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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Authors

Maurice Renard

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Maurice Renard

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Full Name: Maurice Renard
Born: February 28, 1875
Châlons-en-Champagne, France
Died: November 18, 1939
Rochefort-Sur-Mer, France
Occupation: Writer
Nationality: French


Maurice Renard was a French writer.

Renard authored the archetypal mad scientist novel Le Docteur Lerne - Sous-Dieu (Dr. Lerne - Undergod, 1908), which he dedicated to H. G. Wells. In it, a Doctor Moreau-like mad scientist performs organ transplants not only between men and animals, but also between plants and even machines.

Renard's novel, Le Péril Bleu (The Blue Peril, 1910) postulates the existence of unimaginable, invisible creatures who lived in the upper strata of the atmosphere and fish for men the way men captured fish. These aliens, dubbed "Sarvants" by the human scientists who discover them, feel threatened by our incursions into space the way men would be threatened by an invasion of crabs, and retaliate by capturing men, keeping them in a space zoo and studying them. Eventually, when the Sarvants come to the realization that men are intelligent, they release their captives. Le Péril Bleu predates Charles Fort's Book of the Damned (1919) and retains a humanistic and tolerant rather than fearful and xenophobic philosophy.

Renard wrote the novel Les Mains d'Orlac (The Hands of Orlac, 1920), in which a virtuoso pianist receives the transplanted hands of a murderer and turns into a killer himself. The book was has led to four film versions as Orlacs Hände (The Hands of Orlac, 1924) with Conrad Veidt, Mad Love (1935) with Colin Clive and Peter Lorre, The Hands of Orlac (1960) with Mel Ferrer and Christopher Lee, and Hands of a Stranger (1962) directed by Newt Arnold.

L'Homme Truqué (The Phony Man, 1923) features the graft of "electroscopic" eyes onto a man blinded during World War I. The result is the strange description of a world perceived through artificial senses.

L'Homme Qui Voulait Être Invisible (The Man Who Wanted To Be Invisible, 1923) deals with the issue of invisibility; in it, Renard exposes the scientific fallacy inherent in Wells' famous novel. Since, in order to function, the human eye must perform as an opaque dark room, any truly invisible man would also be blind!

In Le Singe (The Monkey, 1925), written with Albert-Jean, Renard imagined the creation of artificial lifeforms through the process of "radiogenesis", a sort of human electrocopying or cloning process. The Roman Catholic press ferociously attacked the novel, perceiving it as sacrilegious, and blacklisted by public libraries.

Un Homme chez les Microbes: Scherzo ("A Man Amongst The Microbes: Scherzo", 1928) was one of the first scientific novels on the theme of miniaturization, and one of the earliest to introduce the concept of a micro-world where atoms were microscopic solar systems with planets. Renard's hero submits himself willingly to a shrinking process that eventually ran out of control. As in Richard Matheson's screenplay for The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), the hero is then attacked by insects, before eventually arriving on an electron-size planet, where scientifically advanced people are able to reverse the process and send him home.

Finally, Le Maître de la Lumière (The Light Master", 1933) anticipated Bob Shaw's "slow glass" by introducing the concept of a glass that condenses time.

Works in the WWEnd Database

 Non Series Works