I just learned that British science fiction author Edwin Charles (E.C.) Tubb died last Friday (September 10, 2010) at his home in London at the age of 90. Tubb probably isn't very well known among science fiction fans today, but, from the 1950s through 1980s, he produced a large number of excellent space operas, chief among them being the "Dumarest Saga," a 32-volume series that was first published in 1967. The series chronicles the adventures of Earl Dumarest, as he travels about a fragmented, anarchic galaxy in hopes of finding his lost homeworld of Earth.
The series had a huge influence on Marc Miller in his creation of Traveller and many of Miller's concepts, like "low" and "high" passages come straight out of these tales. More significantly, Dumarest calls himself a "traveller," a word Miller not only adopted to describe the protagonists of his SF RPG but adopted in its British spelling. Before I read any of Tubb's work, I wondered why Traveller was spelled as it was and, while I can't be sure this is the explanation, it seems to make sense.
Regardless, Tubb's death marks the passing of yet another giant of "old school" science fiction. I don't imagine there are too many other writers left who began their careers in the 40s and 50s, so another link with the past has been severed. He will be greatly missed.