Hendrix, Howard V. 1959–
Hendrix, Howard V. 1959–
Agent—Ralph M. Vicinanza Ltd., 303 W. 18th St., New York, NY 10011.
University of California, Riverside, teaching assistant, 1980-86; Mt. San Jacinto College, San Jacinto, CA, lecturer in English, 1984-87; Central Methodist College, Fayette, MO, assistant professor of literature and technical writing, 1988-90; California State University, Fresno, lecturer in English, 1990-94, 1999-2003; National University, Fresno, head of School of Arts and Sciences, 1995-98; Pine Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, firefighter, 2000—. Hit and Run Theatre Group, founding member, writer, and director; producer and director of short films and theater productions. Pine Ridge Property Owners Association, president, 2003-04. Founding board member, Fresno Center for Nonviolence, Fresno, 1992-95; board of directors, Highway 168 Fire Safe Council, 2002—, and Sierra and Foothill Citizens Alliance, 2004—.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (western regional director, 2000-03; vice president, 2004-07).
First place, NKWS Creative Writing Competition, 1976; Jacques Barzun Writing Contest prize-winner, Northern Kentucky University, 1980; Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award nominations, 1982, 1983, 1984; Polonsky Fiction Prize, 1983, for "Bad/Night/Vision"; National Endowment for the Humanities grant for research in England, 1984; first prize, Writers of the Future Science Fiction Writing Contest, 1985, for "In the Smoke"; Central Methodist College Faculty Development Fund grant, 1989; Pushcart Prize nomination, 1989, for "The Art of Memory"; Nebula Award nominations, 1986-94; Pioneer Award, Fresno Center for Nonviolence, 2005.
The Vertical Fruit of the Horizontal Tree (novella), Talisman Press (New York, NY), 1994.
Light Paths, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Standing Wave, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Better Angels, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Empty Cities of the Full Moon, Ace Books (New York, NY), 2001.
The Labyrinth Key, Del Rey (New York, NY), 2004.
Spears of God, Del Rey/Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Act of Contrition (one-act play), produced at Fourth Annual Experimental Theatre Festival, Berkeley, CA, 1983.
The Ecstasy of Catastrophe: A Study of Apocalyptic Narrative from Langland to Milton, P. Lang (New York, NY), 1990.
Testing Testing 1 2 3, Eotu Group, University of Illinois Press (Champaign-Urbana, IL), 1990.
(With Stuart Straw) Reliable Rain: A Practical Guide to Landscape, Taunton Press (Newtown, CT), 1998.
Mobius Highway (ebook), Scorpius Digital Publishing (Seattle, WA), 2001.
Also author of numerous short stories, scholarly and popular articles, and reviews published in magazines and anthologies, including Microcosms, Asimov's, Full Spectrum, Amazing Stories, Mystic Muse, and New York Review of Science Fiction. Light Paths has been translated into French; Standing Wave has been translated into French and Hebrew. Editorial board member, Comitatus.
A former professor of English, Howard V. Hendrix has turned his hand to science fiction in novels such as Light Paths, Standing Wave, Better Angels, and Empty Cities of the Full Moon. "I am a secular mystic," Hendrix noted in a Locus interview. "It's obviously an oxymoronic phrase. I've been through a lot of different organized religions, and I have some personal trouble with them. Organized religions haven't worked for me, yet I still have this yearning, this impulsion to recognize the ways in which the universe is greater than I am."
Such a recognition comes through in Hendrix's fiction. In his 1994 novella, The Vertical Fruit of the Horizontal Tree, a graduate student in ethnobotany disappears on a mysterious mountain in South America, and his brother tries to find him. The journey leads to the discovery of a strange tribe high above the clouds. Tom Easton, writing in Analog, found this book "arch," but also noted that Hendrix "has a deft enough touch with image and phrase to be pleasing even when he isn't convincing." More successful was Hendrix's utopian first novel, Light Paths, which presents characters in an orbital space station. This complex keeps its orbit around an Earth that was devastated by a military disaster that killed more than one hundred million people. Hendrix's cast of characters includes the wealthy Roger Cortland, the book's "villain," according to Hendrix in his Locus interview; Cortland's scientist mother; and a corporate spy. This very high-tech world must ultimately find a way to combat a newly aggressive Earth if it is to survive. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly noted that Hendrix had created "credible and realistic utopia" in this "taut, engaging, and even occasionally reassuring" novel. Writing for the Fresno Bee, Russ Minick had similar praise for the debut novel, calling it "some of the highest grade philosophical ore to emerge from the genre for a long time."
