Stables, Gordon

Tagged: Author

(1840-1910) Scottish medical doctor and author of children's fiction, writing well over a hundred novels, primarily for boys; he served as surgeon on a whaling boat and later with the Royal Navy until 1875; some of his books were signed Dr Gordon Stables, RN, and some others were signed W Gordon-Stables or W Gordon Stables, MD, RN. He wrote extensively for the Boys' Papers, including The Boy's Own Paper, where he published many Fantastic Voyages in competition with the serials of Jules Verne; the most Verne-like were The Cruise of the Crystal Boat: The Wild, the Weird, the Wonderful (1891), a moralistic tale of aerial adventure in an electrically powered Airship, and the Silas Grigg series – An Island Afloat, by Silas Grigg, Master Mariner: With the Stops Put In by Gordon Stables (1903) and, less evidently, The Voyage of the "Blue Vega": A Story of Arctic Adventure (1907) – which are narrated within a Club Story frame by Grigg himself. Lost-World elements appeared in several stories, like Annie O'The Banks O'Dee (1899), which features the usual white queen ruling a native tribe; notably In Quest of the Giant Sloth: A Tale of Adventure in South America (1902; vt The Strange Quest: A Tale of Adventure in South America 1937), in which prehistoric animals and ancient treasure are simultaneously discovered, and In Regions of Perpetual Snow: A Story of Wild Adventures (1904); The Sauciest Boy in the Service: A Story of Pluck and Perseverance (1905), a Future War tale set in 1906 with Britain combating Germany and Russia on the high seas; and perhaps most interestingly in The City at the Pole (1906), in which an expedition in an advanced submarine comes upon a Viking community enjoying a temperate climate in a circumpolar valley, where Eugenics are applied, and a remarkable Power Source makes both aviation and longevity possible, causing the exclusion of those unfit (see Apes as Human; Devolution), who survive Underground.

Stables's only excursion outside these themes was his Future-War novel, The Meteor Flag of England: The Story of a Coming Conflict (1905), set in the distant Near Future, a 1980 world where dreadnoughts can attain a speed of 300 knots, and where which Britain must defend herself against Invasions from both Russia and Germany. [JE/JC]

see also: Spaceships.

William Gordon Stables

born Aberchirder, Banffshire, Scotland: 21 May 1840

died Twyford, Berkshire: 10 May 1910




Silas Grigg

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