John Brosnan

Science-fiction writer and film critic
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The Independent Online

The writer and film critic John Brosnan was a man of deep friendships, some of which had lasted half a century - the Australian writer John Baxter, with whom Brosnan collaborated on a novel, knew him that long - and he enjoyed a wide range of acquaintances throughout the science-fiction and film subcultures of London.

John Raymond Brosnan, writer and film critic: born Perth, Western Australia 7 October 1947; died London c11 April 2005.

The writer and film critic John Brosnan was a man of deep friendships, some of which had lasted half a century - the Australian writer John Baxter, with whom Brosnan collaborated on a novel, knew him that long - and he enjoyed a wide range of acquaintances throughout the science-fiction and film subcultures of London.

He wrote seven books on film. The first of these was James Bond in the Cinema (1972). His interest in filmed science fiction culminated in Future Tense: the cinema of science fiction (1978). He wrote most of the film entries for The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1979), edited by Peter Nicholls and John Clute.

As a writer of science fiction and often comically exaggerated horror, Brosnan published at least 23 novels. His collaborations with Leroy Kettle were pseudonymous; the best known of these horror tales is probably Bedlam (1992), the film version of which (Beyond Bedlam) gave Liz Hurley her first main role. More ambitious science-fiction novels, under his own name, included the Sky Lords novels from 1988, and his last published novel, Mothership (2004). He had already completed a draft of the sequel at the time of his death.

Brosnan was born in 1947 in Perth, Western Australia, and became active as an SF fan in the mid 1960s. By 1970 he had moved to London, where he settled for good. Though he was convivial from the start - my own 25-year-old memories of post-launch drinks with him at the Troy Club off the Tottenham Court Road remain warm - the story of his life is essentially one of hard work.

His death was reported on 11 April. Friends had become alarmed at his absence over Easter, and gained access to his flat in South Harrow, where he was found. He had died in his sleep, possibly several days earlier. An autopsy determined that the cause of death was acute pancreatitis. This finding has scotched rumours that he had met with foul play.

It was perhaps to be expected that Brosnan died alone, as he had lived alone for many years. But he was a continual and welcome presence in many lives, a friend to some and companion to many. He was a funny and surprisingly tough-minded writer.

John Clute



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