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Pemberton, Max

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author, Editor.

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(1863-1950) UK magazine editor, newspaper director and author, first editor of Chums 1892-1893, editor of Cassell's Magazine 1896-1906, and later a director of Northcliffe Newspapers; he was knighted in 1928. Of more than sixty novels, his most famous is The Iron Pirate: A Plain Tale of Strange Happenings on the Sea (1 March-2 August 1893 Chums; 1893; vt The Shadow on the Sea: A Tale of Strange Happenings on the Sea 1907) and its sequel Captain Black: A Sequel of "The Iron Pirate" (1910-1911 Chums; 1911), whose disaffected, ruthless Antihero pirate captain is clearly based on Jules Verne's Captain Nemo, especially in the sequel, when he moves from a seemingly impregnable gas-driven ship to an even more advanced submarine named the "Zero". Equally popular in its day was his novel of attempted Future War, Pro Patria (June-November 1900 Windsor Magazine; 1901), in which a Channel tunnel is excavated by the French for a planned Invasion of the UK. France is again the unsuccessful antagonist in The Giant's Gate: A Story of a Great Adventure (1901), this time using advanced submarines to bypass the UK's defence systems.

Another pattern prominent in Pemberton's writing is a reversion to secret communities: sometimes established for scientific reasons, as in The Impregnable City (1895) and The House under the Sea: A Romance (December 1901-July 1902 Strand; 1902), the latter again evoking Captain Nemo with its armoured Keep deep Under the Sea, from which redoubt a Mad Scientist ventures to engage in piracy; or sometimes for reasons of political conspiracy, usually against Europe, as in The Phantom Army: Being the Story of a Man and a Mystery (1898); or in order for a Utopia to flourish, as in White Walls (1910).

Queen of the Jesters and her Strange Adventures in Old Paris (coll of linked stories 1897) contains fantasy stories, some verging on sf. [JE/JC]

see also: History of SF; Spaceships.

Sir Max Pemberton

born London: 19 June 1863

died London: 22 February 1950



Captain Black

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