Trevor, Elleston

By John Clute and Peter Nicholls

The Immortal ErrorInitially the most famous pseudonym and latterly the legal name of the UK writer born Trevor Dudley-Smith (1920-1995), who eventually became best known for his Quiller espionage tales as by Adam Hall, after an early career writing children's fantasies, some under his original name. His first novel of genre interest, The Immortal Error (1946), a fantasy, tells of an accident survivor who wakes up with the wrong soul in residence. The Domesday Story (1952 as by Warwick Scott; variant title (vt) Doomsday 1953 US as ET and 1972 US as Adam Hall) tells of fears that an H-bomb test in Australia will bring about the end of the world. Forbidden Kingdom (1955) is a children's LOST-WORLD story about a high-tech enclave in the Kalahari desert. The Pillars of Midnight (1957) depicts the effects of a devastating disease. The Mind of Max Duvine (1960) is about telepathy. The Shoot (1966) returns to weapons-testing, this time depicting the launching of a missile whose fuel is dangerously unstable. The Sibling (1979 US as Adam Hall; 1989 US as ET) is horror. Deathwatch (1984) is about the NEAR-FUTURE accidental creation of a fatal virus by GENETIC ENGINEERING and its subsequent use by rogue Soviet hardliners to cause a decimating plague in the West.
     Some of the Quiller tales, such as The Berlin Memorandum (1965; vt The Quiller Memorandum 1967), and The Theta Syndrome (1977) have TECHNOTHRILLER elements. A writer of almost excessive fluency, ET has made use of science fiction devices in passing, but never—it must be said—with much air of conviction.


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Last modified: Friday, November 29, 2002

This entry was taken from John Clute and Peter Nicholls' The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 1995.
This entry can also be found on Grolier Science Fiction: The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 1995; An interactive CD-rom based on The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.
The image of The Immortal Error was taken from the Grolier CD-rom.