McClary, Thomas Calvert

Tagged: Author

(1909-1972) US speechwriter, ghostwriter and author, mostly of Westerns from the early 1930s, and whose sf began to appear in Astounding from 1934 under his own name and under the pseudonyms Thomas Calvert, Miles Cramer and Calvin Peregoy – the latter for the Doctor Conklin series in Astounding in 1934-1935. His two sf novels are both set in versions of New York, and are both Thought Experiments in Cultural Engineering; each builds on crude versions of the theory, reminiscent of Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), that a small scientific elite unhindered by the opportunism of businessmen and politicians could keep the world running in decency and comfort (but see Pariah Elite).

In Rebirth: When Everyone Forgot (February-March 1934 Astounding; rev 1944), set in the Near Future, a possibly Mad Scientist instantaneously transforms the world by means of a Ray which obliterates all memory (see Amnesia), hoping that in this tabula rasa setting men will be able to create a just society. Women – who remain Sex-obsessed and incapable of sustained thought (though they can demonstrate doglike fidelity to dominant males) – need not apply; McClary's misogyny, though mildly phrased, is habitual (see Women in SF).

Three Thousand Years (April-June 1938 Astounding; 1954) – narrated in retrospect by a Computer about to be dismantled – begins with arguments between elite males about the ills of contemporary civilization, followed by a radical Disaster in this case the transition of all lifeforms to a state of Suspended Animation; those who survive awaken after three millennia into a Ruined Earth world, which is duly reconstructed by men. Like the non-sf "The Tommyknocker" (October-November 1940 Unknown), both books argue the presumption that humanity is corruptible, but not essentially corrupt. [JC/JE/RB]

Thomas Calvert McClary

born Illinois: 13 February 1909

died 1972

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