Working name of UK author and scientist Christopher Magnus Howard Pedler (1927-1981). He was a medical doctor, practising from 1953 for about three years, after which he began the research into the experimental pathology of eye disease that resulted in a second doctorate; from his early years he was a passionate advocate for the proper conservation of the planet. In collaboration with Gerry Davis he created the menacing Cybermen for the Doctor Who storyline The Tenth Planet; these inimical Cyborgs became one of the series' most popular recurring foes. He began publishing work of genre interest with "Image in Capsule" (in The Sixth Ghost Book, anth 1970, edited by Rosemary Timperley), and in the same year, with Gerry Davis devised the BBC TV series Doomwatch, which ran to thirty-seven episodes, many written by Pedler and Davis, and most dealing in sf terms with the prevention of manmade threats to this fragile planet, including Ecological degradation in general, specific Disasters often involving Pollution, and all with implications – to use a later term – of Climate Change. Pedler's first sf novel, Mutant 59: The Plastic-Eater (1971) with Davis, was the first of two Doomwatch stories (the basic plot had been used as a Doomwatch episode): a laboratory-created plastic-eating virus escapes, creating environmental havoc as plastics start dissolving. The working out of the notion is less than crisp. Doomwatch: The World in Danger (fixup 1975 chap), also with Davis, contains similar material. The same concerns also figured in the next two collaborations, Brainrack (1974) and The Dynostar Menace (1975), the latter partly set on a Space Station, though Pedler's scientific ideas were perhaps stronger than the methods he used to dramatize them. He made many television and radio appearances, usually dealing with ecological problems, and presented several television films in this field. [JC/PN]
see also: Genetic Engineering; Pseudoscience.
Christopher Magnus Howard Pedler
born London: 11 June 1927
died Doddington, Kent: 27 May 1981
about the author
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