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White, Fred M

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1859-1935) UK author whose first work of sf interest seems to be "The Island of Shadows" (2 April-9 July 1892 Illustrated Chips), a short novel whose protagonists, aided by a gelatine-like substance that allows them to breathe Under the Sea, discover a sunken Island which, when disturbed, reveals an entrance to the Hollow Earth, where furry amphibious humans have established a Utopia. He later contributed sf to Pearson's Magazine, The Strand Magazine and other general fiction magazines, beginning in the late 1890s, and continued writing well into the 1920s.

White is perhaps best known for his six-story Doom of London Disaster series for Pearson's MagazineThe Four White Days (January 1903 Pearson's; 2006 ebook), The Four Days' Night (February 1903 Pearson's; 2006 ebook), The Dust of Death: The Story of the Great Plague of the Twentieth Century (April 1903 Pearson's; 2006 ebook), A Bubble Burst (May 1903 Pearson's; 2006 ebook), The Invisible Force (June 1903 Pearson's; 2006 ebook) and The River of Death: A Tale of London in Peril (June 1904 Pearson's; 2006 ebook) – in which London and the UK are subjected to a variety of calamities, some predicting the kind of environmental catastrophes more recently found in narratives of Climate Change; not published by Pearson's but clearly part of the same creative impulse is "The Balance of Nature" (October 1907 The Windsor Magazine), in which London is infested by Genetically Engineered insects. Four of the original stories, plus two others, are collected in Science Fiction by the Rivals of H.G. Wells (anth 1979) edited by Alan K Russell. Climate-generated catastrophe is turned to Britain's advantage in his only sf novel, The White Battalions (1900): the flow of the Gulf Stream is diverted, leading to arctic conditions in mainland Europe, so that the UK is able to win a Future War. [JC/JE]

see also: Forgotten Futures.

Fred Merrick White

born West Bromwich, Staffordshire [now West Midlands]: 1859

died Barnstaple, Devon: circa December 1935



Doom of London

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about the author


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