Death of John Brosnan (1947-2005)

Australian author and science fiction fan, John Brosnan has been found dead at his home in Harrow, England. The cause of his death is not known at this time but it appears he had been dead a few days when found.

Brosnan was born in Perth in 1947 and moved to Sydney in the late 1960s after discovering sf fandom via the pages of Australian Science Fiction Review, and meeting its editor John Bangsund. In Sydney he met such people as John Baxter and joined ANZAPA (Australian and New Zealand Amateur Publishing Association), where he was quite an active member in its early years. He was part of the Big Bus Trip, along with Ron Clarke, that transported several fans overland from Australia to London in 1970.

After settling in London he began life as a freelance writer with mixed results. His first book, James Bond in the Cinema was published in 1972, and he followed this up with various other books on cinema with his most recent being The Primal Screen: A History of Science Fiction Film, in 1991.

In addition to his cinema works he produced a number of crime and science ficton novels and in the 1990s wrote two comic fantasy novels, Damned & Fancy and Have Demon Will Travel, somewhat in the vein of Terry Pratchett. He was never an overly successful writer, failing to find an audience who appreciated his particular sense of humour, but he leaves behind an interesting body of work.

I only met him once, in 1987. I had travelled to London with Justin Ackroyd (now proprietor of Slow Glass Books in Melbourne) to attend the 1987 World Science Fiction Convention in Brighton. Our first exploit was to crash a party thrown by the author Robert Holdstock and it was there that Brosnan sidled up to me when he realised I had the only Australian wine in the place. We talked for some time that afternoon and he seemed genuinely surprised that I knew who he was.

I've always liked his fannish writings, and I got to like the man that afternoon in 1987.

[UPDATE: Bruce Gillespie has written a much better obituary for John Brosnan than ever I could. He also includes John Baxter's notes on Brosnan, and Brosnan's most recent letters to Bruce's fanzine Science Fiction Commentary.]

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 15, 2005 8:30 AM.

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