Albert Flynn

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Albert Flynn

BornJoshua Albert Flynn
15 September 1863
Sheerness, Kent
Died8 October 1933
Pen nameOwen Oliver
OccupationCivil servant and author
ResidenceStreatham, London
Alma materUniversity of London
GenreScience fiction

Sir Joshua Albert Flynn CB, KCB, (15 September 1863 – 8 October 1933) was a British civil servant who served in South Africa with Lord Kitchener. He was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1910 and knighted in 1919. He was later director of army accounts and subsequently director-general of finance at the Ministry of Pensions. He wrote three novels, one non-fiction work, and over 250 science fiction, romance and adventure stories under the pen name of "Owen Oliver" that were published in the popular magazines of the early 20th century.


Early life and family

Joshua Albert Flynn was born in Sheerness, Kent, on 15 September 1863, the eldest son of Albert Spencer Flynn. He was educated at private schools and Kings College, London, and graduated in mental and moral science from the University of London in 1891. He married Ada, the youngest daughter of James Parkinson, in 1886 and had two sons and three daughters. [1]


Flynn worked as a senior civil servant in the Admiralty in 1884 and the War Office from 1885. He was financial adviser to Lord Kitchener in South Africa and director of army accounts from 1904. [1] He was appointed director-general of finance at the Ministry of Pensions in 1916. [1] He was made a companion of the Order of the Bath in 1910 and knighted in 1919. He retired in 1920. [1] In 1928 he published The Problems of the Civil Service in which he gave much attention to recruitment and promotion, observing that membership of the senior administrative class was in practice restricted to those that had attended Britain's elite universities. [2]


He wrote science fiction, romance, and adventure stories under the pen name of Owen Oliver that were published in the popular magazines of the early 20th century, [3] producing over 250 between 1901 and 1934, including 27 for the science fiction orientated The Yellow Magazine , [4] a sister to Harmsworth's Red Magazine and The Green Magazine, all published by Amalgamated Press. [5] Flynn's science fiction often dealt with the threat to the Earth from an external peril, such as in "The Black Shadow" (1903) in which the remnants of a lunar civilisation are able to control human beings on Earth. In "The Plague of Lights" (1904), aliens invade the Earth, while in "The Long Night" (1906) the nights gradually lengthen due to the effect on the Earth of a comet. In "Days of Darkness" (1927), London is plunged into inexplicable darkness, throwing the city into chaos. [3] "A Martyr to Wireless" (1924) takes a different approach with the invading force being the new technology of radio broadcasting which threatens marital harmony when it enters the home. [4] Flynn's romantic fiction featured in The Windsor Magazine and included titles such as "Little Love" (1906/07), "They Called it Love" (1909/10), and "A House of Love" (1910). [6]


Flynn died on 8 October 1933. [1] His address at the time of his death was 6 Thornton Avenue, Streatham. Probate was granted to Albert James Flynn, engineer, and Walter Alan Flynn, medical practitioner, on an estate of £6,121. [7] He received an obituary in The Times . [8]

Selected publications

All as "Owen Oliver".

Short stories



See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Flynn, Sir Joshua Albert", Who's Who 2020 & Who Was Who, Oxford University Press. Retrieved 14 December 2019. (subscription required)
  2. "Representative Bureaucracy" by J. Donald Kingsley in Julie Dolan & David H. Rosenbloom (Eds.) (2016). Representative Bureaucracy: Classic Readings and Continuing Controversies. Abingdon: Routledge. pp. 12–18 (p. 14). ISBN   978-1-134-89882-4.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  3. 1 2 Ashley, Mike. (Ed.) (2019) The End of the World: and Other Catastrophes. London: British Library. p. 71. ISBN   9780712352734
  4. 1 2 "Gender and the Domestication of Wireless Technology in 1920s Pulp Fiction" by Katy Price in Donald L. Opitz et al (Eds.) (2016). Domesticity in the Making of Modern Science. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 129–150 (pp. 136–137). ISBN   978-1-137-49273-9.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  5. Red Magazine, The. SFE The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 31 August 2018. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  6. Vaughan-Pow, Catharine. Indexes to Fiction in The Windsor Magazine 1895-1910. Victorian Fiction Research Guide No. 32. Brisbane: University of Queensland. ISBN   1864997524
  7. 1933 Probate Calendar, p. 367.
  8. "Sir Albert Flynn", The Times, 10 October 1933, p. 9.