(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.
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