by E.C. Large, 1938


Published by Hyphen Press. See http://www.hyphenpress.co.uk

Ernest Charles Large (1902–76) was (in chronological order) an English industrial chemist, writer, and plant scientist, best known for his book 'The advance of the fungi' (1940): a magisterial history of plant diseases. His novels 'Sugar in the air' and 'Asleep in the afternoon' come from the period of the mid- to late 1930s when he had left his work in industry and was writing full-time. In 1940 he went back into salaried employment as a research scientist. A third novel, 'Dawn in Andromeda', was published in 1956.

'Sugar in the air' is a ‘scientific romance’ in which the idea of extracting sugar from the air is held, for the duration of the book, in suspended disbelief by the characters involved – especially those who need work in a period of economic recession. Along the way, we are shown the endeavour of manufacturing a new product: how it is developed and brought to the market. This could be a model for any design and production process, and this dimension of the book is one reason for reviving it. At the end of the novel, the central figure (unmistakably modelled on the author) is able to retire and to start writing a novel.

Posted 16 January 2009 17:06:27


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