The Exploits of Engelbrecht

October 30, 2020
The Exploits of Engelbrecht

ASIN B00JDDZVV8Rhys Hughes (Introduction)Published for the first time in a low cost edition, MauriceRichardson's cult classic is one of the strangest works of fictionever written. Fifteen stories that relate the activities of theSurrealist Sportsman's Club, a society with very dubious moralsthat spends the time it has left between the collapse of the moonand the end of the universe taking the concept of the 'game' to itslogical limit.A club can't operate without members, and those of the SSC areas strange and astonishing as some of the events they compete in.Most formidable of all, and more than just a little sinister, isthe old Id, an "elemental force" who thinks nothing of venturingforth from his home at Nightmare Abbey to arrange a rugby matchbetween Mars and the entire human race, or of playing chess withboy scouts and nuclear bombs as pieces.Centre stage, however, is given to Engelbrecht himself, thedwarf boxer. Surrealist boxers don't take on human opponents, but"do most of their fighting with clocks." Engelbrecht has his fairshare of those and even bests a malign Grandfather Clock in a matchwhere years rather than money is at stake, but his talents are alsocalled upon to help him deal with almost the whole spectrum ofGothic, electric and purely impossible threats in a style bothcharming and ferocious. He's an eternal optimist and it's his pluckand spirit, rather than his fists or footwork, which generally makethe greatest contribution to the precarious well-being of hisclub.The tone of these adventures is a curious blend of Gothic andscience fiction, but an avant-garde Gothic and an absurdist SF, avoice which simultaneously lampoons much of the atmosphere found innovels of the past and future while making a genuine contributionto both kinds. Richardson has placed his tongue firmly in hischeek, true, but then he has proceeded to bite it off with molarssharpened on the grindstones of profundity...“The Exploits of Engelbrecht is English surrealism atits greatest. Witty and fantastical, Maurice Richardson was lightyears ahead of his time. Unmissable.” - J.G. Ballard