Jacques Spitz

j_spitzJacques Spitz (1896-1963) was probably the most important French science fiction writer of the ten-year period during which his eight novels were published: 1935-1945.  His first novel L’agonie du globe (1935) was translated by Margaret Mitchiner as Sever the Earth in 1936: it describes the aftermath of a geological disaster which splits the planet into two. There are no survivors from the portion which contained America. Les Évadés de l’an 4000 [The Escapees from the Year 4000] (1936) is about an underground dystopia, the refuge for the world’s population after climate change. In La Guerre des mouches [War of the Flies] (1938), sentient flies wipe humanity out, king just a few in a zoo. L’Expérience du Dr Mops (1939) and L’Oeil du purgatoire (1945) have recently been translated by Brian Stableford as trans together by Brian Stableford as The Eye of Purgatory; And, Dr Mops’ Experiment (2010). They are time viewer tales, in each of which a mad scientist develops a technique to extent human perception. His last two novels—Alpha du Centaure (Alpha Centauri) (manuscript lost) and La Troisième Guerre Mondiale (World War III) (published 2005) did not find a publisher in his own lifetime. For more detail, see in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, or in Pierre Versin’s Encyclopédie de l’utopia…

Very little seems to be known about Spitz’s life, or his war service. He born in Ghazaouet in Algeria (his father was an army officer) and he died in Paris. His journal for the years 1928 to 1962 has been donated to the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, but as yet this does not seem to have been studied.

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