04Feb George Locke aka Ferret Fantasy - Publisher, Dealer, Collector and Writer.
George was a one-off in the book trade. Multi-talented, energetic and carrying a wealth of knowledge, once started George never ceased to engage in the world of fantasy literature. Variously a publisher, bibliographer, collector, dealer and author, George will perhaps be best remembered for his Spectrum of Fantasy series, which ran to three full-length volumes and three further addenda. Spectrum outlined a lifetime's collecting and dealing, and serves as an excellent guide and catalogue of speculative fiction. An expert on interplanetary fiction, George had perhaps the most extensive collection of pre-WWI interplanetary fiction, a feat recorded in his 1975 bibliography Voyages in Space. George knew how to deal, and never shied away from a purchase opportunity, a fact reflected in the fabled 'shed' and even more elusive 'loft' where a collection of several decades resides. Everyone in the trade has a George Locke tale, testament to his impact. Sadly, George passed away on the 1st February 2019. When I last visited George he was, as always, sitting amongst a selection of books, piled high, mostly in mid-read. The selection was always varied, from modern thrillers to obscure lost-race novels from the 19th Century. His intention was always to read them, and those that he'd read were invariably recorded on a small index card in his tiny writing. I pulled a handful of books down from the loft, as I would always take a box or two of books home to sell for him. Invariably, only one in ten books would make it out the door, the remainder finding their places back on the shelves. George would always justify this with 'I still need that one' or 'I haven't read that one yet' or just a simple 'no'. It was painful for him to release the books that he treasured and represented a lifetime's accomplishments. George will be missed, and there's a gap in knowledge that graciously he filled with meticulous notes and publications.