Sam Youd brought out the first issue of the scifi magazine, The Fantast, shortly after his 17th birthday in April 1939 and continued publishing it until March 1941, when military service brought his own involvement in the magazine to a conclusion. Including early fiction and poetry by Sam himself, Arthur C. Clarke, Charles Eric Maine and other notables of the early UK scifi scene, it was described by Harry Warner Jnr as follows:
‘It always came in a plain brown wrapper, and when it was shoved by the mailman through the letterslot, it looked like a poor, bedraggled sparrow, beside the gaudy and alluring heavy envelopes or brightly coloured covers that contained other fanzines … its name was The Fantast, and it may quite possibly have been the most consistently, enduringly excellent fanzine ever published from the literary standpoint.’
Science-fiction was where Sam Youd’s writing career began, and here artist Harry Turner’s 1941 diary chronicles events from those heady days of sci-fandom, when magazines like ‘The Fantast’ were duplicated by hand and Sam’s myopia barred him from a flying career in the RAF.
The December 1940 edition of ‘The Futurian’ – ‘incorporating Pseud-Futurian and Science Fantasy Review’s War Digest’ – introduces the 19-year-old Christopher Samuel Youd, described as ‘quite a promising writer, but searching frantically for an adequate philosophy of life, which he hasn’t found yet’.
In the far future, humanity has expanded out to explore the outer reaches of the solar system, leaving behind the radioactively poisoned planet once known as Earth, now more commonly referred to as the ‘Forbidden World’. When Captain Robert Newsam’s cousin disappears in mysterious circumstances, Capt Newsam comes to discover that the authorized version isn’t necessarily the truth … In 2010, Cornucopia Radio broadcast an updated version of the John Christopher short story, originally broadcast by ABC Radio in 1953.