YOUD of Cheshire & YOUDS of Wirral

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  • ID: I3607
  • Name: Sam YOUD
  • _AKA: Samuel Youd, Christopher Samuel Youd
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 16 Apr 1922 in Huyton, Lancashire 1
  • Death: 3 Feb 2012 in Bath 2
  • Burial: Rye Cemetery, Sussex 3
  • Occupation: Author (aka John Christopher, Samuel Youd & others)
  • Residence:
  • Note:
    England & Wales, Birth Index: 1916-2005 about Sam Youd
    Name: Sam Youd
    Mother's Maiden Surname: Hawkins
    Date of Registration: Apr-May-Jun 1922
    Registration district: Prescot
    Inferred County: Lancashire
    Volume Number: 8b
    Page Number: 1397

    "[talking about his childhood] ... the chant I remember best has a more sonorous and, for me, haunting ring:
    There?s Old Sam
    And Young Sam
    And Young Sam?s Son .....
    And Young Sam?ll be a Sam
    When Old Sam?s done.

    My grandfather was the first of the Sams, though fourth in line of birth; my father a fourth son also, and I an afterthought... Our succession of Sams is accidental to a point of high improbability. At my christening the parson tried to insist on Samuel as the more proper version, but my father, in any case an atheist and with natural combativeness sharpened by prior fortification in a pub, would have none of it. It had been Sam for him, and would be Sam for me."
    (Nick Youd)

    John Christopher (Sam Youd) was born in England in April 1922, during an unseasonable snowstorm. His early years were spent in Lancashire and Hampshire. He left school at sixteen to work as a local government clerk until being called up for army service in 1941, and spent the following four and a half years with the Royal Corps of Signals, in Gibraltar, North Africa, Italy, and Austria.

    On leaving the army he renewed a teenage ambition toward being a writer, and in 1947, on the basis of an unfinished novel, won an Atlantic Award, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, which enabled him to devote himself to writing for a year. He tried to justify the award by writing serious novels, but subsequently also wrote detective thrillers, light comedies, novels based on cricket, and science fiction, to which he had been passionately devoted in his early teens. After several adult science fiction novels, he was asked to write for the young adult field, and ended up writing sixteen books in that genre, including The Guardians, The Lotus Caves, Dom and Va, Empty World, and the Sword and Fireball trilogies, as well as the Tripods trilogy. Following a BBC television series in 1984 based on the Tripods books, he wrote a prequel, When the Tripods Came, explaining how it all came about.

    Sam Youd is a widower with five children and numerous grandchildren, and lives in Rye, in the county of Sussex, England.

    Mini Biography

    Christopher Samuel Youd aka John Christoher aka Samuel Youd is a British writer of science fiction who is best known for his post-apocalyptic novels 'The Death of Grass' aka 'No Blade of Grass' (1957) and 'The Gaurdians' (1970), and the popular trilogy 'The Tripods' (1967-68). He became well known during 1950s, along with fellow science fiction writers 'Jack Finney', Richard Matheson, and John Wyndham, and has since published over 70 books.

    Many of his books and stories have been adapted to film, most notably, No Blade of Grass (1970) and the hugely popular "The Tripods" (1984). His numerous short fiction has appeared in 'Weird Tales', 'Astounding Science Fiction', and 'Galaxy Science Fiction'. 'The Death of Grass' was serialized in 'The Saturday Evening Post' in seven parts. In 1988 he wrote the long-awaited prequel to his 'Tripods' trilogy, 'When the Tripods Came'.
    IMDb Mini Biography By: Matt Lee-Williams

    Samuel Youd - aka John Christopher - dies aged 89

    Brian Aldiss leads tributes to a prolific author of The Tripods and more than 50 other novels who 'beat description'
    Alison Flood, Monday 6 February 2012 14.48 GMT

    British science fiction author Samuel Youd, who wrote the prescient story of environmental disaster The Death of Grass under one of his pseudonyms, John Christopher, has died.

    Youd passed away on 3 February, his agent said on Monday. The author, best known for his young adult trilogy The Tripods and for The Death of Grass, which tells of a family fleeing London after a virus destroys the world's food supplies - "for years now we've treated the land like a piggy bank, to be raided" - was 89.

    "He was a terrific guy. So bright, so intelligent, such a nice man - I have the fondest and most respectful memories of Sam Youd," said the acclaimed science fiction writer Brian Aldiss. "He used to work in the diamond trade in Hatton Garden, and would come down by train, travelling first class. He'd have a portable typewriter with him, and on that typewriter he would write novels, for I believe four different publishers, writing a different sort of novel under a different pseudonym for each. It beats description."

