(1936- ) US writer who began to publish work of genre interest with "Stop Me before I Tell More", in Orbit 9 (anth 1971) edited by Damon Knight, and who was for some years known only for his short work. This is notable more for its examination of individual humans caught in social or sexual extremis than for any specific extrapolative bent, so that moments of genuine insight or threat tend to be lost in weak plotting. His first novel, Alicia II (1978), exemplifies this problem, introducing an interesting existential problem involving Identity Transfer – the brain of an old man is implanted into the body of a young "retread" and the new amalgam must come to terms with the kind of society which legitimizes this obscene method of attaining longevity for a few – but foundering in the telling, which confusedly leads the protagonist into improbable Pulp-magazine adventures. Thurston's second independent novel, Set of Wheels (as "Wheels" in Clarion, anth 1971, ed Robin Scott Wilson; exp 1983), shows the same difficulty, but his third, Q Colony (in The Berkley Showcase 4, anth 1981, ed John W Silbersack and Victoria Schochet as "The Oonaa Woman"; exp 1985), set in a research station on an Alien planet whose inhabitants can interbreed with humans, explores his usual material – sex and identity – with greater aplomb. Trial of Heroes (2004 pod) is a Space Opera.
It may be, however, that Thurston will remain best known for a series of Ties, the most significant being his contributions to the Battlestar Galactica sequence, all with Glen A Larson:, beginning with Battlestar Galactica (1978) and ending with Battlestar Galactica #14: Surrender the Galactica! (1987). His sequence of BattleTech Ties begins with Legend of the Jade Phoenix #1: Way of the Clans (1991) and ends with Legend of the Jade Phoenix #3: Falcon Guard (1991). Singleton Ties include Robot Jox (1989), based on a screenplay by Joe Haldeman (> Robot Jox) and Dennis Paoli, and Isaac Asimov's Robot City: Robots and Aliens #3: Intruder (1990). [JC]
see also: Games and Sports; Reincarnation.
Robert Donald Thurston
born Lockport, New York: 28 October 1936
BattleTech: Legend of the Jade Phoenix
BattleTech: Twilight of the Clans
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