Lymington, John

Tagged: Author

Pseudonym of UK writer John Newton Chance (1911-1983), prolific author from 1935 under his own name, most of this output being detective-thrillers; as John Drummond he wrote numerous Sexton Blake (> Sexton Blake Library) tales between 1944 and 1955, and as Desmond Reid (a House Name) his only sf contribution to that series, Anger at World's End (1963). His first sale, however, was a short story for BBC Radio, which ran several of his stories and plays before he moved to novels and story papers in 1933. His first novels of genre interest were the Bunst sequence of juvenile tales (> Children's SF), comprising The Black Ghost (1947) as by David C Newton and The Dangerous Road (1948) as by David C Newton; the remaining titles – Bunst and the Brown Voice (1950), Bunst the Bold (1950), Bunst and the Secret Six (1951) and Bunst and the Flying Eye (1953) – being published under his own name. Sf elements pervade the series, though they are casually deployed. A later sf novel, The Light Benders (1968), as by Jonathan Chance, is unremarkable.

Chance's first novel as Lymington, later made into a film (> The Night of the Big Heat), was The Night of the Big Heat (1959), about an alien Invasion, and much of his subsequent work constituted a set of variations on the theme of alien or natural menace to Earth, though not at the imaginative level of his predecessors (and likely models), John Wyndham and John Christopher. Lymington's use of genuine science is minimal and most of his books (many of which feature Monsters) operate at the level of B-grade sf/horror films (> Horror in SF), where menace strikes unexpectedly in a lazy, rural setting, evoking a constant Paranoia. Some of the better titles of this sort are The Giant Stumbles (1960), Froomb! (1964) – probably his best single novel of societal collapse (the title is an acronym for "fluid's running out of my brakes") – The Green Drift (1965), Ten Million Years to Friday (1967) and Give Daddy the Knife, Darling (1969). He wrote with some verve but little style, and there are many Clichés of character. His short stories, collected in The Night Spiders (coll 1964), are routine. It might be said that Lymington's main deficiency as a writer of sf was a lack of interest in the forward thrust of the genre; he was, at heart, a Horror writer. [JC/PN]

John Newton Chance

born London: 21 April 1911

died Liskeard, Cornwall: 3 August 1983

works

series

Bunst

  • The Black Ghost (London: Oxford University Press/Geoffrey Cumberlege, 1947) as by David C Newton [Bunst: hb/Carl Haworth]
  • The Dangerous Road (London: Oxford University Press/Geoffrey Cumberlege, 1948) as by David C Newton [Bunst: hb/Carl Haworth]
  • Bunst and the Brown Voice (London: Oxford University Press/Geoffrey Cumberlege, 1950) as John Newton Chance [Bunst: hb/Carl Haworth]
  • Bunst the Bold (London: Oxford University Press/Geoffrey Cumberlege, 1950) as John Newton Chance [Bunst: hb/Carl Haworth]
  • Bunst and the Secret Six (London: Oxford University Press/Geoffrey Cumberlege, 1951) as John Newton Chance [Bunst: hb/Carl Haworth]
  • Bunst and the Flying Eye (London: Oxford University Press/Geoffrey Cumberlege, 1953) as John Newton Chance [Bunst: hb/Carl Haworth]

individual titles

collections

  • The Night Spiders (London: Corgi Books, 1964) [coll: not to be confused with the 1967 novel with the same title listed above: pb/Josh Kirby]

links

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