(1908-1980) US playwright, screenwriter, author and speculative journalist known mainly for his work outside the sf field, formerly for such plays as Thunder Rock (performed 1939; 1941), which was filmed (1943), directed by Roy Boulting, and again for television (1985), directed by Mike Vardy; later he became famous for his series of sociobiological speculations, including African Genesis: A Personal Investigation into the Animal Origins and Nature of Man (1961) and The Territorial Imperative: A Personal Inquiry into the Animals Origins of Property and Nations (1966). Though based on studies in primate ethology which have now been long discounted, both texts have proved imaginatively stimulating for authors of fiction. As the implications of his biological determinism sank in on advocates of Feminism and others, however, he seemed increasingly isolated as an ethological popularizer. The uncomfortable nature of his speculative attempts may be found in his sf novel, World's Beginning (1944), where US society is benevolently rationalized by a chemicals company. [JC]
see also: Economics; Metaphysics.
born Chicago, Illinois: 16 October 1908
died Kalk Bay, South Africa: 14 January 1980
novels and play
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