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Bowen, Robert Sidney

Entry updated 9 January 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1900-1977) US aviator, journalist, editor; his middle name is spelled Sydney, but is given as Sidney in his books; he also wrote nonfantastic tales as James Robert Richard. He served during World War One, in 1917 as an ambulance driver for the American Field Service, and from 1918 in active service as a pilot. After the war he worked for the London Daily News, and in his later career worked as an editor, including a stint as editor-in-chief of Aviation Magazine. As an author of tales for young men, the most famous of his series being the fifteen War Adventures set in World War Two, some of them hinting at the very Near Future, like Dave Dawson with the RAF (1941) whose action hovers around the projected Invasion of Britain.

Throughout his career, Bowen concentrated on pilots, though he also wrote a number of Westerns and other adventures, all nonfantastic. Of sf interest is the Dusty Ayres and His Battle Birds Near Future adventure series, about 35 of which appeared in Dusty Ayres and His Battle Birds in 1934-1935 [which see for further details]; several were later put into book form, beginning with Black Lightning (July 1934 Dusty Ayres and His Battle Birds; 1966) and ending with The White Death (January 1935 Dusty Ayres and His Battle Birds; 2018) . They are knowledgeable about aeroplanes, and otherwise vivid; unusually, the sequence follows a pre-designed story-arc, which climaxes in the last issue. [JC]

Robert Sydney Bowen

born Boston, Massachusetts: 4 October 1900

died Honolulu, Hawaii: 11 April 1977



The War Adventures Series (highly selected)

Dusty Ayres and His Battle Birds


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