Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Harrison, Michael

Name adopted by UK writer Maurice Desmond Rohan (1907-1991), who contributed to various genres. Short stories of interest are assembled in Transit of Venus (coll 1936). Higher Things (1945) is told in the manner H G Wells used mostly in the 1920s and 1930s when he wished to sugarcoat harsh lessons about history and the World State, but also owes much to books like Ronald Fraser's The Flying Draper (1924). In MH's version of the mode, a young man finds he can levitate (> Talents), lifts himself out of the muddle of the UK, and tells Hitler (disguised as the "Dictator") a few home truths. The Darkened Room: An Arabesque (1951), set like Higher Things in the imaginary city of Rowcester, introduces an sf element. The Brain (1953) may be understood as feeble sf; but the eponymous sentient mushroom cloud, which offers the protagonist the Faust-style bargain of unlimited knowledge and power, is perhaps best thought of as fantasy. The Exploits of the Chevalier Dupin (coll 1968 US; exp vt Murder in the Rue Royale 1972 UK) continues the detective exploits of Edgar Allan Poe's sleuth. MH was also a noted Sherlock Holmes scholar, publishing several books in the mode that assumes Holmes was a historical character. [JC]

Michael Harrison

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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.