There are two more episodes of the 1950s British Science Fiction to savour on YouTube from author, editor, literary agent and publisher Philip Harbottle, delving further into the marvels of post-World War Two SF in Britain.
In Episode 4, “1950: We Have Lift Off!“, Philip reveals how the Vargo Statten Science Fiction novels lit the touch paper for British Science Fiction Paperbacks. Look out for some eye catching covers by ace comics artist Ron Turner…
Philip follows up with “The Rivals of Vargo Statten“, in which he reveals how the “mushroom publishers” scramble to play follow-the-leader after Vargo Statten‘s success… with dubious results!
“Vargo Statten” was one of author John Russell Fearn‘s aliases, and was to inspire the launch of the Vargo Statten Science Fiction magazine in 1954, because of his popularity.
The “mushroom publishers” Philip refers to published a huge range of titles in post war Britain – science fiction, hard-boiled mystery novels, and some pretty disreputable fiction of an “adult nature”.
Philip is a life-long science fiction fan, regarded as a world authority on the works of John Russell Fearn, whose credits encompass writing “Garth” for the Daily Mirror, and the “Golden Amazon” for Spaceship Away (adapting Fearn’s stories). He’s also very kindly contributed a number of synopses of early “Garth” stories to downthetubes, which we are adding as time permits.
Back in the 1950s, he adapted some of the Radio Luxembourg Dan Dare radio shows into comics at a young age – the only record of some of these tales known to exist, since very few recordings survive.
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