Reading the Encyclopedia – A. Bertram Chandler Award

From Sea To Shining Star, the memorial collection, featuring several previously unpublished works, from Dreamstone, 1990

A. Bertram Chandler Award

see Chandler Award.

If you want a true ABCs of Science Fiction, you can turn to Arthur Bertram “Jack” Chandler, a master of what has now become referred to as “space opera”, who also happens to be one of my favorite authors.

Jack entered the seafaring trade at an early age, originally  working for a steamship (!) company out of England.  He eventually emigrated to Australia, becoming one of its most prominent SF authors.

His work is credited with depicting (space)shipboard life in a very realistic manner, drawing upon his sea faring experiences.  He got into science fiction reading the pulps and, during the 1940s would visit Campbell’s Astounding offices in New York whenever his ship put into port there.  Campbell encouraged him to write and he did, producing his first story – This Means War – which would be published in Astounding in 1944.

He would create a future history of sorts that served as the backgrounding for most of his 200+ stories and over 40 novels.

He was the author GoH at the Chicon IV Worldcon, a good friend of Harlan Ellisons and was frequently at the top of the Astounding Reader’s poll.  (I personally attribute the fact that he is not more widely known to his lack of regular participation in conventions, owing to his main job, sailing the seas.)

His influence on Australian science fiction is deep – his novel Kelly Country (alternate history about Ned Kelly and an Australian Empire) was funded by a governmental branch;  he won several Ditmar Awards (Australia’s Hugo) and the Chandler Award was named for him and is given out mostly, but not routinely, on an annual basis for Outstanding Achievement in Australian Science Fiction.

Most of his works are readily available in the used book market.


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