Professor Charles Grant Blairfindie Allen (1848-1899) (who also wrote under the pseudonyms Cecil Power, Olive Pratt Rayner, Martin Leach Warborough and J. Arbuthnot Wilson) was a science writer, author and novelist; an able upholder of the theory of evolution. Born near Kingston, Ontario, Canada, the son of an emigrant Anglo-Scottish Protestant minister and grandson of the fifth Baron of Longueuil, he studied at King Edward's School in Birmingham, Merton College in Oxford, both in the United Kingdom. He also studied in France and in his mid-twenties became a professor at Queen's College in Jamaica. His first books were on scientific subjects, and include Physiological Aesthetics (1877) and Flowers and Their Pedigrees (1886). In Allen's many articles on flowers and perception in insects, Darwinian arguments replaced the old Spencerian terms. After assisting Sir W. W. Hunter in his Gazeteer of India in the early 1880s, Allen turned his attention to fiction, and between 1884 and 1899 produced about 30 novels. He was also a pioneer in Canadian science fiction, with the 1895 novel The British Barbarians. His short story The Thames Valley Catastrophe (published 1901 in The Strand Magazine) describes the destruction of London by a sudden and massive volcanic eruption.