Dreadful Sanctuary

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Dreadful Sanctuary
Dreadful sanctuary.jpg
Dust-jacket from the first edition
Author Eric Frank Russell
Cover artist Edd Cartier
Country United States
Language English
Genre Science fiction novel
Publisher Fantasy Press
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 275 pp
OCLC 2080056

Dreadful Sanctuary is a science fiction novel by author Eric Frank Russell. After its serialization in Astounding Science Fiction in 1948, it was first published in book form in 1951 by Fantasy Press in an edition of 2,975 copies. Russell rewrote the novel for the first American paperback edition, published by Lancer Books in 1963. A British hardcover was issued in 1953, with a paperback incorporating further "minor revisions" following in 1967. Italian translations of Dreadful Sanctuary were published in 1953 and 1986; a German translation appeared in 1971, and a French translation in 1978.[1]

Plot introduction[edit]

The novel concerns an international conspiracy to prevent humanity from achieving space travel.


Boucher and McComas gave the original edition of Dreadful Sanctuary a mixed review, praising "its vivid whodunit plotting and its magnificent concept," but castigating its "ridiculously anticlimactic ending.".[2] New York Times reviewer Basil Davenport described the novel as "essentially a spy story, a good and exciting one, full of suspense."[3] P. Schuyler Miller similarly described it as one of the few successful fusions of the detective novel with SF, saying it was "one of the most believable science-fiction books in years."[4] Groff Conklin praised Dreadful Sanctuary as "Half brilliant imaginative science-detective-adventure story, half bitter and biting social satire".[5] New Worlds found the story "chilling".[6]


  1. ^ ISFDB publishing history
  2. ^ "Recommended Reading," F&SF, October 1951, p.59
  3. ^ "Spacemen's Realm", The New York Times, August 5, 1951
  4. ^ "The Reference Library", Astounding Science Fiction, January 1952, p.134
  5. ^ "Galaxy's 5 Star Shelf", Galaxy Science Fiction, July 1952, p.117
  6. ^ Leslie Flood, "Book Reviews", New Worlds, April 1954, p.128
  • Chalker, Jack L.; Mark Owings (1998). The Science-Fantasy Publishers: A Bibliographic History, 1923-1998. Westminster, MD and Baltimore: Mirage Press, Ltd. p. 238. 
  • Tuck, Donald H. (1978). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. pp. 373–374. ISBN 0-911682-22-8.