Cross, John Keir

Tagged: Author

(1914-1967) UK author of Radio scripts for the BBC before World War Two, and later of novels and television adaptations (one of them being of John Wyndham's The Kraken Wakes), still for the BBC. Some of his books for younger children, written as Stephen MacFarlane, are fantasies; Lucy Maroon, the Car that Loved a Policeman (graph 1944) and Mr Bosanko and Other Stories (coll 1944 chap) are typical. All his sf novels are for a sophisticated Young Adult readership; the most important of them is the Mars sequence comprising The Angry Planet (1945) and its sequel, SOS from Mars (1954; vt The Red Journey Back 1954), both presented as Cross's transcription of manuscripts composed "by Stephen MacFarlane" [see Checklist for full subtitles], and encompassing the first three expeditions to Mars, which discover the vegetable life there to have suffered a Manichaean Evolution into alternative races. The Owl and the Pussycat (1946; vt The Other Side of Green Hills 1947) is a fantasy, while The Flying Fortunes in an Encounter with Rubberface! (1952; vt The Stolen Sphere: An Adventure and a Mystery 1953) has an orbital satellite as a McGuffin. Though he wrote several Young Adult novels as Cross, including The White Magic (1947) – not a fantasy, although often recorded as such – his best-known work under his own name is The Other Passenger: 18 Strange Stories (coll 1944; cut vt Stories from The Other Passenger 1961), a collection of subtle fantasy tales for adults. He edited Best Horror Stories (anth 1956), Best Black Magic Stories (anth 1960) and Best Horror Stories 2 (anth 1965). [JC]

see also: Children's SF.

John Keir Cross

born Carluke, Scotland: 19 August 1914

died 22 January 1967


as by Stephen MacFarlane (selected)

under his own name (selected)



individual titles

works as editor


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