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Following on from the rediscovered The Question Mark, this novel from the pioneering Muriel Jaeger, The Man with Six Senses, has not been republished in the UK since its first appearance in 1927. It is high quality literary science fiction by a hitherto forgotten 20th Century woman writer, friend of Virginia Woolf and Dorothy L. Sayers.
Hilda is besotted with Michael, because Michael has a gift. Through some mutation, his mind is able to perceive ‘lines of energy’ and ‘the vast ocean of movement’ – things beyond the limits of the five senses and perhaps even common understanding. But the gift, as so often in life, comes with a price. There are those who, in their resentment, come to covet the gift, threatening the blissful period of learning and freedom of thought that seemed so possible a future for Hilda and Michael. And then there are the expectations of society, whose demands for the idealised normal spell danger and disarray for the pair.
Muriel Jaeger’s second foray into science fiction sees her experimenting again with an impressive talent for blending genres. The Man with Six Senses is a sensitive depiction of how the different, or supernaturally able, could be treated in 1920s Britain, but also a sharp skewering of societal norms and the expectations of how women should behave – and how they should think. Thought-provoking and challenging, The Man with Six Senses still resonates today in a society whose expectations and structures still continue to trap those who fall outside the limits of acceptance.
About the Author: Muriel Jaeger (1892–1969) was a prolific writer of history books, essays and science fiction, and was among the first women to receive degrees at Somerville College, Oxford. She later became associated with Leonard and Virginia Woolf, who published her pioneering science fiction novels. The Question Mark was published as a British Library Science Fiction Classic in 2019.
Author: Muriel Jaeger, with an introduction by Mike Ashley
Brand: British Library Publishing
Number of pages: 192 pages
Dimensions: 191 x 130 mm