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Jaeger, Muriel

Entry updated 6 May 2024. Tagged: Author.

(1892-1969) UK author who took an English degree at Oxford and was a member there of a group of women writers, including Dorothy L Sayers (1893-1957), which called itself the Mutual Admiration Society. Her first sf work, The Question Mark (1926), depicts a Utopian UK of 200 years hence – as witnessed by the protagonist, who has been roused from a cataleptic trance (see Sleeper Awakes) – as a Scientific Romance, and shows strongly the influences of William Morris, Edward Bellamy and H G Wells, though she deliberately undermines their visions by depicting her utopia in terms of the imperfectly dedicated mortals who occupy it, for they are imperfectly dedicated, as the visitor observes, to the rigorous austerities required of Samurai in Wells's A Modern Utopia (1905). Brian Stableford suggests, in his Scientific Romance in Britain 1890-1950 (1985), that this undercutting of traditional visions of Utopia influenced Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932). In The Man with Six Senses (1927) a weakly youth, endowed with unrefined ESP talents, is helped towards maturity by a sympathetic girlfriend; the promise of originality shown in this moderately conventional Scientific Romance was never fully realized, perhaps because of discouraging sales, and because Jaeger had an extremely combative response to criticism.

After a gap, Hermes Speaks (1933) follows the consequences, in the worlds of Politics and Economics, of adherence to the prophecies of a preternaturally intelligent child groomed into becoming a fake medium. Retreat From Armageddon (1936) – a symposium tale featuring a group of people who withdraw from a clearly named World War Two to a remote country house where they philosophize within this Club Story frame on Man's shortcomings – is notable for its advocacy of Genetic Engineering; anticlimactically (as far as fiction is concerned), the Future War does not eventuate. It, too, met with a critical response, and Jaeger stopped writing fiction. [JE/JC]

see also: Leisure; Superman.

Muriel Jaeger

born Barnsley, Yorkshire: 23 May 1892

died Tunbridge Wells, Kent: 21 November 1969



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