Locke, George

Tagged: Author | Critic

(1936-    ) UK author, one-time pharmacist, antiquarian bookseller and bibliographer. He began publishing sf with "The Human Seed" for Authentic Science Fiction in October 1957, and under the name Gordon Walters published a number of sf stories in the 1960s, but no sf books; his novel, Pattern of Terror (1987) as by Ayresome Johns is a detective tale involving an "impossible crime" and the supernatural. He has published several Sherlock Holmes Parodies, including The Ghosts of Eden; Or, the Swarming Wisps (2015 chap), which imports acknowledged riffs from Michael Moorcocks' The Whispering Swarm (2015) (the cover, derived from a James Cawthorn illustration, cites Moorcock's retitling of Hilary Bailey's "The Fall of Frenchy Steiner"). His most important publications have been in the Bibliography of sf and fantasy; though his researches have been far-ranging, the emphasis has been on nineteenth-century interplanetary romances, which he annotated in Voyages in Space: A Bibliography of Interplanetary Fiction, 1801-1914 (1975 chap). Ferret Fantasy's Christmas Annual for 1972 (anth 1972 chap), Ferret Fantasy's Christmas Annual for 1973 (anth 1974 chap) and Ferret Fantasy's Christmas Annual for 1974 (anth 1975 chap), which contains inter alia short bibliographies of this material, led to the excellent Science Fiction First Editions: A Select Bibliography and Notes for the Collector (1978 chap). A late anthology, Sources of Science Fiction: Future War Novels of the 1890s (anth 1998 8vols), though designed for institutions, makes available previously recognized Future War and Invasion texts, almost all set in the Near Future; plus some texts Locke has been instrumental in making visible.

Of greater importance, however, is the Spectrum of Fantasy sequence of annotated Bibliographies which constitute Locke's central accomplishment in the field. The sequence comprises A Spectrum of Fantasy: The Bibliography and Biography of a Collection of Fantastic Literature (1980), A Spectrum of Fantasy II: Acquisitions to a Collection of Fantastic Literature, 1980-1993 (1994), A Spectrum of Fantasy III: Acquisitions to a Collection of Fantastic Literature, 1994-2001: Together With Additional Notes on Titles Covered in the First Two Volumes; And an Index to All Three Volumes (2002), plus Spectrum of Fantasy: Christmas Annual 2002 (2002 chap) and Spectrum of Fantasy: Christmas Annual 2003-2004 (2004 chap). The collection referred to is Locke's own, which despite the title consists mostly of individual sf books, with an emphasis on interplanetary tales; many books not previously understood to merit admission to the canon of sf and fantasy, and many others that were completely unknown, are first cited – and their contents sometimes synopsized – in these volumes. More recently, Voyages in Space: The Interplanetary Theme in Creative Writing to 1914: A Researcher's Companion (2011) provides an annotated description of works (not in this case necessarily from his own collection) which he deems to be genuine interplanetary fictions. The frequent specific references to Locke in this encyclopedia almost exclusively relate to comments and discoveries contained in Spectrum of Fantasy and Voyages in Space, and point to a wider range of background debt, an indebtedness that necessarily permeates any subsequent reference work in the field. These works, plus the central works of Neil Barron, E F Bleiler, R Reginald and Donald Tuck, have over the past several decades hugely expanded critical understanding of the true range of texts that may be evaluated in terms of sf and the fantastic in general. Any references in this encyclopedia to other works by Locke are so indicated. His Small Press, Ferret Fantasy, having published mainly works by or edited by Locke, continues to exist. [JC]

George Walter Locke

born London: 3 February 1936





Spectrum of Fantasy

individual titles

works as editor


Ferret Fantasy's Christmas Annual

individual titles


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