Irvine, Alexander C.

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Irvine, Alexander C.

(Alex Irvine)

PERSONAL:

Married; wife's name Lindsay; children: Emma and Ian (twins). Education: University of Michigan, B.A., 1991; University of Maine, M.A., 1996; University of Denver, Ph.D., 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Portland, ME. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

University of Maine, Orono, instructor, 1994-96, assistant professor, 2005—; University of Denver, Denver, CO, instructor, 1997-1999.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Lennie Isaacs Memorial Award, Clarion Writer's Workshop, 1993; Steve Grady Poetry Award, University of Maine, 1995; Albert Morton Turner Essay Prize, University of Maine, 1995; Technology in the First-Year English Classroom Award, University of Denver, 1999; Travel and dissertation research grant, ColRoMorA Family Foundation, 1999; Best Web site of the Year, Entertainment Weekly, and Best Ideas of the Year, New York Times, both 2001, both for "The Beast"; Pushcart Prize nomination, 2002, for "Snapdragons"; best first novel, Locus, best first novel, International Horror Guild, Crawford Award for best first novel, International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, all 2003, all for A Scattering of Jades; New England Press Award for investigative journalism, 2004; International Game developers Association award for innovation, 2005, for "I Love Bees"; Critic's choice award, 48-hour Film Project, 2006, for "Music Box"; Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2007, for "Wizard's Six."

WRITINGS:

FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION

A Scattering of Jades (novel), Tor (New York, NY), 2002.

Unintended Consequences (novel), Subterranean Press (Burton, MI), 2003.

One King, One Soldier (novel), Del Rey (New York, NY), 2004.

Have Robot, Will Travel: The New Isaac Asimov's Robot Mystery, I Books, 2004.

The Life of Riley (novel), Subterranean Press (Burton, MI), 2005.

The Narrows (novel), Del Rey (New York, NY), 2005.

Pictures from an Expedition (stories), Night Shade Books (San Francisco, CA), 2006.

(As Alex Irvine) The Supernatural Book of Monsters, Spirits, Demons and Ghouls, HarperEntertainment (New York, NY), 2007.

Author of Rossetti Song: Four Stories, Small Beer Press. Contributor of short stories and poems to periodicals, including, Stolen Island Review, Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and Aether.

SIDELIGHTS:

Alexander C. Irvine is a fantasy and science fiction writer whose first novel was A Scattering of Jades. The year is 1935, and journalist Archie Prescott believes that the fire that destroyed much of lower Manhattan also took the lives of both his wife and daughter Jane. His daughter is alive, however. She was abducted by a Mesoamerican witch to use in a sacrifice, but instead she sells the young girl to Riley Steen, who needs virgin blood to resurrect a Mesoamerican god. Jane is able to get away from Riley. Seven years later, Archie is being followed by a girl claiming to be his daughter. In the meantime, Riley recaptures the young girl in order to use her as a sacrifice in a ritual that will use a mummy in Kentucky's Mammoth Cave to bring back to life the Mesoamerican god. Archie finally realizes that the girl following him really was his daughter Jane, and he rushes to Kentucky to try and save her from death. "A first-rate tale of dark forces at work in 19th-century America," noted Library Journal contributor Jackie Cassada.

Irvine incorporates the person of homosexual poet Jack Spicer (1925-1965) into One King, One Soldier, set in 1950s San Francisco. Lance Porter is recovering from wounds received in the Korean conflict and travels to San Francisco at the request of his girlfriend, but before he can connect with her, he meets Spicer, and his life changes forever. The Arthurian tale finds Lance embroiled in conspiracy and learning from Spicer and his friends about poet Arthur Rimbaud, who becomes central to the story.

Adam Lipkin reviewed the book for Bookslut online, writing: "Irvine seamlessly moves between three eras, although Lance remains the unquestionable focus of the novel. As the plot progresses, Irvine throws in everything from the magic of baseball to a vast Templar-driven Grail conspiracy, to the Egyptian god Thoth."

