Monday, July 10, 2023

Book cover: "Fear in Firland"

I guess we'll just keep going with this summer's UFO theme ...
  • Title: Fear in Firland
  • Author: Norman Power (1916-1993). Full name: Norman Sandiford Power.
  • Illustrator, including cover: Michael Jackson.
  • Publication date: 1974
  • Publisher: Blackie & Son Limited, London and Glasgow, which was in business from 1809 to 1991.
  • Printer: The Anchor Press Ltd.
  • Format: Hardcover with dust jacket
  • Pages: 128
  • Dust jacket price: £1.85 
  • Acknowledgements: "The author thanks members of his family, Mrs. Ruth Cockfield, Mrs. Helen Cooper, the Reverend Jack Courtenay, Mr. John Cutforth, Professor Helen Guthrie, Miss Pat Hudson, Mrs. Ann Potts and Mr. Arthur Rowlett. Each of these has helped bring the Firland stories into being by having faith, giving encouragement, criticism, and suggestions, or practical assistance with the manuscript."
  • Dedication: "For Angela"
  • Dust jacket description: "The Firlanders, whose story is first told in The Forgotten Kingdom have regained their native land from Queen Ivis and her evil, half-human army of Yelgs and Ergs. Young King Richard and his friends are working hard to create the free, happy land of their dreams. Their peace is shattered when a race of insect-like creatures arrive in space ships. It soon becomes clear that they will eat every living plant and animal in Firland. Fear in Firland tells the exciting story of how the time-travelling wizard Greylin goes forward into the present from the fifth century to find help. After a number of false starts he returns with three teenage cousins and a secret weapon to defeat the invaders. Children of all ages, especially science fiction and fantasy devotees, will enjoy this enthralling journey into the past."
  • Series: So, as we read above, this is not the first book in the series. The first book was called both The Firland Saga (paperback) and The Forgotten Kingdom (hardcover). Fear in Firland was the second book. And the final book, Firland i Flammer (Firland in Flames), was only published in Danish. Apparently, the Danes loved this series the most. Here are the three Danish covers. As you can see, there's a lot going on.
  • First sentence: Hideous and menacing, the dinosaur shadow reared up on the wall above the fireplace.
  • Last paragraph [SPOILER alert]: "As a matter of fact," said Edward, "it was D.D.T. They were only insects after all!"
  • Yikes: Indeed, Firland defeated the insects from outer space, but little did it know of the looming environmental impact of the victory on its fair land. There was plenty of public evidence of the dangers of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane by the time this book was published. Silent Spring came out in 1962! Perhaps Power should have used a different deus ex machina.
  • Excerpt from the middle #1: But Richard knew he must be ever on guard. At the very first sign of danger from Yelgs he would attack them. It was no good building walls or hoping they'd go away.
  • Excerpt from the middle #2: "When troubles came, I expect they all tried to stand on their own feet or help each other. I always longed for the welfare state, but I wish we could have done things differently. It is all so impersonal. We pay our taxes and don't follow through with any personal concern the money that goes to pay to help a family in trouble. And many people have lost all sense of responsibility for their homes, families and even themselves. They think 'they' should provide everything free."
  • Online reviews: None to be found, really.
  • More about Power: However, there's an excellent 2016 article about Power on Douglas A. Anderson's blog Lesser-Known Writers. Anderson describes Power's upbringing as the son of a clergyman, his early nonfiction writing (including a book about hypnosis) and the eventually creation of the Firland books as an extension of telling bedtime stories to his children. Anderson's full article and ongoing blog are well working checking out if you're interested in obscure authors and their books.

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