Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.
Working name of UK-born author Avigdor Rousseau Emanuel (1879-1960), who also used the pseudonym H M Egbert on his sf, though not exclusively, and signed as V R Emanuel for other work; born of a Jewish father and a French mother – as Sam Moskowitz writes in Under the Moons of Mars (anth 1970) – he lived more and more in the USA after his first arrival in 1901, with periods back in the UK, and in Canada 1912-1916, when much of his significant work was written. After a non-genre novel, Derwent's Horse (1901), Rousseau began writing sf in Pulp magazines before World War One, stopping in 1941. Much of this material was never collected during his lifetime, including The Surgeon of Souls (coll of linked stories 1909-1910 various magazines; 2006), an Occult Detective tale [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] and the similar The Tracer of Egos (coll of linked stories 1913-1914 Holland's Magazine plus other material; coll 2007), which assembles the Dr Phileas Immanuel; his first sf novel proper was The Devil Chair (18 January-5 April 1914 The Boston Sunday Globe and elsewhere in syndication as by H M Egbert; 2008), a tale featuring the Invention of a gyroscopic wheel which propels its crippled inventor at great speeds in the eponymous chair.
In his second sf novel, The Sea Demons (1-22 January 1916 All-Story Weekly as V Rousseau; 1924) as by H M Egbert, fog-hidden Hive-Mind creatures appear from Under the Sea in the Thames estuary, threatening London and humanity at large; but a submarine finds and destroys the queen. The Messiah of the Cylinder (June-September 1917 Everybody's Magazine; 1917; vt The Apostle of the Cylinder 1918), Rousseau's best known work and told with his usual flamboyance and narrative verve, directly imitates the form of H G Wells's When the Sleeper Wakes (1899), harshly criticizing the Dystopia there depicted, though clearly without understanding Wells's complex vision of a Dystopia in which his version of socialism has been fatally distorted; Wells's tale is more a pretext for Rousseau's book than a vision to be refuted. In 1917, Rousseau's protagonist Lazaroff, a vivisector and advocate of a harsh understanding of Eugenics, enters into Suspended Animation in the eponymous cylinder, awaking Messiah-like in the twenty-first century, where he soon becomes co-dictator of a rigidly "moral", "socialist" Britain. Here he devotes himself to experiments in surgically induced Immortality, his victims eugenically selected from the class of pre-bred "morons". A subplot pits a Catholic socialism based in Russia against atheists like Lazaroff who rule Britain. The novel may include the first print instance of the sf term Ray Gun, as "Ray gun" (in the magazine serialization, "ray-gun").
Draught of Eternity (1-22 June 1918 All-Story Weekly as "Draft of Eternity" by V Rousseau; 1924) as by Egbert is a love story set in a ruined New York of the distant future, whose Hero has been transported there through time by a mysterious Drug; Eric of the Strong Heart (16 November 1918-15 January 1919 Railroad Man's Magazine; 1925) as by Egbert is a Lost-Race tale set in a warm polar Island inhabited by at least three conflicting cultures. My Lady of the Nile (7-28 March 1921 Argosy All-Story Weekly; 1923) as by Egbert, locates its Lost World under a volcano in Africa.
In his later career, Rousseau published some less effective work, including at least two Space Opera novellas – "Outlaws of the Sun" (April 1931 Miracle Science and Fantasy Stories) and "Revolt on Inferno" (June 1931 Miracle Science and Fantasy Stories) – billed as complete novels on the magazine covers but not released in book form. Perhaps mainly because of the overheated but compelling style of his earlier work, Rousseau remains of some interest. [JC]
Avigdor Rousseau Emanuel
born London: 2 January 1879
died 5 April 1960
- The Messiah of the Cylinder (Chicago, Illinois: A C McClurg, 1917) [first appeared June-September 1917 Everybody's Magazine: illus/hb/Joseph Clement Coll]
- The Apostle of the Cylinder (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1918) [vt of the above: hb/]
- My Lady of the Nile (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1923) as by H M Egbert [first appeared 7-28 March 1921 Argosy All-Story Weekly: hb/]
- The Sea Demons (London: John Long, 1924) as by H M Egbert [first appeared 1-22 January 1916 All-Story Weekly as V Rousseau: hb/]
- Draught of Eternity (London: John Long, 1924) as by H M Egbert [first appeared 1-22 June 1918 All-Story Weekly as "Draft of Eternity" by V Rousseau: hb/]
- The Big Malopo (London: John Long, 1924) as by H M Egbert [hb/]
- Mrs Aladdin (London: John Long, 1925) as by H M Egbert [hb/]
- Eric of the Strong Heart (London: John Long, 1925) as by H M Egbert [first appeared 16 November 1918-15 January 1919 Railroad Man's Magazine: hb/]
- The Surgeon of Souls (Altamonte Springs, Florida: The Spectre Library, 2006) [introduction by Mike Ashley: according to Ashley, mostly syndicated in unidentified newspapers, including the Wisconsin Stevens Point Daily Journal in 1910: Dr Ivan Brodsky: hb/Paul Ikin]
- The Tracer of Egos (Altamonte Springs, Florida: The Spectre Library, 2007) [coll: Dr Phileas Immanuel: hb/Paul Ikin]
- The Devil Chair (Altamonte Springs, Florida: The Spectre Library, 2008) [first appeared 18 January-5 April 1914 The Boston Sunday Globe and elsewhere in syndication as by H M Egbert: hb/Paul Ikin]
- Outlaws of the Sun and Other Tales to Astound (Normal, Illinois: Black Dog Books, 2018) [coll: pb/Howard V Browne]
about the author
- Richard D Mullen. "H.G. Wells and Victor Rousseau Emanuel: When the Sleeper Wakes and The Messiah of the Cylinder" (May 1967 Extrapolation, vol 8 #2) [mag/]
- Mike Ashley. "Lost Souls" in The Surgeon of Souls (Altamonte Springs, Florida: The Spectre Library, 2006) by Victor Rousseau [Dr Ivan Brodsky: hb/Paul Ikin]
- Morgan A Wallace. His Second Self: The Bio-Bibliography of Victor Rousseau Emanuel (no place given: The Spectre Library, 2011) [nonfiction: second half of the book is a fiction coll: pb/photographic]
- Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- The Encyclopedia of Fantasy: Occult Detectives
- Picture Gallery
previous versions of this entry