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 – is a Scientific Romance featuring 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, the success of this world partly due to the use of mesmerism (see Hypnosis) in the education of children (see Education in SF); the cheap-shot antisemitism displayed here may have been inherited from his godfather. All Children Must Be Paid For (1929), undated though by implication set in the Near Future, is a Satire on Eugenics. His best known work of this sort, 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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