(1943- ) UK-born teacher and author, in the US from 1967, naturalized 1977; best known for his Poetry, though his first book of sf interest, A Double Shadow (1978), is a novel, where he first expresses his long-held interest in Mars as a natural focus for sf. His three book-length sf works, though not a series, share certain assumptions, including the Terraforming of Mars. Set in the Far-Future, A Double Shadow depicts within a Dying Earth frame the conflicts of two characters who represent deeply contrasting classes of evolved humans (see Evolution); their strife leads them to join in the Transcendence of their volatile human condition. The New World: An Epic Poem (1985) more daringly takes the form of a book-length narrative poem, set in a partially-depopulated twenty-fourth-century Ruined Earth America balkanized into at least four disputing categories of rump societies, including the usual fundamentalist state (see Religion) and a transcendental humanist concordat. Three men vie to marry the heroine, herself stubbornly attached to an earlier lover. After much adventuring and a series of disquisitions on the Utopian lifestyle achieved by the heroine's rural culture, the long tale ends in the mass-suicide of the of opponents of this society, and a just marriage. Cumbersome at certain points, the book works in the end as an advocacy of and paean to the good life, as does Genesis: An Epic Poem (1988), which evokes Gaia and Genetic Engineering in its presentation of a believably terraformed Mars a century of so hence. Apocalypse (2016), on the other hand, depicts the Near Future Disaster of Climate Change, with the seas of 2067 rising inexorably, and the governments of the world increasingly deep in enfeebled paroxysms of denial and blame.
Tempest, Flute and Oz: Essays on the Future (coll 1991) is a slightly uneasy conflation of literary criticism, including essays on William Shakespeare, L Frank Baum and Futures Studies. [JC]
born East Haddon, Northamptonshire, England: 18 November 1943
Previous versions of this entry