(1894-1977) South-African-born editor and writer, in UK from an early age, and a UK civil servant from 1912. His first book of sf relevance was the nonfiction The World of Tomorrow – A Junior Book of Forecasts (1933), focusing on possible future Inventions, partly illustrated with reproductions of artwork from sf magazines, and thus – almost accidentally – the first anthology of sf Illustration; Anthology of Armageddon (anth 1935) with Bernard Newman assembled stories directly related to World War One, mostly nonfantastic. Some of his fiction – like Gadget City: A Story of Ancient Alexandria (1944), featuring an ancient Briton enslaved in Alexandria, who is enthralled by the Inventions in which it glories, including a giant steamship – incorporates some sf anomalies into tales mostly nonfantastic. The Coming of a King; A Story of the Stone Age (1950) is Prehistoric SF.
As editor and translator, Evans specialized in the works of Jules Verne, beginning with Jules Verne – Master of Science Fiction (coll 1956), which assembles extracts from Verne's novels; in 1958 he began to publish the Fitzroy edition of Verne's work in translation; some of these were reprinted by Ace Books. Unfortunately, in editing Verne Evans modified but did not necessarily improve some dubious early translations, sometimes abridging them cruelly, partly in obedience to publisher restrictions on page count, but also preserving an unfortunate English-language tradition of presenting texts of Verne carefully stripped of adult themes and other complications, a distortion intensified by frequent errors both literal and tonal. Many of these books require some research to identify, as Evans often gave them titles of his own manufacture. Jules Verne and his Work (1965) is a useful primer. Evans also edited Science Fiction through the Ages 1 (anth 1966) and Science Fiction through the Ages 2 (anth 1966), the first volume of which is restricted to pre-twentieth-century sf. The Borgo Press series, I O Evans Studies in the Philosophy and Criticism of Literature, was initiated in the 1980s in his honour. [PN/JC]
Idrisyn Oliver Evans
born Bloemfontein, Orange Free State [now part of the Republic of South Africa]: 11 November 1894
died 13 February 1977
works as editor
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