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(1902-2000) Australian-born poet, playwright, journalist and author, in Ireland from infancy; in 1918, he married Iseult Gonne (1894-1954), daughter of Maud Gonne MacBride (1866-1953), and remained active in the IRA and in Irish politics until World War Two, which he spent in Germany as an Irish neutral, partly to continue his advocacy of Irish interests. This period – anatomized with chill brilliance in Black List, Section H (1971), his most famous single novel – shaped perceptions of the remaining decades of his long and controversial career. That career had begun around 1920, his first book being We Have Kept the Faith (coll 1923; exp vt We Have Kept the Faith: New and Selected Poems 1982). Of his many novels, some are fantasy, including Women and God (1931), Try the Sky (1933), A Hole in the Head (1977) and King David Dances (1997 chap), the latter being a metaphysical rumination addressed to the cosmos by an Irish-Hungarian archaeologist who has discovered the Ark of the Covenant.
Novels of sf interest include Pigeon Irish (1932), set in a bleak battle-torn Near-Future Europe ransacked by surreal evidences of Technology gone amuck, though a beleaguered Ireland, trailing clouds of half-remembered glory, holds out against the barbarians; Glory (1933), in which the world-dominating Trans-Continental Aero-Routes corporation (see Pax Aeronautica) is threatened by intrigues; The Angel of Pity (1935), abstractly set in something like World War Two and shot through with elevated religious imagery; and Faillandia (1985), which is set in an imaginary Ireland in the throes of a military takeover. [JC]
born Townsland, Queensland: 29 April 1902
died Fanore, County Clair, Ireland: 2 February 2000
about the author
Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 13:27 pm on 5 June 2023.