(1889-1965) UK writer, mostly of stories for boys in the earlier years of his career, from his first published story "Mr Dorien's Missing £2000" for Yes and No in 1907 into the 1930s, though he also wrote many Sexton Blake Library tales during these years; and mostly of adventure thrillers – including the 50 or more Norman Conquest books as by Berkeley Gray and the 30 or so Ironsides of the Yard books as by Victor Gunn – from the late 1930s until his death. His first notable work of sf interest – "Iron Island" (1910-1911 The Gem), and its immediate sequel "The Brotherhood of Iron" (1911 The Gem), both as by Robert W Comrade – features a protagonist marooned on an island made of iron, which gives him Superhero strength, which he uses after his escape in order to exact revenge upon his enemies. This utilitarian use of sf motifs – Lost Worlds and Inventions appear and reappear, inconsequentially, throughout his children's fiction – mark the exceedingly prolific and canny Brooks as a figure in the field to be noted, but not concentrated upon, although his speed and functional prose were an early and continuing inspiration to John Russell Fearn. A series of revamped stories about various of the "St Frank's Schoolboys" from The Nelson Lee Library (1915-1933), which were published as The Monster Library series of adventures, is particularly full of sf material; 'Neath African Skies: The Holiday Adventures of the St Frank's Schoolboys on a Trip Abroad (1928), a Lost Race tale, is typical. Other stories of some sf interest include The Lost World of Everest (1936 Modern Boy as "The Hidden World of Everest"; 1941) as by Berkeley Gray, and The School in Space (1947). Brooks almost never wrote a thoughtful story, but in his 40 million words of published work there is hardly a dull one. [JC]
see also: Boys' Friend Library; Boys' Papers.
Edwy Searles Brooks
born London: 11 November 1889
died London: 2 December 1965
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