Tabori, Paul

Tagged: Author

Working (and later legal) name of Hungarian journalist, screenwriter, translator, broadcaster, literary agent and author Pál Tábori (1908-1974), brother of George Tabori, active in Hungary from as early as 1925 with A sárga selyem Turbán ["The Yellow Silk Turban"], a translation of an unidentified Jack London story. His early fiction, beginning with Új-Buda ["New Buda"] (1927 Berlin), seems exclusively non-fantastic, most of it comprising Young Adult tales about boy and girl scouts; but A nemzetközi õrs (1930; trans author as International Patrol 1947), a Boy Scout novel complete with introduction by Lord Baden-Powell (1857-1941), is an educational Godgame tale in which boys are subjected to a series of fantastic experiences, all rationalized except an episode where they are both shrunk and made into giants (see Great and Small; Miniaturization) by a Ray on a mysterious Island.

From 1937 Tabori lived and worked mostly in London. World War Two inspired some fiction, including They Came to London (1943), a marginally Near-Future tale involving an anticipation of the Second Front, and The Frontier (1950), which reworked the terrible history of Germany in an Alternate-History frame; most of his early work was non-fantastic. From 1948 he was active as a screenwriter, and first began to write sf proper as co-author of the script for Four-Sided Triangle (1953), adapted from William F Temple's novel; he also co-wrote the screenplay for Spaceways (1955), adapted with its author from Charles Eric Maine's 1952 playscript. He also translated into English two novels by Frigyes Karinthy as Voyage to Faremindo & Capillaria (1965 Hungary).

Some of his later (and increasingly commercial) work – some of it written as by Peter Stafford – was sf, the best example being The Green Rain (1961), a sour social comedy about chemically polluted rainfall turning people green; The Survivors (1964) is a violent spoof Future War tale, involving various Invasions of the UK and other countries, traumas which generate a longing for monarchical governments throughout Europe. The Hunter sequence of adventure sf tales beginning with The Doomsday Brain (1967) was routine. Sex and the occult infused much of his later work, like The Cleft (1969), the fissure of the title being nearly as symbolic as the crack in Emma Tennant's The Time of the Crack (1973). Nonfiction books like The Natural Science of Stupidity (1959) and The Art of Folly (1961) deal inter alia with Pseudoscience; he also wrote several studies in the occult, with a concentration on figures like Harry Price (1881-1949), the "ghost hunter" whose executor he was.

Tabori was an effective writer who sometimes allowed haste and an erratic control of genre expectations to spoil his results. [JC]

see also: Hungary; Valley of Eagles.

Paul Tabori

born Budapest, Hungary, Austro-Hungarian Empire [now Hungary]: 8 May 1908

died London: 9 November 1974

works (selected)

series

The Hunters

individual titles

nonfiction (highly selected)

works as translator (into English only, selected)

links

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