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The Twilight of the Vilp

Paul Ableman
Date Published
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The hero of Paul Ableman’s Vilp (1962) is Clive Witt, a novelist in search of a hero for his new novel. He advertises for suitable applicants, and from seventy-three replies he selects three: Professor Guthrie Pidge, a zoologist; Pad Dee Murphy, an Irish-Burmese peasant; and Harry Glebe, the inventor of the renowned earth-borer.

Clive’s novel, though, progresses slowly. His three heroes refuse to mix their very disparate elements into a harmonious whole. Eventually, Clive scraps it and harnesses his team of heroes to a new work, an exciting science fiction tale called The Silver Spores. In this, mankind meets the Vilp! The novel ends with the 5,000 strong Vilp Galactic Council communing in space at an incredibly high telepathic level.

‘Excellent… vital, taut, brilliantly imaginative’ Anthony Burgess


Paul Ableman (1927-2006) was a novelist, playwright and screenwriter, born in Leeds and brought up in London and New York. He was the author of five novels, most famous of which was I Hear Voices, in which his writing is inspired not only by the modernist avant garde but by psychoanalytic theory. He also wrote plays and scripts for radio,…

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