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Warner, Rex

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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Working name of UK author and translator Reginald Ernest Warner (1905-1986) who remains best known for his earliest novels for adults, The Wild Goose Chase (1937), The Professor (1938) and The Aerodrome: A Love Story (1941), political allegories some of whose devices evoke the Kafka-esque side of sf (see Absurdist SF; Fabulation). In The Wild Goose Chase, three brothers cycle into a strange country in search of the eponymous goose, a quest which immerses them in a surreal bureaucracy much resembling that found in Kafka's Das Schloss (1926; trans Willa and Edwin Muir as The Castle 1930). In this case, however, the search is bathetically terminable, and the brothers participate in a revolution – which ultimately they cause to triumph – in a Dystopian society; the influence of W H Auden can also be detected. The Dystopia described in The Professor abstractly Satirizes Nazi Germany. In a savage reversal of the optimism inherent in the pre-War Pax Aeronautica tale, The Aerodrome: A Love Story depicts within the allegorical confines of an aerodrome (see Keep) a remorselessly Dystopian attempt at violently remoulding human nature towards an insensate materialism, with women officially assigned to be used for pleasure but not procreation (see Women in SF).

Why Was I Killed?: A Dramatic Dialogue (1943; vt Return of the Traveller 1944) begins as a Posthumous Fantasy [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] but becomes a symposium in which a dead soldier interrogates various live men and women. Men of Stones: A Melodrama (1949) sets an exorbitant production of William Shakespeare's King Lear (performed circa 1605-1606; first text 1608) on an Island penitentiary in an unnamed country after a civil war. Warner was always clear about which side he espoused in these metaphysical conflicts, a didactic sidedness which sometimes evidently detracted from the imaginative power of his fiction. [JC]

see also: History of SF.

Reginald Ernest Warner

born Amberley, Gloucestershire: 9 March 1905

died Wallingford, Oxfordshire: 24 June 1986



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