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Creator / Nevil Shute

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Nevil Shute Norway (17 January 1899 – 12 January 1960) was a British author and engineer who moved to Australia in his later years. His first novel, Marizan, was published in 1926. By The '50s, his clear, readable style had made him one of the most popular authors in the world. His best known works are the post-war romance A Town Like Alice and the chilling post-apocalyptic On the Beach.

Shute was known for his compelling characters and straightforward plots. His protagonists were primarily middle-class, but bridging class boundaries and the dignity of labor were major themes in his works. As a result of his other career, engineering and aviation were also common elements.

Altogether, he published over twenty novels, many of which have been adapted for film or television; several of them multiple times.

Works with a page on this Wiki:

Selected other works

  • Marizan (1926, his first published novel)
  • Lonely Road (1932)
  • Ruined City (1938)
  • Most Secret (1942)
  • No Highway (1948)
  • Round the Bend (1951)
  • The Far Country (1952)

Tropes in his other works:

  • Cannot Cross Running Water: Invoked in Most Secret; a French priest tells the protagonist that this is why the Nazi invaders can't cross the English Channel.
  • Downer Beginning: Requiem for a Wren has one. The protagonist returns from England to Australia to take over his family's farm, and in the first few pages we learn that he had lost his feet in the war and that his parents are becoming old and frail. He is met at the airport by one of the farm staff instead of his father, because one of the house maids had killed herself that morning.
  • Exact Time to Failure: In No Highway, Theodore Honey has determined, almost down to the hour, how long the Reindeer airliner will last before the tailplane experiences metal fatigue and breaks, dooming the aircraft.
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: Most Secret is about a fishing boat during World War II that is fitted out with a large flamethrower in a plan to destroy the German escort vessels keeping an eye on the French fishing fleet. The Kill It with Fire trope is specifically lampshaded.
  • Ignored Expert: In No Highway, Theodore Honey, a scientist with the Royal Aircraft Establishment is flying to investigate a plane crash. He's told the authorities that he thinks the crashes are due to metal fatigue and to ground all planes that are getting on a bit. To his horror he realises that the plane he's in should have been grounded because it's flown far too many miles and he runs around telling everyone what to do if the wings fall off. No one believes him, so he lifts the undercarriage while the plane's on the ground.
  • Industrial Ghetto: Subverted in Ruined City; the eponymous city used to fit the "heavily polluted" part of this trope and wasn't an especially attractive living environment by many standards, but the workers were unionised and the pay and conditions were fairly good. It only became a true ghetto when the Great Depression kicked in and the shipyard went out of business. The protagonist actually notes the lack of pollution, and describes the place as being "clean as a washed corpse".
  • Stop Worshipping Me: In Round the Bend, both Connie Shaklin and the narrator repeatedly deny that Connie should be worshipped as a divine manifestation. Connie states that he is just a hard-working aircraft mechanic doing what any good mechanic should do. The narrator in the end states that this is true, but that he is not really sure anymore that this friend since his youth isn't also God.