(1877-1960) Irish author, poet, founder of the International Institute for Psychical Research in 1934, and author of many works on the afterlife and several Scientific Romances. Democracy (1919) predicts a Near Future revolution in the UK. The Dystopian Ragnarok (1926) envisages the destruction of civilization through a worldwide Future War fought by armies equipped with radio-controlled planes and poisonous gases, the narrative concentrating on the derring-do of futuristic fighter pilots. Desmond's pessimism does not abate in Chaos (1938), which prophesies a Future War between the UK and Germany. World-Birth (1938), possibly stimulated by the scientific romances of Olaf Stapledon, describes the troubled future history of mankind and the eventual development of an ideal state. This optimism as to last things surfaces again in Black Dawn (1944), a World War Two novel which segues tentatively into a prediction of world peace. His earlier works include some fantasy: Gods (1921) centres on industrial exploitation; Echo (1927) reflects memories of a past incarnation (see Reincarnation); Tales of the Little Sisters of Saint Francis (coll 1929) includes some fantasy. Desmond appears as himself in Haunted Palace (1949), a documentary, directed by Richard Fisher, on his role as a ghostbuster. [JE]
see also: Weapons.
born Dungarvan, County Waterford, Ireland: 19 January 1877
died London: 23 December 1960
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