John Christopher

Sam Youd (16 April 1922 – 3 February 2012), known professionally as Christopher Samuel Youd, was a British writer, best known for science fiction under the pseudonym John Christopher, including the novels The Death of Grass, The Possessors, and the young-adult novel series The Tripods. He won the Guardian Prize in 1971[1] and the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 1976.

Youd also wrote under variations of his own name and under the pseudonyms Stanley Winchester, Hilary Ford, William Godfrey, William Vine, Peter Graaf, Peter Nichols, and Anthony Rye.[2][3]

John Christopher
John Christopher
BornSam Youd
16 April 1922
Huyton, Lancashire, England, UK
Died3 February 2012 (aged 89)
Bath, Somerset, England, UK
Pen nameChristopher Samuel Youd (professional nonfiction), John Christopher (science fiction), and several others
Alma materPeter Symonds College
GenreScience fiction
Notable works
Notable awardsGuardian Prize


Sam Youd was born in Huyton, Lancashire (though Youd is an old Cheshire surname). He adopted the name Christopher Samuel Youd for his professional writings, leading to the widespread but mistaken belief that that was his birth name. Throughout his life he was known simply as Sam to his friends and acquaintances.

Youd was educated at Peter Symonds' School in Winchester, Hampshire, then served in the Royal Corps of Signals from 1941 to 1946. A scholarship from the Rockefeller Foundation made it possible for him to pursue a writing career, beginning with The Winter Swan (Dennis Dobson, 1949), published under the name Christopher Youd. He wrote science fiction short stories as John Christopher from 1951[2] and his first book under that name was a science fiction novel, Year of the Comet, published by Michael Joseph in 1955.[2] John Christopher's second novel, The Death of Grass (Michael Joseph, 1956) was Youd's first major success as a writer. It was published in the United States the following year as No Blade of Grass (Simon & Schuster, 1957). An American magazine published Year of the Comet later that year and it was issued in 1959 as an Avon paperback entitled Planet in Peril.[2] Youd continued to use the pen name John Christopher for the majority of his writing and all of his science fiction .[2] The Death of Grass has been reissued many times, most recently in the Penguin Modern Classics (2009).[2]

In 1966 Youd started writing science fiction for adolescents, using the name John Christopher in every case. The Tripods trilogy (1967–68), The Lotus Caves (1969), The Guardians (1970) and the Sword of the Spirits trilogy (1971–72) were all well received. He won the annual Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for The Guardians.[1] In 1976 he won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, youth fiction category, for the same novel in its German translation, Die Wächter.

In 1946 he married Joyce Fairbairn, with whom he had five children (one son and four daughters). He divorced in 1978, marrying Jessica Ball.[4]

Youd lived for many years in Rye, East Sussex but died in Bath, Somerset, on 3 February 2012 of complications from bladder cancer.[5][6]

Film and television adaptations

The Death of Grass was adapted as a film by Cornel Wilde under its American title, No Blade of Grass (1970).

The Tripods was partially developed into a British TV series. In 2012 it was reported to be in development as a film.[7]

Empty World was developed into a 1987 TV movie in Germany, Leere Welt. The Guardians was made into a 1986 TV series in Germany, Die Wächter.

The Lotus Caves was in development in 2007 as a film from Walden Media, to have been directed by Rpin Suwannath.[8][9] Later, in 2013, a TV pilot based loosely on The Lotus Caves was developed by Bryan Fuller and titled High Moon. The pilot did not get picked up as a series, but was released on SyFy and Netflix in 2014.


Except where stated otherwise, all items listed are novels or novellas published as books.

Satellite science fiction 195708
Christopher's novel The Year of the Comet saw its first U.S. publication in the August 1957 issue of Satellite Science Fiction
Satellite 195903
Christopher's novella "A World of Slaves" was the cover story on the March 1959 issue of Satellite Science Fiction

