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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 Photographic Books Colour Books

By John Wade
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 120
ISBN: 9781526729255
Published: 11th February 2019

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£25.00


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As featured in The Bookseller, December 2018.

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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.

The whole story is captured brilliantly in this new book, The Golden Age of Science Fiction, complete with some wonderful pictures and other colourful images. Great stories and the kind of detailed information that will appeal to science fiction buffs of all ages.

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Radio Out There

It is a labour of love, beautifully illustrated and worth owning just for the sheer pleasure of dipping into now and again, and as a reminder of how energetic the depiction of our future used to be.

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Magonia Review, Trevor Payne

The book is lavishly illustrated throughout and I found no spelling errors or grammar problems.

As I am sure you can already guess, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will be referring back to it often in future.

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Iron Mammoth's Studio

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.

Read the full review here

Magonia Review, John Rimmer

Reading this book reminded me how science fiction inspired me to dream, as it did millions of others - and provided us with a vision of the future, albeit one that has taken rather longer to come to fruition (where are the flying cars?). It is lavishly illustrated and beautifully produced - and whilst not as large as a typical 'coffee table' book I suspect that quite a few purchasers will leave it out for their visitors! For many it will be a book to dip into and savour, rather than read from beginning to end - there's a comprehensive index at the back to guide you to you favourite memories.

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Lost Cousins

There’s probably a limited audience for this book, but those who do take the time to give it a try will be well rewarded.

Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine - reviewed by Charles de Lint

An exciting book that will interest lovers of Sci Fi from the 50s. With colour pictures and photos throughout, there is lots to keep the reader involved – even if you didn’t grow up in that era... This is a fantastic collection of sci fi memorabilia for those who enjoy escapism and a nostalgic trip down memory lane.
Brilliant stuff!

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For the Love of Books

This is a beautifully written and presented book, part history, part memoir, of a time that seems magical now.

John Wade explores the books, films, comics and radio plays that meant so much to him and so many others in the 1950s.

His writing is excellent. A highlight for me is the section ‘Science Fiction On Television’ which includes some excellent writing on Nigel Kneale’s ‘Quatermass’. Kneale is one of the great writers in any genre. I am surprised that Quatermass hasn’t been revived, the character is more relevant than ever. Shortly before his death, Kneale wrote a treatment for a Quatermass prequel, ‘Quatermass In The Third Reich’, so perhaps we might see that some day.

Overall, a lovely book, one well worth reading.

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Hellbound, Steve Earles

Featured in 'The best of this month's Hertfordshire-linked books and book news'

Hertfordshire Life, July 2019

There really is a lot of good stuff in here, especially from the photo section and general knowledge is mostly correct that will make this an interesting book for your shelves.

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SF Crowsnest

Grab your secret decoder ring and your blaster, strap yourself in for liftoff, and enjoy. . . . The pictures in this book are reason enough to buy it.

New York Journal of Books

Wade describes sci-fi through British & American comic books, magazines, TV shows, radio serials, and offers brief synopses and biographies.

GoodReads, Kristine Fisher

This book is a quick read, well illustrated with book covers and film posters, and with occasional information from interviews the author conducted over the years. Much of the focus is on the British sci-fi scene, and will come as new information for many non-British readers. I found it enjoyable.

The Miniatures Page

This is a book that will bring joy to many people, and not only to those who are into science-fiction, but also readers who want to relive their memories of the time, or who have become attached to the programmes or the stories in later years (Quartermass, Dan Dare, The Lost Planet, Superman, The Day of the Triffids, The Eagle and many others). And anybody who might be looking for a source of casual information (writers, for example) will also enjoy this easy-to-read resource. I am not sure everybody will finish the book convinced that the Fifties were the golden age of science fiction, but I bet anybody reading it will be delighted.

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GoodReads, Olga Miret

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.

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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.

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Psychobabble

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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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