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Black-Wing of Mars

John Russell Fearn, Vargo Statten

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Fiction, Science fiction

An SF Gateway eBook: bringing the classics to the future.

Max Harborn and his wife Eva, the first space explorers to visit Mars, discover an almost dead world of endless deserts. Lifeless, that is, except for a few curious Martian moths, paradoxically existing in the absence of vegetation and water. Two of the living moths are brought back to Earth, along with samples of rocks, sand, and atmosphere. But once back on Earth, the two moths, male and female, escape from captivity, and begin breeding at a prodigious rate. The alien grubs are capable of eating almost anything, and soon the world is imperilled by a horrifying destructive plague of the Martian moths...

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John Russell Fearn

John Russell Fearn (1908-1960)John Francis Russell Fearn was born in Worsley, near Manchester, on 5th June, 1908. As a child he devoured imaginative fiction, beginning to write SF at the age of ten - in imitation of Wells and Verne - on a typewriter he was given for his birthday. Extremely prolific, Fearn used many pseudonyms. During the 1930s he wrote for magazines, including the US Pulp magazines, but during the Second World War he switched to books, becoming a central figure in the post-war paperback boom. He wrote numerous westerns, crime stories and romances as well as SF, most of which appeared under the names Vargo Statten and Volsted Gridban (the latter pseudonym being taken over from E. C. Tubb).
Altogether Fearn published 18 stories in the pre-war Astounding, and went on to write more than 100 other stories in all the leading American pulp magazines through to 1948. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction notes that 'his best work is vigorous and occasionally vivid' and the influential British SF agent and editor, John Carnell, paid this tribute: 'Fearn was one of the Greats of the earlier ages, and his name should be there with Hugo Gernsback, John W. Campbell, Stanley G. Weinbaum, Murray Leinster, and all the others whose thoughts and works form ulated today's modern science fiction.'

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