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Cowley, Stewart

Entry updated 15 April 2024. Tagged: Author.

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(1947-    ) UK author who has also written as by Steven Caldwell and The Reverend Hubert Venables, most but not all of his work being spoof compilations. The first of these, the Terran Trade Authority Handbook beginning with the heavily illustrated Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD (coll 1978), comprises a series of "nonfiction" guides to the Space Opera-inflected Near Future, extending into more distant times and venues in later volumes like Starliners: Commercial Space Travel in 2200 AD (coll 1982). The Future History here depicted involves the Invention of a Faster Than Light drive, enabling human expansion into the galaxy, along with several Wars with Alien civilizations. At least two volumes of the sequence, Great Space Battles (coll 1979) and Spacewreck: Ghostships and Derelicts of Space (coll 1979), assemble short stories embedded in the general setting. An attempt to rework the sequence twenty-five years later, with individual titles rewritten and set further into the future, proved abortive, and ended after two volumes, Spacecraft 2100 to 2200 AD (coll 1978) and Local Space: A Guide to the TTA Universe (coll 2006). A second sequence, the Galactic Encounters series as by Steven Caldwell, beginning with Aliens in Space: An Illustrated Guide to the Inhabited Galaxy (coll 1979 chap), shares methodology and some cross-references, but is less slickly produced.

Cowley's other work includes The Space Warriors (coll 1980), which contains straightforward tales; and The Frankenstein Diaries: Translated and Edited by the Rev Hubert Venables (1980), comprising an introduction by "Venables", an elaborate spoof critical apparatus, and the diaries of Viktor Frankenstein over a period of years (but disorientingly dated by month only). The narrative attributed to the Baron is at points sharply evocative; but the Frankenstein Monster depicted is the brutish mute travesty that dominated nineteenth-century Theatre and twentieth-century Cinema versions of Mary Shelley's original, manifestly stripping the "monster" of his original, highly articulate, transgressive presence. [JC]

Stewart Cowley

born 24 May 1947



Terran Trade Authority Handbook (First Version)

Terran Trade Authority Handbook (Second Version)

Galactic Encounters

individual titles



previous versions of this entry

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