(1882-1950) UK author who also published as by Ralph Strode; his only sf novel, The Dust which is God: An Undimensional Adventure (1907 chap), confronts a frustrated scientist (see Mad Scientist) whose mentor from another Dimension serves as his Virgilian guide on a tour of various exemplary planets (see Cosmology; Utopia), where he learns that the goal of Evolution – which is to say "the Evolution of the superman" (see Superman) – is to realize the god within us. That this tale was published by Samurai Press seems relevant, as the Third World visited by the pair has evolved under the guidance of men who, placing "their own discipline, their own destiny, above that to which their reason was petty and mean, had become masters of the world." This eugenical elite (matutinal cold showers are dauntingly normal) is clearly akin to the Samurai elite that rules the world as depicted in H G Wells's A Modern Utopia (1905).
In 5000 A.D.: A Review and an Excursion, Read Before ye Sette of Odd Volumes at Oddenino's Imperial Restaurant on January. 24th, 1911 (coll 1911 chap), the review is of the sf genre and the excursion is a Time-Travel tale. Pengard Awake (1920) is a bibliofantasy. Straus is perhaps best remembered for a Club Story, "The Most Maddening Story in the World" (August 1920 The Sovereign Magazine), in which a quasi-Basilisk – a message on a calling card – causes those who read it to turn savagely upon its unwitting bearer; the tale is a rewrite of "The Mysterious Card" (February 1896 Black Cat) by Cleveland Moffett. Ralph L Finn's sf novel Time Marches Sideways (1950) is dedicated to Straus for having "commended the idea" and perhaps talked it through with Finn. [JC]
Ralph Sidney Albert Straus
born Manchester, England: 5 September 1882
died London: 5 June 1950
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