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Corbett, James

Entry updated 27 September 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1887-1958) UK author who served as a lieutenant in the armed forces during World War One and wrote popular thrillers for the lending-library market from 1929 to 1951. Corbett's sf tales, beginning with The White Angel (1931), are as sensational as his thrillers. The Man Who Saw the Devil (1934) is a rewrite of Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), in which neither personality is aware of the other's existence. Devil-Man from Mars (1935), an interplanetary novel whose defective scientific underpinnings were perhaps intended as a Parody, features a Martian who, equipped with death Rays and Hypnotic powers, travels to Earth with, literally, the wind at his back all the way. The Death Pool (1936) invokes Hypnosis and Telepathy in its hunt for the McGuffin of a Poison-gas formula. When Death Walks (1941), which concerns the resurrection of the dead, typically mixes sf and horror. Corbett's last sf story, The Air Killer (1941), features a merciless inventor (see Inventions) of a "propulsive ray" who, calling himself "The Bat", attacks people from the air. Among his relatively few readers, Corbett had some small reputation as an exceedingly boneheaded stylist; his work as a whole has not worn well. [JE/JC]

James Corbett

born Belfast, Northern Ireland: 22 April 1887

died September 1958

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