The King of Elfland's Daughter<"/>
 

THE PLEASURES OF A FUTUROSCOPE

Edward John Moreton Dunsany, Author
Edward John Moreton Dunsany, Author ; edited by S.T. Joshi. Hippocampus $32.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-9721644-8-1
Reviewed on: 10/27/2003
Release date: 01/01/2003
Paperback - 204 pages - 978-0-9761592-8-5
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Apparently written in 1955, this last novel by Irish fantasist Dunsany (1878–1955) doesn't rank with such early masterpieces as The King of Elfland's Daughter , but it offers its own rewards. Methery, the inventor of the futuroscope, a device that allows one to view the future, first appeared in one of Dunsany's Jorkens stories, "The Two-Way War." Here the unnamed narrator, a retired English journalist, borrows Methery's futuroscope simply for fun, as the title suggests. In a set-up that anticipates today's "reality" TV, the narrator watches a family 500 years in the future as they cope with the aftermath of a nuclear strike on London, regularly noting his breaks in the present for dinner, teatime and bedtime. Dunsany's descriptions of sylvan beauty are as lovely as anything he ever wrote, but some readers may find the elegant exposition, with its long paragraphs and sparse dialogue, too old-fashioned. This restrained apocalyptic novel, warning of the dangers of technology, will likely win over only established fans. Joshi's illuminating introduction is a plus. (Nov.)

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