Dann, Jack

Tagged: Author | Editor

(1945-    ) US author and anthologist, with a BA in social/political science, married initially to Jeanne Van Buren Dann and from 1995 to Janeen Webb, with both of whom he has collaborated, mostly resident in Australia from about 1990; he began publishing sf in 1970 with "Traps" (March 1970 If) and "Dark, Dark the Dead Star" (July 1970 If), both written with George Zebrowski. Among his best and most revealing stories of this early period was Junction (stories November 1973, September 1977 Fantastic; fixup 1981), a Nebula-award finalist in its magazine form; its young protagonist must leave the eponymous village, the last place on Earth to remain physically stable [in fantasy terms it is a Polder; see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below], to explore the "Hell" of mutability outside. The expansion cogently dramatizes what Gregory Feeley has suggested is Dann's central theme: the rousing of a young man from disaffected solipsism into awareness of the marvels of the noösphere. Starhiker (fixup 1977), set in a heightened Space-Opera venue, similarly puts a young human singer-bard escapee from Alien-occupied Earth into an alien Spaceship, where he undergoes a series of revelatory experiences (including near self-transcendence on a sentient planet) before returning to his depressed home. The stories assembled in Timetipping (coll 1980) reiterate this basic pattern. Only with The Man Who Melted (1984) did Dann expand his canvas by introducing a human subject – the lost wife of a passionately dysfunctional protagonist must search through a baroque world rendered savagely mutable through collective psychoses which have a binding effect on reality. The world depicted through this lens of obsessional quest has some of the fraught but encompassing urgency of the best work of David Marusek.

For a decade or so after the release of The Man Who Melted, Dann became very well known for his anthologies; the better of these – like Wandering Stars (anth 1974) and More Wandering Stars (anth 1981), sf about Jews; Immortals: Short Novels of the Transhuman Future (anth 1980); the impressive In the Field of Fire (anth 1987) with Jeanne Van Buren Dann, about Vietnam; or Gathering the Bones: Thirty-three Original Stories From the World's Masters of Horror (anth 2003) with Ramsey Campbell and Dennis Etchison – are strongly argued thematic anthologies. The long series of Magic Tales anthologies, all edited with Gardner Dozois [see Checklist below], are lighter efforts, but not inconsequential. Wizards: magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy (anth 2007) with Gardner Dozois is a substantial assembly of original stories.

Dann's suddenly renewed presence from the 1990s on is only in part artefactual – the publication of an early version of Bad Medicine (2000; vt Counting Coup 2001) was thwarted by the collapse of Bluejay Books; it is an American Road fantasy laced with melancholia and premonitions of great loss. Echoes of Thunder (1991 chap dos) with Jack C Haldeman II – a Tor Books Double originally designed for Dos publication, but ultimately released in the format of a conventional two-item anthology – was much expanded as High Steel (1993), a virtuoso Near Future tale which begins with its American Indian protagonist's experiences as a shanghaied worker constructing a Space Station, but soon expands in various directions, as the hero evolves into a Superman, apocalyptic hallucinations afflict Earth's normals, and an enigmatic message left by Aliens promises the secret of FTL travel. Later work has moved from sf, though not from the fantastic. The Memory Cathedral: A Secret History of Leonardo da Vinci (1995) fantasticates the life of the last universal genius (see Leonardo da Vinci) in an edificial world which takes the shape and functions of the Theatre of Memory. The novella "Da Vinci Rising" (May 1995 Asimov's) won a Nebula. The Silent (1998), though without any overt sanctioning of a fantastic reading, generates, through the mute bare gaze of its child-picaro protagonist on the naked world of the American Civil War, a powerful Equipoisal sense that the world thus viewed contains anything we are capable of dreaming to explain it. A sequence of Alternate History tales in which James Dean survives – The Rebel: An Imagined Life of James Dean (2004) and Promised Land (coll 2007) – – poignantly asserts a version of California that the protagonist of The Silent might have found livable; eventually, after dominating Hollywood for years, Dean becomes Governor of the state.

