Sean Wallace and Philip Harbottle (Beccon Publications £12.00 pp200 1998)
THE TALL ADVENTURER in a small box on the cover (whose illustration spoofs one of Tubb's recent collections) correctly describes this book as "An annotated guide to every book and short story". And they are annotations by two admitted fans. So of the 222 stories listed and described, only number 88, "Intrigue on Io", is described as "Oh, dear - here we have Tubb's only genuine clunking piece of hackwork!". While among their positives they point out that "Precedent" which appeared in NEW WORLDS in 1952, pre-dated Tom Godwin's "The Cold Equations" by two years in dealing with the moral problems of stowaways and fuel consumption in interplanetary travel.
Every story (and in the second half of the book, every novel or collection) is listed, with its various publications, and dates, and the pseudonym the author used. Tubb was trying to live by his writing, while other authors of the fifties (Clarke and Ballard, for instance) waited until their writing could support them, which perhaps threatened to write him out. He was a man of many names, and one of the most regretful things caused by the cheap magazine demand was that authors could not be identified. Either they had to use many names to hide their productivity, or else they became another set of hands for Volstead Gridban. Wallace and Harbottle argue that one of the identifying elements in Tubb's work is its use of logic - but that would not have been obvious at the time.
THE TALL ADVENTURER is interesting in itself, but apart from sending readers out to look for copies of Tubb's work (some are being re-published now, but this bibliography is more likely to act as a check-list in the second-hand shops for collectors), it also points out that some novels and stories are actually responses or developments of other people's work - CITY OF NO RETURN with C.A. Smith's CITY OF THE SINGING FLAME and Simak's THE VOICE IN THE VOID, for instance, or THE TORMENTED CITY with Harness's THE PARADOX MEN, and that could be the skeleton of a graduate thesis. But start looking for that source material now - many of those titles were not published for posterity.
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