Samuel Youd
Guy Lochhead, 08/09/10
Samuel Youd, or his common pen-name ‘John Christopher’, is an English science fiction author. He was “absolutely passionately devoted” to the genre from a young age, and published a fanzine, ‘The Fantast’, in his teens. He served his obligatory time in the Royal Signals Corps, and was then awarded a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation handed to writers whose work was interrupted by military service. He used this to complete his first novel, ‘The Winter Swan’, in 1949. He went on to write around 70 novels, under seven different names. He switched to writing for children in 1966. His writing was characterised by teenage individuality and escape, which is eventually resolved by an acceptance of responsibility. Youd/Christopher sounds like a decent enough author, and I like the post-apocalyptic children and fun-teen-to-responsible-adult transition arc (as long as it’s not simplistic), but he worked for a diamond company and just doesn’t seem that good. I did like this quote from him though: “In the old days… You could believe there was enough air on Mars to support life and so on, because we knew relatively little about the solar system. But by the time [space exploration] actually began to start happening we knew so much more. That sort of science fiction seems to me more like fairy stories, now.”

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