Vale: Samuel Youd, aka John Christopher


Word is spreading of a sad loss in the speculative fiction community, that of British Writer Samuel Youd, on February 3, only two months shy of his 90th birthday. <Update: Locus has confirmed Youd’s passsing.>

As John Christopher, Youd provided two of the great texts of my childhood, both of which have survived the recent pogroms of excess literature cluttering the household shelves: The Tripods and The Sword of the Spirits trilogies. Tripods in particular made a strong impression.

This is barely scratching the surface of his output published under numerous pseudonyms.

He ranked up there with the likes of Garner, Cooper and Le Guin in my early reading. I hope more generations come to appreciate his legacy.

Update: the Guardian looks at Youd’s work and provides a short obituary and a longer one.

8 thoughts on “Vale: Samuel Youd, aka John Christopher

  1. Lovely tribute, Jason. SY, writing as John Christopher, was one of my first and favourite spec fic authors as a child. I loved his Sword of the Spirits and Tripod trilogies and remember devouring many more titles including Fireball, The Guardians and Death of Grass. His stories always spoke to me and I still have dog-eared paperback editions on my bookshelf.

    This is sad news, but brings fond memories. Samuel Youd was an inspiration. I also think it interesting that he never valued his John Christopher novels as much as some works he crafted under other pseudonyms – and yet his JC books touched generations of readers. A great legacy. Vale Samuel.

  2. Dad would have very much appreciated your comments, Jason and Cheryse – particularly given that you mention ‘Sword of the Spirits’, which were his own favourites amongst his many many books …

  3. Thanks, Rose. I’m now even more embarrassed about my bad maths. I hope all the tributes might provide some comfort in what must be a very dark time.

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