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John Gloag (10 August 1896 - 17 July 1981) was an English writer in the fields of furniture design and architecture. Gloag also wrote science fiction novels.[1][2] Gloag served with the Welsh Guards during the First World War, and was invalided home after suffering gas poisoning.[2]

Writings on designEdit

Artifex, or the Future of Craftsmanship (1926), part of the To-day and To-morrow series, was a pamphlet by Gloag that discussed the relationship between artistic craftmanship and mass production.[3]

Gloag's A Short Dictionary of Furniture (1969) was a reference book covering the history and types of furniture from the tenth century to the 1960s.[4]


Gloag's first science fiction novel, Tomorrow's Yesterday, (1932) was inspired by the work of H.G. Wells and Gloag's friend Olaf Stapledon.[1][2][5] Tomorrow's Yesterday is a satire that depicts a race of cat people from the distant future observing human society.[2][6] In The New Pleasure (1933) a powder that greatly increases the sense of smell causes a social upheaval.[2] Winter's Youth (1934) revolves around a longevity technology, which falls into the hands of a corrupt politician, with disastrous social consequences.[2][7] In Manna (1940) a journalist discovers a plan to develop a fungus that could end world hunger.[2]99% (1944) is about an experiment to give humans access to their race memory.[2]

Later in his career Gloag wrote historical fantasy novels; Caesar of the Narrow Seas (1969), The Eagles Depart (1973) and Artorius Rex (1977).[1][2]Artorius Rex focuses on King Arthur and Sir Kay.[8]

Fiction publicationsEdit


  • Tomorrow's Yesterday (1932)
  • The New Pleasure (1933)
  • Winter's Youth (1934)
  • Sweet Racket (1936)
  • Ripe for Development (1936)
  • Sacred Edifice (1937, revised 1954)
  • Documents Marked Secret (1938)
  • Unwilling Adventurer (1940)
  • Manna (1940)
  • I Want An Audience (1941)
  • Mr. Buckby is Not at Home (1942)
  • 99% (1944)
  • In Camera (1945)
  • Kind Uncle Buckby (1946)
  • All England At Home (1949)
  • Not in the Newspapers (1953)
  • Slow (1954)
  • Unlawful Justice (1962)
  • Rising Suns (1964)
  • Caesar of the Narrow Seas (1969)
  • The Eagles Depart (1973)
  • Artorius Rex (1977)

Short StoriesEdit

  • It Makes a Nice Change (1938)
  • First One and Twenty (1946)
  • Take One a Week: An Omnibus of Volume of 52 Short Stories (1950)

Selected non-fiction publicationsEdit

  • The architectural interpretation of history OL 1189718W
  • Artifex, or the Future of Craftsmanship 1926 OL 1189705W
  • A Short Dictionary of Furniture 1969. OL 1189727W
  • Colour & comfort in decoration OL 1189719W
  • The Englishman's castle OL 10417106W
  • Georgian grace OL 1189725W
  • Guide to Furniture Styles English and French 1450 to 1850 London: A & C Black. ISBN 0713612673
  • Guide to Western architecture OL 1189728W
  • Industrial art explained OL 10417107W
  • Victorian Comfort: A Social History of Design from 1830-1900 1961. London: A & C Black. OL 1189724W


  1. ^ a b c Eggeling, John (1994). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. London: Orbit. p. 499. ISBN 1-85723-124-4.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Stableford, Brian (1995). "The Future Between the Wars: The Speculative Fiction of John Gloag". Algebraic Fantasies and Realistic Romances: More Masters of Science Fiction. Borgo Press. pp. 7–24. ISBN 0893702838.
  3. ^ Julian Holder, Design in Everyday Things:Promoting Modernism in Britain, in Paul Greenhalgh, Modernism in design. Reaktion Books, 1990 ISBN 0948462116 (pp. 129-130)
  4. ^ Hazel Conway, Design History: A Student's Handbook. Routledge, 1987 ISBN 0415084733 (p. 61).
  5. ^ Nicholas Ruddick, "Science Fiction", in Brian W. Shaffer, John Clement Ball, Patrick O’Donnell, David W. Madden and Justus Nieland, The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction. John Wiley & Sons, 2010 ISBN 1405192445,(p. 333).
  6. ^ Chris Morgan, The Shape of Futures Past: the Story of Prediction . Webb & Bower, 1980. ISBN 0906671159, (pp. 167-168).
  7. ^ Angus McLaren, Reproduction by Design: Sex, Robots, Trees, and Test-Tube Babies in Interwar Britain. University of Chicago Press, 2012 ISBN 0226560694, (p. 96-97).
  8. ^ Raymond Henry Thompson, The Return from Avalon: a study of the Arthurian legend in modern fiction Greenwood Press, 1985. ISBN 0313232911 (p. 39).