Time, a Falconer: A Study of Sarban

Mark Valentine, Author
Mark Valentine. Tartarus, $45 (140p) ISBN 978-1-905784-26-4
Reviewed on: 06/13/2011
Release date: 01/01/2010
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John William Wall (1910–1989), who under the exotic pseudonym Sarban published several landmark works of "scholarly-fantastic" fiction in the 1950s, is the subject of this insightful biocritical monograph. A career diplomat in the British Consular Service, Wall wrote fiction in his spare time, most of it flavored with fantastic elements gleaned from the cultures of his foreign postings (Casablanca, Cairo) as well as folklore of the British Isles. Though his professional life was relatively unremarkable, the imaginative sweep of his short stories and his novels Ringstones, The Doll Maker, and The Sound of His Horn are impressive. Valentine (The Nightfarers), himself an accomplished fantasist, illuminates his study of Sarban's fiction with observations gleaned from the author's private diaries and correspondence, and offers particularly cogent insights on how the women in Sarban's life shaped the mystique of female characters in his fiction. Fans of Sarban's fiction will especially appreciate discussion of stories and novels by the writer that remain unpublished to this day. (June)
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