Kingsbury, Donald 1929-
Kingsbury, Donald 1929-
(Donald MacDonald Kingsbury)
Born February 12, 1929, in San Francisco, CA; immigrated to Canada, 1948, naturalized citizen, 1955; son of Hector Macdonald (a mining engineer) and Laura Kingsbury; married Mireille Fortier, 1950 (divorced, 1960); children: Dani Hector, Joel Fortier. Education: McGill University, B.Sc., 1956, M.Sc., 1960.
Home—Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Agent—Eleanor Wood, 432 Park Ave. S., Ste. 1205, New York, NY 10016.
McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, lecturer in mathematics, 1956-86; writer, 1986—.
Science Fiction Writers of America.
Hugo Award nominations, World Science Fiction Society, best novella, 1980, for "The Moon Goddess and the Son," and best novel, 1982, for Courtship Rite; Compton Crook Award, Balticon (science fiction convention), and Locus Award, Locus magazine, both best first novel, 1983, for Courtship Rite; Prometheus Award, Libertarian Futurist Society, 2002, for Psychohistorical Crisis.
Courtship Rite (science-fiction novel), Timescape (New York, NY), 1982, published as Geta, Panther (London, England), 1984.
The Moon Goddess and the Son (science-fiction novel; first published as a novella in Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, 1979), Baen Books (New York, NY), 1986.
(With Larry Niven, Mark O. Martin, and Gregory Benford) Man-Kzin Wars VI, Baen Books (New York, NY), 1994.
Psychohistorical Crisis, Tor Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Work represented in anthologies, including The Best Science Fiction of the Year 8 and The Best Science Fiction Novellas of the Year 1, both edited by Terry Carr, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1979; and The Best Science Fiction Novellas of the Year 2, edited by Terry Carr, Ballantine Books (New York, NY), 1980. Contributor to periodicals, including Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact and Astounding Science Fiction.
Donald Kingsbury began publishing short stories in the 1950s and produced his first full-length work in 1982. The novel Courtship Rite depicts the harsh planet Geta on which most native life forms are poisonous to human colonists; the people rely on eight imported "sacred" staples, genetic engineering of local "profane" plants and insects, and cannibalism during famine, evolving a complex system of rituals and customs. The formal eating of enemies, friends and relatives, criminals, and the genetically inferior has become part of their society. Group marriage within a strong clan culture developed as a response to the harsh environment. Observed H. Bruce Franklin in the Washington Post Book World, "Some of this is obviously meant to shock our sensibilities." Kingsbury's plot centers on the intrigues that ensue when one ruling family is advised to court an influential heretic for political reasons, ultimately deciding to test her worthiness by a challenge likely to cause her death. According to Franklin, this "society of tyrants and cannibals is offered to us as a charming fantasy of elegance and sexual freedom in which we may indulge as an alternative to our own history." Other critics have commended the author's handling of a complex plot and compared Courtship Rite favorably to the long visionary writings of Frank Herbert, author of the popular "Dune" series.
Kingsbury once told CA: "Courtship Rite is the first of a series of novels in which I examine the thesis of what might happen when a human culture arises that does not consider the human form as we know it to be sacred. The species of Homo sapiens is only a transitional form. There are many stories to be told about the transformation.
"In many ways I consider myself to be a visionary. I don't claim to predict the future, but I am not interested in worlds that are not possible. I like my science to be accurate and that includes my sociology. My stories do not include such pseudo-sciences as mental telepathy, which I consider to have no relevance to human destiny. Designing new kinds of humans, new governments, and odd cultures is my favorite sport. In The Moon Goddess and the Son I've tried to give historical roots to my future. Man's destiny is in space, but his roots are in the earth. History fascinates me because it says so much about what we will become."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Washington Post Book World, July 25, 1982, H. Bruce Franklin, review of Courtship Rite.