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Champsaur, Félicien

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1858-1934) French author, mostly of heated romances, who began to publish work of genre interest with an Apes as Human tale, "La Légende du singe" ["The Legend of the Ape"], for La Jeune France in 1878; with another tale, "Le dernier homme" ["The Last Man"] (see Last Man), it was assembled as Les Deux singes ["The Two Apes"] (coll 1885). The collection was included with Les Ailes de l'Homme: Paris à New York en avion (1917; cut and rev 1927; omni, trans Brian Stableford using both versions of the novel, as The Human Arrow 2011). The novel itself is set in the Near Future, and describes the Invention of a superior aircraft, a Rocket plane piloted by the protagonist to New York: his dreams of a better future (the first part of the tale as published had been drafted before World War One) prove illusory. Ouha, Roi des Singes (1923; trans Brian Stableford as Ouha, King of the Apes 2012) shows the clear influence of Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan stories. La Pharaonne, roman occulte (1929; trans Brian Stableford as Pharaoh's Wife 2013) is a relatively weak tale set in Egypt involving Reincarnation.

Homo deus, le satyre invisible ["Homo Deus, the Invisible Satyr"] (1923) and its sequel Tuer les vieux, jouir! ["Kill the Old, Enjoy!"] (1925) – both translated by Brian Stableford as Homo-Deus (omni 2014) – form an early Superman series featuring a protagonist with various powers, including that of Invisibility; the markedly darker tone of the sequel seems clearly meant to portray the aftermath of World War One. Nora, la guenon devenue femme ["Nora, the Monkey Turned into Woman"] (1929; trans Brian Stableford as Nora, the Ape-Woman 2015) uses the monkey gland theories of Serge Voronoff to depict a Black singer, easily identifiable as Josephine Baker (1906-1975), in Apes as Human terms: this execrable racism see Race in SF, despite intratextual demurs, may have rendered the book unpublishable until recently, in the context of Stableford's comprehensive survey of French sf. [JC]

Félicien Champsaur

born Turriers, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France: 10 January 1858

died Paris: 22 December 1934



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