The Life of Riley is set in the year 2034. Global warming has raised oceans and temperatures, and America relies on alien beings called Bettys whose intent is to right the wrongs the citizens of Earth have brought to the planet. Along with the Bettys, fundamentalist Christian groups exert a great deal of power. Gabriel "Bib" Riley protects the president, but when he is accused of killing a squatter on the lawn of the White House and starting a riot, he goes into hiding. Bib's wife Zena, Christian mystic Truman Throckmorton, homeless Nate Drinkwater, and a Betty called the Counselor are the other main characters.

Rick Kleffel reviewed of the novel for the Agony Column online, commenting: "Irvine's prose is chameleonic, adapting itself to the teller and the tale. From the stilted voice of the Counselor to the free-flowing visions of Truman Throckmorton, Irvine shifts color and tone effortlessly. And his world is truly a wonder to behold, so bursting with life that readers will be able to visit rooms, sewers and scenes long after they've finished the novel."

The Narrows is also an historical fantasy set in an alternative world. Jared Cleaves is a Ford factory worker in Detroit during World War II, but instead of automobiles, he is a Frankenline worker, making golems from river clay under the supervision of a rabbi. Jared cannot meet the physical requirements to fight in the war because of a damaged hand, but he is valued for his psychic powers and unusual abilities. He and his fellow workers are carefully watched by the Office of Esoteric Investigations (OEI) and Nazi spies. He and his wife, who also works on an assembly line, seldom see each other as they work different shifts. Jared comes up against many temptations in the forms of pretty female workers who have lost their husbands, but his young daughter is the glue that holds his marriage together.

Both Jared and Colleen work on secret projects. The Germans want Colleen to spy for them, and the U.S. military would like her to go along, acting as a counterspy. The OEI also wants to harness the powers of Nain Rouge, a red dwarf who has foretold disasters in Detroit since the 1763 massacre by Chief Pontiac.

Reviewing the novel for Science Fiction online, Carlos Aranaga wrote that it "is a workaday tale in a fantastical world. While the Nain Rouge is plenty creepy, Irvine has resisted making The Narrows into a macabre horror tale, and also resisted making it a shallow morality tale about not playing God. One doesn't need magic after all to play havoc with the world."

Pictures from an Expedition is a collection of thirteen stories, some of which are set in outer space where Irvine's characters mine diamonds on Neptune and man a mission to Mars. Cassada called the volume "fine work."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, July, 2002, Sally Estes, review of A Scattering of Jades, p. 1832; July, 2004, Carl Hays, review of One King, One Soldier, p. 1828; August, 2005, Ray Olson, review of The Life of Riley, p. 2008; January 1, 2007, Regina Schroeder, review of Pictures from an Expedition, p. 69.

Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2002, review of A Scattering of Jades, p. 625.

Library Journal, September 15, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of A Scattering of Jades, p. 97; July, 2004, Jackie Cassada, review of One King, One Soldier, p. 75; September 15, 2005, Jackie Cassada, review of The Narrows, p. 58; December 1, 2006, Jackie Cassada, review of Pictures from an Expedition, p. 114.

Publishers Weekly, June 27, 2005, review of The Life of Riley, p. 45; August 8, 2005, review of The Narrows, p. 217; November 6, 2006, review of Pictures from an Expedition, p. 40.

ONLINE

Agony Column, http://trashotron.com/agony.htm/ (November 7, 2007), Rick Kleffel, review of The Life of Riley.

Alexander Irvine Home Page,http://www.alexirvine.net (November 7, 2007).

BookPage Online,http://www.bookpage.com/ (November 7, 2007), Gavin J. Grant, review of A Scattering of Jades.

Bookslut,http://www.bookslut.com/ (November 7, 2007), Adam Lipkin, review of One King, One Soldier.

Emerald City,http://www.emcity.com/ (November 7, 2007), Cheryl Morgan, review of The Narrows.

Science Fiction Dimensions,http://www.scifidimensions.com/ (November 7, 2007), Carlos Aranaga, review of The Narrows.

SF Site,http://www.sfsite.com/ (November 7, 2007), Rich Horton, review of A Scattering of Jades.

Strange Horizons,http://www.strangehorizons.com/ (December 20, 2006), Dan Hartland, review of Pictures from an Expedition.