Pseudonym of UK author Thom MacWalter (1887-1963); he specialized in detective novels and contemporary thrillers, and also published as by Peter Craig. Sources have differed as to whether his full name is Victor Thom MacWalter MacClure, or if Victor MacClure is a pseudonym of Thom MacWalter. His only sf novel, The Ark of the Covenant: A Romance of the Air and of Science (1924; vt Ultimatum: A Romance of the Air 1924 UK), tells of Near Future world disarmament brought about by pacifists, armed with dirigible Airships carrying a sleep gas and a Ray that transmutes elements (see Transmutation); thus equipped, they raid the world's financial centres, abstracting bullion and leaving radium behind – they have mastered Nuclear Energy and possess other Weapons. These Inventions of their "Master", an American Scientist secluded in a South American fastness, are deployed by him and his League of the Covenant in a campaign to establish universal peace (see Pax Aeronautica); the Master also demonstrates inter alia to awed colleagues a unified field theory that explains the structure of the universe (see Physics). Soon, Washington is invaded (see Invasion) from the air, and after the Master meets with the US President, who recognizes him and is converted to his cause, a planet-wide Pax Aeronautica ensues. Grievously ill, the Master returns to South America to die.
As a point of bibliographic interest, The Ark of the Covenant was serialized (without subtitle) in Hugo Gernsback's The Experimenter from November 1924 to January 1926, with the fifteenth and final magazine instalment appearing long after its 1924 book publication; it was serialized again in four parts only in Air Wonder Stories, July-October 1929. [JC/PN/DRL]
see also: Air Wonder Stories.
born Elgin, Morayshire, Scotland: 20 March 1887
died 7 April 1963
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