Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Two Australian Authors

If you look to the right, you will see a label for Authors of Australia and New Zealand. Right now, there are only three entries with that label. The first (chronologically) is for Wilma Dorothy Vermilyea (1915-1995), an American author who lived in Australia late in life. The second is for Thomas G.L. Cockcroft (1926-2013), a New Zealander who did not write for Weird Tales but who indexed all the stories and poems in that magazine and its companion titles, Oriental Stories and The Magic Carpet Magazine. The third is for Percy B. Prior (dates unknown), whom I speculated was the only native-born Australian to have contributed to "The Unique Magazine" or its companion titles. Now I have found two others, and I would like to write about them today.

Coutts Brisbane was the nom de plume of Robert Coutts Armour, an early and fairly prolific author of what was then called the scientific romance, later science fiction. Born on September 14, 1874, in Queensland, Australia, Armour began publishing stories in his late thirties. According to the online Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (SFE), "[h]is earliest known story is 'Mixed Piggles' for The Red Magazine," (Dec. 1, 1910), while his earliest science fiction story is "Beyond the Orbit," also in The Red Magazine (Feb. 15, 1914). In addition to Coutts Brisbane, Armour wrote using the bylines Pierre Quiroule, Hartley Tremayne, Reid Whitley (or Whitly), "and other names not yet discovered," according to SFE. He contributed to Boys' Papers, Oriental StoriesTales of Super Science, Tales of Wonder, and The Yellow Magazine. Armour was also the author of Terror Island, or, the House of Glass (London: The Amalgamated Press/Sexton Blake Library, 1921), The Secret of the Desert (London: Nelson, 1941), and Wheels of Fortune (London: Nelson, 1948). By the description of Wheels of Fortune in SFE, I would say that Armour's novel could have been a work of proto-Steampunk. Armour, who also worked as a lithographer, died in Surrey, England, in 1945. Other sources give dates of 1942 and 1956.

Coutts Brisbane's Stories in Oriental Stories
"For the Sake of Enlightenment" (Feb./Mar. 1931)
"At the Fortunate Frog" (Summer 1931)

Dorota Flatau, also known as (or had her name misspelled as) Dorotha or Dorothea Flatau, was born on December 30, 1874, in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia. She was the older sister of two other writers, Hermione Flatau (1879-?) and Theodore Flatau (1886-1916). The three settled in England around 1900-1910. Theodore Flatau was killed in action in France during the Great War. You can see a list of works by all three writers in The Bibliography of Australian Literature, hereDorota Flatau was an author of novels and children's books. The Rat of Paris (1922) is a romance involving a hunchback. Seven Journeys (1920) is listed as a genre work in the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Dorota Flatau wrote one story for Oriental Stories, "Golden Rosebud" in the Winter 1931 issue. The Internet Speculative Database (ISFDb) has the year of her date as 1947.

Dorota Flatau's Story in Oriental Stories
"Golden Rosebud" (Winter 1931)

Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

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