England, George Allan

Tagged: Author

(1877-1936) US explorer, translator and author of much magazine fiction between 1901 and 1935; of more than 330 published stories so far traced, five were full-length sf novels in serial form, and many individual tales were sf, starting with his first work of genre interest, "The Time-Reflector" for The Monthly Story Magazine in September 1905, about the Invention of a Time Viewer device. His work appeared predominantly in Frank A Munsey's magazines, where he was one of the more popular writers of the pre-1926 period, ranking as the closest rival in sf to Edgar Rice Burroughs. His stories were occasionally derivative: his serial "The House of Transmutation" (September-November 1909 The Scrap Book, often incorrectly given as "The House of Transformation") is reminiscent of H G Wells's The Island of Dr Moreau (1896), and his short story "The Thing from – 'Outside'" (April 1923 Science and Invention) echoes Algernon Blackwood's "The Willows" (in The Listener and Other Stories, coll 1907).

Several themes recur in his writings. Immortality and the elixir of youth (see Rejuvenation) appear in his Lost-World serial "Beyond White Seas" (December 1909-May 1910 All-Story) and in another serial, "The Elixir of Hate" (August-November 1911 Cavalier), which presents more sophisticated characterization and ethical analysis than appears elsewhere in his Pulp-magazine work. Socialist thought, in the mode of Jack London, shapes the anticapitalist stances of The Air Trust (January-October 1915 The National Rip-Saw as "The Story of the Air Trust"; 1915) and The Golden Blight (18 May-22 June 1912 Cavalier; 1916); the first is centred on a cartel's monopoly on oxygen, the second concerns a Ray that temporarily changes gold to ash (see Transmutation). The latter has strong racist overtones, as does his most popular work, a long Post-Holocaust novel, Darkness and Dawn (January 1912-July 1913 Cavalier as three separate serials, "Darkness and Dawn" [January-20 January 1912], "Beyond the Great Oblivion" [4 January-8 February 1913] and "The Afterglow" [14 June-5 July 1913]; fixup 1914; rev 5vols as Darkness and Dawn 1964, Beyond the Great Oblivion 1965, The People of the Abyss 1966, Out of the Abyss 1967, and The Afterglow 1967); much of the racism was purged from the 1960s multi-volume version by Robert A W Lowndes, working for the publisher. The tale begins a millennium or so hence as two survivors of an unspecified Disaster awaken from Suspended Animation to find New York a ruin; even the Statue of Liberty has lost her torch. The male protagonist undertakes a Last Man tour of the shambles; but he and his female partner soon begin to act like Adam and Eve before discovering (and defeating) the sub-human inhabitants of the Ruined Earth (see Devolution).

Other works of interest include The Empire in the Air (14 November-5 December 1914 All-Story Cavalier Weekly; 2006), a serialized novel of Invasion by immaterial beings from the fourth Dimension, who establish a Pax Aeronautica; and "June 6, 2016" (22 April 1916 Collier's), a short story with elaborate future gadgetry and a feminist twist. The Flying Legion (15 November-20 December 1919 All-Story Weekly; 1920) is a heist story of the Near Future involving advanced weaponry and the theft from Mecca of Islam's most sacred relic, in a misguided attempt to reform that religion. "The Fatal Gift" (4-25 September 1915 All-Story Weekly), a serial, deals with the production of an excessively beautiful superwoman by plastic surgery. Lesser works are: "The Lunar Advertising Co, Ltd" (August 1906 The Gray Goose; vt "A Message from the Moon: The Story of a Great Coup", April 1907 Pearson's), in which Advertising matter is reflected from the Moon; "My Time Annihilator" (June 1909 All-Story), ostensibly about Time Travel to the past but really about madness; "He of the Glass Heart" (May 1911 Cavalier; vt "The Man with the Glass Heart" in The Fantastic Pulps, anth 1975, ed Peter Haining), featuring an artificial heart; and "Drops of Death" (January 1922 Munsey's), a scientific detective story. "The Tenth Question" (18 December 1915 All-Story Weekly), a mathematical puzzle story (see Mathematics), was later rewritten by and credited to Stanley G Weinbaum as "The Brink of Infinity" (December 1936 Thrilling Wonder). England remained active as a writer after 1922 or so, but wrote very little further sf. [JE/EFB/JC]

see also: Cities; Dystopias; Evolution; History of SF; Invisibility; Money; Monsters; Politics; Villains.

George Allan England

born Fort McPherson, Nebraska: 9 February 1877

died Concord, New Hampshire: 26 June 1936

works (sf and fantasy only)

  • Out of the Real (New York: The Winthrop Press, 1914) [story: chap: first published in Munsey's Magazine, January 1914: pb/]
  • Darkness and Dawn (Boston, Massachusetts: Small, Maynard, 1914) [fixup: first appeared January 1912-July 1913 Cavalier as three separate serials, "Darkness and Dawn" (January-20 January 1912), "Beyond the Great Oblivion" (4 January-8 February 1913) and "The Afterglow" (14 June-5 July 1913): hb/P J Monahan]
    • Darkness and Dawn (New York: Avalon Books, 1964) [rev of "Darkness and Dawn", part one of above: hb/Gray Morrow]
    • Beyond the Great Oblivion (New York: Avalon Books, 1965) [rev vt of first half of "Beyond the Great Oblivion", part two of above: hb/Gray Morrow]
    • The People of the Abyss (New York: Avalon Books, 1966) [rev vt of second half of "Beyond the Great Oblivion", part two of above: hb/Gray Morrow]
    • Out of the Abyss (New York: Avalon Books, 1967) [rev of first two-thirds of "Out of the Abyss", part three of above: hb/Michael M Peters]
    • The Afterglow (New York: Avalon Books, 1967) [rev vt of final third of "Out of the Abyss", part three of above: hb/Michael M Peters]
  • The Air Trust (St Louis, Missouri: Phil Wagner 1915) [first published January-October 1915 The National Rip-Saw as "The Story of the Air Trust": illus/hb/John Sloan]
  • The Golden Blight (New York: The H K Fly Company Publishers, 1916) [first appeared 18 May-22 June 1912 Cavalier: hb/John Sloan]
  • Cursed (Boston, Massachusetts: Small, Maynard, 1919) [hb/]
  • Keep Off the Grass (Boston, Massachusetts: Small, Maynard, 1919) [hb/]
  • The Flying Legion (Chicago, Illinois: A C McClurg, 1920) [first appeared 15 November-20 December 1919 All-Story Weekly: hb/P J Monahan]
  • The Empire in the Air (Normal, Illinois: Black Dog Books, 2006) first appeared 14 November-5 December 1914 All-Story Cavalier Weekly: [pb/Joel Naprstek]

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