Entry updated 19 July 2021. Tagged: Author.
(1926-2020) UK travel writer and historian, from just after World War Two until the mid-1970s as James Morris; A Venetian Bestiary (1982) is fantasticated within its conventional frame, but she is of genuine sf interest for Last Letters from Hav (1985; exp vt as coll, Hav 2006). In the 1985 iteration, a travel writer named Morris sojourns in the vastly intricate Middle Eastern peninsula and City called Hav, a Zone safely insulated behind a great escarpment or Polder [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]; several eras (see Time Out of Sequence) cohabit within the city and the land; there are troglodytes, a "roof race", a woman who may be Immortal, a Labyrinth echoing Underground the complexities above, a sense that the world – in particular the world of cities – is illimitable. The 2006 iteration darkens the picture: the added novella, "Hav of the Myrmidons", set twenty-five years later, shows the effect of Religion on the culture of the city, after a sect of Cathars becomes dominant; their deadening effect is crushingly echoed by the concreting over of the hallowed land into a twenty-first century tourist resort: as a haven for human life, Hav has been destroyed. [JC]
born Clevedon, Somerset: 2 October 1926
died Pwllheli, Gwynedd: 20 November 2020
- A Venetian Bestiary (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1982) [hb/]
- Last Letters from Hav (New York: Viking, 1985) [hb/Peter Goodfellow]
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