ROUSSEAU, Victor


ROUSSEAU, Victor
   Working name of UK-born writer Avigdor Rousseau Emanuel (1879-1960), who also used the pseudonym H.M. Egbert on his sf, though not exclusively, and V.R. Emanuel for other work; born of a Jewish father and a Frenchmother-as Sam MOSKOWITZ writes in Under the Moons of Mars (anth 1970) - he moved to the USA some time during WWI. After a non-genre novel, Derwent's Horse (1901), VR began writing sf in PULP MAGAZINES before WWI, stoppingin 1941; much material was never collected, including the Surgeon of Souls series of 11 fantasy stories in Weird Tales (1926-7). In his first sf novel, The Sea Demons (1916 All-Story Weekly as V. Rousseau; 1924 UK) as by H.M. Egbert, invisible hive-like sea creatures threaten humanity (INVISIBILITY), but a submarine finds and destroys the queen. The Messiahof the Cylinder (1917; vt The Apostle of the Cylinder 1918 UK), VR's best known work and told with his usual flamboyance and narrative verve, directly imitates the form of H.G. WELLS's When the Sleeper Wakes (1899), and harshly criticizes the atheistic world-state UTOPIA there depicted; it was seen, consequently, as a melodramatic critique of Wellsian socialism, though Wells's novel was, in fact, deeply ambiguous about the world it described, serving more as a pretext for VR's book than as an argument to be refuted. In VR's novel a brave protagonist destroys the future state into which he has been awoken from SUSPENDED ANIMATION, and restores aristocracy to the land. Draught of Eternity (1918 All-Story Weekly as V. Rousseau; 1924 UK) as by Egbert is a love story set in a ruined New York.Eric of the Strong Heart (1925 UK) is a lost-race tale (LOST WORLDS). Perhaps mainly because of his heated style, VR remains of some interest.
   JC
   Other works: My Lady of the Nile (1923 UK) as by Egbert; Mrs Aladdin (1925 UK).
   About the author: "H.G. Wells and Victor Rousseau Emanuel" by Richard D. MULLEN in EXTRAPOLATION, Vol 8 \#2 (1967).

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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