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Stableford, Brian 1948–

Stableford, Brian 1948–

(Francis Amery, Brian Craig, Brian Michael Stableford)

PERSONAL:

Born July 25, 1948, in Shipley, Yorkshire, England; son of William Ernest (an aircraft designer) and Joyce (a teacher) Stableford; married Vivien Owen, September 3, 1973 (divorced, 1985); married Roberta Jane Rennie, May 16, 1987; children: (first marriage) one son, one daughter. Education: University of York, B.A., 1969, D.Phil., 1979.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Reading, England.

CAREER:

Writer and educator. University of Reading, Reading, Berkshire, England, lecturer in sociology, 1976, 1977-88; instructor of creative writing, 1988-95; University of the West of England, School of Cultural and Media Studies, part-time lecturer, 1995-96.

MEMBER:

Science Fiction Writers of America.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Distinguished Scholarship Award, International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, 1987; J. Lloyd Easton Award, 1987, for Scientific Romance in Britain, 1890-1950; Pioneer Award, Science Fiction Research Association, 1996, for "How Should a Science Fiction Story End?"

WRITINGS:

NOVELS

Cradle of the Sun, Sidgwick & Jackson (London, England), 1969, published with The Wizards of Senchuria by K. Bulmer, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1969.

The Blind Worm, Sidgwick & Jackson (London, England), 1970, published with Seed of the Dreamers by E. Petaja, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1970.

To Challenge Chaos, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1972.

Man in a Cage, John Day (New York, NY), 1975.

The Face of Heaven, (Volume 1 in "The Realms of Tartarus" trilogy), Quartet, 1975.

The Mind-Riders, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1976.

Realms of Tartarus, (trilogy; includes Volume 1: The Face of Heaven, Volume 2: A Vision of Hell, and Volume 3: A Glimpse of Infinity,) DAW Books (New York, NY), 1977.

The Last Days of the Edge of the World (juvenile), Hutchinson (London, England), 1978, Berkley Publishing (New York, NY), 1985.

The Walking Shadow, Fontana, 1979.

Optiman, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1980, published in England as War Games, Pan (London, England), 1981.

The Castaways of Tanagar, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1981.

The Gates of Eden, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1983.

The Empire of Fear, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 1988, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 1991.

(Under pseudonym Brian Craig) Ghost Dancers, G.W. Books (New York, NY), 1991.

Young Blood, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 1993.

Firefly: A Novel of the Far Future, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 1994.

The Hunger and Ecstasy of Vampires, Mark Ziesing, 1996.

Year Zero, Sarob Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2000.

Eleventh Hour, Cosmos Books, 2001.

Curse of the Coral Bride, Immanion Press, 2004.

Kiss the Goat, Prime Books, 2005.

Streaking, PS Publishing (London, England), 2005.

The Wayward Muse, Hollywood Comics (Encino, CA), 2005.

The Stones of Camelot, Hollywood Comics (Encino, CA), 2006.

The Tree of Life, Borgo Press (San Bernardino, CA), 2007.

The New Faust at the Tragicomique, Hollywood Comics (Encino, CA), 2007.

News from the Moon, Hollywood Comics (Encino, CA), 2007.

Also author of Genesys Legend, Volume 1: Serpent's Blood, 1995, Volume 2: Salamander's Fire, 1996, and Volume 3: Chimera's Cradle, 1996.

"DIES IRAE" SERIES

The Days of Glory, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1971.

In the Kingdom of the Beasts, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1971.

Day of Wrath, Ace Books (New York, NY), 1971.

"HOODED SWAN" SERIES

Halcyon Drift, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1972.

Rhapsody in Black, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1973.

Promised Land, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1974.

The Paradise Game, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1974.

The Fenris Device, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1974.

Swan Song, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1975.

Swan Songs: The Complete Hooded Swan Collection (omnibus), Big Engine, 2001.