John Christopher

  • The Twenty-Second Century (1954) (short story collection)
  • The Year of the Comet (Michael Joseph, 1955); US title, Planet in Peril (Avon, 1959)[2]
  • The Death of Grass (Michael Joseph, 1956); US title, No Blade of Grass (Simon & Schuster, 1957)
  • The Caves of Night (1958)
  • A Scent of White Poppies (1959)
  • The Long Voyage (US title The White Voyage, 1960)
  • The World in Winter (US title The Long Winter, 1962)
  • Cloud on Silver (US title Sweeney's Island, 1964)
  • The Possessors (1964)
  • A Wrinkle in the Skin (US title The Ragged Edge, 1965)
  • The Little People (1966)
  • The Tripods trilogy (expanded to tetralogy, 1988)
    • The White Mountains (1967) Macmillan (US); Hamish Hamilton (UK)
      • 35th anniversary edition, with revised text and preface by author, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 9780689855047 (2003)
    • The City of Gold and Lead (1967) Macmillan (US); Hamish Hamilton (UK)
    • The Pool of Fire (1968) Macmillan (US); Hamish Hamilton (UK)
    • When the Tripods Came (prequel) (1988)
  • Pendulum (1968)
  • The Lotus Caves (1969) Macmillan (US); Hamish Hamilton (UK) ISBN 0-241-01729-7
  • The Guardians (1970)
  • The Sword of the Spirits trilogy
  • In the Beginning Longman (1972) ISBN 0-582-53726-6
  • Dom and Va (1973)
  • Wild Jack (1974)
  • Empty World (1977)
  • The Fireball trilogy
  • A Dusk of Demons (1993)
  • Bad Dream (2003)

Christopher Youd

  • The Winter Swan (1949)

Samuel Youd

  • Babel Itself (1951)
  • Brave Conquerors (1952)
  • Crown and Anchor (1953)
  • A Palace of Strangers (1954)
  • Holly Ash (US title The Opportunist, 1955)
  • Giant's Arrow (1956); as Anthony Rye in the UK, Samuel Youd in the US
  • The Choice (UK title The Burning Bird, 1961)
  • Messages of Love (1961)
  • The Summers at Accorn (1963)

William Godfrey

  • Malleson at Melbourne (1956) - a cricket novel, volume 1 of an unfinished trilogy
  • The Friendly Game (1957) - volume 2 of the trilogy

William Vine

  • "Death Sentence" (short story), Imagination Science Fiction, June 1953
  • "Explosion Delayed" (short story), Space Science Fiction, July 1953

Peter Graaf

  • Dust and the Curious Boy (1957); US title, Give the Devil His Due - volume 1 in the Joe Dust series
  • Daughter Fair (1958) - volume 2 in the Joe Dust series
  • The Sapphire Conference (1959) - volume 3 in the Joe Dust series
  • The Gull's Kiss (1962)

Hilary Ford

  • Felix Walking (1958)
  • Felix Running (1959)
  • Bella on the Roof (1965)
  • A Figure in Grey (1973)
  • Sarnia (1974)
  • Castle Malindine (1975)
  • A Bride for Bedivere (1976)

Peter Nichols

  • Patchwork of Death (1965)

Stanley Winchester

  • The Practice (1968)
  • Men With Knives (1968); US title, A Man With a Knife
  • The Helpers (1970)
  • Ten Per Cent of Your Life (1973)

Short stories

Youd's first published story was "Dreamer" in the March 1941 Weird Tales, as C.S. Youd. He has had stories published in the magazines Astounding Science Fiction, Science Fantasy, Worlds Beyond Science-Fantasy Fiction, New Worlds, Galaxy Science Fiction, SF Digest, Future Science Fiction, Space SF Digest, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Authentic Science Fiction, Space Science Fiction, Nebula Science Fiction, Fantastic Universe, Saturn Science Fiction, Orbit Science Fiction, Fantastic Story Magazine, If: Worlds of Science Fiction, Worlds of Science Fiction (UK), Argosy (UK), The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Beyond Infinity


No Blade of Grass was serialized in The Saturday Evening Post in 1957. Caves of Night was serialized in John Bull Magazine in 1958.


