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Ball, Brian N

Entry updated 15 March 2024. Tagged: Author.

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(1932-2020) UK author, until 1965 a teacher and lecturer, subsequently freelance, who began publishing sf with "The Pioneer" for New Worlds in February 1962, soon after editing a juvenile anthology, Tales of Science Fiction (anth 1964). His first novel, Sundog (1965), is one of his better books, tinged with Space Opera, in which – though restricted by incomprehensible and uncomprehending Aliens to the solar system and by itself to a rigidly policed Dystopia, – mankind transcends its limitations. The trigger factor is the simple-seeming Spaceship pilot Dod, who slowly discovers himself to be a rather more formidable Scientist who was subjected to "blocking" (see Memory Edit) when his quasi-metaphysical researches into consciousness and Identity frightened the regime.

There followed three volumes of a projected five-book sequence involving an ancient Galactic Federation (see Forerunners), its relics, Time Travel, and rebirth: Timepiece (1968), Timepivot (1970) and Timepit (1971). A second series, The Probability Man (1972) and Planet Probability (1973), follows the exploits of Frame-Director Spingarn in his heterodox construction of reality-spaces (frames) for the delectation (and voluntary destruction) of billions of bored citizens. Singletons include Night of the Robots (April 1965 Science Fantasy #71 as "The Excursion"; exp rev 1972; vt The Regiments of Night 1972), in which assorted visitors to a Ruined Earth inadvertently waken an ancient AI-controlled military installation. Though he sometimes aspired to the more metaphysical side of the sf tropes he utilizes, Ball's style tended to reduce these implications to routine action-adventure plots, competently executed. [JC/DRL]

see also: Fermi Paradox; Lie Detectors; Scientific Hoax.

Brian Neville Ball

born Cheshire: 19 June 1932

died Doncaster, South Yorkshire: 23 July 2020



Galactic Federation

  • Timepiece (London: Dennis Dobson, 1968) [Galactic Federation: hb/Richard Weaver]
  • Timepivot (New York: Ballantine Books, 1970) [cover art recycled from Kingsley Amis's Colonel Sun (1968): Galactic Federation: pb/Tom Adams]
  • Timepit (London: Dennis Dobson, 1971) [Galactic Federation: hb/]



SPACE: 1999


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