka When Greed Steps In),     Traders Planet    , Space Prize
Magnus Mensis:
Tomorrow sometimes comes (1951) (Amazon uk).
Texts from SF Magazines: Deus ex Machina   , The Peacemaker,   Ephemeral this city,    Adjustment Period,    Contact Pattern  ,

Realm of the Alien by Chester Delray, Grafton Publications (Blue Star Library 2), 1947.
The "Spreading Present" Time Conception - New Frontier, Jan 1947.
December 1950- Operation Fantast No 7- "Writing Science Fiction"
The Singular Sequel to the Case of the Montrose Diamond (4/1949) (Weird and Occult Miscellany)(one source says 1955)

There were a huge number of technical articles in many radio based magazines and many radio and electronic books. More unusual none-sf offerings were:
Feb 1947- Cute Fun No 11 (8 pages)- "Luck of the Wheel".
Aug 1947- Blue Star Adventure No 1- "Ace of the Speedway"
April 1948- Scramble - "Duffy Wilson's Mystery Box
August 1948- Scramble- "In the Belt"

Books I have:
The Iron and the Anger (155pp)
Tomorrow Sometimes Comes
Cardinal of the Stars.

Copyright in the books remains with George's next of kin. Buy second hand copies from Amazon.

The Star Seekers (1953) is recorded as a collection of two stories, Time Was (1951) and Man's Questing Ended (1952) - (the two Nick Riordan stories) and was published in German in 1963 as "Gefangen in fremden Korpern". I have an English copy and it is NOT a collection, the story flows as one piece, it may be the same but there are some new lines inserted. I have amended the short stories above to include the extra material.

F G Rayer's published SF work includes books and short stories published between 1944 and 1964. It appeared in several magazines, including especially Authentic, Nebula and New Worlds (when the editor was John Carnell).

Another British science fiction author, E R James, was the cousin of F G Rayer and had stories in several of the UK sf magazines. They also co-wrote several tales.

F G Rayer also wrote technical radio and electronic articles (many appeared in Practical Wireless) and books (many published by Babani).

We also remember
George's cousin and sometime co-writer, E R James, who died 2/11/2012.
Editor, John (Ted) Carnell, who died 23/3/1972.
Illustrators of George's magazine stories included:
Alan Joseph Hunter, who died 1/8/2012 age 89.
Gerard Quinn, who died 30/11/2015 age 88
Brian Lewis, who died 4/12/73- Brian did creative work for the Muppets and the film "Yellow Submarine" as well as Apple Corps "Timothy Travel"
Harry Turner died in 2009 age 89. In 1991 he wrote: "As I recall, I was just asked for artwork, and received a cheque looong long after delivery, with no written contract, stipulations about copyright, or whatever. Hmmm."

To appreciate the world these stories were written in, we go back to the early 1950s...
all of these stories
are told using the language and background of the year in which they were written. Times - and language- change and some then utterly innocent usage can become less acceptable. Please remember this! In 1950 tobacco smoking was widespread etc. UK citizens had ONE (1) television channel on for a few short hours per day and air travel was slow and costly. The first electronic digital programmable computer was in 1943.
This writer was born in the 50s, and around that time, electric mains were not as abundant as today, especially in old "working class" houses. This writer recalls houses lit with gas, coal fires, and the only electric supply in at least one old house was for lighting, no power sockets, resulting in a festoon of wires and adaptors all running from a single ceiling point, with the wireless plugged into a light socket. A whole village with one telephone kiosk and no domestic telephones - and about 1950, the arrival of running water for the outside toilet and a mains tap ONLY in the kitchen.... (inevitably in due course that is the room the posh bath went, replacing the tin bath in front of the range...). Car ownership was very rare and there were a lot more railway and bus services.

There are a couple of books out there which claim to tell the story of the magazine New Worlds, which were published after 2000- and the authors (An American born 1948 and an Australian born 1944- neither British, and aged only 3 and unborn when George's first story was published!) - are almost unremittingly negative and dismissive about the science fiction before the "new wave" of Moorcock, Aldiss et al, with very negative comments about F G Rayer's work. The authors have no grasp or understanding of the period or the purposes and style of early speculative fiction, and their many strong opinions against their main subject are unhelpful. Not recommended.
When reading any story several decades old, before destructive criticism, it is vital to consider the culture and values at the time it was written, the scientific knowledge, the language of the period, the purpose of the author and intent of the publication, and the purchasing market at that time- who was buying what, for how much, and how much material was or was not available. How many words did the magazine ask for? How long did the author have to write it?

An author needed to meet the style that the editor demanded for that magazine. For science fiction magazines, it was not unknown for editors to edit without author approval, and for typesetters to omit or rearrange text.

Copyright: All of the works of F G Rayer presented here were first published in the United Kingdom. Under the UK 1988 Copyright Designs and Patent Act (as amended by Order), UK copyright in all of these works will continue to apply until expiry on 31st December 2051. International conventions and laws apply outside the UK, normally copyright expiry will be the same but could be longer in other territories.
Copyright ownership of these tales is unclear as all parties are deceased but there is evidence most short story rights were sold- I have traced the buyer, who is dead, and the next owner, who is also dead, never having used any of the works. The majority of George's magazine stories are however already available online and this commercial free (and free) site merely gathers them together in a uniform format.

Attempts to contact George's next of kin have failed. George did admit to selling some copyright. Only one issue I have of New Worlds indicated George had retained copyright. Most rights held by John Carnell passed to another individual who is also now dead. . I have been unable to locate ANY publication of his works in English in the last fifty years. Anyone with reasonable documented claim to royalties will be paid at the set IPO rate for none-commercial usage or the relevant story removed or credited.
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