  • The Best SF Stories 3rd Series by Grayson & Grayson (1953)
  • Avon Science fiction and Fantasy Reader #1 (1953)
  • The Twenty-Second Century Grayson & Grayson (1954)
  • Gateway To Tomorrow edited by John Carnell, published by Panther (1963)
  • Avon Science Fiction and Fantasy Reader No. 2
  • The Best Science Fiction Stories Third Series edited by Everett F. Bleiler and T. E. Dikty
  • The Tenth Pan Book of Horror Stories, edited by Herbert Van Thal (1969)
  • Young Winter’s Tales No. 2, ed. M. R. Hodgkin, London: Macmillan (1971)
  • In Time to Come, Topliner (1973)
  • The Best of British SF 1 Orbit Books (1977)
  • The Random House Book of Science Fiction Stories Random House (1997) (ISBN 0-679-88527-7)
  • The Young Oxford Book of Nasty Endings, (1997), edited by Dennis Pepper, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-278151-0


  1. ^ a b "Guardian children's fiction prize relaunched: Entry details and list of past winners". theguardian 12 March 2001. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "John Christopher – Summary Bibliography". ISFDB. Retrieved 2 August 2012. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
  3. ^ VIAF 66465191. Retrieved 2013-06-11.
  4. ^ Priest, Christopher (6 February 2012). "John Christopher Obituary". The Guardian Online.
  5. ^ "John Christopher (1922 – 2012)". Locus Online, The Website of The Magazine of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Field. 4 February 2012.
  6. ^ Vitello, Paul (7 February 2012). "John Christopher, Science Fiction Writer, Dies at 89". The New York Times.
  7. ^ The Tripods on IMDb
  8. ^ Gilstrap, Peter (25 July 2007). "Suwannath enters Walden's 'Caves' Sci-fi thriller finds humans living on the moon", Variety.
  9. ^ Kay, Jeremy (26 July 2007). ""Rpin Suwannath to direct The Lotus Caves for Walden Media" 26 July 2007, ''Screendaily''". Retrieved 25 February 2012.

External links

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Christopher Hill (historian)

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Christopher Mills, New Jersey

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Gideon (Handel)

Gideon (no HWV number) is an oratorio pastiche compiled largely from the works of George Frideric Handel by John Christopher Smith. It was first performed on 10 February 1769 at Covent Garden, London.

Half of this oratorio is derived from the works of Handel (“75:17 for the Handel elements and 76:36 for those by Smith” in Georg Friedrich Händel and John Christopher Smith – Gideon (Junge Kantorei - Frankfurt Barockorchester - Joachim Carlos Martini - 2004)), but Smith used an overture and six vocal items from his own oratorio of 1762 The Feast of Darius.

J. Christopher Stevens

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JC Intal

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Johann Christoph Pepusch

Johann Christoph Pepusch (1667 – 20 July 1752), also known as John Christopher Pepusch and Dr Pepusch, was a German-born composer who spent most of his working life in England.

Pepusch was born in Berlin. At the age of 14, he was appointed to the Prussian court. About 1700, he settled in England where he was one of the founders, in 1726, of The Academy of Vocal Music, which around 1730/1 was renamed The Academy of Ancient Music. In Joseph Doane's Musical directory for the year 1794, the founding of the Academy is discussed; on page 76, Doane states that:

In the year 1710 (memorable for Handel’s first appearance among us) a number of the most eminent composers and performers in London [agreed] to concert a plan of an Academy for the study and practice of Vocal and Instrumental Music, which was no sooner announced than it met the countenance and support of the principal persons of rank. Among the foremost in this undertaking were Mr. John Christopher Pepusch, Mr. John Earnest Galleard, an excellent composer and performer on the Oboe, Mr. Bernard Gates of the Queen’s Chapel, Henry Niedler, etc.

Pepusch remained Director of the Academy until his death in 1752, whereupon he was succeeded by Benjamin Cooke. Pepusch died in London.

During a period of twenty years, Pepusch directed the musical establishment at Cannons, a large house northwest of London. For a couple of years he worked alongside George Frideric Handel - in 1717/18 both men were employed there by James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos. (For more see Baker and Baker, ref. below)

Although Pepusch is now best known for his arrangement of the music for The Beggar's Opera (1728) -- to the libretto of John Gay—he composed many other works including stage and church music as well as concertos and continuo sonatas.

John C. Wells

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John Christopher Cutler

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John Christopher Fine

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The liaison officer of the United Nations Environment Programme and the Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques, Fine is a fellow of the Explorers Club and a member of the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences, a recognition he received in honor of his numerous books in the field of juvenile education. He has been the recipient of international recognition for his pioneering work investigating toxic waste contamination of our land and water resources.

