Webster, F A M

Tagged: Author

(1886-1949) UK soldier, athletics coach and author, in active service during World War One, who also published as by Michael Annesley; much of his work related to athletics, his best known book in this area being perhaps the nonfiction Athletes in Action (1931). His first novel, The Hound of Cullen (1918), is a mythical fantasy featuring Cuchulhain. His fiction more than once concentrated on mysteriously sapient species (see Apes as Human) in Africa who are persuaded to raise humans as their own. Of the Club Stories assembled in The Curse of the Lion (coll 1922), "The Ape People", which posits a separate language of the apes, explores this theme in terms reminiscent of Tarzan, as does the not dissimilar Lord of the Leopards (1935), which is, however, a fantasy with ghosts.

Much of his fiction was Children's SF. The most interesting of his Lost Race juveniles may be the first, The Odyssey of Husky Hillier (1924; vt Husky Hillier 1938), which features a moderately tame She figure, who rules a race of ancient Toltecs in the Matto Grosso: Monsters from prehistory are encountered, as well as metals unknown to science, along with an excursion to Africa. The Star Lady sequence comprising The Star Lady (1935) and Son of Abdan (1936) is set in an African Lost World, with a race of pygmies also dominated by a She. His remaining Lost Race tales include The Ivory Talisman (1930); Gold and Glory (1932); Lost City of Light (1934), which is set (unusually for him) in Tibet; Second Wind (1934); Mubendi Girl (1935), where the undiscovered country, inhabited by a race with paranormal powers, is found inside an extinct volcano; The Trail of the Skull (1937); and The Land of Forgotten Women (1950), a late tale seemingly designed for adults, in which a civilization of Viking Amazons is discovered in Africa. [JC]

Captain Frederick Annesley Michael Webster

born St Albans, Hertfordshire: 27 June 1886

died Coggeshall, Essex: 11 April 1949

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Star Lady

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