(1951-2014) US author who also wrote as Steve Chapman; he began to publish work of genre interest with "Testing ... One, Two, Three, Four" in Analog for December 1969. Some of his better early work was published – along with stories by R A Lafferty, whose deadpan disjunctiveness he shared – in the Original Anthology series Orbit, including "Troika" in Orbit 13 (anth 1974) edited by Damon Knight; this tale was woven with others into his first novel, The Troika (fixup 1997), which won the Philip K Dick Award. The text displays three protagonists in various guises wandering across a world with three suns; whether or not they are Shapeshifters or have had transfigurations imposed upon them by other powers (perhaps the engendering power of the book itself, as in some works of surrealism), is clearly not meant to be made clear. One of these characters is a jeep which/who has slowly evolved from traumatic beginnings as a human being; one is an escapee from Aztec sacrifice; the third has evolved from Cryogenic storage into a Dinosaur in interstellar space, but is now here. The setting is something like the near Far Future. A Godgame may underlie the tale: certainly a Secret Master is intermittently in evidence. The deracinating spooferies of the tale may, for Chapman, represent some guess as to what the future may hold.
Some of his shorter works tend to confirm a sense of underlying seriousness, like the long "Minutes of the Last Meeting" in Leviathan 2: The Legacy of Boccaccio (anth 1998) edited by Rose Secrest and Jeff VanderMeer, an Alternate History set in Russia at the end of World War One, where a proliferation of Inventions and much action fails to disguise a world in distress. [JC]
see also: Science Fiction Eye.
born Chicago, Illinois: 27 May 1951
died 27 January 2014
- The Troika (Tallahassee, Florida: The Ministry of Whimsy Press, 1997) [fixup: pb/Alan M Clark]
collections and stories
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