New videocast, “Flights into the Future” crosses into the latest issue of Spaceship Away

Although author and editor Philip Harbottle announced he was bringing an end to his splendid videocast series, 1950s British Science Fiction, we’re pleased to report he’s back with Episode 40, titled “Flights into the Future“… and there’s a tie-in with the new issue of Spaceship Away magazine, too.

Flights into the Future (1948) - Cover by James McConnell
Flights into the Future (1948) - Frontispiece

Focusing on the early inspirations that led to his love of comics and SF, Philip reveals his quest for a copy of the book, Flights into the Future, featuring a cover presumed to be by James McConnell, internal illustrations by Nat Long. Although apparently first published in 1948, publisher Thames Publishing appears to have re-released it several times, its articles clearly capturing many more hearts and souls than Philip’s and his friend, Ian Dick.

The book, crammed with articles about the future of spaceflight, would prove remarkably prescient, drawing on ideas formulated by the British Interplanetary Society, which formed in 1933. The SF stories it featured, some more accurate than others, also helped fire Philip’s imagination and cemented his love of SF, aged just 10.

Philip Harbottle's early inspirations - the Daily Mirror's "Garth" and Eagle
Philip Harbottle’s other early inspirations – the Daily Mirror’s “Garth” and Eagle

Charting the rise and fall of hardback SF publishing during that decade – 1950s British Science Fiction is a great series to enjoy for anyone who’s is interested in the early development of SF publishing in Britain during the decade.

Philip’s latest video also forms the basis for a feature in the latest edition of the Dan Dare-inspired magazine Spaceship Away. Issue 57 also features the latest episode of an ongoing “Dan Dare” story, written by John Bailey with art by Richard Woods; a colour version of “Jeff Hawke – The Comet’s Tale“, Part 4, by Sydney Jordan; Episode 8 of “Target Earth“; and a “Nick Hazard” story, “Invaders from Time“, written by Philip Harbottle with art by Ron Turner, coloured by Martin Baines.

Spaceship Away Part 57 - Cover
  • Spaceship Away Part 57 - Dan Dare
  • Spaceship Away Part 57 - Jeff Hawke
  • The centrespread of Spaceship Away 57, with supplement fiction for subscribers
  • Spaceship Away Part 57 - Flights into the Future

Plus, there’s a visual tribute to the late, great Ian Kennedy, Andrew Darlington looks bak at Warren Ellis and Chris Weston‘s Ministry of Space, and Ray Wright brings us another “Space Review” news round up. Find out how to subscribe and buy it here at

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.

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

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

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

• 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)

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