Quantity: 1 available
Condition: Bottom corner tips bruised, page edges browning with light/faint spotting, otherwise a near fine copy in a G/VG (bright pictorial, unfaded) dustjacket with edge wear and staining/dust-soiling to rear (white) panel.
The author's third book, a thriller with some macabre element: ''a sinister and macabre tale involving underground rituals, the revival of an unholy religion, and a cult of women, seeking revenge. Here too Blackburn weaves in espionage''.
''UK antiquarian book dealer and author, in many of whose novels a powerful ambience of Horror derives from a calculated use of material from several genres, including sf, often simultaneously; he was a sophisticated, commercial exploiter of Equipoise in fantastic fiction. The loose General Kirk sequence beginning with A Scent of New-Mown Hay (1958; vt The Reluctant Spy 1966), A Sour Apple Tree (1958) and BROKEN BOY (1959), tends to manipulate the patterns of espionage and thriller fiction to buttress and ultimately provide explanations for tales whose effects are fundamentally akin to Gothic horror and fantasy. Ex-Nazis often crop up in these books, as in the first, where a German scientist spreads around the world a mutated plague-bearing fungus boasting both the eponymous aroma (which provides early warning to its female victims) and the capacity to shapeshift. The protagonist of this novel, General Charles Kirk, head of (the nonexistent) British Foreign Office Intelligence, oversees in further volumes assignments by various agents, whose missions cast an occultish glow on Cold War storylines, several featuring explicit sf motifs. A second series, the Bill Easter sequence - beginning with Devil Daddy (1972), a tale woven around appearances of the Wandering Jew - adheres more strictly to the supernatural. But even in later stories - like the non-series The Face of the Lion (1976), which again (characteristically) deals with an abominable disease- loathsome though by now rather elderly SS officers make their dutiful bows. Blackburn's use of sf is usually borderline, though not in Children of the Night (1966), one of his better works, where an underground Lost Race in northern England kills by telepathic powers; nor in Bury Him Darkly (1969), in which what its obsessed discoverers think to be the Holy Grail is in fact an aeons-old artefact containing suddenly fruitful alien spores; nor in the rather similar For Fear of Little Men (1972), in which the eponymous creatures - trolls and gnomes, etc - are another Lost Race, the degenerate survivals of an ancient Welsh civilization. Throughout Blackburn's more routine work, however, it is often the case that what seem to be sf plot devices on introduction turn out to be explicable in terms of contemporary science by the story's close, or are McGuffins like the atom-bomb conspiracy in The Face of the Lion. Though his use of sf situations is often ingenious, and though even his most straightforward novels are prone to internal generic mutations from one form to another, it would be unduly stretching matters to describe Blackburn as a genuine sf writer (John Clute/Encyclopedia of SF, 4th Edition).
Title: Broken Boy.
Edition: First edition (& 1st printing).
Location Published: Secker & Warburg: London.: 1959.
Grading: Bottom corner tips bruised, page edges browning with light/faint spotting, otherwise a near fine copy in a G/VG (bright pictorial, unfaded) dustjacket with edge wear and staining/dust-soiling to rear (white) panel.
Categories: Mystery & Crime, CURRENT CATALOGUE
Seller ID: 00897