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Protecting Project Pulp No. 13: Muriel A. Pollexfen

October 9, 2012 by Frederic Himebaugh

Main Fiction: “Conjuror of the Clouds” by Muriel A. Pollexfen, first published in Adventure, August 1911.

Narrator: Tim Ward.

He recalled the cry he strove in vain to stifle as he rushed like a reckless boy to the window, ran, ruthless of the consequences, on to the iron balcony where, hovering above, a dim shape swayed and balanced—Gray Ghost! He remembered the two words passing his terrified lips, “Gray Ghost!” and then a hand that seemed to materialize from the darkness of the balcony corner, a grip of iron fingers on his throat choking his cry for help, a sponge saturated with chloroform pressed over his mouth and nose, and then nothing—nothing—nothing till this moment!

Comments

  1. The story is simple both in its narrative structure and in its depiction of characters’ motivations and actions. The prisoner found his pistol and knife at hand, god! They only missed to left him a bottle of wine. But as you said it, Dave, it’s an astonishing example of literary archeology. The best of it certainly is its imaginary context. Of course, “The War in the Air” (1908) by H. G. Wells, paved the way for writers like Muriel A. Pollexfen in their endeavor to create the air-ship genre. Wells pointed out another thing in his novel this story lack: the German identity of England’s enemies. “The Conjuror of the Clouds” is a clear vertion of Wells’ “Prince Karl”. Insigtful final thoughts… seemingly it’s a rule here.

  2. New to the podcast, and new to Ms. Pollexfen. Nice!

    Muriel A. Pollexfen does appear to have been her real name, however. Without boring you with a load of sources (though let me know if you’d like them), here’s the short version: From the various records I’ve been able to find for her online, a woman named Muriel Alice Pollexfen was born in Waterloo, Lancashire, in around 1878, and according to the UK Censuses, lived there (and in other parts of Crosby, Lancs) into her early twenties, at least until 1901. She’d moved to London by 3 Feb 1907, as she was married in Chelsea on that date to a fella named Adrian Clive Tresidder (one awesome surname clearly wasn’t enough for Muriel). They appear to have had at least two children, Rosemary Muriel Pollexfen Tresidder, born Mar 1911 in Fulham, London, and John A. C. P(ollexfen) Tresidder, born in Sep 1912, in Totnes, Devon. Both Muriel and Adrian died in 1923, she on 21 Jun, at Caterham Cottage Hospital, in Caterham, Surrey, and he in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales, on 6 Oct. I’d like to know the story, there.

    So, there’s a bit on Muriel. Unless this is a completely different Muriel A. Pollexfen, of course, though that seems… unlikely.

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