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Haggard, William

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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Pseudonym of Richard Clayton (1907-1993), UK civil servant whose political thrillers – usually featuring Colonel Russell, Head of the Security Executive, retired after a decade but magisterially present throughout the end of the series – sometimes extrapolate on current political trends, after the fashion of their genre, from a right-wing position common to work of the 1960s; his work has been likened to that of John Buchan, though Haggard's boffin- and mandarin-heavy narratives, combined with a tendency to overegg threats to our island way of life, are perhaps more similar to the exactly contemporary General Kirk tales by John Blackburn. Slow Burner (1958) has some sf content relating to the eponymous Power Source, based very vaguely on something like nuclear fusion. The skulduggery in Venetian Blind (1959) concerns Negative Gravity, "a prize beyond price. The conquest of space, the ultimate weapon"; but it proves chimerical. The Unquiet Sleep (1962) presciently addresses an unholy compact between Big Pharma and government over the release of a deadly Drug called Mecron. The Bitter Harvest (1971) deals with germ warfare, imported; the last volume of the sequence, The Vendettists (1990), focuses on potential Disaster through a dumping of nuclear waste, also imported.

In the non-series The Doubtful Disciple (1969), another Drug threatens biological warfare against selected ethnic groups. [JC]

Richard Henry Michael Clayton

born Croydon, Surrey [ie London]: 11 August 1907

died Clacton, Essex: 27 October 1993


Colonel Charles Russell

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