Tuesday, December 20, 2005


So sad to hear that genre writer Ken Bulmer passed away a few days ago. Ken hopped an out-of system space-freighter and jetted off into The Great Beyond.

Ken had a really great moustache and looked like a cross between Bill Burroughs and a WW2 Spitfire pilot. Can't fault that. He was prolific, an Old Skool Pro, but he was never a hack. As a jobbing post-war writer trying to earn a crust he was adaptable enough to turn his hand to crusty Viking Sagas, Dark Fantasy, Nazi U-Boat Novels, Westerns (Yay! Jubal Cade for NEL amongst many others), etc...and it's a testament to his talent how great many of these books are, considering the ball-crushing deadlines and lousy pay he must've endured on the Post-Pulp publishing treadmill.

He clocked up over 160 novels, many under pesudonyms. A small fraction of them are on display here. Wow: takes yr breath away...I wouldn't like to even guess how many short stories he wrote. He was one of a very small handful of English SF writers who successfully crossed over to the US market, leading to regular work at both ACE and DAW.

In my early teens I loved the Scorpio series that he wrote under the pen-name of, erm, Alan Burt Akers. Sounds like it ought to be an anagram, don't it?

Bulmer straddled two generations of UK spectulative fiction; he was mates w/ John Wyndham and Ed 'EC' Tubb, but also hung out w/ 'New Wave' writers like Michael Moorcock and Mike Butterworth when they were also moonlighting on the Brit weekly comics scene to make ends meet. Ken wrote regularly for both Valiant and Lion back in the 60's: his most famous credit is probably "The Steel Claw" wh/ was beautifully drawn by comics legend Jesus Blasco and scared the shit out of me when I was a kid. Take it from me, Ken and Jesus' version was loooads better than the half-arsed nonsense recently excreted by Alan fucking Moore's daughter. Score a copy of the Titan reprint s/back immediately, if you know what's good for you.

Ken's best work has warmth, imagination and an inner character all of its own: wh/ is more than can be said for the sadsack Eng.Lit drop-outs, ex-student rag-mag gag-writers and sterile Gibson wannabes that infest the 'SF' section of Ottakars these days.

Be warned, 'cyberpunks': yr days are numbered.