Thursday, June 27, 2013

More Authors of the Golden Age of Science Fiction-E.C. Tubb

E.C. Tubb
Edwin Charles Tubb
Author, Editor
Born October 15, 1919, London, Englad
Died September 10, 2010, London, England

If the Golden Age of Science Fiction ended in 1950, then E.C. Tubb missed the mark by a year. His first published science fiction story, "Greek Gift," showed up in the British magazine New Worlds in Autumn 1951. Hundreds more novels and short stories poured from his pen over the next half century, including not just science fiction but also Westerns, detective fiction, adventure, comic book scripts, and adaptations from television. According to Wikipedia, Tubb wrote more than 140 novels and 230 short stories and novellas. He also served as editor of Authentic Science Fiction in 1956-1957. Short on material, he wrote an entire issue himself using different pseudonyms. In fact, Tubb is known to have used fifty-eight different pseudonyms in his writing. His most well-known series, comprising thirty-three volumes, is The Dumarest Saga. I have not read these books, but the description of an Earthman far from home and seeking his mythical home planet sounds like it could have inspired Battlestar Galactica. Tubb was more directly involved in another 1970s science fiction show, this one about people wandering away from planet Earth: Space: 1999.

E.C. Tubb wrote one story published in Weird Tales, "Sword in the Snow," from the Fall 1973 issue under the editorship of Sam Moskowitz. In his introduction, Moskowitz favorably compared it to the work of C.L. Moore.

A lifelong resident of London, E.C. Tubb died in 2010 at age ninety.

For Weird Tales
"Sword in the Snow" (Fall 1973)

The Winds of Gath, the first volume in the saga of Dumarest of Terra in an edition from 1982. The illustrator was Paul Alexander. 
This is the first chance I have had to show a Turkish edition of a science fiction or fantasy novel. I couldn't pass it up: E.C. Tubb's novelized version of Space: 1999, date unknown.

So that brings an end to my list of "More Authors of the Golden Age of Science Fiction." What's next? I wish I knew.

Text and captions copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley


  1. I read a dozen or so of the Dumarest saga in my teens. I really enjoyed them - they were typical pulp of the day. Like a lot of the books written around then (Moorcock being another case in point) they were comparatively short, rarely clearing the 200 page mark. The covers were very representative of their time without - in retrospect - being very representative of the mc, who was depicted with flowing blond locks and a moustache (rather like some Seventies porn star) neither of which were ever mentioned in the books.

  2. Aonghus,

    I should thank you for bringing E.C. Tubb to my attention. When you first mentioned the Dumarest Saga, I speculated that it had inspired the creators of Battlestar Galactica. In reading up on the show, I found that Glen Larson, the creator, first came up with the idea of Battlestar Galactica in the late 1960s. The first Dumarest book came out in 1967. The bad guys in Battlestar Galactica are of course the Cylons. You would know more than I about the Dumarest Saga, but it sounds like there is a group of antagonists called the Cyclans in the series. Battlestar Galactica is also related to Mormonism in one way or another. Maybe Glen Larson drew from several sources for inspiration. Star Trek and Star Wars are most obvious.


  3. The Cyclans in the 'Dumarest' books bear certain similarities to the Jesuits - a religious order adopting an outward appearance of poverty while being secretly power-hungry and expansionist. They prioritise reason over emotion - one of the conditions of becoming a full member is a form of emotional lobotomy and this proves their undoing in their quest to locate Dumarest as he acts on his instincts.

    There is an interesting corollory with the BSG (the second, and far superior version of the series) in that each Cyclan's brain is removed before his body fails. These brains are all kept on an unspecified planet (very similar to the resurrection ships in BSG which stores each Cylon consciousness) acting as a sort of hive-mind that directs Cyclan activity throughout the galaxy.