(1929-2007) US playwright and author whose first book, A Kiss Before Dying (1953), is an extremely impressive chiller. He is best known for the horror tale Rosemary's Baby (1967), in which the Devil impregnates a young woman; the book was filmed by Roman Polanski as Rosemary's Baby (1968); the sequel, Son of Rosemary (1997), is weak. Levin moved into sf proper with This Perfect Day (1970), a Dystopian view of a cybernetically regimented future (see Computers), and The Stepford Wives (1972), which was twice filmed (see The Stepford Wives), a horrific Satire set in a US suburb whose men – aroused by the threat of Feminism – have turned their womenfolk into compliant Robots. The last three titles were assembled as Three by Ira Levin (omni 1985). His most impressive book is perhaps The Boys from Brazil (1976), filmed as The Boys from Brazil, a complex story involving the cloning (see Clones) of cells from Adolf Hitler's body in order to later impregnate a number of women with young Hitlers, whom a Brazilian neo-Nazi group headed by Dr Josef Mengele tries to raise in environments as close as possible to that in which the Führer himself was raised (see Hitler Wins). Levin treats his sf themes with meticulous style and plotting, along with a certain fascination with the multitude of ways in which women can be violated; the latter attribute provides much of the raison d'être for the hitech surveillance devices that give blanket coverage of tenants' lives in the New York apartment building featured in Sliver (1991), the Paranoia of the tale feeling very much like sf. [JC]
see also: History of SF.
Ira Marvin Levin
born New York: 27 August 1929
died New York: 12 November 2007
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