Lewis Gibbs

Gibbs Late Final with borderJoseph Walter Cove was born in Mortlake in Surrey, on 10 May 1891; he was the son of Joseph and Eliza Cove. He became a teacher, living in Barnes, London, and married Louise A.P. Gibbs in Farnham (Surrey) in  1918. When he started writing, after his War Experiences, he used the name Lewis Gibbs (derived from his wife’s name). He published a number of novels, and also wrote non-fiction: books about Jonathan Swift and Vanessa, about Sheridan and about Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. He also edited the diary of Fanny Burney for J.M. Dent’s Everyman Books.

In 1934 his fantasy novel Parable for Lovers appeared, also from J.M. Dent, about a man who falls in love with a wood-nymph in Greece.

His only science-fiction novel is Late Final (J.M. Dent, 1951): the picture shows the cover of the 1961 Digit paperback. It could be categorised as a Cold War novel, but its theme of a devastated Britain is common enough by writers who had fought through the Great War. It told of an Englishman who had lived in a prison camp in Siberia for ten years, who is released and dropped, without any identification, from an aeroplane over England. England is devastated by atomic warfare, and he wandered through the deserted ruins of London and the Home Counties.

All my information so far comes from Steve Holland’s Bear Alley website; my thanks to John Clute for pointing me in that direction. (See also the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.)

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