- MAUROIS, Andre
- Pseudonym of prolific French novelist and man of letters Emile Salomon Wilhelm Herzog (1885-1967), in the USA during WWII. He was best known for his romantic biographies and other nonfiction, though his first work, "La derniere histoire du monde" ("The Final History of the World") (1903) as by Emile Herzog, was sf; later included in Premiers contes ("First Stories") (coll 1935) as by AM, it was the first of his several futurehistories. The most interesting of these is Le chapitre suivant (1927 chap; trans anon as The Next Chapter: The War Against the Moon 1928 chap UK), which describes a war against the ostensibly uninhabited Moonconcocted by a cabal of newspaper barons to provide bored mankind with an external enemy; unfortunately the Moon is indeed occupied, and retaliates. This fragment was collected in Deux fragments d'une histoire universelle1992 (coll 1928) with its sequel, "Chapitre CXVIII: La vie des hommes", which appeared in English as the second of the two title stories of The Weigher of Souls and The Earth Dwellers (coll 1963 US); it deals withinhabitants of Uranus who fail to understand the supposedly inferior inhabitants of Earth; this appeared in the collection Relativisme (coll 1930; trans Hamish Miles as A Private Universe 1932 UK). An interestingALTERNATE-WORLDS essay, "If Louis XVI had had an Atom of Firmness", appeared in J.C. Squire's If, or History Rewritten (anth 1931).AM also wrote more conventional sf narratives. Voyage aux pays des Articoles (1927 chap; trans David GARNETT as A Voyage to the Island of the Articoles 1928 chap UK) carries a man and woman to an ISLAND in whose UTOPIAN society the dominant Articole caste is made up of artists who provide the other castes with their raisons d'etre; the tale is ironic. In Le peseur d'ames (1931; trans Hamish Miles as The Weigher of Souls 1931 UK) a doctor discovers that the elan vital is a gas which escapes the body at death; his attempts to mingle in posthumous harmony with his wife are, however, frustrated. This short novel reappeared in The Weigher of Souls and The EarthDwellers. The sf device in La machine a lire les pensees (1937; trans James Whitehall as The Thought-Reading Machine 1938 UK) is a "camera" capable of registering thoughts on photographic film.Though amiability tends to soften the bite of his morality-like tales and his reputation has faded, AM's work is nicely representative of the idiomatic ease with which sf ideas have been used in this century by MAINSTREAM WRITERS, especially in the UK and mainland Europe, as vehicles for the conveyance of satirical material.JC/PNOther works: Patapoufs et filifers (1930 chap; trans Norman Denny as Fattypuffs and Thinifers 1941 chap UK; vt Patapoufs and Filifers 1948 chap US), a juvenile parable set in an underground land, illustrated by Jean Bruller (VERCORS); Nouveaux discours du Docteur O'Grady (1950; trans Gerard Hopkins as The Return of Dr O'Grady 1951 UK);Illusions (1968), a speculative essay.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. Academic. 2011.