Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Armstrong, Anthony

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Working name of UK author and journalist George Anthony Armstrong Willis (1897-1976), one of the Punch magazine stable of humorists. His historical fantasies – Lure of the Past (1920) and The Love of Prince Raameses (1921) – used the then still fashionable Reincarnation theme; Wine of Death (1925) is a violent Lost-Land adventure about a surviving community from Atlantis.

AA is best remembered for humorous fantasy in which standard Fairytale settings are, with some Satire, updated to house contemporary comedy stereotypes: monarchs are tipsy and henpecked, testy Fairies are a recurring menace at christenings, and younger folk resemble the Bright Young Things chronicled in Punch by A A Milne – the women outrageous modern flirts, the men wriggling through Contracts and Conditions. These stories are collected in The Prince Who Hiccupped and Other Tales (coll 1932) and The Pack of Pieces (coll 1942; vt The Naughty Princess 1945). Fairytale motifs parodied by AA include Cinderella, Quests, Wishes ("I wish for three more wishes"), and, repeatedly, the Frog Prince. One metamorphosed prince (see Metamorphoses) becomes a traditional magic Mirror on a bedroom wall where he enjoys unparalleled views of the princess dressing and undressing ... summing up the tales' period sauciness. [DRL]

other works: When the Bells Rang (1943) with Bruce Graeme, alternate history about a Nazi invasion of the UK; The Strange Case of Mr Pelham (1957).

George Anthony Armstrong Willis


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.