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Southall, Ivan

Entry updated 25 May 2020. Tagged: Author.

(1921-2008) Australian soldier and author, of sf interest for the Simon Black Young Adult sequence, beginning with his first published book, Meet Simon Black (1950; cut 1957), in which Squadron Leader Black leaves the service after World War Two and creates a rocket-powered supersonic VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Land) aircraft (see Inventions); Black improves this vehicle steadily as the series continues through Simon Black in Peril (1951), about a hunt for Nazi revanchists in a hidden Pacific Island, and Simon Black in Space (1952; cut vt Simon Black on Venus 1955), where it has been transformed into a Spaceship. Though later volumes – like Simon Black in Coastal Command (1953) – are not all of direct sf interest, the series overall places Black and his young confederates into situations beyond the rim of the mundane. This is clearly the case with Simon Black and the Spacemen (1955), a First Contact tale set in space; Simon Black in the Antarctic (1956), in which a Monster is terrorizing an Antarctic research station; and Simon Black Takes Over: The Strange Tale of Operation Greenleaf (1959), whose Alien visitors to Earth could be exactly described as Little Green Men. Simon Black himself has been likened to Captain W E Johns's Biggles, though the sequence itself more strongly resembles Johns's Tiger and Rex Clinton tales, also from the 1950s. Most of Southall's later work was for adults; none was sf. [JC]

see also: Carnegie Medal.

Ivan Francis Southall

born Canterbury, near Melbourne, Victoria: 8 June 1921

died Wantima, near Melbourne, Victoria: 15 November 2008

works (selected)

series

Simon Black

Some further titles listed below may have been cut in reprint form.

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