He was silent, but devilishly prolific. His literature was not rowdy. It is moreover without making any noise that G. J. Arnaud left his mark on genre literature of the 20th century. And in particular with almost a hundred volumes of The Ice Company, a gigantic science fiction fresco published by the Black River, which today constitutes almost the only example of a saga-river of French SF spread over almost half a century of career.
“He passed away on Sunday at the age of 91. It is a great loss for popular French literature, not only for the SF but also for its police officers, its spy novels and great novels ”, told AFP Nathalie Carpentier, founder and director of French Pulp editions.
A dozen pseudonyms
Popular and prolific writer, G.J. Arnaud has tried his hand at all genres. Science fiction but also the black novel, spy, adventure or erotic. In total, he will have written some 416 novels. Born in July 1928, G.J. Arnaud has published his hundreds of books under more than a dozen pseudonyms (Saint-Gilles, Gil Darcy, Frédéric Mado, Gino Arnoldi, Ugo Solenza …).
Published under the name of Saint-Gilles (the name of his native village in the Gard), his first novel, Don’t shoot the inspector, won the Quai des Orfèvres prize in 1952. He won many other literary prizes, including, in 1988, the RTL consumer award for “Les moulins à cloud”.
About fifteen books a year
A glance at his abundant bibliography gives a summary of what was long regarded with disdain as “station romance”. The titles are already promises of adventure: Baroud at Tibesti, A charter for hell, Moist death…
Writing faster than his shadow, he wrote up to 27 novels in the space of a single year. But, “On average I wrote about fifteen books a year“, He confided in 2011 to Figaro.
His monumental work will remain The Ice Cream Company which has a total of 98 volumes. Millions of copies of the episodes of this saga depicting a world that fell back into an ice age after an ecological disaster have passed.
He was one of the rare French authors who wrote science fiction without shame or contempt, in the tradition of authors such as René Barjavel (Ravaged), Gérard Klein ( The Gambit of the Stars), Pierre Boule (The Planet of the Apes), Philippe Curval, Stéfan Wul (The Wild Planet), Pierre Pelot, and more recently Bernard Werber …
Writing is my pleasure at the same time as my work. I don’t think about why: I’m happy to write in the moment
G. J. Arnaud
A fierce storyteller, long-distance novelist, G. J. Arnaud did not know how to explain his incredible prolixity. Simply, he wrote novels like an apple tree made of apples to use the formula that Charles Trenet applied to his songs …
“What do you want me to tell you, had replied in March 2001 G. J. Arnaud in the columns of Figaro, writing is my pleasure at the same time as my work. It has been going on for fifty years. I have several hundred novels under my belt. Last year, twelve were published or republished and that still amuses me. I do not think about why: I am happy to write in the moment. “
Throughout his career, his novels have inspired numerous adaptations, notably on television, comics and video games.