Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Bell, Neil

Best-known pseudonym of UK writer Stephen Southwold (1887-1964), who adopted that name legally although born Stephen Henry Critten; he used also the pseudonyms S H Lambert and Paul Martens on work of fantasy interest. He produced numerous collections of children's tales under his legal name, most of which contain fantasy stories. Mixed Pickles: Short Stories (coll 1935) includes the allegorical "The Earthly Paradise", the delusional fantasy "The Mirror" and an effective sardonic novelette about a man who discovers that he can levitate and aspires to become a Messiah, "The Facts about Benjamin Crede". The latter is also in Ten Short Stories (coll 1948). "The Queer Affair at Yattenbridge" in The Smallways Rub Along (coll 1938) is a calculated trivialization of a similar theme. Precious Porcelain (1931) and The Disturbing Affair of Noel Blake (1932) are tales of artificially disordered personality on the border of fantasy and sf. Death Rocks the Cradle (1933 as by Martens) is a Visionary Fantasy about a community of covert sadists. Portrait of Gideon Power (1944 as by Lambert; 1962 as by Bell) is a psychological case-study in the form of evidence offered at the Seat of Judgement (> Last Judgement). The fantasies in Alpha and Omega (coll 1946) include "Strange Encounter", an interesting tale of Reincarnation. Three Pairs of Heels (coll 1951) and Forty Stories (coll 1958) include a few trivial fantasies and weird tales. The Secret Life of Miss Lottinger: A Novella and Twenty Short Stories (coll 1953) includes "Mr Albert Finkelman", a sarcastic account of the fate of the Elixir of Life. Village Casanova (coll 1961) contains an earnest Spiritualism fantasy, "Mary Birch". His other collections include a smattering of weird fiction and the occasional futuristic Satire. [BS]

other works (as Stephen Southwold): In Between Stories (coll 1923); Twilight Tales (coll 1925); Old Gold: A Book of Fables and Parables (coll 1926); Listen Children! Stories for Spare Moments (coll 1926); Once Upon a Time Stories (coll 1927); Ten-Minute Tales (coll 1927); Listen Again, Children! (coll 1928); Happy Families (coll 1929); Hey Diddle Diddle (coll 1930); Tales Quaint and Queer (coll 1930); Tick Tock Tales (coll 1930 chap); Forty Tales (coll 1931); Forty More Tales (coll 1931); The Tales of Joe Egg (coll 1936); Tell Me Another (coll 1938).

Stephen Southwold

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.