Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Russell, W Clark

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(1844-1911) US-born UK writer, most of whose work deals with the sea. The Frozen Pirate (1887) is an sf novel of interest, and some of the tales in The Phantom Death and Other Stories (coll 1895) are Supernatural Fictions, though WCR has a tendency to rationalize incursions from beyond (> Rationalized Fantasy). Of most fantasy interest is The Death Ship: A Strange Story: An Account of a Cruise in "The Flying Dutchman" (1888; vt The Flying Dutchman 1888 US), in which a young man is rescued from drowning by Vanderdecken's crew, travels aboard the spectral ship (for whose occupants Time has stopped), and falls in love with an English girl who is also aboard; tragedy ensues, and the girl is shot trying to escape (> Flying Dutchman). In both this and Captain Marryat's The Phantom Ship (1839), the deaths of young women can be likened to Richard Wagner's theme of the redemptive female death, as in his Opera The Flying Dutchman (1843); in WCR's case, it may simply be an echo. [JC]

William Clark Russell


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.