Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Fraser, [Sir] Ronald

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(1888-1974) UK writer and civil servant. His fantasies express the hopeful conviction that some spiritually blessed human beings are capable of achieving a bountiful transcendence of the ordinary human condition, while dwelling painfully on the recognition that such gifts would inevitably alienate them from their less-favoured loved ones. In early works like the mildly satirical fantasy of levitation The Flying Draper (1924), the rather effete Oriental Fantasy Landscape with Figures (1925) and the magnificently bizarre botanical fantasia Flower Phantoms (1926) the theme is treated lightheartedly, but he was in earnest in Miss Lucifer (1939), whose heroine is able to perceive a much greater and finer Reality than those around her and whose visions inform her about former incarnations of her Soul and the metaphysical context which defines the highest human morality. The Fiery Gate (1943) is a marginal fantasy of muted superhumanity. RF's later works borrow sf imagery in the service of mercurial metaphysical speculation. In the Technofantasy Beetle's Career (1951), experiments in nuclear physics lead to the development of an ultimate weapon and a device for photographing the Soul. In a series begun with A Visit from Venus (1958) the conflict between the mystical worldview favoured by RF and the positivism of science is developed in dialogues and discussions provoked by the revelations of a mechanical Eye which exploits "hyperphysical light". Benevolent "planetary spirits" add their voices to the chorus, calling an interplanetary conference in Jupiter in the Chair (1958). Trout's Testament (1960) and The City of the Sun (1961) complete the series in an eccentric spirit. His final fantasy, A Work of Imagination: The Pen, the Brush, The Well (1974), again embraces a more earnest occultism. [BS]

[Sir] Ronald Arthur Fraser


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.