Edmund Cooper

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Edmund Cooper (30 April 1926 – 11 March 1982) was an English poet and prolific writer of speculative fiction, romances, technical essays, several detective stories, and a children's book. These were published under his own name and several pen names. Cooper was among the 100-plus authors in Gollancz's "SF Gateway" initiative to "make thousands of out-of print titles by classic genre authors available as eBooks", which started in October 2011.[1] An omnibus was published in 2014 in the "SF Gateway Omnibus" series, with an introduction adapted from the entry in the online "Encyclopedia of Science Fiction".


Born in Marple, near Stockport, Cheshire, Cooper left school at the age of 15. He became engaged at 16 to a teacher four years older than he was, and married her three years later.[2] He worked as a labourer, then a civil servant, and in 1944 he joined the Merchant Navy.[3] After the war he trained as a teacher,[2] and began to publish verse, then short stories, then novels. Deadly Image, the first novel to appear under his own name, was completed in 1957 and published in 1958 in the United States.[3] (The novel was published in the UK later in 1958 in a variant form and under its better-known title The Uncertain Midnight.) The Uncertain Midnight was adapted without authorisation for Swiss television in 1969.[3] His short story The Brain Child (1956) was adapted as the movie The Invisible Boy (1957), which featured the return of Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet.[3]

Cooper reviewed science fiction for the Sunday Times from 1967 until his death in 1982.[3]

Work and criticism

Cooper was an atheist and an individualist. His science fiction often depicts unconventional male heroes facing unfamiliar and remote environments.[4] His novel The Uncertain Midnight was noted for its treatment of the subject of androids, which was considered original at the time of writing.[5] Also uniquely treated is the subject of the colonisation of planets, which is the basis of Cooper's Expendables series, published under the pen name Richard Avery (the name of the hero of Transit). The Expendables series is notable[citation needed] both for the diversity of its cast of characters, and for the frank nature of their conversations and attitudes on racial and sexual topics.

Two[6] of Cooper's books depict future Earths dominated by women after the genetic or physical need for men has been reduced. His attitude to women is said to have been controversial.[7] Cooper was quoted as saying: "Let them have totally equal competition ... they'll see that they can't make it."[8] The theme of both books is actually the need to retain both sexes. Five to Twelve ends with the phrase "if we do not make any more mistakes, we can create a balanced world of men and women". The more cynical Who Needs Men? ends by asking whether love of woman for man is worth death for that love. Yes, says the heroine.



As George Kinley

  • 1954 Ferry Rocket, Curtis Books

As Broderick Quain

  • 1954 They Shall Not Die, Curtis Books

As Martin Lester

  • 1954, The Black Phoenix, Curtis Books

As Edmund Cooper

  • 1957 The Invisible Boy (chapbook) Ungar Electronics Tools
  • 1958 Deadly Image (aka The Uncertain Midnight) Ballantine (Text 1), Hutchinson (Text 2), Panther (Text 2 rev), Hodder (Text 1), Coronet (Text 1), Remploy (Text 2)[9]
  • 1959 Seed of Light, Hutchinson (Text 1), Ballantine (Text 2), Panther (Text 1), Coronet (Text 2 rev)[10]
  • 1960 Wish Goes to Slumber Land: An Adventure in Plasticene, Hutchinson[11]
  • 1964 Transit, Faber & Faber, Lancer, 4 Square, Coronet, Ace, Remploy[12]
  • 1966 All Fools' Day, Hodder & Stoughton, Walker, Coronet, Berkley, Remploy[13]
  • 1967 A Far Sunset, Hodder & Stoughton, Walker, Berkley Medallion, Hodder, Ace[14]
  • 1968 Five to Twelve, Hodder & Stoughton, Putnam, Doubleday/SFBC, Hodder, Berkley, Coronet[15]
  • 1969 Seahorse in the Sky, Hodder & Stoughton, Hodder, Putnam, SFBC, Coronet, Berkley, Ace
  • 1969 The Last Continent, Dell, Hodder & Stougton, Hodder, Coronet
  • 1970 Son of Kronk, Hodder & Stoughton; later as Kronk, Putnam, Berkley, Coronet
  • 1971 The Overman Culture, Hodder & Stoughton, Putnam, Berkley Medallion, Readers Union, Coronet
  • 1972 Who Needs Men?, Hodder & Stoughton, Coronet; later as Gender Genocide, Ace
  • 1973 The Tenth Planet, Putnam, Hodder & Stoughton, Readers Union, Berkley, Coronet
  • 1973 The Cloud Walker, Hodder & Stoughton, Ballantine, Coronet
  • 1974 Prisoner of Fire, Hodder & Stoughton, Walker, Coronet
  • 1974 The Slaves of Heaven, Putnam, SFBC, Hodder & Stoughton, Berkley Medallion, Coronet
  • 1978 Merry Christmas, Ms Minerva!, Robert Hale
  • 2014 SF Gateway Omnibus: The Cloud Walker, All Fools' Day, A Far Sunset, Gollancz