"DAEDALUS MISSION" SERIES

The Florians, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1976.

Critical Threshold, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1977.

Wildebloods Empire, DAW Books 1977.

The City of the Sun, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1978.

Balance of Power, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1979.

The Paradox of Sets, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1979.

"ASGARD" SERIES

Journey to the Center, DAW Books (New York, NY), 1982, published as Asgard's Secret, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2004.

Invaders from the Center, New English Library, 1990, published as Asgard's Conquerors, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2005.

The Center Cannot Hold, New English Library, 1990, published as Asgard's Heart, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2005.

"EMORTALS" SERIES

Inherit the Earth, Tor (New York, NY), 1998.

Architects of Emortality, Tor (New York, NY), 1999.

The Fountains of Youth, Tor (New York, NY), 2000.

Cassandra Complex, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2001.

Dark Ararat, Tor (New York, NY), 2002.

Omega Expedition, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2002.

"ORFEO" TRILOGY; UNDER PSEUDONYM BRIAN CRAIG

Zaragoz, G.W. Books (New York, NY), 1989, Boxtree, 1994.

Plague Demon, G.W. Books (New York, NY), 1990, Boxtree, 1994.

Storm Warriors, G.W. Books (New York, NY), 1990, Boxtree, 1994.

"WEREWOLVES" TRILOGY

The Werewolves of London, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 1990.

The Angel of Pain, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 1991.

The Carnival of Destruction, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1994.

SHORT FICTION

The Cosmic Perspective (bound with Custer's Last Stand), Drumm Books (Polk City, IA), 1985.

Slumming in Voodooland, Pulphouse (Eugene, OR), 1991.

Sexual Chemistry: Sardonic Tales of the Genetic Revolution, Simon & Schuster (London, England), 1991, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1993.

The Innsmouth Heritage, Necronomicon Press (West Warwick, RI), 1992.

Complications and Other Stories, Cosmos Books (Rockville, MD), 2003.

Salome and Other Decadent Fantasies, Wildside Press (Rockville, MD), 2004.

Five Star Science Fiction/Fantasy—Designer Genes: Tales from the Biotech Revolution, Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2004.

Sheena and Other Gothic Tales: A Collection of Short Stories, Immanion Press (London, England), 2006.

The Haunted Bookshop and Other Apparitions, Wildside Press (Rockville, MD), 2007.

The Cure for Love and Other Tales of the Biotech Revolution, Wildside Press (Rockville, MD), 2007.

The Gardens of Tantalus and Other Delusions, Wildside Press (Rockville, MD), 2008.

An Oasis of Horror: Decadent Tales and Contes Cruels, Wildside Press (Rockville, MD), 2008.

Contributor of science fiction stories, occasionally under pseudonym Brian Craig, and articles on science fiction to numerous anthologies and magazines. Contributor of stories to The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifteenth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois, St. Martin's Press/Griffin, 1998.

EDITOR

The Dedalus Book of Decadence (Moral Ruins), Dedalus (London, England), 1990.

Tales of the Wandering Jew, Dedalus (London, England), 1991.

The Dedalus Book of British Fantasy: The Nineteenth Century, Dedalus (London, England), 1991.

The Second Dedalus Book of Decadence: The Black Feast, Dedalus (London, England), 1992.

The Dedalus Book of Femmes Fatales, Dedalus (London, England), 1992.

Contributing editor to The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls, Doubleday, 1979, 2nd edition, St. Martin's Press, 1993, and to St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers, edited by David Pringle, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.

TRANSLATIONS

(Under pseudonym Francis Amery) Remy de Gourmont, The Angels of Perversity, Dedalus (London, England), 1992.

(Under pseudonym Francis Amery) Jean Lorrain, Monsieur de Phocas, Dedalus (London, England), 1994.

NONFICTION

Scientific Imagination in Literature, Futura, 1975.

