Time erodes all, including our collective memory. Even what is preserved in print can be subject to caprice; once well-known works can be forgotten. Take, for example, that classic space opera: Thorne Smith’s Lensmen.
Canadian author Jasper MacDonald King was, in his day, a bestselling author of children’s fantasy. In recent years, certain “politically correct” critics have chosen to ignore his delightful fiction and focus on aspects of his life that were admittedly regrettable — the letter to his distant cousin the Prime Minister urging that the St Louis be turned away, his participation in the Orange Order’s annual “flogging Catholics through the streets” celebration (the use of an actual Catholic was discontinued in 1978, I might point out) and his status as the last person to be hanged in Canada (following the discoveries in his garden and a sensational 1952 trial ) — but surely these are mere distractions from the undeniable truth that he wrote some jolly good books. Whatever his life and opinions may have been, surely his fiction can be enjoyed for what it is.
Of all King’s books, none is more beloved than 1938’s The Garden.