Greg, Percy

Tagged: Author

(1837-1889) UK poet, author and historian, son of the prolific essayist William Rathbone Greg (1809-1881); Greg also wrote as Lionel G Holdreth. His first work of genre interest was "Guy Neville's Ghost" for Blackwood's in March 1865; the nonfiction The Devil's Advocate (1878 2vols) contains some speculative material. He was author of an important early sf novel, Across the Zodiac: The Story of a Wrecked Record, Deciphered, Translated and Edited by P G (1880 2vols) (see Fantastic Voyages), which is perhaps most significant for its detailed depiction of the protagonist's journey to Mars through the use of apergy, an Antigravity force (the concept provided a model for many later novels) which he uses to propel his Spaceship, whose construction is carefully described. Once on Mars, a more orthodox detailing of Utopia ensues: the Martians' version, though technologically advanced and benignly monarchical, suffers from scientific literalism (wrong thoughts are criminal) and dubious sexual morality (women are bought and sold). Finding himself allied to an opposing group of telepaths who believe in family life, the protagonist is embroiled in a final conflict and loses friends and wife, though the telepaths win the war. He escapes to his spaceship and the novel ends abruptly. Across the Zodiac remains readable. It has been suggested by George Locke that two further novels – Ivy: Cousin and Bride (1881 3vols) and its sequel The Verge of Night (1885 3vols) – may creep into a Near Future convoluted by Politics (Greg's opinions were eccentric and varied with the moon) and shared dreams; both tales are, however, turgid and resist analysis. [JC/BS]

see also: History of SF; Power Sources.

Percy Greg

born Manchester, England: 7 January 1837

died London: 24 December 1889

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