Lach-Szyrma, W S

Tagged: Author

(1841-1915) UK Anglican clergyman and author, son of the Polish philosopher and soldier Krystyn Lach Szyrma (1790-1866), who had come to the UK in 1832; Lach-Szyrma (he hyphenated his surname) began writing his series of interplanetary fictions (see Planetary Romance), featuring the travels around the solar system of the winged Venusian Aleriel, in untraced magazine pieces published around 1865; in more clearly fictional form, this material was incorporated into A Voice from Another World (1874 chap; exp vt Aleriel, or A Voyage to Other Worlds: A Tale as by the Rev. W S Lach-Szyrma 1883) as by WSL-S, during the course of which Aleriel – who has been passing as a hunchback to disguises his wings – describes Venus as a Utopia of the unfallen; in the second part of the tale (contained only in the 1883 expansion), Aleriel returns to Venus, and sends back missives describing life on further planets. His further travels are chronicled in the Letters from the Planets subseries, nine stories beginning with "A Ruined City in the Moon" (January 1887 Cassell's Family Magazine) and closing with "Corresponding With the Planets" (June 1893 Cassell's Family Magazine), all published as by Anonymous, their main focus being records of life on Mars and Jupiter; they were reprinted in Worlds Apart: A Tale (anth 1972) edited by George Locke. Under Other Conditions (circa 1891 Western Magazine and Portfolio; 1892), which continues the series, tells of another Venusian's adventures on Earth, from which he departs in a Spaceship. These rather preachy stories concentrate on sightseeing and ethics, but fair-mindedly stress that other planetary conditions may lead to other customs. Lach-Szyrma could be considered a minor forerunner to C S Lewis. [PN/JC]

see also: Moon.

Wladislaw Somerville Lach-Szyrma

born Devonport, Devon: 25 December 1841

died Barkinside, Essex: 25 June 1915

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