Sheffield, Charles 1935-2002

views updated

SHEFFIELD, Charles 1935-2002

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born June 25, 1935, in Hull, England; died of brain cancer November 2, 2002, in Rockville, MD. Physicist and author. Sheffield was a Hugo and Nebula Award-winning science-fiction novelist. He was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he earned his master's degree in 1961 before coming to the United States to earn his doctorate at American University in 1965. He then embarked on a career as a physicist, working as chief scientist and board member for the Earth Satellite Corp. beginning in 1971, and as a consultant to the National Aeronautic and Space Administration. Sheffield's life took a dramatic turn after his first wife died in 1977. He turned his grief inward and decided to write down the stories dwelling within his mind. Sheffield began to write science fiction of the "hard" variety, meaning his stories were all based on scientific fact; one reason he turned to this genre was that he felt there was very little good science fiction available at the time. Sheffield was rewarded for his efforts with a large readership and he won several important science-fiction awards, including the John W. Campbell Award in 1992 for Brother to Dragons and the Hugo and Nebula awards in 1994 for his novella Georgia on My Mind. Over the course of his career he completed over two dozen novels, including My Brother's Keeper (1982), Godspeed (1993), Tomorrow and Tomorrow (1997), and The Spheres of Heaven (2001), as well as books in the "Behrooz Wolf" and "Heritage Universe" series and the juvenile series "Jupiter." Sheffield also published many short-story collections and works of nonfiction. Although for much of his later life Sheffield was despondent over the death of his first wife, and his second marriage ended in divorce, the last five years of his life were joyous due to his marriage with fellow science-fiction writer Nancy Kress.



Chicago Tribune, November 10, 2002, section 4, p. 11.

Independent (London, England), November 6, 2002, p. 16.

New York Times, November 9, 2002, p. A30.

Washington Post, November 3, 2002, p. C10.