Tracy, Louis

Tagged: Author

(1863-1928) UK journalist and author, whose birth name and place of birth have been examined by Steve Holland in his Bear Alley blog [see links below]. He is best remembered for The Final War: A Story of the Great Betrayal (28 December 1895-1 August 1896 Pearson's Magazine; 1896), the first of his several Future-War novels, which is significant for the malign intensity of the Social Darwinism it espouses on behalf of "the Saxon race", and for a proliferation of advanced Weapons. Tracy was an early colleague of M P Shiel, who (uncredited) assisted him with several detective novels, all published as by Gordon Holmes, none of which seem to have (none of); and with the first volume of the Vansittart sequence comprising An American Emperor: The Story of the Fourth Estate of France (26 December 1896-26 June 1897 Pearson's Weekly; 1897) with Shiel and The Lost Provinces: a sequel to "An American Emperor" (1 January-11 June 1898 Pearson's Weekly; 1898; vt The Lost Provinces: How Vansittart Came Back to France 1898). The narrative moves from the Near Future Ruritanian shenanigans of the first volume – in which the American Vansittart romances a princess and becomes the emperor of France after the success of a Verne-style project to irrigate the Sahara – into a Future War scenario where, on behalf of France, Vansittart marshals a fleet of armoured vehicles to defeat Germany.

The Invaders: A Story of Britain's Peril (10 March-11 August 1900 Pearson's Weekly: 1901) less interestingly threatens the UK with a Near-Future German Invasion, abetted by fifth columnists. Two later novels endow their protagonists with Psi Powers: in Karl Greier: The Strange Story of a Man with a Sixth Sense (30 July-19 November 1905 Associated Sunday Magazines; 1906; vt The Man with a Sixth Sense 1910), which involves Telepathy and a mesmeric ability to control others from a distance; in The Turning Point (1923) the hero embodies centuries-old family memories. Other works are The Wings of the Morning (1903), an associational Robinsonade; The King of Diamonds (1904), featuring a diamond-filled meteorite; and The House 'round the Corner (1914), a ghost story. None of his detective novels as by Gordon Holmes, all written with the unacknowledged assistance of Shiel, seem to contain fantastic elements. [JC]

see also: ESP; Race in SF.

Louis Tracy

born Liverpool, England: 18 March 1863

died Ashford, Kent: 13 August 1928

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