(1961- ) US writer whose first novel, Celestial Matters (1996), is an Alternate Cosmos tale in which the Ptolemaic universe is real: celestial bodies are positioned in crystalline spheres around Earth, which is the centre of the universe; travel to the planets is via sailing ship. His second novel, All of an Instant (1999), posits a "location" outside of Time and space called the Instant, a fulcrum from which the universe can be profoundly altered, generating a long Changewar, which has created jagged chaos, and some sort of resolution is being meditated. Wayland's Principia (2009) plays with Homo sapiens's hopeless longing (see Exogamy)for the imagined allure of an Alien species due to arrive on Earth – at sublight speeds – many decades after their messages have aroused us. Exhalations (2009), Two by Two Souls Fly (2011 ebook) and Unknowable (2012 ebook) are fantasy. Garfinkle's novels are intellectually engaging, though slightly overplotted; his recent work remains strong.
Three Steps to the Universe: From the Sun to Black Holes to the Mystery of Dark Matter (2008) with David Garfinkle (Richard's brother) very competently surveys issues in contemporary Cosmology (see also Black Holes). [JC]
born New York: 1961
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