Wheatley As Roussel

Here is a snippet from Phil Baker’s excellent The Devil Is A Gentleman : The Life And Times Of Dennis Wheatley (2009):

Star Of Ill Omen is an extraordinary performance, with its characteristically fraught and tender Wheatley love story (quite unlike James Bond and his girls) embedded in a mind-bogglingly improbable Cold War potboiler. Realistic details are combined with a larger naivety about space that wouldn’t be out of place in Dan Dare, and there are moments whose sheer weirdness compares with the work of proto-surrealist Raymond Roussel: when, for example, the insects [a breed of hyper-intelligent insects who buzz around like bees and give telepathic orders] show them black and white films of great moments in human history, and

“the bee-beetles who controlled the machine again pressed the lever; again the machine whirred and the words came, ‘Music while you work’, followed by the rumba.”

Wheatley never attempted science fiction again.

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