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Bonfiglioli, Kyril

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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Adopted name of Cyril Emmanuel George Bonfiglioli (1928-1985), UK son of Italo-Slovene and English parents, at various times a book dealer, art dealer, editor of Science Fantasy, and author. In the last capacity he is best known for the Charlie Mortdecai black-comedy thrillers beginning with Don't Point That Thing at Me (1973), which despite a few parodic swipes at Ian Fleming's James Bond do not venture into sf territory and are not listed below. The film Mortdecai (2015), directed by David Koepp, is loosely based on these tales of Antihero Mortdecai, described in the opening volume as not a self-portrait but "some other portly, dissolute, immoral and middle-aged art-dealer."

Bonfiglioli's fiction debut was "Blast Off" (June/July 1964 Science Fantasy #65 anonymous; vt "Blastoff" credited to Bonfiglioli in England Swings SF, anth 1968, ed Judith Merril), his only sf story, written to fill a gap in the magazine and originally billed as a translation from the Finnish. His editorial reign at Science Fantasy ran from issue #65 (June/July 1964) to the last under that name, #81 (February 1966), continuing through the five issues renamed Impulse (March-July 1966) and the first two as SF Impulse (August-September 1966), after which Harry Harrison took over for the five remaining issues of SF Impulse (October 1966-February 1967). Bonfiglioli's "discoveries", the authors whose first stories he published, include Thom Keyes, Christopher Priest, Keith Roberts (with two simultaneous appearances), Josephine Saxton and Brian Stableford.

The Mortdecai ABC: A Bonfiglioli Reader (coll/anth 2001), edited and extensively annotated by his second wife Margaret Bonfiglioli, assembles witty novel and nonfiction extracts together with biographical reminiscences within a thematic alphabetical framework. Also included are the perceptive and sometimes provocative editorials from Science Fantasy and Impulse, all but the weakest of the few short stories, selected letters including much of a 1966-1978 correspondence with Christopher Priest, and the outline for Bonfiglioli's never-written 1930s historical romp «Cross My Art» – which was to feature the reactivated Golem of Prague and either a nuclear-apocalyptic or an Alternate-History ending. [DRL]

Cyril Emmanuel George Bonfiglioli

born Eastbourne, Sussex: 29 May 1928

died Jersey, Channel Islands: 3 March 1985

works (highly selected)

works as editor


SF Reprise

See also SF Reprise.


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