As Richard Avery

The Expendables Series:

  • 1975 The Expendables (1) The Deathworms of Kratos, Coronet, Fawcett Gold Medal, Severn House; later as The Deathworms of Kratos by Cooper, 1979[16]
  • 1975 The Expendables (2) The Rings of Tantalus, Coronet, Fawcett Gold Medal, Severn House; later as The Rings of Tantalus by Cooper, 1979[17]
  • 1975 The Expendables (3) The War Games of Zelos, Coronet, Fawcett Gold Medal; later as The War Games of Zelos by Cooper, 1980[18]
  • 1976 The Expendables (4) The Venom of Argus, Coronet, Fawcett Gold Medal; later as The Venom of Argus by Cooper, 1980[19]

Short stories (collections)

  • 1958 Tomorrow's Gift, Ballantine, Digit
  • 1960 Voices in the Dark, Digit
  • 1963 Tomorrow Came, Panther
  • 1964 The Square Root of Tomorrow, Robert Hale
  • 1968 News from Elsewhere, Mayflower, Berkley
  • 1971 Unborn Tomorrow, Robert Hale
  • 1971 Double Phoenix (with Roger Lancelyn Green) (edited by Lin Carter, "Adult Fantasy" series), Ballantine
  • 1979 Jupiter Laughs and Other Stories, Hodder & Stoughton, Readers' Union, Coronet
  • 1980 World of Difference, Robert Hale

Short stories by Edmund Cooper

  • 1969 "The Lizard of Woz" Reprinted by permission of the author in Flying Saucers 1982 by Isaac Asimov, Martin Harry Greenberg and Charles G. Waugh, ISBN 0-449-21400-1

Work adapted for the screen

  • 1957 The Invisible Boy[20] from The Brain Child 1956[21]
  • 1969 The Uncertain Midnight (French) TV serial, unauthorised
  • 1979 Death Watch as "OBN in Arrivo", part of series I racconti di fantascienza directed by Alessandro Blasetti (Rai, Italy)"[21]


  1. [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hans Joachim Alpers, Werner Fuchs, Ronald Hahn: Reclams Science-Fiction-Führer. Philipp Reclam jun., Stuttgart 1982, p. 106
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Edmund Cooper's Biography, by Joe Smith
  4. Ash, Brian: Who's Who in Science Fiction: Sphere Books Ltd; 1976 : "Cooper's forte is his portrayal of suspiciously Heinlein-type male heroes ... who act out their particular destinies (not always gloriously) against unfamiliar backdrops."
  5. Ash, Brian: Who's Who in Science Fiction: Sphere Books Ltd; 1976
  6. Five to Twelve, Who Needs Men? (Gender Genocide)
  7. Edmund Cooper's Biography "commentary by the feminist mafia didn't help.'"
  8. "We Must Love One Another or Die; an interview with Edmund Cooper by James Goddard page 3
  9. The Uncertain Midnight title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  10. Seed of Light title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  11. Wish Goes to Slumberland – Picture Book 1960 children's book, info from Carnie Pollock
  12. Transit title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  13. All Fools' Day title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  14. A Far Sunset publication history at the Edmund Cooper Visual Bibliography
  15. Five to Twelve title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  16. The Deathworms of Kratos title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  17. The Rings of Tantalus title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  18. The War Games of Zelos title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  19. The Venom of Argus title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  20. The Invisible Boy on IMDb , written with Cyril Hume, directed by Herman Hoffman
  21. 21.0 21.1 Edmund Cooper bibliography by Jonathan S Farley page 4, Short Stories "Brain Child, The : The Saturday Evening Post (as 'The Invisible Boy'); 23 June 1956"; page 11, Filmography "Invisible Boy, The : Brain Child, The: Herman Hoffman; USA; 1957", "O .B.N. in arrivo : Death Watch: part of series ' Racconti di fantascienza di Blasetti, I':Alessandro Blasetti; Italy; 1978"

External links