Edwin Charles Tubb

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Edwin Charles Tubb
Edwin Charles Tubb.jpg
Born(1919-10-15)15 October 1919
London, England
Died10 September 2010(2010-09-10) (aged 90)
London, England
OccupationAuthor
NationalityUnited Kingdom
GenresScience fiction, Fantasy, Westerns
 
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Edwin Charles Tubb
Edwin Charles Tubb.jpg
Born(1919-10-15)15 October 1919
London, England
Died10 September 2010(2010-09-10) (aged 90)
London, England
OccupationAuthor
NationalityUnited Kingdom
GenresScience fiction, Fantasy, Westerns

Edwin Charles Tubb (15 October 1919 – 10 September 2010) was a British writer of science fiction, fantasy and western novels. The author of over 140 novels and 230 short stories and novellas, Tubb is best known for The Dumarest Saga (US collective title: Dumarest of Terra) an epic science-fiction saga set in the far future. Michael Moorcock wrote "His reputation for fast-moving and colourful SF writing is unmatched by anyone in Britain."[1]

Much of Tubb's work has been written under pseudonyms including Gregory Kern, Carl Maddox, Alan Guthrie, Eric Storm and George Holt. He has used 58 pen names over five decades of writing although some of these were publishers' house names also used by other writers: Volsted Gridban (along with John Russell Fearn), Gill Hunt (with John Brunner and Dennis Hughes), King Lang (with George Hay and John W Jennison), Roy Sheldon (with H. J. Campbell) and Brian Shaw. Tubb's Charles Grey alias was solely his own and acquired a big following in the early 1950s.[2]

Life[edit]

Tubb was born in London and resided there until his death in 2010. He married Iris Kathleen Smith in 1944 and is survived by their two daughters, Jennifer and Linda, and granddaughters Lisa Elcomb and Julie Hickmott.

Career[edit]

An avid reader of pulp science-fiction and fantasy in his youth, Tubb found that he had a particular talent as a writer of stories in that genre when his short story 'No Short Cuts' was published in New Worlds magazine in 1951. He opted for a full-time career as a writer and soon became renowned for the speed and diversity of his output.

Tubb contributed to many of the science fiction magazines of the 1950s including Futuristic Science Stories, Science Fantasy, Nebula and Galaxy Science Fiction. He contributed heavily to Authentic Science Fiction editing the magazine for nearly two years, from February 1956 until it folded in October 1957. During this time, he found it so difficult to find good writers to contribute to the magazine, that he often wrote most of the stories himself under a variety of pseudonyms: one issue of Authentic was written entirely by Tubb, including the letters column.

His main work in the science fiction genre, the Dumarest series, appeared from 1967 to 1985, with two final volumes in 1997 and 2008. His second major series, the Cap Kennedy series, was written from 1973 to 1983.

In recent years Tubb updated many of his 1950s science fiction novels for 21st century readers.

Tubb was one of the co-founders of the British Science Fiction Association.

Honors[edit]

Tubb was guest of Honour at Heicon, the 1970 World Science Fiction Convention, in Heidelberg, Germany. He was a five-time winner of the Nebula Science Fiction Magazine Literary Award (1953–1958) and the recipient of the 1955 Cytricon Literary Award for Best British SF Writer. His short story 'Lucifer!' won the Europa Prize in 1972. In 2010, his novel The Possessed (2005, revised version of Touch of Evil [1959]) won the Premio Italia Award for Best International Novel.

Works[edit]

The Dumarest saga[edit]

Tubb's best known series is The Dumarest Saga (US collective title: Dumarest of Terra) a far future epic science-fiction saga charting the adventures of traveler Earl Dumarest as he attempts to find his way back to his home planet, Earth, from a region of space so far distant that the existence of the planet is believed to be nothing more than a myth. Originally written in what Michael Moorcock has described as a "conscious and acknowledged imitation" of Leigh Brackett's Eric John Stark stories, the series subsequently developed a style of storytelling unique to Tubb.

Published over a span of more than 40 years, the Dumarest Saga finally comprised 33 novels. The 33rd, which brings closure to Dumarest's search for Earth, was published in 2008 by Homeworld Press of Chicago. A pair of Dumarest short stories, entitled 'Child of Earth' and 'Figona' and published in the science fiction anthologies Fantasy Adventures 1 (2002) and Fantasy Adventures 2 (2003), were extracts from this longer work.

