Cassini images courtesy NASA/JPL – Caltech

Tom Learmont had the immense luck to be born along with the Golden Age of Science Fiction — and grew up filled with the SF Sense of Wonder. Granny Learmont bought him his first copy of Astounding, the November 1946 issue, with a cover story by Theodore Sturgeon. Then came HG Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs, who left the young lad permanently warped.

After an education in Scotland and Rhodesia, he scraped a degree in French and English before joining a deluded government project. It was aimed at convincing numbers of small boys that the French past participle must agree with a preceding direct object. Abandoning this quixotic cause, Learmont bought a typewriter and commenced living by his wits. Tom wrote a book about cycling and took a lot of photos. To this day he is usually accompanied by a black paint Leica M2 with 35mm Summilux lens and permanently-cocked shutter.

As a freelance, Tom wrote scripts, translated TV drama. He became the oorklankingsvervaardiger of BRAKANJAN, which was originally in Spanish as: Dartacan y los Tres Mosqueperros. He has worked for daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly publications; as editor, columnist, feature writer, sub and teaboy. At the moment he’s a newspaperman.

He was widowed, then remarried and divorced, and has spent the past 20 years as a devoted rogue male. His annual outing is a round trip to New York via London, to visit far flung children and grandchildren. For the rest of the year he lives alone in Illovo. Sometimes he sits and thinks about talking squids in outer space – and sometimes he just sits. Tom’s obsessions include cinema, blues and evolution. He admires a few men — Robert Burns, Fausto Coppi, Robert Graves, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Vladimir Nabokov – and most women. His natural habitat is the Radium Beer Hall in Jozi. Loves halloumi – hates grapes – but Tassenberg rules!

  • Tom Learmont,  P.O. Box 887  Northlands 2116,  SOUTH AFRICA