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Knittel, John

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1891-1970) Indian-born Swiss screenwriter and author, in the UK between 1908 and 1921, subsequently in Switzerland; at some point before he began publishing (always initially in English) after World War One, he gave up his birth name, Herman Emanuel Knittel. His first novel, Aaron West (1921), is a Robinsonade set on a tropical Island, where a yearning man seeks Transcendence. Nile Gold: A Legend of Modern Egypt (1929) is a fantasy of Identity Transfer; some of the tales assembled in The Asp and Other Stories (coll 1936) are fantasy. Of greatest sf interest is Power for Sale (1939), set in a Near Future Europe idealistically transformed by the real-life Atlantropa Project – a 1920s enterprise promulgated by German architect Herman Sörgel (1885-1952) to lower the Mediterranean Sea by 200 metres, generating electricity and Lebensraum for whites – into a realized Utopia. Knittel's later career was dimmed by too close an association with Nazi Germany. [JC]

John Knittel

born Dharwar, India: 24 March 1891

died Maienfeld, Graubünden, Switzerland: 26 April 1970



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