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LeBlanc, Maurice

(1864-1941) French author in various genres, though after he began the Arsène Lupin sequence, with "L'Arrestation d'Arsène Lupin" ["The Arrest of Arsène Lupin"] (15 July 1905 Je Sais Tout), he focused most of his energies on his raffish, inexplicably elusive gentleman thief and frustrator of "Herlock Sholmes" or "Holmlock Shears" (these and other names were used in attempts to placate Arthur Conan Doyle). In later volumes – twenty were issued in all, beginning with Arsène Lupin Gentleman-Cambrioleur (coll of linked stories 1907) – Lupin often works for the good of the world. Most of the later tales skirt, but generally do not enter, the realms of the fantastic [selected titles in the series are given in the Checklist, without any claim to penetrate the bibliographic complexities involved], but some verge into sf, like 813 (1910; trans Alexander Teixeira de Mattos as 813: A New Arsène Lupin Adventure 1910), which is set in the Near Future and features an adversary with Superman characteristics bent on transforming the whole of Europe; and L'Île aux Trente Cercueils (1919-1920 Le Journal; 1919; trans Alexander Teixeira de Mattos as Coffin Island 1920; vt The Secret of Sarek: Arsène Lupin, Master Mind Versus Vorski, Master Criminal 1920), set on a mysterious Island in the English Channel under which (see Under the Sea) a Lost World is found containing mutation-causing artefacts (see Mutants).

Les trois yeux + Le Rayon Bleu (Les trois yeux only July and October 1919 Je Sais Tout; coll 1920; Les trois yeux only trans Alexander Teixeira de Mattos as The Three Eyes 1921) describes the Invention of a Time Viewer, a chemical which, when applied to walls, shows real historical events as well as attempts at Communication on the part of the three-eyed inhabitants of Venus; in Le formidable événement (October-November 1920 Je Sais Tout; 1920; trans Alexander Teixeira de Mattos as The Tremendous Event 1922), the Disaster of the earthquake-generated creation of a land bridge between the UK and France raises the spectre of a Future War between the two nations. LeBlanc had a capacity to treat Pulp magazine clichés with a wry elegance ill-served in the main by his English translators; except for the Arsène Lupin tales, English readers have not yet been properly exposed to his skills. [JC]

Maurice-Marie-Émile LeBlanc

born Rouen, France: 11 November 1864

died Perpignan, France: 6 November 1941

works

series

Arsène Lupin (highly selected titles)

individual titles

links

Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction edited by John Clute, David Langford, Peter Nicholls and Graham Sleight.
Accessed 15:02 pm on 3 December 2021.
<https://sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/leblanc_maurice>