John Sainty (civil servant)

For the former footballer and Chester City F.C. manager, see John Sainty (footballer).Sir John Christopher Sainty, KCB, FSA (born 1934 in London, England) is a retired British civil servant who was Clerk of the Parliaments from 1983 to 1990.

John Vassall

William John Christopher Vassall (20 September 1924 – 18 November 1996) was a British civil servant who spied for the Soviet Union, allegedly under pressure of blackmail, from 1954 until his arrest in 1962. Although operating only at a junior level, he was able to provide details of naval technology which were crucial to the modernising of the Soviet Navy. He was sentenced to eighteen years' imprisonment, and was released in 1972 after ten. The Vassall scandal greatly embarrassed the Macmillan government, but was soon eclipsed by the more dramatic Profumo affair.

John Vukovich

John Christopher Vukovich (July 31, 1947 – March 8, 2007) was an American third baseman and coach in Major League Baseball best known for his years of service with the Philadelphia Phillies. He played in parts of ten seasons from 1970 to 1981 for the Phillies, Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers. He was mainly used as a utility infielder capable of playing all four positions. He is also known for recording the lowest career major league batting average (.161) of any non-pitcher with 500 ABs or more.

John Williams (guitarist)

John Christopher Williams, OBE (born 24 April 1941) is an Australian virtuosic classical guitarist renowned for his ensemble playing as well as his interpretation and promotion of the modern classical guitar repertoire. In 1973, he shared a Grammy Award in the Best Chamber Music Performance category with fellow guitarist Julian Bream for Julian and John (Works by Lawes, Carulli, Albéniz, Granados). Guitar historian Graham Wade has said: "John is perhaps the most technically accomplished guitarist the world has seen."

John Wilson (Scottish writer)

John Wilson of Elleray FRSE (18 May 1785 – 3 April 1854) was a Scottish advocate, literary critic and author, the writer most frequently identified with the pseudonym Christopher North of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine.

He was professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh University (1820–1851).

Johnny Depp

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Depp had a supporting role in Oliver Stone's 1986 Vietnam War film Platoon and played the title character in the 1990 romantic dark fantasy Edward Scissorhands. He later found box office success in the adventure film Sleepy Hollow (1999), the swashbuckler film series Pirates of the Caribbean (2003–present), the fantasy films Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) and Alice in Wonderland (2010), the animated comedy western Rango (2011) (in which he voiced the title character), and most recently Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018). Depp has collaborated on nine films with director, producer and friend Tim Burton.

Depp is regarded as one of the world's biggest film stars. He has gained praise from reviewers for his portrayals of screenwriter-director Ed Wood in Ed Wood, undercover FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone in Donnie Brasco, author J. M. Barrie in Finding Neverland, and Boston gangster Whitey Bulger in Black Mass. Depp is the third highest-grossing actor worldwide, as films featuring Depp have grossed over US$3.7 billion at the United States box office and over US$10 billion worldwide. His most commercially successful films are the Pirates of the Caribbean series, which grossed US$4.5 billion, the Fantastic Beasts film series, which grossed US$1.3 billion, Alice in Wonderland, which grossed US$1 billion, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which grossed US$474 million, and The Tourist, which grossed US$278 million.Depp has been nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Actor. He won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his performance in the title role in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, as well as the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. He has been listed in the 2012 Guinness World Records as the world's highest-paid actor, with earnings of US$75 million. Depp was inducted as a Disney Legend in 2015.

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His other notable film roles include the romantic comedy Love Actually (2003), the comic science fiction film The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), the semi-improvised comedy Nativity! (2009), the comedic Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, most prominently in the sci-fi comedy The World's End (2013), and his portrayal of Everett K. Ross in the Marvel films Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Black Panther (2018). Among other accolades, he has won an Emmy Award, BAFTA Award and an Empire Award, with nominations including two other Emmy Awards, two other BAFTA Awards, a Saturn Award, and a Golden Globe Award.

The Tripods

The Tripods is a series of young adult novels written by John Christopher, beginning in 1967. The first two were the basis of a science fiction TV series, produced in the United Kingdom in the 1980s.

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