Haldane, Charlotte

Tagged: Author

(1894-1969) UK author, married to J B S Haldane (1926-1945) and sister-in-law of Naomi Mitchison; her early work, mostly journalism with Feminist implications, was usually published as by Charlotte Burghes. Her Scientific Romance, Man's World (1926), explicitly draws not only on her husband's arguments in Dedalus; Or, Science and the Future (1923 chap), but on Bertrand Russell's riposte, Icarus; Or, the Future of Science (1924 chap). The tale is a Dystopia set in a twenty-first-century society which divides women into sterilized professional "entertainers" and sainted breeders (see Women in SF), takes a strongly ambivalent attitude towards the Eugenic thinking responsible, but eventually seems to suggest that the social cost of improving the human stock by fiat has been too high, even though women are in fact better off here than Burghes/Haldane earlier argued was the case in the real world. The racism delineated – whites have risen to new biological heights while blacks are systematically poisoned – is also ambivalent in the telling. Melusine, or Devil Take Her! (1936) is a fantasy about the survival of witches in Christian Europe, and The Shadow of a Dream (1952) treats second sight as a Psi Power. [JC]

Charlotte Franken Haldane

born London: 27 April 1894

died London: 16 March 1969



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