(1895-1956) UK-Armenian author, born Dikran Kouyoumdjian, naturalized in the UK under the name Michael Arlen (which he took by deed poll); he is mainly remembered for The Green Hat: A Romance for a Few People (1924) and other novels of fashionable London life. His supernatural fiction is to be found among other tales in These Charming People (coll 1923) and May Fair (coll 1924); Ghost Stories (coll 1927) assembled the supernatural tales from the previous volumes.
Arlen's sf novel, Man's Mortality: A Story (1933) is a Pax Aeronautica tale bearing elements in common with Rudyard Kipling's With the Night Mail (November 1905 McClure's; rev 1909 chap), though it is unlikely it influences or responds to H G Wells's The Shape of Things to Come (1933). Arlen's tale vividly depicts the collapse of International Aircraft and Airways in 1987 after 50 years of oligarchy; the melodramatic story carries some moral bite, and was clearly written after the Pax Aeronautica had lost plausibility as a doctrine or wish. Hell! Said the Duchess: A Bed-Time Story (1934) combines Near Future political speculation and fantastic Satire: it is set in 1938, with Winston Churchill as premier; the police think the eponymous Duchess of Dove is the "Jane the Ripper" who has been attacking men, but the true villain – a Shapeshifter capable of changing his gender (see Transgender SF) – is eventually discovered, in bed with a man, strangled. [JC]
see also: Transportation.
born Rustchuk, Bulgaria: 16 November 1895
died New York: 23 June 1956
about the author
- Harry Keyishian. Michael Arlen (Boston, Massachusetts: Twayne, 1975) [nonfiction: hb/]
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