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Dwyer, James Francis

(1874-1952) Australian author, imprisoned for committing forgery (1899-1902), in the US after 1907, in France after 1921; a prolific author of stories from 1902, sometimes as by Burglar Bill with the Sydney Bulletin, where he began publishing a huge stream of works; he eventually moved on as well to a wide range of magazines like Black Cat, Blue Book and Argosy. "The Phantom Ship of Dirk van Tromp" (13 April 1913 Australian Sunday Times) is a Flying Dutchman tale (see Wandering Jew). Some of his early novels are of sf interest, like The White Waterfall: An Adventure Story (13 April-4 May 1912 Cavalier; 1912), set on a South Pacific Island where a Lost Race is discovered, along with a menacing cult known as the Wizards of the Centipede; others, like The Spotted Panther (17 May-7 June 1913 Cavalier; 1913), are Oriental fantasies with relatively little sf content, though a novella, "The City of the Unseen" (December 1913 Argosy), is a Lost Race tale set in Arabia. Later novels include Evelyn: Something More than a Story (1929), which translates the prurient primitivism of the earlier books into the aftermath of World War One as a widow finds the spirit of her dead husband awaiting transfer to Heaven in a French garden; and Hespamora (1935), which contains elements of Dystopian Satire – Dwyer was never patient with the idle rich – and an incursion of pagan deities as well. The Spillane series, The Lady with Feet of Gold (1937) and The City of Cobras (February-May 1937 Blue Book; 1938), returned less intoxicatedly to Dwyer's old haunts. [JC/MA]

James Francis Dwyer

born Camden Park, New South Wales: 22 April 1874

died Pau, France: 11 November 1952




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Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 19:55 pm on 25 September 2022.