Secrets of post World War Two British SF uncovered in new episodes of “1950s British Science Fiction” videocasts

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.

The Whispering Gorilla - Original and 1999 editions, later cover by Ron Turner
The Whispering Gorilla – Original and 1999 editions, later cover by Ron Turner

“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!

• Subscribe to 1950s British Science Fiction YouTube Channel here

• Check out books written or edited by Philip Harbottle on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

• Spaceship Away:


• John Russell Fearn’s SF, including Golden Amazon stories, back in print

• Dan Dare Fan Fiction – from the 1950s! | Revealed – The Dan Dare Radio Luxembourg Comic Strips by Philip Harbottle

Garth: Character Profile and Story Synopses

Categories: Books, British Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Other Worlds

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