Harrison, Michael

Tagged: Author

Pseudonym of UK author Maurice Desmond Rohan (1907-1991) for work in various genres, mostly not sf. He wrote an early film novelization, The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) as Michael Egremont, and some of the stories assembled in Transit of Venus (coll 1936) are of fantasy interest. His first and most interesting sf novel, Higher Things (1945), is a Scientific Romance clearly influenced by H G Wells. An impoverished young man, caught in the trammels of a clerical position but with dreams of higher things, finds in himself the power to levitate (see Telekinesis), which he does at crucial moments in his rather melancholy life to escape his and the world's muddles. He then makes a long (probably delusional) flight to confront the Dictator (Hitler) and to discuss with him the world's fate, a middle-period Wellsian excursion which is succeeded by a late-period Wellsian quietus: the protagonist, haunted by Paranoia, decides to escape the world entirely in a levitated, airtight gondola. The Darkened Room: An Arabesque (1951) is, like Higher Things, set in the mythical town of Rowcester; it features a cat kept artificially alive to further a blackmail scheme. The Brain: The Statement of Royal Mallison Eberhardt, Major, US Army (Retd) (1953) devotes itself to a mushroom cloud which becomes sentient.

In his later career, Harrison concentrated on works about or influenced by Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, and to a lesser extent on stories extending the canon (and career) of Edgar Allan Poe's Chevalier Dupin, None of this work contains fantastic content. [JC]

Maurice Desmond Rohan

born Milton, Kent: 25 April 1907

died Hove, Sussex: September 1991

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