Pseudonym for all his fiction of Scots author and chemistry professor Alfred Walter Stewart (1880-1947), coiner of the term "isobar" in the sense which (complementing "isotope") describes elements of the same atomic weight but with different atomic numbers. As a writer, he is best known for his 25 detective novels and for his one sf novel, Nordenholt's Million (1923). An early story of world-Disaster being surmounted, it is realistic, reasoned, sociologically observed and credible. Fireball-mutated denitrifying bacteria destroy the world's vegetation, then die out. A multimillionaire secures the dictatorship of the UK, selects five million people, segregates them in the Clyde valley in Scotland with supplies, and engineers the collapse of the rest of the country. On the Clyde, nitrogen is synthesized, moral crises take place, there is an atomic-energy breakthrough at the cost of lives, and the exhausted dictator dies. New Cities are built. Connington tackles the Post-Holocaust scenario seriously and with feeling; though he is occasionally over-"literary", his imagination is firmly anchored in reality. Nordenholt's Million – though it lacks his uncheerful apocalyptic glee – clearly prefigures the work of Fred Hoyle. In his early career as an active scientist, he published papers and books under his own name; and, later, his autobiography, Alias J.J. Connington (1947), also appeared as by A W Stewart DSc. [DIM/JC]
see also: End of the World; History of SF; Holocaust.
Alfred Walter Stewart
born Glasgow, Scotland: 5 September 1880
died Belfast, Northern Island: 1 July 1947
works (highly selected)
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