Donald Suddaby

Was my grandfather. An RAF officer during the war, a businessman either side of that. And inbetween, he wrote books for boys (I'm sure girls could read them too). During the '20's through to the '60's he penned stories set in space, in Sherwood Forest, and the Midlands. I never met him – he died before I was born – but I know him through his writing (such is the power of it).

Donald Suddaby (1900-1964) – born in Leeds, was a British author and prolific writer of adolescent fiction, most notably Robin Hood and Science Fiction tales. His first work was Scarlet-Dragon: A little Chinese Phantasy, published in 1923. Donald began publishing works of genre interest under the name of Alan Griff with stories like The Emerald and The Coming of Glugm in 1930, both for Colour. His first novel was Lost Men in the Grass (1940), published under Griff. Donald died in 1964.

A selection of my grandfather's books on my shelf at home.

His typewriter used to write those books, with a copy of Prisoners of Saturn.

Donald's books went out of print some time ago, but in 2015 The Orion Book Publishing Group – through their Gollancz Gateway books series – approached the family and asked to reprint five of their favourites. They didn't have any original copies of the manuscripts, just the knowledge of them, so we provided a book for each, which they meticulously and laboriously scanned (non-destructively) to create eBooks fit for the modern era. They went on sale on 2016. I think Donald would have appreciated this new format, as he was always looking to the future and wondering, what if...

These five eBooks are available to purchase from all the usual online stores.

Lost Men in the Grass

Originally published in 1940, the protagonist is a chemist who invents a serum designed to prolong life, but which in fact enormously shrinks its subjects. It precedes Richard Matheson’s famous novel, The Incredible Shrinking Man (1956).

The Death of Metal 

A disaster tale in which metal suddenly becomes soft. It precedes John Christopher's (Sam Youd) famous novel, The Death of Grass (1956).

Prisoners of Saturn

Originally published in 1957, Prisoners of Saturn is an inter-planetary adventure.

Village Fanfare /
The Man from the Future

A 1907 Shropshire village is visited from the future by a man looking for human wisdom in his past.

The Star Raiders 

A mystery and adventure in a lost world, involving a trip to Venus. It precedes John Wyndham's famous novel, The Day of the Triffids (1951).

Links to the publisher's websites

Gollancz SF Gateway

The Orion Book Publishing Group

Donald even has a Facebook page!

I never knew my grandfather, but despite that, and through his writing, he has been an inspiration for me all my life. Having an author in the family really helps to boost your own sense of potential. And, even though his books are 'of their time' they show a man fascinated with a future he could not know, but tried to grasp through his stories, and I get that, I really do.

Donald Suddaby | author