E.C. Tubb’s Space: 1999 novels in the spotlight in new videocast from Philip Harbottle

SF books and magazines expert, author, publisher Philip Harbottle has released two more 1950s British Science Fiction videocasts, working with his grandson, Arthur King. Both focus on the work of author E.C. Tubb, and take his fascinating series into new territory.

“Most of my videos have been derived from my Vultures of the Void: The Legacy book,” Philip tells downthetubes, “from which I have now pretty well covered everything in it up to my 1956 cut-off point. But I may do just a few more original ‘specials’ on 1950s authors or specific titles.”

Episode 48, “The Space-Born“, focuses on EC Tubb’s eponymous novel, initially titled “Starship”, regarded by many as his best novel, which was reprinted several times. Its success led to Tubb becoming internationally known and was last published in an EC Tubb SF Gateway Omnibus in 2014. US publisher Wildside Press, who have published a number of E.C. Tubb novels in recent years, will release a new edition in 2023.

Philip’s latest videocast, Episode 49, focuses on E.C. Tubb’s Space: 1999 novels. Tubb regarded the series, created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, as quite entertaining, but made no secret of his concern about the entire concept of the Moon being blown out of space and subsequent travels. In all, he wrote five Space: 1999 novels, two created from adaptations of TV episodes, the other three, original stories.

Although the novelisations continued with adaptations of Season Two with another publisher, written by “Trigan Empire” creator, Michael Butterworth, Tubb’s final story, Earthfall, effectively brought the Space:1999 saga to an ingenious close, set some 20 years after the original “Breakaway” incident.

The next videocast, Episode 50, will be a longer episode, and will be released next weekend, focusing on the Powys Media Space: 1999 books, along with all the many other reprints, and feature comment on Chris Bentley’s recently-released book, Space: 1999: The Vault.

Check out books by E.C. Tubb published by Wildside Press here

Philip Harbottle 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.

• Subscribe to 1950s British Science Fiction YouTube Channel here

Vultures of the Void: The Legacy by Philip Harbottle (AmazonUK Affiliate Link)

Philip Harbottle presents a fascinating guide to British science fiction publishing history

John Russell Fearn’s Across the Ages, adapted into comics by Philip Harbottle

• Buy Across the Ages by John Russell Fearn, adapted into comics by Philip Harbottle here from Lulu

A vintage comic strip by Philip Harbottle, adapting John Russell Fearn’s much admired SF novel Across the Ages, has finally been published – some sixty years after the now renowned author and publisher drew it (Read our news item about this here)

• Books edited or published by Phil Harbottle on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

• Rayguns and Rocketships by Rian Hughes, featuring many of the covers in Philip’s videocasts, is available to order now direct from Korero Press | Order it from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link) | ISBN: 978-1912740048

Space: 1999 – 1970s Original Novel Releases

A number of Space: 1999 books were published by both American and British publishers, Pocket Books and Futura respectively, consisting primarily of novelisations of Space:1999 episodes. Original novels also formed a part of the series. Many of the books were also translated for release in overseas markets, such as Germany, Turkey and Japan.

For a guide to all Space: 1999 novels, including more recent Fanderson and Powys Media releases, check out “The Catacombs” guide

Space: 1999 Novels and Other Media on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

Space: 1999 - Earthfall by E.C. Tubb (Orbit Edition, 1977)

Year One

• Breakaway by E.C. Tubb. Novelisation of “Breakaway”, “Matter of Life and Death”, “Ring Around The Moon” and “Black Sun”
• Moon Odyssey by John Rankine. Novelisation of “Alpha Child”, “The Last Sunset”, “Voyager’s Return” and “Another Time, Another Place”
• The Space Guardians by Brian Ball. Novelisation of “Missing Link”, “Force of Life” and “Guardian of Piri”
• Collision Course by E.C. Tubb. Novelisation of “Collision Course”, “The Full Circle”, “End of Eternity” and “Death’s Other Dominion”
• Lunar Attack by John Rankine. Novelisation of “War Games”, “The Troubled Spirit”, “The Last Enemy” and “Space Brain”
• Astral Quest by John Rankine. Novelisation of “The Infernal Machine”, “Mission of the Darians”, “Dragon’s Domain” and “The Testament of Arkadia”
• Alien Seed by E.C. Tubb (original novel)
• Android Planet by John Rankine (original novel)
• Rogue Planet by E.C. Tubb (original novel)
• Phoenix of Megaron by John Rankine (original novel – US only)
• Earthfall by E.C. Tubb (original novel – UK only) – a story that concludes the Space: 1999 odyssey, and features the descendants of the Alphans returning to Earth

Earthbound” is the only Year One episode not included in the original series of novelisations. Adapted by E.C. Tubb, it was published by Century 21 Books in 2003, and has been re-released by Powys this month

Year Two

• Planets of Peril by Michael Butterworth. Novelisation of “The Metamorph”, “The AB Chrysalis”, “The Rules of Luton” and “New Adam, New Eve”
• Mind-Breaks of Space by J. Jeff Jones and Michael Butterworth. Novelisation of “Brian the Brain”, “The Mark of Archanon”, “Catacombs of the Moon” and “One Moment of Humanity”
The Space-Jackers by Michael Butterworth. Novelisation of “Seed of Destruction”, “A Matter of Balance”, “The Exiles” and “The Beta Cloud”
• The Psychomorph by Michael Butterworth. Novelisation of “The Lambda Factor” and “The Bringers of Wonder, Part One” and “The Bringers of Wonder, Part Two”
• The Time Fighters by Michael Butterworth. Novelisation of “Space Warp”, “Dorzak”, “Devil’s Planet” and “The Seance Spectre”
• The Edge of the Infinite by Michael Butterworth. Novelisation of “All That Glisters”, “Journey to Where”, “The Dorcons” and “The Immunity Syndrome”

“The Taybor” is the only Year Two episode not included in this early series of novelisations.

For a guide to all Space: 1999 novels, including more recent Fanderson and Powys Media releases, check out “The Catacombs” guide

Space: 1999 Novels and Other Media on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.



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