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Blyth, James

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1864-1933) UK author, born Henry James Catling Clabburn, changing his name legally to James Blyth in 1898. He was a fairly prolific producer of popular fiction who is best remembered in the sf field for his Future War novels, in all of which Britain is pitted against Germany: in The Tyranny (1907), the UK is dominated by a tyrant and at war with Germany; in The Swoop of the Vulture (1909), a title P G Wodehouse spoofed in The Swoop! or How Clarence Saved England (1909), the "Vulture" – Germany – mounts a 1918 Invasion; and in Ichabod (1910), which is defaced by an antisemitism that seems "robust" even for the UK of 1910, the UK wins out over the next half century against an unholy alliance of Jews and Germans through the use of a Matter Transmitter and a machine which reads malign thoughts. The Peril of Pine's Place: A Story of an Averted Rebellion (1912) occupies similar territory, with the UK being saved here from a socialist rebellion; futuristic aircraft are featured; and in The Expropriators (1914), the eponymous society of Anarchists inflames the working classes and foreigners (both treated with racist contempt) until London is nearly torn apart by gangs of ruffians.

Other novels of interest – like The Aerial Burglars (1906), in which thieves use a flying motor car for nefarious purposes – are more directly entertaining. Most of Blyth's remaining work is criminous, or supernatural, examples being A Hazardous Wooing (1907), which involves smugglers with occult powers, The Shadow of the Unseen (1907) with Barry Pain, a tale of the supernatural infused with Blyth's love of the motor car, and A Haunted Inheritance: A Story of Modern Mysticism (1910), in which an Occult Detective [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] must solve the mystery posed by a ghost Monster. [JC]

James Blyth

born Thorpe St Andrew, Norfolk: 17 January 1864

died London: 23 March 1933

works (selected)


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