    Under names including Hilary Ford, William Godfrey, Peter Graaf, Peter Nichols and Anthony Rye, Youd wrote "science fiction, family histories, detective mysteries - he was amazingly prolific," said Aldiss, with more than 50 titles to his name. His prose was "very polished", added the author, comparing The Death of Grass favourably to John Wyndham's science fiction classic The Day of the Triffids. "He would always submit the first draft and would never revise it - he was so clear-minded that he would get it right the first time".

    Born in Knowsley, near Liverpool, in 1922, Youd began writing seriously when he left the army in 1946. The Death of Grass was published in 1956, allowing him to give up his day job at the Industrial Diamond Information Bureau, while The White Mountains, the first book in the Tripods trilogy in which humanity is enslaved by alien machines, was published in 1967. The popular children's series was later adapted for television in the 1980s, and his young adult novel The Guardians, about a dystopian future, won him the Guardian prize for children's fiction.

    Penguin Classics publisher Adam Freudenheim, who reissued The Death of Grass in 2009, called it a "seminal piece of science fiction". "It was ahead of its time, in terms of concerns about the environment, particularly, which makes it seem prescient and very relevant," said Freudenheim. "It speaks to our time."

    John Christopher obituary

    Christopher Priest, Monday 6 February 2012 12.50 GMT

    The science-fiction author John Christopher, who has died aged 89, was perhaps best known for the Tripods trilogy for young adults. The books (published in 1967-68) depict a world suffering under the control of aliens from a far star, who can survive in the Earth's inimical atmosphere only by moving around in deadly tripodal machines inside which their own atmosphere can be replicated. As a result, our world has reverted to a low-technology state, almost medieval in nature. A group of adolescents, not yet fitted with a mentally controlling "cap", bravely confront the menace of the Tripods. In the end, the results they achieve are not entirely what they expected.

    The success of these books created a new career for the author, who for several years afterwards was recognised as a leading writer for older children. This was especially true in the US, where his books became perennial library favourites, and are still standard reading in many schools. In the mid-80s, the Tripods books inspired a popular BBC TV series.
    He was born Sam Youd in the village of Knowsley, near Liverpool. After his family moved to Hampshire, he went to the Peter Symonds school in Winchester; the area was often described in his novels. The second world war started at almost the same time as he left school, interrupting his writing career. In his five years in the Royal Corps of Signals, he saw action in Gibraltar, North Africa and Italy. He began writing as soon as he was out of uniform.

    A postwar scholarship from the Rockefeller Foundation gave him two years of financial independence, during which he wrote The Winter Swan (1949), the first of his three novels as Samuel Youd. He had previously published a few short pieces in American science-fiction magazines. Always hard-working, he then began writing in earnest for the science-fiction market and adopted the pseudonym "John Christopher". He published many well-received short stories, most of which were collected into volumes. His mainstream literary career continued in parallel: he averaged four novels a year, and was soon using a number of other pseudonyms. One of these was "Peter Nichols" and he belatedly offered a good-humoured apology to the playwright, even though Nichols's plays appeared long afterwards.

    It was as John Christopher that he wrote the novel The Death of Grass (1956), his first real success as a writer and the one that enabled him to give up his day job. At the time, he was working in London for the South Africa-based Industrial Diamond Information Bureau, sometimes writing on a portable typewriter during his commute. The Death of Grass was published by Michael Joseph, the house that had made a success of John Wyndham's series of postwar science fictional "disaster" novels. He quickly found himself being compared with the somewhat older Wyndham, sometimes to his detriment, but more often than not to his advantage. The two men knew each other and had an amiable relationship, but they were never close friends.

    In this period of the 1950s, both authors were writing novels that depicted a variety of global catastrophes, but these superficial similarities hid genuine differences. Youd repudiated, rightly, the tag of "cosy catastrophe", a phrase coined by Brian Aldiss. In The Death of Grass, there is a pleasing ruthlessness behind many of the actions. It tells the story of a world where all the graminaceous crops have failed. David Custance has a potato farm in Westmorland; his younger brother John wants his family to join him. After a few murders of innocent people encountered on the way up the Great North Road, the two brothers confront each other with automatic weapons. It ends badly - there is nothing like that in The Day of the Triffids.

