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Saturday, August 03, 2013

Jeffery Lloyd Castle

A query was sparked by the appearance of a story in the pages of Cornhill Magazine v.167 no.998 (Winter 1953/54) with a short story, 'The Piper'. Castle wrote a couple of SF novels but was otherwise almost completely unknown. The issue carried the briefest of biographies, which revealed: "Jeffery Lloyd Castle is a writer and student by inclination, engineer by profession, soldier by hazard. His first book Satellite E One is being published next year by Eyre & Spottiswoode."

The book did indeed appear, in 1954, and is described thus on the paperback edition from World Distributors, published in 1962:
"Preparing for a trip to E One meant more than being fitted out with a fancy space suit. It meant learning to walk again – without the help of gravity!
     "My first attempt was an utter failure. Every step turned into a bounce, and before I knew it I was off on a buoyant trip into nothing. In a week I would be the first space pioneer, but right now I was as helpless as a one-year-old."
     Here is a vivid novel about a successful expedition through the airless, waterless, gravity-less regions of outer space – a story charged with the unknown, unimaginable dangers of the ultimate frontier.
The book was successful enough to have an American edition and went into paperback in both the US and UK. Castle's second novel wasn't so successful, appearing in the USA but not in the UK. This second novel, Vanguard to Venus, concerned a race of descendents from ancient Egypt who have created a city on Venus.

Castle published only one more known book, How Not to Lose at Poker, which guided readers through the probabilities associated with various forms of poker.

Castle was born Geoffrey Lloyd Castle on 6 April 1898, in Surbiton, Surrey, the son of Phillip Castle, the director and chairman of Castles Shipbreaking Co. Ltd., and his wife Jessie Maud May (nee Cock). Castle served with the Royal Field Artillery (RFC) during WWI before joining the RFC in 1916; relinquished his temporary commission in the RFC in 1920 and resigned his commission with the RFA in 1923. Was called up in 1939 to serve again with the Royal Artillery. At other times he worked as an aeronautical engineer.

Castle was married in 1938 to Clara Margery Melita Sharp (the Margery to whom Satellite E One was dedicated). He died 8 February 1990 in Aldeburgh, Suffolk, aged 91.


Satellite E One. London, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1954; New York, Dodd, Mead & Co., 1954.
Vanguard to Venus. New York, Dodd, Mead & Co., 1957.

How Not to Lose at Poker. London, Peter Davies, 1970; Boston, Little Brown, 1970.

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