Thursday, August 07, 2014

Paul Charkin

There has been a minor mystery surrounding the birth of Paul Charkin for some while. It is relatively easily solved: he was born Percival Samuel Charkin in Muswell Hill, London, on 20 July 1907 and subsequently changed his name to Paul Samuel Charkin in February 1945, the announcement appearing in The London Gazette on 26 January 1945:
I, the undersigned PERCIVAL SAMUEL CHARKIN of 20 Richmond Hill Richmond Surrey, a British subject herewith give notice that twentyone days from the appearance of this announcement I wish to be known as Paul Samuel Charkin and shall use this name without prejudice to my rights as co-administrator of my deceased father's estate.
—Dated 15th January 1945. (080) PERCIVAL S. CHARKIN. 
Percy Charkin, as he was known in his early days, was the son of Samuel Charkin (1874?-1943), a Russian-born ladies tailor and fitter, who married Louisa Frances Estelle Walden (1885-1970) in Edmonton in 1906. Charkin has a much younger brother, Gordon Zadek Charkin, born in 1921 who later became an electrician. He was educated at Southoe House and County School, both in Richmond, Surrey, where his family lived for many years at 20 Richmond Hill.

Percy S. Charkin became a certified wireless watcher in July 1925 and later worked as a statistical engineering clerk. He also worked in his father's business and, in the 1930s, became a tramp, door-knocking canvasser and high-pressure salesman. He failed as a house agent and as a radio salesman.

During the Second World War he was conscripted into A.R.P. duties ("which I hated," he later wrote), and then to Red Cross work, which was more interesting.

Despite the change of name. it was as Percy Charkin that he married Celia Barnett (or Rubinowitz, 1906-2000) in Hackney in 2Q 1949. The marriage would appear to have not lasted as Charkin was living alone when he was based in 3 Alexandra Road, Twickenham in the early 1960s.

Charkin's first published story was "The Wrong Glass" which appeared in The Socialist Leader in 1952. He subsequently penned three science fiction novels, described by John Clute at the SFE as "routine". His only other known published work was the play The Weather Girl: A Comic Fantasy in One Act (Whiteway Press, 1947), but he wrote a number of others that exist in manuscript in the collection of Derek Gardner, a literary agent whose files were donated to the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin. These manuscripts include two that may be science fiction: Dolls of Ecstasy (which Charkin was working on in 1969) and World Without Dreams. Other titles include Bobbie's Chance, Bobbie's Choice, Gold—Master or Servant?, Jumbo's Night Out, The Lighhousekeeper's Son, A Man Called Drewett and Sambo of the South or Sambo the Idle.

Charkin was a founding member of the Richmond Arts Club and the Richmond Writers Circle.

He died in 1986.

Light of Mars
Badger Books SF12, 1959, 156pp, 2/-. Cover by Nicholson?

The Other Side of the Night
Badger Books SF24, 1960, 158pp, 2/-. Cover by Eddie Jones

The Living Gem
Digit Books R782, 1963, 160pp, 2/6. Cover by unknown

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