Cap Kennedy series[edit]

Tubb's other main novel series, Cap Kennedy, is space opera in the style of Perry Rhodan. Known as F.A.T.E. in the UK (where only the first six books have ever been published), the novels follow the adventures of Captain 'Cap' Kennedy, a Free Acting Terran Envoy (F.A.T.E.) with licence to act as judge, jury and executioner and the power to intervene in any situation which threatened the peace of the Terran Sphere, an interplanetary federation centred on Earth.

Independently wealthy and operating from his personal spaceship, the Mordain, Kennedy is assisted on his missions by engineer Penza Saratov, veteran scientist Professor Jarl Luden and alien navigator Veem Chemile, a humanoid chameleon who claims to be descended from the Zheltyana, an ancient race which dominated the galaxy in the distant past before vanishing without trace. The discovery of mysterious artifacts left behind by the Zheltyana on different worlds often provided the spring-board for the stories in the series.

Lester del Rey found that although the first volume managed to "avoid the primitiveness and the formula" that spoiled many similar series, the virtues of such series were also missing, leaving him unenthusiastic.[3] He later noted improvement in a subsequent installment.[4]

Tubb wrote 17 Cap Kennedy novels, all under the pseudonym Gregory Kern.

These books were the basis for the 'Commander Scott' series from German publishers Bastei. This series included all of the 'Cap Kennedy' books by Tubb as well as a number of further novels, written under pseudonym by different German authors. Published in the format of 'romanheft' (a digest-sized version of pulp magazines), the series lasted for 42 issues from 1975 to 1976. (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commander_Scott)

Space 1999 series[edit]

Tubb is the author of six novels based on Gerry Anderson's 1975 science fiction television series Space: 1999. Breakaway (1975), Collision Course (1975) and Earthbound (2003) are novelizations of 11 scripts written for the series' first season format (including two that were subsequently filmed as second season episodes), while Alien Seed (1976), Rogue Planet (1976) and Earthfall (1977, revised 2002) are original novels set within the first season continuity. The latter rejected the format changes of the TV series' second season to provide a satisfactory conclusion to the Space 1999 story.

Tubb's short story 'Random Sample' from New Writings in SF 29 (1976) was revised to become 'Dead End', a short story in the Space: 1999 anthology Shepherd Moon (2010). The original story's Prometheus starship crew are replaced by the Moonbase Alpha characters in the Space: 1999 version. 'Random Sample' was itself a revised version of a much earlier Tubb short, 'Entrance Exam', originally published in New Worlds magazine (1951).

Other science fiction[edit]

Tubb's best known standalone novel is The Space-Born (1956), which started life as a serial for New Worlds Science Fiction magazine entitled "Star Ship". An acknowledged masterpiece of the 'generational starship' story, the book tells of a society who are the sixteenth generation of the original crew of a vast starship on a three hundred year journey to Pollux from Earth. The plot centres on a protagonist whose job is to eliminate anyone who has become a burden to the society, through ill health, mental instability, or anyone over 40.

Other notable standalone novels include Alien Dust (1955), which charts the first 35 years of an Earth colony on Mars, and Moon Base (1964), a science fiction detective thriller set on a British Moonbase where a biochemical computer is under development. The short story collections Ten From Tomorrow (1966), A Scatter of Stardust (1972) and The Best Science Fiction of E.C. Tubb (2003) contain the best of Tubb's short form writing, including "The Last Day of Summer" (1955), "Little Girl Lost" (1955), "Vigil" (1956), "The Bells of Acheron" (1957), "Fresh Guy" (1958), "The Ming Vase" (1963), "J is for Jeanne" (1965), and "Evane" (1973).

Other genres[edit]

Outside the field of science fiction, Tubb wrote 11 western novels, a detective novel and a Foreign Legion novel for Badger Books. Once again, many of these were published under a variety of pseudonyms, including the house name "Chuck Adams" which was also used by other authors. In the 1970s, he wrote a trilogy of historical novels set in Ancient Rome under the pseudonym of Edward Thomson.

