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The Golden Age of Science Fiction (Hardback)

A Journey into Space with 1950s Radio, TV, Films, Comics and Books

P&S History

By John Wade
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 208
ISBN: 9781526729255
Published: 11th February 2019


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John Wade grew up in the 1950s, a decade that has since been dubbed the ‘golden age of science fiction’. It was a wonderful decade for science fiction, but not so great for young fans. With early television broadcasts being advertised for the first time as ‘unsuitable for children’ and the inescapable barrier of the ‘X’ certificate in the cinema barring anyone under the age of sixteen, the author had only the radio to fall back on – and that turned out to be more fertile for the budding SF fan than might otherwise have been thought. Which is probably why, as he grew older, rediscovering those old TV broadcasts and films that had been out of bounds when he was a kid took on a lure that soon became an obsession.

For him, the super-accuracy and amazing technical quality of today’s science fiction films pale into insignificance beside the radio, early TV and B-picture films about people who built rockets in their back gardens and flew them to lost planets, or tales of aliens who wanted to take over, if not our entire world, then at least our bodies. This book is a personal account of John Wade’s fascination with the genre across all the entertainment media in which it appeared – the sort of stuff he revelled in as a young boy – and still enjoys today.

I found this book, a combination of entertainment history and memoir, really useful for understanding some of the tropes and references in modern sci-fi, and the author’s enthusiasm for the subject shines through. If you like sci-fi but haven’t had a chance to read or view the classics, this book makes a good cheat sheet and guide to what you have to read/watch. It was really easy to read and the illustrations were usefully placed.

Read the full review here

Rosemarie Cawkwell, Blogger

John Wade pays tribute to the decade’s various imaginative fictions in his breezy new book The Golden Age of Science Fiction. In five chapters each devoted to radio, television, film, books, and periodicals, respectively, Wade gives a run down of the major fictions of the era. Because he is English, he offers a perspective that often strays from the most commonly discussed fictions of the fifties. Wade shines when discussing such British artifacts as Nigel “Quatermass” Kneale’s TV work (particularly since he bolsters the discussion with tidbits from his own interviews with Kneale), Dan Dare—a sort of British Buck Rogers, and British radio series such as Journey into Space.

Read the full review here


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About John Wade

John Wade began his journalistic career on local newspapers, where he worked his way from junior reporter to deputy editor. He was editor of the UK magazine Photography for seven years before becoming a freelance writer and photographer thirty years ago. He has written and illustrated numerous articles on camera history for photographic and collectors’ magazines in the UK, America and Australia. He has also written articles on social history for magazines in the UK, and is the author of more than thirty books, published in the UK and US.

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