The Mysteries of Modern Science, Routledge & Kegan Paul (London, England), 1978, Littlefield (Totowa, NJ), 1980.

A Clash of Symbols: The Triumph of James Blish, Borgo Press (San Bernadino, CA), 1979.

Masters of Science Fiction: Essays on Six Science Fiction Authors, Borgo Press (San Bernadino, CA), 1982.

(With Peter Nicholls and David Langford) The Science in Science Fiction, M. Joseph (London, England), 1982, Knopf (New York, NY), 1983.

Future Man: Brave New World or Genetic Nightmare?, Crown (New York, NY), 1984.

(With David Langford) The Third Millennium: A History of the World, A.D. 2000-3000, Knopf (New York, NY), 1985.

Scientific Romance in Britain, 1890-1950, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1985.

The Sociology of Science Fiction, Borgo Press (San Bernadino, CA), 1987.

The Way to Write Science Fiction, Elm Tree Books (London, England), 1989.

Algebraic Fantasies and Realistic Romances: More Masters of Science Fiction, Borgo Press (San Bernadino, CA), 1995.

Opening Minds: Essays on Fantastic Literature, Borgo Press (San Bernadino, CA), 1995.

Glorious Perversity: The Decline and Fall of Literary Decadence, Borgo Press (San Bernadino, CA), 1998.

Slaves of the Death Spiders: Essays on Fantastic Literature, Borgo Press (San Bernadino, CA), 1998.

Space, Time and Infinity: Essays on Fantastic Literature, Borgo Press (San Bernadino, CA), 1998.

Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction, and Getting Published, NTC Publishers Group (Chicago, IL), 1998.

Yesterday's Bestsellers: A Journey through Literary History, Borgo Press (San Bernadino, CA), 1998.

(Editor) The Dictionary of Science Fiction Places, illustrated by Jeff White, Wonderland Press (New York, NY), 1999.

Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction Literature, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 2004.

Historical Dictionary of Fantasy Literature, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 2005.

The A to Z of Science Fiction Literature, Scarecrow Press (Lanham, MD), 2005.

Science Fact and Science Fiction: An Encyclopedia, Routledge (New York, NY), 2006.

Heterocosms (critical essays), Wildside Press (Rockville, MD), 2007.

Contributor to numerous reference books on science fiction and fantasy, including Science Fiction Writers, edited by E.F. Bleiler, Scribner's, 1982, and to Fantasy Literature, edited by Neil Barron, Garland (New York, NY), 1990. Stableford's novels have been translated into French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.

SIDELIGHTS:

Although he is a prolific writer of science fiction novels, sociologist Brian Stableford is perhaps better known for his literary criticism and surveys of the genre, such as The Science in ScienceFiction, written with Peter Nicholls and David Langford. In researching early works and traditional theories of science fiction, Stableford and his coauthors examine the scientific aspects of fictional works, complete with diagrams. K.V. Bailey praised the author's ability to integrate his knowledge of theory and fiction in Scientific Romance in Britain, 1890-1950, noting in New Statesman that "Stableford brings to this book the skills of a sociologist and the insights of a successful science fiction novelist." While Times Literary Supplement contributor Brian Aldiss faulted this study of a precursor of modern science fiction for being somewhat lifeless, he commented that it illumines "the traffic of its time," and added that "Stableford is to be applauded, not only for his dedication, but for refusing to lament too strenuously the passing of the genre he anatomizes." In contrast, Bailey not only found the study "documented by lively precise and adroitly chosen quotation," but also remarked that "taken as a whole [this] contribution to the critical literature of this field is scholarly, comprehensive—and a pleasure to read."

In addition to his numerous works of nonfiction, Stableford continues to be a prolific writer of novels in a variety of genres, including science fiction and horror. Known for complex plotting and alternative history novels, Stableford has largely fared well with critics. His 1998 novel Inherit the Earth, a futuristic thriller, is a "fast-paced sf adventure," according to Jackie Cassada in Library Journal. John Mort, reviewing the work in Booklist, found some plot points unclear, but nonetheless noted: "Stableford delivers fast-paced adventure, and each of his characters, especially Damon's spiteful girlfriend, comes to life."