Dramatisations[edit]

Tubb's 1955 novel The Space-Born was dramatised for French television in 1962 as a 90-minute play for Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française. The production was directed by Alain Boudet from a script by Michael Subrela and broadcast on 11 December 1962.

The short story 'Little Girl Lost', originally published in New Worlds magazine (1955), was dramatised as a segment of Night Gallery in 1972. Adapted by Stanford Whitmore and directed by Timothy Galfras, with a cast featuring William Windom and Ed Nelson, the segment originally aired on 1 March 1972, paired with The Caterpiller in the penultimate episode of the series' second season.

Bibliography[edit]

The Dumarest Saga (US: Dumarest of Terra)[edit]

  1. The Winds of Gath (1967) (also published with slightly modified text as Gath [1968, 2010])
  2. Derai (1968) (also published as The Death Zone [2010])
  3. Toyman (1969)
  4. Kalin (1969)
  5. The Jester at Scar (1970)
  6. Lallia (1971)
  7. Technos (1972)
  8. Veruchia (1973)
  9. Mayenne (1973)
  10. Jondelle (1973)
  11. Zenya (1974)
  12. Eloise (1975)
  13. Eye of the Zodiac (1975)
  14. Jack of Swords (1976)
  15. Spectrum of a Forgotten Sun (1976)
  16. Haven of Darkness (1977)
  17. Prison of Night (1977)
  18. Incident on Ath (1978)
  19. The Quillian Sector (1978)
  20. Web of Sand (1979)
  21. Iduna's Universe (1979)
  22. The Terra Data (1980)
  23. World of Promise (1980)
  24. Nectar of Heaven (1981)
  25. The Terridae (1981)
  26. The Coming Event (1982)
  27. Earth is Heaven (1982)
  28. Melome (1983) (published in UK with Angado [1984] as Melome and Angado [1988])
  29. Angado (1984) (published in UK with Melome [1983] as Melome and Angado [1988])
  30. Symbol of Terra (1984) (published in UK with The Temple of Truth [1985] as Symbol of Terra and The Temple of Truth [1989])
  31. The Temple of Truth (1985) (published in UK with Symbol of Terra [1985] as Symbol of Terra and The Temple of Truth [1989])
  32. The Return (1997) (written 1985 but previously only published in French language as Le Retour [1992])
  33. Child of Earth (2008)

Cap Kennedy (UK: F.A.T.E.)[edit]

All as by Gregory Kern

  1. Galaxy of the Lost (1973)
  2. Slave Ship from Sergan (1973)
  3. Monster of Metelaze (1973)
  4. Enemy Within the Skull (1974)
  5. Jewel of Jarhen (1974)
  6. Seetee Alert! (1974)
  7. The Gholan Gate (1974)
  8. The Eater of Worlds (1974)
  9. Earth Enslaved (1974)
  10. Planet of Dread (1974)
  11. Spawn of Laban (1974)
  12. The Genetic Buccaneer (1974)
  13. A World Aflame (1974)
  14. The Ghosts of Epidoris (1975)
  15. Mimics of Dephene (1975)
  16. Beyond the Galactic Lens (1975)
  17. The Galactiad (1983) (written 1976 but previously only published in German language as Das kosmische Duell [1976])

Space:1999[edit]

  1. Breakaway (1975)
  2. Collision Course (1975)
  3. Alien Seed (1976)
  4. Rogue Planet (1976)
  5. Earthfall (1977) (also published in 25th anniversary revised edition [2002])
  6. Earthbound (2003)

The Chronicles of Malkar[edit]

  1. Death God's Doom (1999)
  2. The Sleeping City (1999)

Other science fiction novels[edit]

Short story collections[edit]

Novellas[edit]

Non-SF novels[edit]

The Gladiators[edit]

All as by Edward Thomson

  1. Atilus the Slave (1975)
  2. Atilus the Gladiator (1975)
  3. Gladiator (1978)

Comic Books[edit]

Anthologies[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Cover blurb on 2002 Wildside Press edition of Tubb's The Winds of Gath
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (ed. Robert Holdstock), 1978, Octopus Books, London - ISBN 0-7064-0756-3
  3. ^ "Reading Room", If, February 1974, p.132
  4. ^ "Reading Room", If, April 1974, p.40

External links[edit]