Sunday, July 20, 2014

"A Fairly Entertaining Book"

What we could discover about George Sidney Paternoster isn't much:
. . . married Beatrice Marie——. He was a member of the staff of the Times and the author of a book about the Putomayo atrocities (1913). His eight volumes of fiction are lightweight, even when, as in Gutter Tragedies (1903), he handles the seamy side of criminal life. The Motor Pirate (1903) is about a modern Dick Turpin, and also ends tragically. The Lady of the Blue Motor (1907) takes to the road again, this time for a cosmopolitan romantic adventure. The Great Gift (1909) is about an honest businessman who works his way up to become a cabinet minister. — From THE OXFORD COMPANION TO EDWARDIAN FICTION (quoted at ANSWERS.COM)
(1866-1925) UK author whose Motor Pirate sequence, comprising The Motor Pirate (fixup 1903) and The Cruise of the Conquistador: Being the Further Adventures of the Motor Pirate (fixup 1905), features the exploits of the eponymous masked highwayman (and later pirate), making use of a car of an advanced Technology, and later – in episodes internally identified as being set in the Near Future – in a similarly daunting ship. The magazine in which the series of tales originally appeared has not been identified. — SFE: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SCIENCE FICTION ("Paternoster, G. Sidney")
By G. Sidney Paternoster (1866-1925).
L. C. Page & Co.
1904. 261 pages. $1.50
Online HERE, HERE, and HERE.
[Full review] An ingenious, fantastic tale of a modern pirate who discovers a new motive force, applies it to a piratical automobile, and robs on the highway. A little sense of humor in the book might have saved it from the penny-dreadful class. — "Books of the Week," THE OUTLOOK (July 30, 1904)
[Excerpts] . . . [In] Mr. Paternoster's day-dream . . . he presents us with a modern Dick Turpin who has constructed a peculiar motor car that runs about at a speed of from eighty to one hundred miles an hour, and which enables its owner to practice the approved tricks of a knight of the road with comparative safety to himself.
The description of this extraordinary car is certain to delight and amaze those who through experience have come to have some acquaintance with the eccentricities of motor cars in general.
The only noise that it makes is "a curious humming sound"; it runs without visible vibration and never suffers from punctured tires, overheated engine, defective batteries, or any of the other infirmities that automobiles hitherto known to man have been heir to.
With such an extraordinary invention Mr. Paternoster could not fail to make a fairly entertaining book. — Firmin Dredd, "Nine Books of the Day," THE BOOKMAN (September 1904)
[Full review] It is, of course, permissible for a novel which is frankly a "shocker" to be a little thin in quality. A "shocker" must have one startling idea, which must be developed as nearly in the first chapter as possible, and this The Motor Pirate has.
What the book has not is the power of keeping up this sensation all through the course of the story. And this is where many "shockers" fail, it being obviously easier to invent one sensation than to carry an elaborate trail of excitement from cover to cover.
The first two or three manifestations of the Motor Pirate are interesting; but when his identity is a secret to no one but the hero of the book and the police, matters become a little monotonous for the reader. Also the discovery that the Motor Pirate is [SPOILER] is disillusioning, people who are [SPOILER] being far more interesting than people who are [SPOILER].
Still, there is a good deal of "go" about the story, and we may all of us be thankful not to meet the gentleman who fills the title-role when proceeding along a country lane after darkness has fallen. THE SPECTATOR ARCHIVE (2 January 1904)
By G. Sidney Paternoster (1866-1925).
L. C. Page & Co.
1906. 317 pages. $1.50
Online HERE, HERE, and HERE.
[Full review] It was unfortunately only too obvious that the motor pirate would some day come to life again, and in this book he appears as the owner of a motor boat. Unfortunately, too, although he is vanquished at the end of the story, the reader feels sure that this disappearance is only temporary, and that before long another book will be published about him—probably steering an airship.
People who like the modern "motor" novel, combined with melodramatic adventures, will be amused by the engine being encased in a boat instead of being on wheels. It is, of course, not the aim of a book of this kind to be credible, but the author contrives that his melodrama shall be to a certain extent convincing. — THE SPECTATOR ARCHIVE (3 March 1906)
By G. Sidney Paternoster (1866-1925).
L. C. Page & Co.
1907. 296 pages. $1.50
Online HERE and HERE.
By G. Sidney Paternoster (1866-1925).
Cupples & Leon.
1907. 313 pages.
Online HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Categories: Crime fiction, Science fiction, General fiction

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