Episode 50 of Philip Harbottle’s enjoyable 1950s British Science Fiction videocast is a longer episode, moving away the subject matter from the series overall title to reveal more of the behind the scenes history of the Space:1999 novelisations.
The videocast includes background on the recent Space: 1999 books published by Los Angeles-based Powys Media, along with other previous reprints, and feature comment on Chris Bentley’s recently-released book, Space: 1999: The Vault.
Previously, Phil outlined how acclaimed SF author how EC Tubb was one of a team of writers novelising the Gerry Anderson Space:1999 TV series, producing 17 novels between 1975 and 1977, but the novels ceased following the cancellation of the series after two seasons.
On becoming Tubb’s agent in 1999, Phil reveals he discovered the writer had a number of unpublished novel manuscripts his previous agent had failed to circulate. Because he hadn’t had a novel published since 1989, Phil found convincing publishers to take his work a hard sell, but he pressed on, determined, initially working successfully with small publishers such as New York-based Gyphon Books, and by utilising his own imprint, Cosmos Books.
While English language publishers were initially hostile to publishing any new work by Tubb, European publishers were fare less reticent, his work remembered fondly, and Phil was able to sell translation rights to several publishers.
With Tubb by this time now in his eighties, and in failing health, he was understandably reluctant to write new novels, and Phil could only persuade him to do commissioned short stories.
“He had little incentive to invest so much of his now precious life in writing novels on speculation,” Phil notes. However, that was soon a change and the catalyst in restoring Tubb’s appetite and productivity was Space: 1999.”
In this video, Phil outlines how the the Space:1999 novels have been reprinted over the past two decades, culminating in the most recent series from Powys Media, and offers high praise for Chris Bentley’s Space: 1999: The Vault.
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.
• Vultures of the Void: The Legacy by Philip Harbottle (AmazonUK Affiliate Link)
Philip Harbottle presents a fascinating guide to British science fiction publishing history
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)
• 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.
• 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 was re-released by Powys last month
• 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.
Powys Media Space:1999 books
Powys Media brings you a new series of officially licensed original novels that chronicles the epic saga of Commander John Koenig, Dr. Helena Russell, and the other inhabitants of Moonbase Alpha as they struggle to survive their journey through the depths of space, encounter alien civilizations rich and strange, and search for a planet on which to reclaim their humanity.
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.