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Odle, E V

Entry updated 24 July 2023. Tagged: Author.

(1890-1942) UK editor and author; in the former capacity he was the first editor 1926-circa 1935 of the British Argosy Magazine (see The Argosy). As younger brother of the UK illustrator and artist Alan Odle (1888-1948), who was the husband of Dorothy M Richardson (1873-1957), Odle came into close contact with J D Beresford, who had been instrumental in publishing the first volume of Richardson's Pilgrimage in 1915. Odle's Scientific Romance, The Clockwork Man (1923), clearly shows the influence of Beresford, an author central to that form, and may also have been published with his help; there are clear hints of H G Wells's impact as well. In this graceful tale, a Cyborg – in this case a man into whose body a clock-like monitor-cum-Time Machine has been inserted – comes accidentally back through time from 8000 CE to the present (see Time Travel), where in his Mysterious Stranger role he plays cricket and disturbs his auditors by describing a world in which life regulated by Machines is accepted by most, though not all. God, it is hoped, has been taking note of this new, "improved", Posthuman version of humanity. All the more moving for its air of calm, The Clockwork Man is a plea to the human beings of the twentieth-century world that they not continue losing the battle against the machine.

Other work by Odle includes the short fantasy "The Curse upon Isaac Knockabout" (April 1923 Gaiety), featuring a magic ring, a curse-bestowing genie and two somewhat stereotyped Jewish tailors. A second novel, Juggernaut (2016 ebook), seems to have been drafted toward the end of his life. It describes the worldwide devastation caused by an empire-building inventor (see Invention) and manufacturer – whose Automata (see also Automation; Robots), powered by a new atomic Power Source – more or less end civilization.

The suggestion that "E V Odle" was a pseudonym used by Virginia Woolf to write Scientific Romances is an elaborate spoof. [JC]

see also: Dimensions; Evolution; History of SF; Superman.

Edwin Vincent Odle

born Brockley, Kent [ie London]: April or May 1890

died Bath, Somerset: 21 February 1942


  • The Clockwork Man (London: William Heinemann, 1923) [hb/C Paine]
  • The Juggernaut (Eugenia, Ontario: The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 2016) [introduction by Richard Bleiler: pb/Laurie Fraser Manifold]

about the author

  • Rose Odle. Salt of our Youth (Penzance, Cornwall: Wordens of Cornwall, 1972) [nonfiction: pb/Rose Odle]


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