MELLA, John


MELLA, John
(? -)
   US writer whose Transformations (fixup 1975) is an ALTERNATE-WORLD tale about the quest for a transvestite actor; it is set in a 19th-and 20th-century USA and Europe transfigured by time (the narrator, WS orWilliam Shakespeare, does not die until a movable 1916) and geography (the two continents have been arbitrarily merged, and are haunted by Hollywood). A FABULATION dense with quotations - from authors extendingfrom Shakespeare himself through Jonathan SWIFT, VILLIERS DE L'ISLE ADAM and W.B. Yeats (1865-1939) down to the Vladimir NABOKOV of Pale Fire (1962) and Ada(1969)-Transformations also has clear affinities to the1970s Jerry Cornelius novels by Michael MOORCOCK, and JM's tale presages 1980s literary sf by writers like Angela CARTER, Steve ERICKSON and David THOMSON. Most significantly for sf, perhaps, is the similarity between JM's vision of the UK - a dark, labyrinth-riddled land, half antique, half transformed by extraordinary inventions - and that typically presented by the writers of STEAMPUNK.
   JC

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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