Working name of UK author and academic Richard Francis (1945- ), who added a fictitious "H" to distinguish himself from Dick Francis, the thriller writer. His first novel, Blackpool Vanishes (1979), tells the quirky, extremely English story of what happens when microscopic Aliens kidnap the town of Blackpool. In Whispering Gallery (1984) the Invention of a link between bacteria and viruses becomes complicated when it turns out that the new strain can serve – defectively – as a Weapon, and – all too efficiently – as a fuel. Swansong (1986) is a mildly fantastic Satire on Margaret Thatcher's UK, the Falklands War and the brutally unexpected disasters of both personal and political history. Later novels – like The Land Where Lost Things Go By Olive Watson (1990), Taking Apart the Poco Poco (1995), which is narrated in part by a dog, and The Old Spring (2010), where old gods inhabit Underground realms beneath the eponymous pub – are fantasy. [NT/JC]
see also: UFOs.
born Shawford, Hampshire: 14 May 1945
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