Australian writer and journalist, resident for many years in the UK, a one-time prominent member of RATFANDOM. He was known for his writing on genre films some time before he began publishing sf in any quantity. His five books on CINEMA are James Bond in the Cinema (1972), Movie Magic: The Story of Special Effects in the Cinema (1974), The Horror People (1976), Future Tense: The Cinema of Science Fiction (1978) and The Primal Screen: A History of Science Fiction Film (1991); the first three relate peripherally to sf, and the fifth is in effect a light-hearted update and rewrite of the fourth. JB wrote most of the film entries in the first edition of this volume; he has also contributed film columns to SCIENCE FICTION MONTHLY and STARBURST and was for some time the lead book reviewer for the UK horror magazine The Dark Side.JB's first sf was "Conversation on a Starship in Warp-Drive" in Antigrav (anth 1975) ed Philip STRICK. His books under his own name begin with the adventure novels Skyship (1981) and The Midas Deep (1983). He then went on to publish the first of his pseudonymous novels, most written in partnership with Leroy Kettle (1949-); these written equivalents of exploitation movies are slightly self-mocking but quite exciting as sf horror; all are variants on the humans-being-destroyed-by-monstrous-things theme. Those as by Harry Adam Knight include Slimer (1983), Carnosaur (1984) by JB alone, The Fungus (1985; vt Death Spore US) and Bedlam (1992); those as by Simon Ian Childer are Tendrils (1986) and, by JB alone, Worm (1987; 1988 US as by Harry Adam Knight). The initials of the pseudonyms were no accident. Torched (1986) with John BAXTER, both writing as James Blackstone, is about spontaneous combustion.JB reserved his own name for a more ambitious work, the Sky Lords trilogy: The Sky Lords (1988), War of the Sky Lords (1989) and The Fall of the Sky Lords (1991). These consist of fast-moving adventure in a post- HOLOCAUST society (after the Gene Wars), remorselessly evoking another sf trope every time the action flags - everything from mile-long dirigibles to computer guardians of ancient civilizations. The Opoponax Invasion (1993) makes similar use of GENETIC ENGINEERING and NANOTECHNOLOGY.
   See also: DISASTER.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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