Gloag, John

Tagged: Author

(1896-1981) UK author, whose World War One experiences in the trenches deeply affected his work; though he wrote several novels, he was primarily active, from 1921, in the fields of social history, architecture and design. His first Scientific Romance, To-morrow's Yesterday (1932; exp vt as coll First One and Twenty: An Omnibus Volume Including To-Morrow's Yesterday and Twenty Short Stories 1946) – strongly influenced by H G Wells's The Time Machine (1895) and by his friend Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men (1930) – is a satirical criticism of contemporary society as viewed by our successors, a race of cat people who have mastered Time Travel in order to explore conditions in 1932 and 1963, during which period a great war causes the collapse of civilization. Time manipulation featured prominently in several of Gloag's short stories and, through a Drug capable of unlocking ancestral memories, in the novel 99% (1944). His other novels, again with strong satirical overtones, are chiefly concerned with the effect of new discoveries on society. In The New Pleasure (1933) a chemical is used to heighten the sense of smell, which becomes (see Biology; Sex) the primary governor of sexual selection in humans; in Winter's Youth (1934) a Rejuvenation process adds thirty years to one's life, but at the cost of social dissension which Gloag treats as a subject for sharp Satire; in Manna (1940) a fungus that appeases hunger creates a lethargic population; Slow (1954) is a Technothriller about the misuse of atomic power, set in the Near Future. Tomorrow's Yesterday was reprinted, with slight revisions, in First One and Twenty (coll 1946), which also incorporates ten stories from It Makes a Nice Change (coll 1938). Other fantasy stories appear in Take One a Week: An Omnibus Volume of Fifty-Two Short Stories (coll 1950).

After a long period away from the field, Gloag published the Roman Trilogy, series of historical fantasy novels – Caesar of the Narrow Seas (1969), The Eagles Depart (1973) and Artorius Rex (1977) – which attracted comparison with the works of Susan Cooper. [JE/JC]

see also: End of the World; Future War; History in SF; History of SF; Politics; Reincarnation; To-day and To-morrow; Weapons.

John Edwards Gloag

born London: 10 August 1896

died London: 17 July 1981



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