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McLaren, Colin Andrew

Entry updated 26 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

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(1940-    ) UK archival librarian, playwright and author, in Scotland from 1969. Most of his novels are Young Adult historical tales; of sf interest is Rattus Rex (1978), set in an 1860s London plagued by a sudden infestation of strangely well-disciplined rats (for As Above So Below and Urban Fantasy see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below). After hundreds of human lives are lost, the giant rats at the heart of this attack on civilization are discovered. They are Mutant descendants of a single Sumatran rat – alluding to Sherlock Holmes's famous aside to Dr Watson about "the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared" – and have hypnotized normal rats to attack in unison, as though they were dancing. They are all duly destroyed, with the assistance of a steam-powered dirigible Airship whose introduction augurs the Steampunk of a few years later. The tale's comparative obscurity may be at least in part due to the continuing prominence of James Herbert's much more violent The Rats (1974). [JC/DRL]

Colin Andrew McLaren

born Eastcote, Middlesex: 14 December 1940

works (highly selected)

  • Rattus Rex (London: Rex Collings, 1978) [hb/Philip Hood]


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