With his 1998 novel, Standing Wave, Hendrix takes a look at the shadowy line between artificial intelligence and actual consciousness in a novel that "sets existential philosophy on a collision course with quantum physics," according to a contributor for Publishers Weekly. The search for a cyberspace murderer sets the ball rolling in this twenty-first century world. The same reviewer felt that Hendrix's central theme in the book—that things always happen twice; the first time through they are seen as theology, and the second as technology—"is compelling and worth the struggle to keep up with him." Better Angels is related to the previous two titles and presents an archaeology of the future. Profes- sor Lydia Fabro discovers an oddly formed, but seemingly human, shoulder blade in a tar pit. When it is discovered that the bone also has mechanical structures in it, the stage is set for an investigation of the prehistory of the world Hendrix created in his two earlier novels.
In Empty Cities of the Full Moon Hendrix attempts nothing less than a "quest to explore the boundaries of life and death," as Kliatt contributor Donna L. Scanlon noted. A sickness strikes humankind, causing people to drum and dance at the full moon. Those not yet infected retreat to an island in the Bahamas owned by a billionaire, and a generation later some of these people try to find the origins of the strange illness. Scanlon went on to call the story "entrancing" and the characters "marvelously realized." Gerald A. Jonas, writing for the New York Times Book Review, was not as impressed, observing that the novel "serves as a case study of what can go wrong when a writer fails to play to his strengths." However, Booklist contributor Roberta Johnson was more positive, dubbing Empty Cities of the Full Moon an "excellent novel of science and mysticism."
The Labyrinth Key takes place in the near future and focuses on a group of individuals who are pitted against each other in an attempt to find the key to the secrets of the universe, a search that involves computers, quantum physics, and medieval mysticism. The events are set in motion when scientist Jaron Kwok disappears and is presumed dead; the United States and China both send emissaries to attempt to retrieve Kwok's work and determine who is responsible for his death. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly felt that "the earnestness of conspiracy theory punctures the dizzying metaphysical bubbles Hendrix blows, leaving the story a bit flat." Booklist reviewer Regina Schroeder, on the other hand, called the book a "tight thriller with a clever historical basis."
Spears of God serves as a sort of loose sequel to both Better Angels and The Labyrinth Key, with some aspects of the plot transferring over to the new tale. The premise of the story is that certain meteors contain a material that can assist human beings in reaching their full potential. A number of interest groups, including the military and the government, are intent on possessing these meteorites, hoping to build an army of telepathic super soldiers, and it seems that war may break out over this struggle to acquire the rocks. Jackie Cassada, reviewing Spears of God for Library Journal, called it "a superb blend of hard science and sf adventure."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Reginald, Robert, Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, 1975-1991, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992, p. 453.
Analog, August, 1995, Tom Easton, review of The Vertical Fruit of the Horizontal Tree, pp. 167-168.
Booklist, August, 2001, Roberta Johnson, review of Empty Cities of the Full Moon, p. 2101; March 1, 2004, Regina Schroeder, review of The Labyrinth Key, p. 1146.
Fresno Bee (Fresno, CA), September 12, 1997, Russ Minick, review of Light Paths, p. E7.
Kliatt, November, 2002, Donna L. Scanlon, review of Empty Cities of the Full Moon, p. 24.
Library Journal, October 15, 2006, Jackie Cassada, review of Spears of God, p. 54.
Locus, December, 1994, review of The Vertical Fruit of the Horizontal Tree, p. 57.
New York Times Book Review, September 2, 2001, Gerald Jonas, review of Empty Cities of the Full Moon, p. 14.
Publishers Weekly, August 4, 1997, review of Light Paths, p. 72; July 20, 1998, review of Standing Wave, p. 215; February 16, 2004, review of The Labyrinth Key, p. 156.
Armchair Interviews,http://www.armchairinterviews.com/ (June 22, 2007), Mark M. Owen, review of Spears of God.
Howard V. Hendrix Home Page,http://www.howardvhendrix.com (June 4, 2007).
Locus Online,http://www.locusmag.com/ (June 2, 2007), "Howard V. Hendrix: Secular Music."