(1878-1952) Irish educationist and author; Permanent Secretary to the Department of Education, Irish Free State, 1923-1944; author of three novels of sf interest, though Wind from the North (1934) is only marginally sf, its narrator passing through a Timeslip to give a vivid account of Dublin under Viking rule in 1013, which he loves and hates. O'Neill turned to sf proper with Land under England (1935), a Dystopia in a Lost-Worldsetting: in an enormous and visually exorbitant Underground cave system beneath Cumberland, which resembles a John Martin panorama, descendants of the Roman Army suffer under a totalitarian regime in which individualism is completely obliterated by Telepathic means. The introduction by Æ is couched on the assumption that the book was a Satire on Hitlerian totalitarianism, an impression confirmed with the appearance of Day of Wrath (1936), a Future-War novel which describes the destruction of civilization by advanced aircraft following a coalition between Germany, Japan and China (see Yellow Peril). O'Neill was not a Genre-SF writer; rather, he used sf instruments to make cultural and political points. His eloquence was considerable. [JE]
see also: Optimism and Pessimism; Politics.
Joseph James O'Neill
born Tuam, County Galway, Ireland: 18 December 1878
died Stillorgan, County Dublin, Ireland: 6 May 1952
Previous versions of this entry