A short memoir, Insinuations: An Autobiography (2010 chap), builds on various earlier essays, bringing the narrative of his life up to 2007. [JC]

see also: Future War; Generation Starships; Psychology; Religion; Telepathy.

Jack Mayo Dann

born Johnson City, New York: 15 February 1945

died

works

series

James Dean

individual titles

collections and stories

  • Timetipping (Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, 1980) [coll: hb/Margo Herr]
  • Jubilee (Melbourne, Victoria: HarperCollins, 2001) [coll: pb/Nick Stathopoulos]
  • Visitations (Waterville, Maine: Thorndyke Books, 2003) [coll: hb/Katy Rewston]
  • The Fiction Factory (Urbana, Illinois: Golden Gryphon Press, 2005) [coll: collecting stories in collaboration with various writers: hb/J K Potter]
  • The Economy of Light (Hornsea, East Yorkshire: PS Publishing, 2008) [hb/Vincent Chong]
  • Da Vinci Rising / The Diamond Pit (Rockville, Maryland: Wildside Press/The Borgo Press, 2010) [dos: two novellas in back-to back format: pb/Danick63 and Paul Fleet]

works as editor

series

Wandering Stars

Magic Tales

  • Aliens! (New York: Ace Books, 1980) with Gardner Dozois [anth: precursor to the Magic Tales sequence: pb/Michael Whelan]
  • Unicorns! (New York: Ace Books, 1982) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/]
  • Magicats! (New York: Ace Books, 1984) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Ann Meisel]
  • Bestiary! (New York: Ace Books, 1985) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Dawn Wilson]
  • Mermaids! (New York: Ace Books, 1985) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Carl Lundgren]
  • Sorcerers! (New York: Ace Books, 1986) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Dean Morrissey]
  • Demons! (New York: Ace Books, 1987) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Hiro Kimura]
  • Dogtales! (New York: Ace Books, 1988) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Hiro Kimura]
  • Seaserpents! (New York: Ace Books, 1989) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Hiro Kimura]
  • Dinosaurs! (New York: Ace Books, 1990) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Bob Walters]
  • Magicats II (New York: Ace Books, 1991) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Jim Warren]
  • Little People! (New York: Ace Books, 1991) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Daniel R Home]
  • Unicorns II (New York: Ace Books, 1992) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Neal McPheeters]
  • Dragons! (New York: Ace Books, 1993) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Bob Eggleton]
  • Invaders! (New York: Ace Books, 1993) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Joan Pelaez]
  • Horses! (New York: Ace Books, 1994) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Den Beauvais]
  • Angels! (New York: Ace Books, 1995) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Den Beauvais]
  • Dinosaurs II (New York: Ace Books, 1995) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Bob Eggleton]
  • Hackers (New York: Ace Books, 1996) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Sharmen Liao]
  • Timegates (New York: Ace Books, 1997) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Jean-François Podevin]
  • Clones (New York: Ace Books, 1998) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Lee MacLeod]
  • Immortals (New York: Ace Books, 1998) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Jean-François Podevin]
  • Nanotech (New York: Ace Books, 1998) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Doug Struthers]
  • Armageddons (New York: Ace Books, 1999) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Phil Hefferman]
  • Future War (New York: Ace Books, 1999) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Chris Moore]
  • Aliens Among Us (New York: Ace Books, 2000) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Walter Velez]
  • Space Soldiers (New York: Ace Books, 2001) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Lee MacLeod]
  • Genometry (New York: Ace Books, 2001) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Walter Velez]
  • Future Sports (New York: Ace Books, 2002) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Ben Gibson]
  • Beyond Flesh (New York: Ace Books, 2003) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Jan Franz]
  • Future Crimes (New York: Ace Books, 2003) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Getty Images]
  • A.I.s (New York: Ace Books, 2004) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/AXB Group]
  • Beyond Singularity (New York: Ace Books, 2005) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/Ben Gibson]
  • Robots (New York: Ace Books, 2005) with Gardner Dozois [anth: Magic Tales: pb/]

Threes

Dreaming Down-Under

Nebula Awards

See also Nebula Anthologies.

individual titles

nonfiction

about the author

links

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