Pseudonym of UK-born author Charles Bernard Cronin (1884-1968), in Australia from 1890; he used this byline mostly on stories for younger readers, and is credited with other pseudonyms in other genres, normally using his own name Bernard Cronin for novels set in rural Australia. However, The Treasure of the Tropics (4 May-26 June 1926 Pals; 1928), a Lost World tale set Underground in Australia, where an ancient Egyptian civilization boasts Immortal priests wielding Death Rays – though intended for juvenile readers – appeared under his own name. His novels frequently appeared as serials in Australian journals, notably the Melbourne Herald and The Melbourne Argus, but not all later made it into book form. "The Star Germs" (24 November-28 December 1928 Melbourne Herald; vt "The Satyr" 15 October-17 November 1937 The Advocate (Tasmania); vt "Three Against the Stars" 2-30 July 1938 Argosy Weekly US as by Eric North) has a Scientist trying to create life from stardust, an experiment which produces beings from lesser Dimensions and other worlds – including a satyr-like Monster.
Other novels include Toad (15 September-26 November 1928 Melbourne Herald as "The Green Flame"; 24 February-16 March 1940 Argosy Weekly as "The Green Flame" by Eric North; 1929) as by Bernard Cronin, whose eponymous Villain has Invented a substance which sets water aflame, and threatens to use it against first Australia and then the world. "The Cruise of the Golden Caterpillar" (22 November 1934-11 April 1935 Melbourne Argus) is another serial for younger readers, telling of a scientist father who has invented a multi-wheeled vehicle (see Transportation) which can twist like a caterpillar and is fuelled from the atmosphere (no explanation being given). This tale includes the discovery of an underground Lost Race of "yellow gnomes". North's best known sf novel, The Ant Men (1955), is a Lost-World juvenile about giant intelligent ants.
His shorter works fail to fully develop their themes. Examples include "The Lost Valley" (26 September-10 October 1935 Junior Argus), in which two policemen in North Australia stumble into a hidden valley where prehistoric creatures (see Dinosaurs) survive, and "The Second Sphere" (October 1956 Fantastic Universe), with two men kidnapped by beings from a different vibratory plane. [JC/MA]
Charles Bernard Cronin
born London: 18 March 1884
died East Camberwell, Victoria: 9 June 1968
- The Treasure of the Tropics (London: Ward, Lock and Co, 1928) as Bernard Cronin [first appeared 4 May-26 June 1926 Pals: hb/W J Wightman]
- Toad (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1929) as Bernard Cronin [first appeared 15 September-26 November 1928 Melbourne Herald as "The Green Flame" by Eric North: hb/]
- The Ant Men (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: John C Winston Company, 1955) [hb/Paul Blaisdell]
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