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Carter, Bruce

Entry updated 4 July 2022. Tagged: Author.

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Pseudonym of UK military historian, editor and author Richard Alexander Hough (1922-1999), using his own name for nonfantastic adult novels and nonfiction, and Carter mostly for Young Adult stories and nonfiction books, beginning with an sf title, The Perilous Descent into a Strange Lost World (1952; vt Into a Strange Lost World 1953). Two young World War Two pilots parachute onto an unknown islet in the English Channel, where a tunnel leads thousands of feet Underground into an orthodox Hollow Earth (see John Cleves Symmes) whose surface, thousands of feet further into the planet, they reach by parachute. The Lost Race they find there, descendants of Puritans fleeing Britain centuries earlier, enjoy high Technology (see Transportation), which a civil war threatens to end. The young heroes win the war for the good side, but must themselves trek underground to South America before reaching the surface again. The tale, which is competent, is notable for its nearly surreal archaic assumptions (no female is, for instance, mentioned), and for a tacit but perhaps, given the aseptic pallor of the lads' heartiness, unconscious gay subtext (the two heroes live together for years after their rescue).

Though not quite sf, Target Island (1956; cut rev 1967) conveys a proleptically Dystopian atmosphere through the bombing to smithereens of the fictional Scottish Island of Murra, after its inhabitants are suddenly evicted from their homes, so the British military can test some Weapons. In Ballooning Boy (1960 chap), for younger children, Carter lightly reconfigures his clear and abiding interest in flight, an interest further manifest with The Airfield Man (1965), set mainly in a World War Two airfield, now long abandoned, where a long-dead airman manifests himself through a Timeslip. Carter's later, very considerably more up to date sf novels for older children include The Deadly Freeze (1976) (see Climate Change), Buzzbugs (1977), about a plague of deadly insects, and Miaou! (1978), which focuses on a breeding pair of sabre-toothed Machirodus smilodons from Tierra del Fuego, the scientist's plane carrying them having crashlanded in northern England (see Prehistoric SF). Nightworld (1987) is an Animal Fantasy [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. [JC]

Richard Alexander Hough

born Brighton, Sussex: 15 May 1922

died London: 7 October 1999

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