Hughes, Zach

Tagged: Author

Working name for much of his sf of US writer Hugh Zachary (1928-2016), who also used various other pseudonyms for sf, including Evan Innes, Peter Kanto, Pablo Kane and Marcus Van Heller; he used his real name for other work from 1961 on, at least 100 titles in all. His novels in the sf field were expertly devised and readable and frequently surprisingly dark in their implications. The Book of Rack the Healer (1973) and its sequel Thunderworld (1982) explore with some complexity first a Post-Holocaust USA, then a planet whose Alien population renders humanity's survival problematic. The Legend of Miaree (1974) again subjects alien races to a reading which is pessimistic about the chances of species survival. Tide (1974) and The St Francis Effect (1976) are more routine but Seed of the Gods (1974) sharply parodies the Erich von Däniken "ancient astronauts" books. Other novels, such as The Stork Factor (1975), For Texas and Zed (1976) and Tiger in the Stars (1976), variously exploit Space-Opera themes, sharing with his first books an inventive knack for creating aliens. Without undue emphasis, elements of a shared background link several of these titles – Killbird (1980), for instance, is clearly set in the same universe as The Legend of Miaree – and Hughes's work gives a general sense of only casually developed potential, along with very considerable unevenness: Sundrinker (1987), another tale of Aliens, features as protagonist a mobile plant, arguing the plausibility of the premise with some force; while The Dark Side (1987) is a conventional space opera. In the end, Hughes, who retired from his active career in the mid-1990s, gave the air of being a professional writer less than fully attentive to the genre.

His pseudonymous works were of varying import. As Evan Innes, he wrote a Sharecrop sequence, possibly designed to Tie to an unmade television series, the America 2040 books beginning with America 2040 (1986) [see Checklist for the rest], which offer an epic view of the Near Future and beyond as America's domain. Books as by Pablo Kane, Peter Kanto and Marcus Van Heller – the last a House Name first used by John Stevenson (1926-    ) for titles published by Olympia Press, Paris, and later used by other publishers – are light sf tales involving Sex. [JC]

Hugh Derrel Zachary

born Holdenville, Oklahoma: 12 January 1928

died Oviedo, Florida: 5 September 2016

works

series

Rack the Healer

America 2040

individual titles (selected)

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