Monday, February 6, 2012

RIP Samuel Youd (1922-2012)

Though I usually keep on top of such things, I'd failed to take note of the fact that, last Friday, British author Samuel Youd, better known by his pseudonym of John Christopher, died at the age of 89 (thanks to reader Daniel Eness for bringing this to my attention). Youd was, of course, most famous for his "Tripod Trilogy," which began with the novel The White Mountains in 1967, but he had previously written the equally famous The Death of Grass more than a decade earlier. Both it and the Tripod Trilogy were of a post-apocalyptic nature and, as such, exercised a big influence over my imagination as a younger man. I first learned of the Tripod Trilogy in the pages of Boys' Life magazine in the early '80s, which serialized the books in comic book form. This led me to seek out the actual books, which I adored (and still do).

Rest in peace, Mr Youd.

14 comments:

  1. Oh no that's terrible news.

    Besides the tripods series he wrote one of my favorite sets of books as a kid, the Sword and the Spirits series. The series was set in a dark post-apocalyptic Britain that had relapsed into a feudal-like society. Very dark adventure tales with some great adult themes (and written for "young adults").

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  2. Hey! I remember the comic serialized version of The White Mountain in Boy's Life. However, I never got around to reading the books although I've always been curious about them. The image of the kid's friend coming back with the "cap" imprinted on his head still haunts me.

    Maybe I should pick these up.

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  3. I grew up with the BBC adaptations of the Tripod books and I remember reading and re-reading the books as a boy.

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  4. I've only read "No Blade of Grass" and it was excellent.

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  5. My 5th grade teacher read us the White Mountains cover to cover. I then caught the Boy's Life comics, then read the books. The BBC television shows don't follow the books very well, but they start out fairly well.

    A neat interview with Youd here:

    http://www.colinbrockhurst.co.uk/interview-with-tripods-author-sam-youd-aka-john-christopher/380/

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  6. I never coined-on that he wrote the tripod books as well as Death of Grass. Read them all, but it never clicked.

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  7. Sad to hear that this fine author has left us. I truly enjoyed his Beyond the Burning Lands and the 'Sword of the Sprits' trilogy. It was and remains a classic Young Adult work of sword & sorcery.

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  8. Loved the books, comic and tv series. Haven't read the prequel he wrote some years back.

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  9. Damn. He will be missed. I really liked both the Tripods series and the Sword of the Spirits series.

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  10. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, James. The Tripod series defined a period in my boyhood (along with My Side of the Mountain' and a few other books about outsiders). Rest in peace Mr. Youd.

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  11. Wow, that's crazy...I JUST bought the Tripod Trilogy books two weeks ago (including the later, "prequel 4th book"). I, too, was introduced to these through the Boys Life magazine comics...probably the creepiest serial comic I've ever read!

    Wow.

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  12. I'm another fan of the Tripod trilogy. I, too, first encountered it in Boys' Life, and then purchased an old hardcover copy of The City of Gold and Lead from my public library. I read it and was haunted by it, but it wasn't until I was an adult that I bought the complete trilogy and read it in order. Great books. Very sad to hear of his passing.

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  13. I read some of the Boy's Life adaptation in Jr. high and went to the school's library to check out series but they only had the first volume of the trilogy. I should go and buy the three books and finally read them all.

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  14. I've long been a fan of the Tripod trilogy, and I also remember the comic in Boys Life. Sad news indeed.

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