(1893-1958) UK broadcaster, poet and author, in active service during World War One, active as an author from 1916 or earlier, and as a broadcaster from April 1926, when he was the first author to read a story of his own composition on the BBC; he also wrote as by Sebastian Fox. Much of his short fiction contains fantasy elements, often with a surreal edge [for details on fantasy stories by Bullett, and for Crosshatch and Faerie below, see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. Of his longer works Mr Godly Beside Himself: An Adventure in Two Days (1924) is also fantasy: Godly's jejune life is transfigured as London becomes increasingly crosshatched with Faerie, which he enters, trading places with a Doppelganger named Godelik. The tale's manifest longing to reconcile sundered worlds and beings associates it with to others published after World War One, including several of Hilaire Belloc's now neglected sf novels of the postwar years, G K Chesterton's The Return of Don Quixote (1927), Lord Dunsany's The King of Elfland's Daughter (1924). This consanguinity is also evident in a slightly earlier nonfiction study, The Innocence of G K Chesterton (1923).
Some of Bullett's later works are engagingly multiplex in their attempted reach (see Fantastika), though perhaps without sufficient edge fully to capture the interbellum world. In the eponymous village of Marden Fee (1931), hints of Reincarnation shape a set of interconnected tales whose chronological reach extends from extremely early (see Prehistoric SF) to the present, and which extol continuity. Eden River (1934) is a Utopia set along the river known as Eden Here, beginning with Adam and Eve, and tracing the lives of their descendants. The Bubble (1934), a book-length poem perhaps lacking sufficient savagery, Satirizes a contemporary London bamboozled by the author of a nonexistent great novel, who will be buried in Westminster Abbey. Almost alarmingly transgressive on the other hand, The Snare of the Fowler (1936) retells the Oedipus legend in modern dress [for Twice-Told see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. Of the two long texts assembled as Men at High Table & The House of Strangers (coll 1948), the first contains several tales told within a Club Story frame, all fantastic; the second involves a Doppelganger figure. Cricket in Heaven (1949) more mildly reworks the Greek myth of Alcestis in a modern setting, with an emphasis on marital love. [JC]
Gerald William Bullett
born London: 30 December 1893
died Chichester, West Sussex: 3 January 1958
collections and poetry
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