As the years go by it gets ever easier to identify people who share my birthday, down to the year as well as the day. The SF Encyclopedia has one such list, including Jon Pertwee’s father Roland (1885), Morris West (1916), Luděk Pešek (1919), Donald Cotton (1928), Charles Platt (1945), and the dubious case of William Shakespeare, who was baptised on this day in 1564 but traditionally born three days earlier.
However, this year I’m going to concentrate on the Canadian/American writer A.E. van Vogt. I’m not a massive fan of his writing (see a redemptive reading here), and he certainly backed the wrong horse by getting involved with dianetics, but the interesting thing for my purposes is that he was born on 26 April 1912, and was therefore celebrating his 55th birthday on the day that I was born on another continent; today I celebrate my own 55th birthday.
He did not write all that much after 1950, though he successfully recycled and expanded previous short fiction for book-length publication up until quite late in the day. He also got a $50,000 out of court settlement from the producers of Alien, after alleging that they had ripped off his plots.
I’ve been trying to find a photograph of him from around 1967, and have not quite succeeded – most surviving pictures come either from earlier, when he was more active, or later, when more people were taking photographs that ended up digitised. I think he’s in his late 50s, and not looking bad, in this one, which seemed the closest to the right date.
He lived to 2000, and if I make it to 2055 I’ll be happy. (I hope.) You can get his books here.