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Kippax, John

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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Pseudonym of UK author John Charles Hynam (1915-1974), a regular contributor to the UK sf magazines during 1955-1961, publishing over thirty stories in that time, only one under his own name; two appeared as by Julian Frey. Several Kippax stories appeared elsewhere, as did much generally non-genre material as by Hynam (John, Joan or Jane) or Frey. His first two stories appeared in December 1954: "Dimple" in Science Fantasy and "Trojan Hearse" in New Worlds. The latter was a collaboration with Dan Morgan, with whom he also published the Venturer Twelve Space-Opera series – A Thunder of Stars (1968), Seed of Stars (1972), The Neutral Stars (1973) and, by Kippax alone owing to Morgan's work commitments, Where No Stars Guide (1975) – about the Space Corps team of the Venturer Twelve; ostensibly a set of Military SF adventures, the series works to undercut any sense that forthright action can bring security in an extremely unsettled universe hagridden by unfindable Aliens where acts of violence in humanity's name are likely to backfire. The narrative awkwardness of the sequence, and some conventional climaxes, muffled its impact, and it is now neglected. Kippax and Morgan spent much time preparing material for an abortive Venturer Twelve television series, but neither this nor a projected fifth novel by Morgan ever appeared. (Morgan found a return to writing almost impossible for both work and personal reasons, despite his wish to continue with Venturer Twelve.)

Kippax could tailor his prose towards a variety of markets; the stories "Call Him Friday" in an un-numbered Daily Mail Boys Annual (anth circa 1958) and "Friday" (February 1959 New Worlds) are juvenile and adult versions of the same basic narrative. Hynam under his own name contributed to the first Fireball XL5 Annual (anth 1963) (see Fireball XL5) and to Rosemary Timperley's Ghost Book anthologies, but was better known as a prolific writer of mainstream Radio plays. One sf play was "Closed Planet" (broadcast 24 October 1962). Of his published plays, "A Different Kind of Woman" (in The Fifth Windmill Book of One-Act Plays, anth 1970) is a tough-minded Stone Age Prehistoric SF drama of strong Feminist interest. [JC]

John Charles Hynam

born Alwalton, Huntingdonshire: 10 June 1915

died near Werrington: 17 July 1974



Venturer Twelve


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