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Key, Alexander

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1904-1979) US author who began publishing novels for children with The Red Eagle (1930), and who moved into Children's SF with the Sprockets Children's SF sequence: Sprockets: A Little Robot (1963), Rivets and Sprockets (1964) and Bolts – A Robot Dog (1966). These books were not likely, however, to seize a wide audience despite their amiable simplicity. It was only with the Witch Mountain Young Adult sequence – Escape to Witch Mountain (1968), filmed by Walt Disney as Escape to Witch Mountain (1975), and Return from Witch Mountain (1978), which was Tied to Disney's Return from Witch Mountain (1978) – that Key's easy sentimentality was attached to a narrative strong enough to bear it, as two orphan children on the run gradually come to realize that they are in fact Aliens with Psi Powers (and memories) foreign to their ignorant hosts. Escape to Witch Mountain was remade as a 1995 television movie, and again as Disney's Race to Witch Mountain (2009), directed by Andy Fickman.

An earlier alien orphaned on Earth had featured in The Forgotten Door (1965). Other singletons of interest include The Golden Enemy (1969), set thousands of years hence when the Ruined Earth descendants of the survivors of nuclear World War Three must face their human nature; The Incredible Tide (1970), another narrative set in a mostly drowned Post-Holocaust world, which was adapted as the Japanese Anime series Future Boy Conan (1978; vt Conan, The Boy in Future); and Flight to the Lonesome Place (1971), where a young mathematical genius flees his oppressors into a space to which only he can understand the route. [JC/DRL]

see also: Small Presses and Limited Editions; Superman.

Alexander Hill Key

born La Plata, Maryland: 21 September 1904

died Alabama: 25 July 1979




Witch Mountain

individual titles


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