Tue
Sep 14 2010 1:16pm
E.C. Tubb 1919-2010

I was very sad to learn today of the death of E.C. Tubb.

Tubb was a prolific British SF writer who wrote more than a hundred novels in his career under his own name and pseudonyms—SFWA says more than 140, Locus says more than 130. He also wrote scripts for the TV show Space 1999 and many stories published in New Worlds, Analog, Galaxy, and other magazines. Some of these stories are available in Wildside’s The Best Science Fiction of E.C. Tubb. He was a Guest of Honour at the 1970 Heidelburg Worldcon and was one of the co-founders of the British Science Fiction Association.

What most fans will best remember is his Dumarest saga.

When I started reading Dumarest there were more than a dozen volumes, by last year when Child of Earth came out in a limited edition, there were thirty-three. I loved those books. I can remember their names and their titles. I spent years without number four, Kalin, which was a pity as that was one that contained essential plot. I was so excited when I found it, a U.S. remainder with a hole in the cover.

Dumarest was a man born on Earth, who had lost Earth and was trying to find it again. Travel between the stars could be by the High or Low methods, the High kept you awake and the Low froze you down, and a certain percentage of people never woke again. Each book was a fully satisfying complete episode in Dumarest’s long quest—the books usually ended with him leaving yet another planet and woman. When I was a teenager they contained the concentrated essence of space opera. I think the feel of them can be best summed up by the title of Spectrum of a Forgotten Sun. They’re not great literature, but they reliably provided a certain very specific kind of pleasure. I would be delighted whenever I found a new one, or an old one that I was missing. I grew out of them eventually, but as you can tell I remember them fondly and in some detail—and most of all I can still remember the joy they gave me.

Planet after planet, adventure after adventure, Dumarest kept on questing, finding an occasional clue to lost Earth, and to the mystery of why Earth was hidden. Let him sail between the stars forever.

Edwin Charles Tubb was ninety one. He kept writing to the end and had a book accepted on the day he died. He is survived by two daughters, two grand-daughters and numerous great-grandchildren.

10 comments
Stefan Jones
1. Stefan Jones
My gosh . . . another author I lost track of and assumed was gone lone ago. I'm glad to hear he was still writing.

The classic SF role playing game Traveller owes a lot to the Dumarest series.
James Hogan
2. Sonofthunder
:( I grew up going on vacations in the panhandle of Florida...every fall for a week my family would stay in a beach house. And Dumarest books were all over the house. Every year I'd find different ones in different places in the house. It was amazing. I'd spend half my time on vacation reading instead of playing on the beach...I got lost in those books.

About a year ago, I found myself wondering about that series. I had only read maybe 10-15 of them...and I couldn't remember the series' name or the author's. So I Googled "Terra" "search" with maybe a few other words. I do remember(if my memory doesn't betray me!) in one of the books a rather large nuclear device was found. I finally found the name of the series and author and was overjoyed! I still haven't found an easy way to pick up the large portion of the series. Ideas? These were fun reads...and it makes me sad to know the creator is gone.
Stefan Jones
3. Koenig435
Sad to hear this news. Slight correction: Tubb did NOT write scripts for the Space:1999 series. He wrote novelisations based on the scripts, and some original novels of his own.
Stefan Jones
4. graywyvern
i will always fondly remember "Half Past Human"...

m.
Stefan Jones
5. Captain Button
I'm sorry to hear about Mr. Tubb's passing.

But Half Past Human was written by T. J. Bass. Wikipedia says Dr. Bass is still with us.

On USENET years ago someone reported contacting Dr. Bass and said he was surprised and pleased that people still remembered his SF stories.
Stefan Jones
6. hayley k
In memory of ted. He was my nans partner and he made her very happy. He was a kind and lovely man and will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Our thoughts are with you ted. Love from Hayley Nigel and kids
Stefan Jones
7. Lynne Lilley
I remember spending mums birthday with you last year in Essex.
How you beat me every time playing cards and your shuffling was perfection, although you complimented me on my poor attempt.
The stories you told us about your past employment history were hilarious you certainly held court that evening. Mum said it was the best birthday she had ever spent with you. I treasured the book you signed for me Ted, "to my stepdaughter" it meant a lot then and even more treasured now. we will all miss you very much. with love Lynne, Fred,
Rita (Kitten), Kristin and Brad xxxxx
Tina Black
8. TinaBlack
I read Dumarest books year after year, and yes, they were very satisfying. I probably have 20 of them. My late husband may have had even more.

I hope Dumarest found his lost Terra, and I am sorry that Mr. Tubb is gone.
Shelby Michlin
9. BaronGreystone
I own the complete Dumarest saga. I started reading them in the early 1970's. I'm very grateful to Mr. Tubb for the many hours of enjoyment he brought me, allowing me to share in his fantastic character's adventures. And when I discovered the Traveller game back in the late 1970's, the character I wanted to be was Dumarest. My sincerest condolences to his family.
Stefan Jones
10. John Maddox Roberts
I discovered Dumarest in 1968 or '69, when I was stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC. I loved him from the start. Earl Dumarest is the star traveler of our fantasies, who has nothing but his wits and a knife in his boot and needs nothing else. In later years I realized that Tubb had taken the setting of many of his novels from the French film "The Wages of Fear," in which a little group of adventurers are stranded in a nameless Latin American town in the aftermath of WWII. There is no way out, and no way to earn money to buy a ticket. Into this situation comes an oil company that needs four men to drive two trucks of nitroglycerin into the mountains to put out an oil well fire. Four men are desperate enough to try. This became the standard Dumarest "Lowtown" scenario. Farewell, Mr. Tubb. You had a lot to do with my becoming a SF writer.

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