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Conquest, Joan

Entry updated 25 September 2018. Tagged: Author.

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(1883-1941) Pseudonym of UK author Mary Eliza Louise Cooke (Mrs Leonard Cooke), born Mary Eliza Gripper and also known as Sister Martin-Nicholson following her first, brief marriage in 1907 to Allen Martin Reuben Nicholson (1883-1915); she married Leonard Cooke in 1915. She is known for floridly euphemistic (though superficially daring) novels of high romance, typical of which are Leonie of the Jungle (1921), whose eponymous heroine escapes the Hypnotic thrall of the goddess Kali in the nick of time, and Love's Curse (1936), in which the spirit of an Egyptian pharaoh curses two twentieth-century lovers; this novel, part of the loose Lost Cohort sequence which is otherwise non-fantastic, is typical of the cod-Egyptian mystifications in which many of her tales are lost. Crumbling Walls (1927) is a Yellow Peril novel which verges on sf; Zarah the Cruel (1923), The Desert's Secret (1933) and Veiled Lover (1938) are Lost Race novels of very mild interest, though the last named does feature an English doctor named Robin Hood. The female protagonist of The Sale (1930) makes a mysterious and precious sale to the Devil [for Pacts with the Devil see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below].

Conquest's two sf novels proper are The Reckoning (1931), in which it is presumed that artificial insemination (in the form of a "life enervating" fibre) will result in females possessing neither souls nor reproductive organs (see Sex; Women in SF), and With the Lid Off (1936), is a Utopia, set about 100 years hence, in which a benevolent Christian dictatorship holds sway. [JC]

Mary Eliza Louise Cooke

born Bradford, Yorkshire: 1883

died Devil's Dyke Hill, near Brighton, Sussex: 23 October 1941



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