Lightner, A M

Tagged: Author

(1904-1988) US author of much popular-science nonfiction under her married name, Alice L Hopf, beginning with Monarch Butterflies (1965), and of Children's SF and Young Adult fiction as Lightner, beginning with "A New Game" for Boys' Life in 1959. After The Pillar and the Flame (1928), a nonfantastic narrative poem, she began to publish sf novels with the undemanding Rock sequence of Space Operas comprising The Rock of Three Planets (1963), The Planet Poachers (1965) and The Space Ark (1968); several other efficient tales followed, though she came to general sf notice only with The Day of the Drones (1969), a Ruined Earth story set half a millennium after a nuclear World War Three. (This was actually her first-written novel; originally written for adults, but revised for publication as a juvenile.) As in Margot Bennett's The Long Way Back (1954), Black Africa has survived; the two young protagonists, sent north on an exploratory mission, discover that the white remnants of UK civilization have evolved into a hive society (see Hive Minds), and at a high cost save one (male) drone, who may (or may not) prove acceptable to the black society back home; the ending is indeterminate (see Race in SF). Some later tales – like The Thursday Toads (1971), a Genetic Engineering tale involving Immortality – also sustain their more serious burdens. [JC]

Alice Martha Lightner Hopf

born Detroit, Michigan: 14 October 1904

died Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania: 3 February 1988

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