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White, Jon Manchip

Entry updated 12 August 2018. Tagged: Author, Film, Radio.

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(1924-2013) UK poet, screenwriter and author, in US from 1965; active as a poet from 1943, and in Television and Radio from the late 1940s, working for the BBC (1950-1951) as a story editor and screenwriter; he also acted in a BBC television drama, A Tomb with a View (1950), from the novel by Lance Sieveking. Radio credits include an unsourced adaptation of Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1949 BBC) by Jules Verne, plus an adaptation of The War of the Worlds (1950) by H G Wells. His television work included scripts for The Avengers (1962) and Undermind (1965 ABC Production Company 11 episodes), the latter about Alien brainwashing causing sabotage and subversion prior to an intended Invasion of Earth. His film work included the script for Crack in the World (1965).

White's fiction, though increasingly gothic in later years, tended to invoke a Fantastika toolkit without fully exploiting the opportunities available. The protagonist of Nightclimber (1968), for instance, climbs mountain after mountain under strange duress, coming close to (but not quite) escaping the world; the Labyrinth at the heart of a Texas ranch in The Game of Troy (1971) is used for the hunting of human prey; and the gladiatorial contests (see Games and Sports) featured in The Garden Game (1973) are located in a fake gothic castle. The stamina required of protagonists to survive these tales seems, at points, to require Superpowers. These novels have been assembled as Fevers and Chills: Three Extravagant Tales: Nightclimber; The Game of Troy; The Garden Game (omni 1983). The shorter works assembled in Whistling Past the Churchyard: Strange Tales from a Superstitious Welshman (coll 1992) and Echoes and Shadows (coll 2003) are mostly supernatural, and usually set in White's native Wales. [JC]

Jon Ewbank Manchip White

born Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales: 22 June 1924

died: Knoxville, Tennessee: 31 July 2013

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