    The American actor Cornel Wilde filmed the book in 1970 under the title No Blade of Grass. Youd made no effort to see it until one day it was shown on British television. He said later that he settled down with a glass of whisky to watch it, but was upstairs in bed by the end of the first commercial break.

    Of the later John Christopher adult novels, The World in Winter (1962) and A Wrinkle in the Skin (1965) are notable. The former's opening sequence, in the icy reading room at the British Museum, is for economy of images and character motivation an almost textbook example of how to write that sort of thing.

    Youd had an unusual way of working. He did a quick first draft of the opening chapter, but for the remainder typed a "final" version, with several carbon copies. When he had completed the book he would go back and redraft the first chapter. He used the method when he wrote his first Tripods book, The White Mountains (1967). Almost at once he came into the charge of an American publisher's editor called Susan Hirschman. She ordered a rewrite before she would accept it, so he gamely redrafted the first chapter. Then Hirschman said the middle sequence was no good, so he reworked that. More followed. Afterwards, he reflected ruefully that she had made the novel much better than it might have been, as she did for the novels that followed.

    He lived for many years in Guernsey, but later returned to England, where he moved to Rye, East Sussex, and occupied the house once owned by the artist Paul Nash. I met him several times, as we were near-neighbours. He held strong opinions, but was a congenial and pleasant man. In 1946 he married Joyce Fairbairn, with whom he had five children, Nick, Rose, Liz, Sheila and Margret. After he and Joyce divorced in 1978, he married Jessica Ball. She died in 2001. His children survive him.

    John Christopher (Christopher Samuel Youd), science-fiction writer and children's novelist, born 16 April 1922; died 3 February 2012

    Obituary: British science-fiction author Samuel Youd aka John Christopher
    Posted on February 5, 2012 by John Warner

    Samuel Youd, aka John Christopher (1922-2012)
    posted Saturday 4 February 2012 @ 4:22 pm PST

    British author Samuel Youd, who wrote SF as John Christopher, died last night in Bath, England, at the age of 89.

    As John Christopher he wrote the classic catastrophe novel The Death of Grass (UK 1956), published in the US as No Blade of Grass (1957), and later the popular YA trilogy The Tripods, beginning with The White Mountains (1967).

    He also wrote under his own name and several other pseudonyms, as listed in his Wikipedia article.

    This entry will be expanded shortly, and a full obituary will appear in the March issue of Locus Magazine.

    Samuel Youd, the British science-fiction author who wrote classics such as The Tripods and The Death of Grass under the pseudonym John Christopher, has died aged 89. His other pseudonyms included Stanley Winchester, Hilary Ford and William Vine.

    After serving in the Second World War, Samuel Youd began his professional career as a writer thanks to a scholarship from the Rockerfeller Foundation. Adopting the pen-name John Christopher, he scored a notable success with his 1956 novel The Death of Grass, about a virus that kills all forms of grass.

    In the 1960s he started writing for the youth market, and in 1967 The White Mountains was published. This was the first instalment in The Tripods, which followed the adventures of a group of teenagers attempting to organise resistance to huge robotic alien invaders. Three more novels followed in the series, which was adapted by the BBC into a successful TV series in the 1980s.

    Another hit series followed in 1970 with the Sword of the Spirits trilogy, and under his various pseudonyms Samuel Youd was increasingly prolific throughout the 1970s. He slowed down in later years and his last novel was 2003?s Bad Dream, published under the John Christopher name.

    Gestorben: Samuel Youd (1922-2012)
    Sonntag, den 05. Februar 2012 um 07:19 Uhr

    Das Branchenblatt "Locus" meldet, dass der britische Schriftsteller Samuel Youd, vor allem bekannt durch seine unter dem Pseudonym John Christopher erschienenen Jugendbuchromane, in der Nacht von Freitag auf Samstag im Alter von 89 Jahren gestorben ist. Youd begann in den 40er Jahren mit dem Schreiben und Veröffentlichen von SF-Kurzgeschichten und -Romanen, hierzulande erschien zum Beispiel 1971 bei Heyne "Das Tal des Lebens". Zum Jugendbuch kam er erst in den den 60ern, wobei er dem Genre aber treu blieb: Die Trilogie um die Dreibeinigen Monster, in den 80ern wurden die beiden ersten Bücher zu zwei Staffeln für eine TV-Serie verarbeitet, dürfte sein hierzulande bekanntestes Werk sein. Weitere Werke von ihm waren unter anderem die Trilogie "Der Fürst von Morgen" und die Romane "Die Wächter" und "Leere Welt".

