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Gilson, Charles

Entry updated 6 February 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1878-1943) UK soldier and author, who sometimes signed early books as Captain Charles Gilson and later publications as Major Charles Gilson, and whose tales for young male English readers are riddled with the class, racial and imperialist assumptions of his era. He is best known for fantasies like The Cat and the Curate: A Phenomenal Experience (1934), in which a Cat is transformed into a seductive Middle Eastern lady, and for Lost-World tales like The Lost Island (November 1907-March 1908 The Captain as "The Lost Island: A Strange Tale of Adventure in the Far East"; 1910) and Queen of the Andes (1935) as by Barbara Gilson. Other novels with sf elements, generally for a Young Adult market, include The Pirate Aeroplane (1913), in which a Lost World is discovered at the end of a daring flight; The Scarlet Hand: Being the Adventures of Travers Humphreys and his Friend, Jack Haliday, Together with Authenticated Fact in Connection with the Secret Society of the Scarlet Hand, and some Mention of Jugatai, the Tartar (1920), a Yellow Peril tale featuring a colony of man-apes (see Apes as Human); The Realm of the Wizard King: A Romance of Central Africa (1922), which is also deals with a Lost Race; The Lost City: Being the Authentic Account of Professor Miles Unthank of the Search for the Sarcophagus of Serophis, & the Theft of the Mystic Scarab, Formerly in the British Museum (November 1919-?June 1920 The Boy's Own Paper; 1923); and The City of the Sorcerer (1934), again a Lost Race story. Of fuller sf interest is The Race Round the World: Being the Account of the Contest for the £100,000 Prize Offered by the Combined Newspaper League, of the Invention of Methylite, and Certain Passages in the Life of Mr Wang (1914), in which the Invention of a new fuel allows round-the-world flights. Some other titles, which hover without any consuming purport on the rim of the fantastic, are given in the Checklist. [JC]

Major Charles James Louis Gilson

born Dedham, Essex: 8 July 1878

died Kensington, London: 18 May 1943



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