St Marychurch resident Edward Douglas Fawcett (1866-1960) was a pioneer in colour photography, motoring, mountaineering, aeronautics, philosophy and science fiction.
His brother Percy Harrison Fawcett was the Torquay explorer who, in 1925, led an expedition into the Amazonian rainforest in search of a fabled city, and was never seen again.
Edward wrote science fiction novels that were strikingly predictive.
In 1893 he published Hartmann the Anarchist which related the story of a terrorist who bombs London in a series of air raids. The idea that air power could devastate cities was a decade before the Wright brothers first flew and the storyline predated HG Well’s The Shape of Things to Come by 40 years.
Incidentally, the illustrator of Hartmann the Anarchist, Fred Jane, became the founder of Jane’s Fighting Ships.
Another of Edward’s books The Secret of the Desert, or How We Crossed Arabia in the Antelope, was possibly the first fictional account of an armoured fighting vehicle, two decades before the first tank appeared.