Sieveking, Lance

Tagged: Author

Working name of UK author and radio producer Lancelot de Giberne Sieveking (1896-1972) for his later work, though his first books were signed Capt L de G Sieveking (he reached the rank of Captain during active service in the Royal Naval Air Service through most of World War One) or L de Giberne Sieveking. He was with the BBC 1925-1956, producing at least radio 200 plays by 1938 and the first Television play in 1930, and himself adapting his own novel, A Tomb With a View (1950), a gothic thriller involving Aleister Crowley [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. His literary memoir, The Eye of the Beholder (1957), included portraits of figures of sf interest such as George Bernard Shaw and H G Wells. He began publishing sf with a Time Viewer tale, "The Prophetic Camera", for The English Review in February 1922, and his first novel Stampede! (1924) – dedicated to, illustrated by, and in its side-of-the-mouth fantasticality derivative of, his godfather G K Chesterton – features a Thought Machine used by anarchists to convey Telepathic commands.

Set in a Near Future world where commercial trans-Atlantic flights are common, The Ultimate Island: A Strange Adventure (1925) focuses on the discovery of a circular Archipelago concealed in the midst of concealing fog and whirlpools, into which maelstrom ships have for centuries been lured; at the heart of this hidden world (see Lost Race), Atlantis has survived. All Children Must Be Paid For (1929), undated though by implication set in the Near Future, is a Satire on Eugenics. His best known sf work, A Private Volcano: A Modern Novel of Science and Imagination (1955), depicts the effects of a catalyst (thrown up from a volcano) which turns all dross to gold; the tale was his contribution to Ward Lock and Company's Modern Novels of Science and Imagination, an sf series he edited in 1955-1956. After outgrowing his borrowed manners, Sieveking became a genuinely literate writer, though sometimes uneasy in his handling of genre effects. [JC]

see also: Islands.

Lancelot de Giberne Sieveking

born Harrow, Middlesex: 19 March 1896

died Foxhall, Suffolk: 6 January 1972



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