(Arthur) Bertram Chandler was born in Aldershot, England in 1912, Chandler sailed
the world in every-thing from tramp steamers to troop transports before emigrating
to Australia in 1956. Here he commanded merchant vessels under the Australian and
New Zealand Flags up to his retirement in 1974.
Up until his death in 1984 he published over 40 science fiction novels and over
200 works of short fiction writing as A Bertram Chandler, George Whitley or Andrew
Dunstan. Many of the novels had a nautical theme, with the plot moved from the seas
of earth to the ships of space in the future. Many of the stories revolved around
the character of John Grimes some times referred to as “Hornblower of Space”. While
most stories are set in the future, they also have a distinctly “Australian” theme
with places and stories relating back to Australia today.
Chandler was the last master of the aircraft carrier Melbourne. Law required it
to have a master aboard for the months while it was laid up and waiting to be towed
off to Asia to be broken up for scrap, so in a sense he really was briefly the master
of the Australian navy's former flagship. Apparently he had his typewriter aboard,
and worked on his novels!
Chandler received four Australian SF "Ditmar" Achievement Awards for his
novels. Nearly all of his novels were published in the USA. Two of his short stories
'The Cage' and 'Giant Killer’ are regarded as some of the best SF stories
written in the 1950's. He was also very popular in Japan winning the prestigious
SEIUN SHO, the premier Science Fiction award. The Japanese editions have some of
the best covers of any of the published editions.
Baen Books have released four John Grimes anthologies
To the Galactic Rim: The John Grimes Saga
, First Command: The John Grimes Saga II
, Galactic Courier: The John Grimes Saga III
and Ride the Star Winds: The John Grimes Saga IV
. These are available as both eBooks and Trade Paperbacks
have reprinted 8 Novels as eBooks, including the hard to find Glory Planet, now available for the second time since the initial Hard Cover publication. The published novels include Frontier of The Dark, Kelly Country, The Bitter Pill, The Sea Beasts, The Alternate Martians, Glory Planet, The Coils of Time and The Hamelin Plague
There are now 31 Novels available as audio books, including all the John Grimes
Novels. These are all available from
Tales From Super-Science Fiction
The short story I'll take over (originally published as by George Whitely)
has been published in the anthology
Tales from Super-Science Fiction
edited by Robert Silverberg.
The 'Aphrodite' Project
This short short story was published in Slant (December 1951).
THE ‘APHRODITE’ PROJECT
Herewith the final report of the Research Project 11FF. which, as you know, was started twelve years ago, shortly before the space stations were turned over to civilian operation.
Preliminary research, carried out under the title ‘Techniques for the Investigation under Terrestrial Conditions of Social Problems in Free Fall’, was devoted to the study of the situations to be expected in free fall and to the changes they would involve in the living habits of personnel. The problem giving the greatest concern was that of course in all the hundred odd positions recorded by students of the subject the force of gravity was a common factor. It was feared that in free fall the absence of this factor would cause the other two factors to drift apart at the least provocation, leading to a general state of dissatisfaction and frustration among the personnel and to a high rate of employee turnover. Indeed, two of these early investigators gave considerable time and effort to a device in which the force of gravity was replaced by a spring. This line of investigation had to be abandoned when the investigators were trapped in one of the devices which was under-damped and went into free oscillation. The investigators were rescued only in an advanced stage of debilitation.
However, subsequent experiments in field conditions showed that many of the fears expressed were groundless, and I am happy to report that the second phase of the project, Techniques In Free Fall, popularly known as TIFF, has been an unqualified success. In fact it may be noted with emphasis that under conditions of free fall a number of techniques are possible which cannot be duplicated under terrestrial conditions. In addition, any technique used in free fall requires a degree of co-operation that is greatly to be desired but which is seldom attained in practice under surface conditions.
In conclusion, this investigator wishes to take the opportunity of tendering his resignation. Because of the many close friendships he formed in the course of his work he prefers to remain on in the station.
by A. Bertram Chandler
It is with deep regret that we announce the death of Dr. John Thomas Alcock, to whose pioneer work the Research Project TIFF owes so much. He was, in his passing, one of Science’s most illustrious martyrs, a victim alike the inexorable workings of Newton’s Third Law and of his own indefatigable zeal.
Throughout his period of service in the Research Project and, indeed, all his life, he was the enemy of mechanical appliances on every occasion that such devices tended to come between Man and his Mate - or, as in the Space Stations, when such appliances enforced an unnatural and, at times, undesirable propinquity. ‘If that was what the Almighty had in mind,’ he would say, ‘our First Ancestor would have been a rubber tree!’ He did not scorn, however, the boons, blessings and resources of modern chemistry.
Fortunately the WAAC Private who was his partner in his last experiment, a Miss Partz survived the disaster that carried the great scientist to that bourne from which no traveller returns - she having the presence of mind to snatch an article of bedroom furniture, ornamental rather than useful in the Space Station, and use it as a makeshift Space Helmet until the arrival of help.
Dr. Alcock, she tells us, had declared that his own strong right arm, aided and abetted by his strong left arm, was far superior to any contraptions of gutta percha and steel springs. From past experience she had no reason to doubt his assertion. On this occasion, however, he achieved a paradox of no mean order, this being no less than simultaneity in his coming and going. His line of flight was outwards with reference to the longitudinal axis of the Station and, avers Miss Partz he must have been accelerating at at least six gravities when he hit the outer wall. His last despairing words, carried back on the tenuous shreds of atmosphere that accompanied him through the ragged gap created by his egress into Infinity, were- ‘Vaseline! I told them Seccotine…’
Lunar Radar reports that the corpse of Dr. Alcock, before it finally faded from the screens, was following a trajectory that must ultimately culminate, after a lapse of 93.65873432 years, in the Centaurian System.
Proud Terra could hope for no better ambassador.