Pseudonym of UK writer John Newton Chance (1911-1983), prolific author of novels and stories, mostly detections, under his real name. His first novels of genre interest were two juvenile fantasies, The Black Ghost (1947) and The Dangerous Road (1948), both as by David C. Newton; a latersf novel, The Light Benders (1968), as by Jonathan Chance, is unremarkable. Under his own name he published the Bunst series of children's stories - Bunst and the Brown Voice (1950), Bunst the Bold (1950), Bunst and the Secret Six (1951) and Bunst and the Flying Eye(1953) - which deploy sf elements, though casually. His first novel as JL, later made into a film (The NIGHT OF THE BIG HEAT), was The Night of the Big Heat (1959), about an alien INVASION, and much of his subsequent workconstituted a set of variations on the theme of alien or natural menace to Earth, though not at the imaginative level of his predecessors (and likelymodels), John WYNDHAM and John CHRISTOPHER. JL's use of genuine science is minimal and most of his books (many of which feature MONSTERS) operate at the level of B-grade sf/horror films, where menace strikes unexpectedly in a lazy, rural setting. Some of the better titles of this sort are The Giant Stumbles (1960), Froomb! (1964) - probably his best single novel ofsocietal collapse (the title is an acronym for fluid's running out of my brakes) - The Green Drift (1965), Ten Million Years to Friday (1967), and Give Daddy the Knife, Darling (1969). He wrote with some verve but littlestyle, and there are many cliches of character. His short stories, collected in The Night Spiders (coll 1964), are routine. It might be said that JL's main deficiency as a writer of sf was a lack of interest in the forward thrust of the genre; he was, at heart, a HORROR writer.
   Other works: The Grey Ones (1960); The Coming of the Strangers (1961); A Sword Above the Night (1962), assembled with The Grey Ones as (omni 1978 US); The Sleep Eaters (1963); The Screaming Face (1963); The Night Spiders (1964); The Star Witches (1965); The Nowhere Place (1969); The Year Dot (1972); The Hole in the World (1974); A Spider in the Bath (1975); The Laxham Haunting (1976); Starseed on Eye Moor (1977); The Waking of the Stone (1967); A Caller from Overspace (1979); Voyage of the Eighth Mind (1980); The Power Ball (1981); The Terror Version (1982); The Vale of Sad Banana (1984).

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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