    John Christopher, 1922-2012
    Jo Walton

    John Christopher, 1922-2012I was sad to hear that John Christopher (Christopher Samuel Youd) died this weekend at the age of eighty-nine. He was best known for his cosy catastrophe novels, especially The Death of Grass (1956) and for his YA ?Tripods? trilogy (1967-8, prequel 1988), set in a world where aliens much like Wells?s Martians have conquered Earth. I never met him, but I?ve been reading him since I was ten years old, and I can quote Beyond the Burning Lands (1972) the way some people quote Pilgrim?s Progress.

    Christopher was English, and of precisely the age and class to understand the cosy catastrophe movement viscerally. His strengths as a writer were solid science fictional extrapolation and powerful atmospheric imagery ? there are moments in all of his books that will always stay with me. His skills at extrapolation shouldn?t be underrated because they were used so often in the service of the catastrophic. His cosy catastrophe premises could be absurd, but the consequences were always worked out in plausible and effective detail.

    While the cosy catastrophe was a thriving genre in the fifties he kept writing them ? eight of them in the decade before 1965. The World in Winter is about a swift new ice age, A Wrinkle in the Skin is about a plague of earthquakes, The Year of the Comet about a comet hitting Earth and so on. All of them have middle class English narrators who miss civilization. These books sold extremely well in their zeitgeist moment. He also wrote a few science fictional thrillers in this period. They are also full of catastrophic consequences.

    In the sixties Christopher turned to writing YA science fiction. He helped shape that genre and was in many ways the precursor of modern YA dystopias. Most of these books are about boys becoming men in post-catastrophic worlds. He was very good at writing their points of view immersively and showing the reader a strange world from inside the perspective of somebody who took it for granted. They were published by Puffin and widely available. For me and for a number of British readers these books were among very early science fictional influences. Reading them helped me expand the possibilities of the kinds of stories it was possible to tell, and even more, the ways in which it was possible to tell them. Even writing for children and young people in the sixties and seventies he took the worlds and the characters seriously and never talked down to the reader.

    Some of Christopher?s cosy catastrophes have been republished as YA, as Wyndham?s have. It was his 1977 novel Empty World that caused me to realise that adolescents were the natural continuing readers of cosy catastrophes. In Empty World all the adults and little children die of flu and the world is left to a handful of teenagers ? this is so viscerally adolescent wish fulfillment that reading it (at twenty-two) I failed to get off the train and was carried on to Liverpool.

    I?m sorry I never had a chance to tell him how much his work shaped my imagination.







    Christopher has published widely under nine different names: Anthony Rye, Christopher Youd, John Christopher, Hilary Ford, Peter Graaf, Stanley Winchester, Samuel Youd, William Godfrey and, most recently, Peter Nichols. Usually the different names go with different writing genres, John Christopher being his SF name.

  • Change Date: 22 Sep 2017 at 17:21:59

    Father: Sam YOUD b: 23 Mar 1888 in Frodsham c: 6 May 1888 in Frodsham, St. Lawrence
    Mother: Harriet Blanche Louisa HAWKINS b: 12 Oct 1879 in Rustyduffy, Donaghmore, Co. Wicklow

    Marriage 1 Joyce FAIRBAIRN b: 1 Sep 1920 in Pontefract, Yorkshire
    • Divorced: Y
    • Married: Jul/Sep 1946 in Sheffield 4
    • Note:

      England & Wales, Marriage Index: 1916-2005 about Christopher S Youd
      Name: Christopher S Youd
      Spouse Surname: Fairbairn
      Date of Registration: Jul-Aug-Sep 1946
      Registration district: Sheffield
      Inferred County: Yorkshire West Riding
      Volume Number: 2d
      Page Number: 668
    1. Has No Children Living YOUD
    2. Has No Children Living YOUD
    3. Has No Children Living YOUD
    4. Has No Children Living YOUD
    5. Has No Children Living YOUD

    Marriage 2 Jessica Valerie BALL b: 1 Sep 1918 in Nottingham
    • Married: Oct/Dec 1980 in Hastings & Rother district 5

    1. Title:
      Page: Prescot
      Note: Sam Youd, mother Hawkins
    2. Title:
    3. Title:
      Note: Sam Youd 1922-2012 writer
    4. Title: - England & Wales BMD
      Page: Sheffield
      Note: Christopher S Youd & Joyce Fairbairn
    5. Title: - England & Wales BMD
      Note: Christopher S Youd & Jessica V Kay
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