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Gallico, Paul

Entry updated 6 February 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1897-1976) US journalist, screenwriter and author, sports editor for the New York Daily News for twelve years beginning in 1923, known mainly for such works outside the sf field as The Snow Goose (9 November 1940 Saturday Evening Post; exp 1941 chap; vt The Snow Goose: A Story of Dunkirk 1941 chap), a sentimental novella extremely popular in time of war. His first fiction, the short Hiram Holliday sequence comprising Adventures of Hiram Holliday (stories March-September 1939 Cosmopolitan as "Tales of Six Cities"; coll of linked stories 1939; vt The Adventures of Hiram Holliday 1939) and The Secret Front (June-November 1940 Cosmopolitan as "The Strange War of Hiram Holliday"; 1940), interestingly fails to anticipate much of the actual flavour of World War Two. In the first volume its protagonist – an amateur spy whose sensitivity to the psychic emanations of others is of ESP intensity – becomes involved in Ruritanian conflicts, the successful resolution of which frustrates Hitler; the second very tentatively establishes an Alternate History whose Jonbar Point is the assassination of Hitler after Munich and his substitution by a puppet figure (never here encountered) under the control of "the extreme radicals of the party": but the tale only hints at possible consequences in the very Near Future. The depiction here of the Suicide after torture of an English socialite in love with Hitler, clearly based on Unity Mitford (1914-1948), unfortunately anticipates Unity's own suicide. The first volume was televised as The Adventures of Hiram Holliday (1957-1958) starring Wally Cox as the Superman protagonist.

Most of Gallico's fantasies – examples are The Abandoned (1950; vt Jennie 1950) and Thomasina: The Cat Who Thought She Was God (1957) – feature sentient Cats (see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy on Cats, and on Talking Animals). The Alexander Hero books, Too Many Ghosts (1959) and The Hand of Mary Constable (1964), feature the cases of an Occult Detective [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. The Foolish Immortals (18 April-6 June 1953 Saturday Evening Post as "To Live Forever"; 1953) is an eternal-youth novel (see Immortality). The Poseidon Adventure (1969) and its sequel, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure (1978), are almost entirely implausible – as is the earlier Appleby on Ararat (1942) by Michael Innes, which also features an overturned ship (or rather, a small portion of a ship) with passengers caught within – but not fantastic. [JC]

see also: A Fire in the Sky.

Paul William Gallico

born New York: 26 July 1897

died Antibes: 15 July 1976

works (selected)


Hiram Holliday

Alexander Hero

individual titles


previous versions of this entry

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