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Turner, W J

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

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(1889-1946) Australian-born poet, music critic, playwright and author, in the UK from around 1907, in active service during World War One; he is of some sf interest for his Henry Airbubble sequence, comprising Blow for Balloons: Being the First Hemisphere in the History of Henry Airbubble (1935), Henry Airbubble, in Search of a Circumference to His Breath: Being the Second Hemisphere of the History of Henry Airbubble (1936) and The Duchess of Popocatapetl (1939), which focuses for the most part on the fantasticated history of the Balloon-manufacturing firm of Blow and Blow, though the last volume is a Lost Race tale, with a civilization of ancient Greeks discovered in Mexico. Fables, Parables and Plots: Revolutionary Stories for Young and Old (coll 1943) contains some tales with sf elements.

Some of Turner's plays are of genre interest, such as The Man Who Ate the Popomack: A Tragi-Comedy of Love in Four Acts (1922 chap; rev vt The Man Who Ate the Popomack: A Tragi-Comedy of Love in Two Acts 1929 chap), a nightmarish fantasy in which the eponymous impossibly rare and delicious fruit curses its eater with a permanent stink intolerable to others, turning him into a kind of Basilisk. In Landscape of Cytherea: Record of a Journey into a Strange Country (coll of linked poems 1923 chap), the Greek island of Cythera is evoked – though without any shaping articulation – in Dying Earth language. There are as well three book-length poems of uninsistent interest: Marigold: An Idyll of the Sea (1926 chap), featuring Neptune at a sea-side resort and love-death in salt waters; Miss America: Altiora in the Sierra Nevada (1930 chap), a mild Satire of the modern world narrated by a woman who is explicitly depicted as the Statue of Liberty come to life, and who is unusually frank (for the time) about Sex; and Jack and Jill (1934 chap), an ethereal allegorization of the story of an Adam and Eve facing and defeating a mechanized Dystopian future. [JC]

see also: To-day and To-morrow.

Walter James Redfern Turner

born Melbourne, Victoria: 13 October 1889

died Chiswick, Middlesex: 18 November 1946



Henry Airbubble

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