Zebrowski, George

Tagged: Author | Editor

(1945-    ) Austrian-born author of Polish descent, born Jerzy Tadeus Zebrowski; in the USA from 1951, one of the first alumni of the Clarion Science Fiction Writers' Workshop to achieve recognition in the sf world. He has lived with Pamela Sargent for many years. After two short collaborations with Jack Dann – "Traps" (March 1970 If) and "Dark, Dark, the Dead Star" (July 1970 If) – Zebrowski began publishing sf stories solo with "The Water Sculptor of Station 233" for Infinity One (anth 1970) edited by Robert Hoskins. He remained active as a short-story writer, releasing nearly 100 titles by 2012; they have been assembled in The Monadic Universe (coll 1977; exp 1985), Swift Thoughts (coll 2002), In the Distance, and Ahead in Time (coll 2002) and Black Pockets and Other Dark Thoughts (coll 2006). A metaphysical bent of mind, usually for good, informs much of this work (see Eschatology; Religion). He was editor of the SFWA Bulletin from 1970 to winter 1974-1975, and from 1983 to 1991 with Pamela Sargent.

Zebrowski's first published novel was the second instalment, in terms of internal chronology, of his Omega Point sequence – comprising Ashes and Stars (1977) and The Omega Point (1972), both revised and assembled along with thea previously unpublished "Mirror of Minds" as The Omega Point Trilogy (omni 1983). Within a Space-Opera frame, a metaphysical drama is enacted, pitting the sole survivors of a destroyed culture – created through Genetic Engineering, and whose rationale owes something to the Omega Point theories of the evolutionary theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) – against the inimical Earth Federation responsible for its elimination; after his father's death, Gorgias finds the eponymous Weapon, but Omega Point turns out to be fundamentally a focus of Transcendental empathy. The Star Web (1975) is an unambitious space opera, but the two star-spanning forms of Transportation featured in the text were of potential interest; revised, the book became the first third of Stranger Suns (1991), a long novel written in the Stapledon-esque vein that marks Zebrowski's most highly regarded single work, Macrolife (1979; rev 1990). Though otherwise unconnected, the two books share an elevated purposefulness about the depiction of humanity's future in dramatized Future History terms, suffering at times from a tendency to depend on insufficiently plausible lines of plot to carry their ambitious burdens. Macrolife begins on Earth, but soon departs the home planet for self-sufficient star-travelling Space Habitats or World Ships, and carries onwards to the end of the Universe (see End of Time); Stranger Suns views with considerable bleakness the opportunities taken – and missed – by humanity when given the chance to use a complex Stargate that gives access not only to the Universe as we know it but also to alternate universes (see Parallel Worlds). The connected Cave of Stars (1999), which set on the Roman Catholic planet of New Earth after it is visited by a World Ship, pits Religion against secular experimentalism,with the victory going narrowly to the Posthumans whose potential Immortality promises Transcendence.

Later work includes the Bernal One sequence beginning with Sunspacer (1984). In Brute Orbits (1998), which won the John W Campbell Memorial Award, Prison Asteroids (see Crime and Punishment) are secretly transformed into unpowered World Ships adrift in interstellar space, each of them a closed quarter where Utopias and Dystopias are variously promulgated. Empties (2009), a noir tale of urban vacancy (see Horror in SF), in which New York is seen as metaphorically decorticated.

Zebrowski's anthologies include Tomorrow Today (anth 1975), containing original material, Faster than Light (anth 1976) with Jack Dann and Human-Machines (anth 1975) with Thomas N Scortia, a collection of whose stories, The Best of Thomas N. Scortia (coll 1981), Zebrowski also edited In the 1980s he produced the Synergy series of Original Anthologies beginning with Synergy: New Science Fiction #1 (anth 1987). With Pamela Sargent he wrote several Ties contributed to the Star Trek universe, beginning with A Fury Scorned (1996). Beneath the Red Star: Studies on International Science Fiction (coll 1991) assembles his essays on the sf of Eastern Europe. A constant seriousness of intent and demeanour have not led to the popularity that may have seemed warranted; but Zebrowski's body of work as a whole demands attention. [JC]

see also: Cosmology; Cyborgs; Generation Starships; Nebula; Sociology; White Holes.

George Thaddeus Zebrowski

born Villach, Austria: 28 December 1945

died

works

series

Omega Point

  • The Omega Point (New York: Ace Books, 1972) [Omega Point: pb/Bob Pepper]
  • Ashes and Starssfgateway.com (New York: Ace Books, 1977) [Omega Point: pb/Bob Pepper]
    • The Omega Point Trilogy (New York: Ace Books, 1983) [omni of revised versions of the above two plus "Mirror of Minds": Omega Point: pb/Attila Hejja]

Macrolife

Bernal One

  • Sunspacersfgateway.com (New York: Harper and Row, 1984) [Bernal One: hb/Bob Walters]
  • The Stars Will Speak (New York: Harper and Row, 1985) [Bernal One: hb/Ivan Powell]
    • The Sunspacers Trilogy (Stone Mountain, Georgia: White Wolf Publishing/Borealis, 1996) [omni of the above two plus the book-length "Behind the Stars" (June-July 1993 Amazing): Bernal One: pb/Bob Eggleton]

Star Trek

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek Original Series

individual titles

collections

nonfiction

works as editor

series

Nebula Awards

See also Nebula Anthologies.

Synergy

individual titles

about the author

links

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