- COOPER, Edmund
- (1926-1982)UK writer who served in the British Merchant Navy 1939-45 and who began to publish stories of genre interest with "The Unicorn" (1951), producing a considerable amount of short fiction in the 1950s, much of it assembled (with considerable overlap) in Tomorrow's Gift (coll 1958 US), Voices in the Dark (coll 1960) and Tomorrow Came (coll 1963). His early pseudonyms included Martin Lester; George Kinley, under which name he published his first sf novel, Ferry Rocket (1954); and Broderick Quain. For a later sf adventure series (see listing below) he used the name Richard Avery.It was as a novelist that EC became most highly regarded, and it was for his earlier novels that he was most appreciated, though later works like The Overman Culture (1971) showed a continuing (if reluctant) facility in newer modes; in his persistent use of post-nuclear- HOLOCAUST settings he was probably expressing his own conviction about the future course of events. His first novel under his own name, The Uncertain Midnight (1958; vt Deadly Image 1958 US), describes a post-holocaust world in which ANDROIDS are gradually threatening to supplant humankind. Seed of Light (1959) is a GENERATION-STARSHIP novel in which a small group manages to escape from a devastated Earth. Other novels to incorporate the basic premise that the planet has been rendered to a greater or lesser degree uninhabitable include The Last Continent (1969 US), The Tenth Planet (1973 US) and The Cloud Walker (1973), which was his best received novel (certainly in the USA) and the last to be much praised. Its message was perhaps conventional, but was competently delivered: even though two nuclear holocausts have afflicted England, the Luddite response of a new church is inappropriate, and the young protagonist properly wins the day with an invention which he uses to defend his village from assailants. As the novel closes, the march of progress is seen to resume.In general, however, EC's later work lacked much joie de vivre, while an anti- FEMINIST point of view - he was quoted as saying of women: "Let them compete against men, they'll see that they can't make it"-became explicit in his novels Five to Twelve (1968) and Who Needs Men? (1972; vt Gender Genocide 1973 US), and implicit elsewhere. These attitudes were neither politic, in the heightened atmosphere of the 1970s, nor in fact intrinsically becoming. The stories assembled in Merry Christmas, Ms Minerva! (coll 1978) failed to help. EC died with his reputation at a low ebb; but he was a competent and prolific writer, and a better balance may some day be reached.MJE/JCOther works: Wish Goes to Slumberland (1960 chap), a fantasy for children; Transit (1964); All Fools' Day (1966); A Far Sunset (1967); News from Elsewhere (coll 1968); Sea-Horse in the Sky (1969); Son of Kronk (1970; vt Kronk 1971 US); The Square Root of Tomorrow (coll 1970); Unborn Tomorrow (coll 1971); The Slaves of Heaven (1974 US); Prisoner of Fire (1974); Jupiter Laughs (coll 1980); A World of Difference (coll 1980).As Richard Avery: The Expendables sequence of SPACE OPERAS, comprising The Deathworms of Kratos (1975), The Rings of Tantalus (1975), The War Games of Zelos (1975) and The Venom of Argus (1976).About the author: "Hope for the Future: The Science Fiction Novels of Edmund Cooper" and "An Interview with Edmund Cooper" both by James Goddard, in Science Fiction Monthly vol 2 \#4.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. Academic. 2011.