Author, editor, literary agent and publisher Philip Harbottle has released more episodes of his absorbing videocast, 1950s British Science Fiction, on the eponymous YouTube Channel, delving further into the marvels of post-World War Two SF in Britain.
In Episode 2, “Discovering Pseudonyms”, Philip reveals some of the real authors behind the colourful covers of 1950s British SF, prompting queries from viewers about titles such as the very rare title The Whispering Gorilla, published in 1950.
“If you find a copy from a dealer it will set you back at least one hundred pounds, he informs, and more, if in condition. But did you know that I had the book (along with its prequel novelette by Don Wilcox) reprinted as part of Gryphon Books’ Science Fiction Rediscovery series in 1999?
“This is a true collector’s edition with a great Ron Turner cover,” Phil continues. “Try and find a copy on Abe Books or Amazon before it too becomes a three figure rarity!”
In Episode 3, “Rise of the Mushroom Publishers”, Philip looks at how wartime austerity and paper shortages inhibit the establishment of science fiction in Britain, as early efforts fail to get established.
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.
You may also recall 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.
Modestly describing his videocast to me as a “a bit Acorn Antiques”, Philip offers a smashing look at some 1950s comics and the very first SF gems that inspired him at a young age. Definitely one to bookmark!
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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. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 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.