Dvorkin, David

Tagged: Author

(1943-    ) UK-born author, long in the USA, father of Daniel Dvorkin; first novel of strong interest, after the unremarkable The Children of Shiny Mountain (1977; vt Shiny Mountain 1978) and The Green God (1979), was Time for Sherlock Holmes (1983). This Recursive tale takes the detective Sherlock Holmes, who has found the secret of eternal youth, through a tortuous plot (much Time Travel is involved) from the time of H G Wells (concerned at Professor Moriarty's theft of the Time Machine to seesaw through the aeons, doing evil) to a Martian future where, after a Dystopian interlude, he prepares to lead humanity to the stars. Unfortunately, the telling is somewhat flat, an anomie of style which afflicted Dvorkin through the next several books. Budspy (1987), a Hitler Wins tale set in an Alternate History version of America and Germany in 1988, conveys a sense of greyish fragile torpor as the protagonist – budspies are secret agents of the ironically named Ombudsman Commission – realizes there is something rotten in Berlin; and The Seekers (1988) and Central Heat (1988), both set in the same universe, again lack a sense of full conviction, though much of the detail-work is, as usual, applied with considerable intelligence. Central Heat is plotted with all Dvorkin's love of intricacy: Aliens have decided that Earth has failed to breed decent citizens and so abduct the Sun, although ensuring that our planet ricochets into an orbit around Jupiter and Saturn, which have been thrown together; properly instructed as to how to go about igniting the joined gas giants into a tiny new sun, the remnants of humanity begin to learn how to cope.

With Ursus (1989) and the Prisoner of the Blood books, Insatiable (1993) and Unquenchable (1995) – Dvorkin shifted into horror, though that market soon collapsed. His return to sf was signalled by two competent tales, Pit Planet (2003), a fairly traditional Space Opera in which the secret behind "jacksonite" – the mineral that powers the galaxy – causes troubles on Colliery, the pit planet; and Dawn Crescent (2003) with Daniel Dvorkin, an Alternate History in which an Arab conspiracy leads to the deposition of George Bush and the Presidency of Dan Quayle, and the West begins to fall (this tale may have been written before 2001). [JC]

David Dvorkin

born England: 8 October 1943

died

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