(1950- ) US author. He was involved in the Clarion Science Fiction Writers' Workshop in 1971-1972, and began publishing sf with "Gee, Isn't He the Cutest Little Thing?" in Alien Condition (anth 1973) edited by Stephen Goldin. His first novel, Autumn Angels (1975), the first of the very loose Autumn Angels sequence, with introduction by Harlan Ellison, depicts in hallucinated language a Far-Future Earth, with Linguistic and cultural jokes proliferating rather exhaustingly, and gods incognito galore. The sequel, An East Wind Coming (1979), continues to introduce to the End of Time cultural icons in pastiche, wrestling hyperbolically with problems of free will and identity. The stories in The Platypus of Doom and Other Nihilists (coll of linked stories 1976) similarly – though with a modest induction of calm – features a sequence of somewhat unhinged Parodies of popular figures, who fit loosely into the Autumn Angels world.
Of these early books, only The Sound of Winter (1976), a love story set in a mutation-riddled post-Disaster wonderland, attempts to create a more humanly moving outcome. Parody is technically not far removed from novelization – certainly Autumn Angels, technically an example of the former, reads remarkably like an example of the latter – and Cover's next novel, Flash Gordon (1980), novelizing the film of that name, was thus perhaps a logical move. Subsequently Cover has written for Byron Preiss some Time Machine sharecrops – The Rings of Saturn (1985), American Revolutionary (1985) and Blade of the Guillotine (1986) – as well as two sharecrops – Planetfall (1988) and Stationfall (1989) – derived from computer games. Other sharecrops include Isaac Asimov's Robot City, Book 4: Prodigy (1987) and Robert Silverberg's Time Tours #5: The Dinosaur Trackers (1991) with John Gregory Betancourt and Timothy Robert Sullivan, all as by Thomas Shadwell, and two titles in the Rising Stars sequence, beginning with J Michael Straczynski's Rising Stars (2002). All these works retain something of the old, recklessly helterskelter Cover; but tend to lack much chance of dangerousness. [JC]
Arthur Byron Cover
born Grundy, Virginia: 14 January 1950
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