Shaw, Frank H

Tagged: Author

(1878-1960) UK naval officer and author who was in active service during World War One; he also published stories as by Frank Cleveland, Archibald Guthrie, Grenville Hammerton, Frank Hubert, Ernest Winchfield (and perhaps other names as well), appearing very widely in Boys' Papers from early in the twentieth century, with an estimated 7,000 stories to his credit and seventy or more books. Serials not reissued in book form include his world-catastrophe novel "When the Sea Rose Up" (15 December 1923-10 May 1924 Chums). As with many authors who flourished before and immediately after the Great War, his output diminished significantly before World War Two. His fiction that reflects anything of his War experience is patriotic and supportive of the military command. His memoir, Seas of Memory (1958), reflects this stance.

There is no comprehensive bibliography of his output, though it seems likely his first significant publication of genre interest was the linked story sequence "The Wonderful Adventures of Captain Smith of the Astonian Navy" in Yes or No, beginning with "The Prehistoric Terror" from 1 September 1906 – in which a Dinosaur comes back to life after being uncovered by a landslide – and continuing to 27 October 1906. Further stories of particular sf interest include "The Peril of the Motherland" (22 April-9 September 1908 Chums), a Future War narrative about Russian Invasion of Britain by both sea and air, including a notable bombardment of London by Airship; "The Swoop of the Eagle: A Great Story of the Motherland's Dire Peril" (19 October 1912-29 March 1913 Chums), about a Near Future German Invasion; and Outlaws of the Air (1927). In the last, the Commodore – a Mad Scientist seeking revenge against the nations of the world for the death of his son in the War – adopts the orphan protagonist, takes him aboard his vast armoured Airship, and exposes him to adventures and travel, during which they encounter secret societies, Ray Guns, and more; the Commodore's resemblance to Jules Verne's Captain Nemo is clear. In the end, his animus against those in command is disqualified. Most of Shaw's fiction was clearly less ambitious, and perhaps less revealing. [JC/MA]

Captain Frank Hubert Shaw

born Yorkshire: 24 October 1878

died 12 October 1960

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