Smith, D Alexander

Tagged: Author

(1953-    ) US investment banker and author who served as Treasurer of Science Fiction Writers of America 1987-1990 and has written several articles on Wargame strategy. The Marathon sequence comprising Marathon (1982), Rendezvous (1988) and Homecoming (1990) analyses in some depth a First Contact event, depicting with very considerable cunning the slow process of learning and ultimate Conceptual Breakthrough attendant upon any genuine confrontation of Homo sapiens with the Other. In this case, the Cygnan Aliens, who are rendezvousing with humans in interstellar space, are intriguingly perceived through flawed human eyes, especially where the Cygnans' ability to join their minds into sustaining gestalts is concerned. Although Smith succumbs to some Clichéd presentation of sf conventions – for instance, the neurotic AI aboard the human starship – this slow, densely realized Space-Opera epic deserves considerable notice.

For some time, in conjunction with the Cambridge Science Fiction Writers' Workshop, Smith had been building a Shared-World portrait of Boston, Massachusetts, focusing on a period about 100 years hence when the central city has accreted into a vast defensive cube (see Keep) and has seceded from the USA. His own novel, In the Cube: A Novel of Future Boston (1993) – a detective tale whose protagonist's sidekick is a surprisingly tolerable furry Alien – focuses on the period of climax; a shared-world anthology-cum-fixup, Future Boston: The History of a City, 1990-2100 (anth/fixup 1994) edited by Smith, ranges backwards and forwards around the locus of the Cube, with central narrative lines and characters all being shared. The whole enterprise demonstrates the potency of the shared world in those cases where creators, owners and writers are the same persons; and where the world is not controlled by a corporation bible. [JC]

David Alexander Smith

born 6 October 1953

died

works

series

Marathon

individual titles

works as editor

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