I hear the sirens calling
As the rain is gently falling

Back to the future

Doomed World by RL FanthorpeA 1000 Years On by John E MullerThe Mind Makers by John E MullerThe Microscopic Ones by Leo BrettMarch Of The Robots by Leo Brett

I’m a big fan of retro-futurism – something I think we’ll be hearing a lot more about as we tumble further and further into the 21st century – and a big fan of Badger Books, a pulp fiction imprint set up in 1960 by the London-based pulp magazine publishers John Spencer & Co. Badger put out all different kinds of books, but they were best known for their science fiction and supernatural tales. Actually, when I say I’m a fan of Badger Books, I’m not talking about the stories. Like most pulp fiction, they were absolutely bloody dreadful. What I really mean is I’m a fan of their cover artwork, despite them being accused of pinching some of their ideas from the covers of previously published books.

A vast number of the Badger sci-fi books, including all five of the titles above, were written under a variety of pseudonyms by Lionel Fanthorpe, who some of you may remember as the host of the “Fortean TV” series during the late 1990s. Fanthorpe is also a fully ordained Anglican minister, the president of the British UFO Research Association, and a qualified weight-lifting instructor – not that I should imagine he goes in for much weight-lifting now he’s not far short of 80 years old. He wrote a staggering 180 books for Badger between 1960 and 1967, which is something like two new titles every month, an achievement all the more astonishing since he had a full-time job as a teacher throughout this period. However iffy Lionel Fanthorpe’s writing might have been, that’s got to be some sort of record.

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