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Hyams, Edward S

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1910-1975) UK translator and author, active in various genres, fiction and nonfiction, from before World War Two. Although not widely known for his speculative work, he published several novels of sf interest. The Wings of the Morning (1939) is a discussion novel in the style of the Scientific Romance, set as a Future War, whose description does not very accurately anticipate the reality to come, is ignited when Socialists take on Fascism. Not in Our Stars (1949) depicts the discovery of a fungus of use in biological warfare (see Biology). The Astrologer: A Satirical Novel (1950) is an early fictional treatment of the Ecology of soil exhaustion, a Disaster its protagonist tries to avert by denying men Sex, like Lysistrata. In Sylvester (1951; vt 998 1952) the spoofed Invention of a new Weapon threatens world peace, to Satirical effect. The eponymous "peasant" in The Last Poor Man (1966) resists his government's attempt to replace an entire village with a single huge high-rise tower block (see Dystopia). The Death Lottery (1971) is a kind of Rake's Progress whose protagonist lurches towards a terminal Decadence. The Final Agenda (1973) places a worldwide organization of anarchists in power in a Near-Future venue, and traces with considerable sympathy their attempts to found an ecological Utopia. Slightly less challengingly, the protagonist of Prince Habib's Iceberg (1974) engineers the transfer of an iceberg to his hot, oil-rich African kingdom. Morrow's Ants (1975) is about the creation, in a vast coercive Keep in Wales, of a community of humans trained into becoming a Hive Mind under the control of the owner.

Typically of writers not identified with the genre (see Mainstream Writers of SF), Hyams tended to use sf components in a didactic fashion, a pattern of admonition that en passant backgrounded the fantastic content of his tales, a subduing of narrative mimed sadly by the publishers of his early works, whose covers seemed embarrassed by the contents within. At times, however, especially when dealing with the exhaustion of the planet, Hyams wrote to considerable effect. [JC]

see also: Astronomy; Scientists.

Edward Solomon Hyams

born London: 30 September 1910

died Besançon, France: 25 November 1975

works (selected)


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