(1943-1986) US academic and author who began publishing sf with his first novel, The Makeshift God (1979), an ambitiously overwritten and overlong but notably intelligent romance of origins, set initially in a drab Arab-dominated marginally pre-Cyberpunk USA, and then on a planet which houses mysteriously significant data about the deep human past. Century's End (1981) takes another blackly satirical look at the Near Future of Earth, and at the Religions which attempt to exploit the millennium, generating comparisons between Griffin and such writers as Kurt Vonnegut Jr or – even more relevantly – John T Sladek. In The Blind Men and the Elephant (1982) Griffin tackled a theme dear to Sladek: the consequences of thrusting a tabula-rasa personality into a meat-grinder world. In Sladek Roderick, or The Education of a Young Machine (1980) and its sequel it is a young Robot that loses its innocence; in Griffin's novel it is a fast-maturing and monstrous Clone, experimentally deposited into a deteriorating New England. The novel closes, after some very funny passages, in a state of utter despair. Griffin's final novel, The Timeservers (1985), returns to the relative extroversion of his first in the story of a young soldier's confrontation with Clones, far stars and telepathic Aliens.
Griffin's short fiction from 1986 onward was bylined Russell Griffin with no middle initial, as was the UK edition of The Makeshift God. His premature death halted a career which could have soared. [JC]
see also: End of the World; Monsters.
Russell Morgan Griffin
born Stamford, Connecticut: 29 April 1943
died Milford, Connecticut: 27 August 1986
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