Findley, Timothy

Tagged: Author

(1930-2002) Canadian actor from 1953 and author who began to publish fiction with the nonfantastic "About Effie" for The Tamarack Review, Autumn 1956, and who remained moderately prolific through his substantial career; though much of his work seems at first glance to be fantasy, it escapes any straightforward definition as such, as his Equipoisal fluctuations between Mythology and "reality" generate a sense that the venues he selects are in fact Alternate Worlds. Famous Last Words (1981) is the first of his novels to express a vision of the modern world as a scene of vastation (see Horror in SF), as fictional characters, like Hugh Selwyn Mauberley from the 1920 poem by Ezra Pound (1885-1972), interact with real figures like Charles Lindbergh (1902-1974) in a portrait of Europe Between the Wars, the stigmata of World War Two looming as Fascism gains purchase over otherwise civilized minds. Not Wanted on the Voyage (1984) is a remarkably savage Satire of the Christian Religion in which Noah (here Dr Noah Noyes) is depicted as a cruel bigot who treats God's instructions as a recipe for ethnic cleansing: all Supernatural Creatures are banished, women (see Feminism) are kept below deck, and Lucifer is connived with. Headhunter (1993), set in very Near Future Toronto, features the irruption into this world of another fictional character, Kurtz from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (magazine publication 1899), who inhabits the body of a corrupt but visionary psychiatrist as AIDs proliferates, and the Disaster of a new plague, Sturnusemia, intensifies the sense of vastation. In Pilgrim (1999), an unkillable immortal (see Immortality) is treated by Carl Jung (1875-1961), who attempts, as World War One hovers on the horizon, to cure him of his longing to commit suicide; at the same time, Jung discovers in Pilgrim's abyssal psyche instances of all the "psychological types" who inhabit his version of psychiatry (see Psychology). Findley was far too fluent an author of contemporary Fantastika to be deemed a Mainstream Writer of SF. [JC]

Timothy Findley

born Toronto, Ontario: 30 October 1930

died Brignoles, France: 21 June 2002

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