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Baker, Frank

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1908-1983) UK actor, Television scriptwriter and author whose work is generally and correctly thought of in terms of fantasy and horror, though his second novel, The Birds (1936; rev 1964; rev 2013), is very clearly Equipoisal between Scientific Romance and Supernatural Fiction [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. In the very Near Future – the book's dustwrapper describes the main events as beginning, very soon after publication, in August 1936 – huge swarms of inexplicably invulnerable birds assault London. It is a Disaster which ends civilization, according to one of the few survivors, an "Elder" who tells the tale at the end of the twentieth century to his daughter. Similarities between this novel and Daphne du Maurier's The Birds (October 1952 Good Housekeeping; 1996 chap) seem coincidental, though Baker apparently considered a lawsuit. The 2013 revision of The Birds is based on the author's notes to the 1964 text.

Baker's most famous subsequent title, Miss Hargreaves: A Fantasy (1940), does not mix genres. In Before I Go Hence: Fantasia on a Novel (1946), the Time theories of J W Dunne are used to explain the protagonist's linkage with a dead family member. The inhabitants of Gangallow Downs, a strange peninsula extending into an ocean in The Downs So Free (1948), confront their exemplary destinies, some occult, some with ghosts, some mundane. [JC]

Frank Edgar Baker

born London: 22 May 1908

died Porthleven, Cornwall: 1983 [1982 has also been given]

works (selected)

collections and stories


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