Couvreur, André

Tagged: Author

(1863-1944) French medical doctor and author who used his professional knowledge in the creation of the Caresco sequence – comprising Le Mal Nécessaire (1899; trans Brian Stableford as The Necessary Evil 2014) and Caresco surhomme; ou le Voyage en Eucrasie (1904; trans Brian Stableford as Caresco, Superman 2014) – whose protagonist, the Mad Scientist Dr Armand Caresco, infects French society in the first volume (there is an anti-Semitic subtext) with his tendency to vivisect patients. In Caresco, Superman, he now owns the body-shaped Island of Eucrasia, whose inhabitants he subjects to surgical modifications, promising them erotic delights if they submit, but castration if they resist; the influence of H G Wells's The Island of Dr Moreau (1896) is clear. On Eucrasia, Caresco's Inventions apparently include a new Power Source called Omnium which runs the public Transportation system and promises Immortality. A volcanic explosion destroys this ambivalent Utopia, and kills the doctor.

A second series, the Professor Tornada, beginning with Une invasion de Macrobes ["An Invasion of Macrobes"] (6-27 November 1909 Supplément Littéraire à l'illustration; rev 1910; trans Brian Stableford, along with the title story from L'Androgyne: Les Fantaisies de Professor Tornada coll 1922, as The Exploits of Professor Tornada, Volume 1 omni 2014), introduces a more sophisticated Antihero who combines a profound knowledge of the occult with astronomy and Biology to threaten society, as in his Invention of a giant microbe in the first tale whose planned effect is to devastate France; and his transformation of a man into a woman in the second, this being perhaps the first example of Transgender SF to describe, even implausibly, an actual surgical operation. "Le Valser Phosphorescent" (December 1923 Oeuvres Libres; trans Brian Stableford with "Les Mémoires d'un Immortel" December 1924 Oeuvres Libres as The Exploits of Professor Tornada, Volume 2 coll 2014) involves the creation of an Android; the second novel here included involves experiments in Immortality and, in the Near Future "Biocole" (June 1927 Oeuvres Libres; trans Brian Stableford with "Le Cas de la Baronne Sasoitsu" April 1939 Oeuvres Libres as The Exploits of Professor Tornada, Volume 3 coll 2014), a darker examination of the effects on the world of the eponymous nutrient pill, which causes the ageing Tornada to abandon, for a while, the private Utopia which he calls Biocalia, and his attempts to create the better future he hoped to rule. [JC]

André Achille Émile Henri Couvreur

born Seclin,Nord, France: 4 August 1863

died 1944

works (selected)

series

Caresco

Professor Tornada

individual titles

  • Le Lynx (Paris: Pierre Lafitte, 1911) with Michel Corday [binding unknown/]
    • The Inner Man (New York, G. W. Dillingham, 1913) [trans by Florence Crewe-Jones of the above: binding unknown/]
    • The Lynx (Encino, California: Black Coat Press, 2013) [new translation by Brian Stableford of the above: pb/Jean-Félix Lyon]

links

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