Stableford's 1999 novel Architects of Emortality, a futuristic detective story, also fared well with critics. A Publishers Weekly contributor lauded the author's "skill at creating technologically overwhelmed future worlds." The reviewer also noted in the same review: "His narrative teems with vivid, believable descriptions of maneating flowers, hundred-year-old artists and rampant genetic engineering." Gerald Jonas in the New York Times Book Review commented: "[This] is an entertaining romp in a difficult mixed genre that only a handful of writers—among them Isaac Asimov and Alfred Bester—have come close to mastering."

Stableford is also the author of several series and trilogies, including the "Asgard" trilogy. The books in this series were published first under one name and then republished more than twenty years later with "Asgard" in the titles. For example, the first book in the series, Journey to the Center, was republished as Asgard's Secret. The novel features the discovery of Asgard. The planet-sized artifact orbits a star and appears to be composed of a series of concentric spheres, each of which was once the home of its own complex civilization. Human Mike Rousseau is one of many interplanetary species that have come to Asgard to find clues to the advanced technologies that once existed there. Eventually, Rousseau discovers that there is much more to Asgard than everyone thinks; namely, that it is still inhabited by another alien race living in an entire outside world above their heads. SF Site contributor Susan Dunman noted that the author "has come up with an intriguing setting" and went on to write in the same review: "The action is fast-paced and, as in any good series, many questions are left unanswered."

The next book in the series, Asgard's Conquerors, first published as Invaders from the Center, finds Rousseau captured by the Star Force and under the control of Susarma Lear. In the meantime, the alien base established on Asgard's surface has been invaded, leading Rousseau on a mission to defeat the invading enemy. "Those who enjoyed Asgard's Secret will be pleased to see that the author continues in the same vein as the initial installment," wrote Susan Dunman for the SF Site. "There's plenty of action and the plot moves along at a brisk pace."

The final book in the series, Asgard's Heart, previously published as The Center Cannot Hold, features the ongoing struggle for Asgard and its many worlds. Rousseau must penetrate the very core of the planet to save Asgard and all who live there.

In his "Emortal" series, the author focuses on a future world in which humans appear to be immortal and are not concerned with death. The series begins in the twenty-second century with Inherit the Earth, followed by Architects of Emortality and The Fountains of Youth. The fourth book in the series, Cassandra Complex, finds the world facing social chaos and a biotech war. A Publishers Weekly contributor called the book "a smooth and involving read."

Dark Ararat, the next book in the series, takes place in the twenty-ninth century and finds the spaceship Hope finally finding a planet that can support human colonization. Bryan Baldus, writing in Booklist, noted that the novel "should please the series' fans and interest newcomers in previous volumes." A Kirkus Reviews contributor referred to the author's "remarkable and persuasive biological speculations framed by an intriguing human setup." The last book in the series, Omega Expedition, features Madoc Tamlin, who finds himself waking up a thousand years in the future in a space station on the far side of the sun. Surrounded by sexless humans, Madoc wonders why he was cryogenically frozen, which is a fate used for hardened criminals. Booklist contributor Roland Green called Omega Expedition "a satisfying conclusion" to the series.

In his novel Year Zero, Stableford features Molly, a former prostitute and junkie living in London with her children. Molly wants to return home to the United States but soon finds herself in a surreal world where strange things increasingly occur, such as Elvis Presley shopping in the local supermarket and angels and devils roaming the streets. Ian Nichols, writing for the SF Site, noted: "All in all, Year Zero is a sprawling fun-fair of a book, full of wild and weird rides, and the music never stops."

Streaking, published in 2005, finds Cann Kilcannon trying to fulfill his ancestor's bargain with the devil by having a son. This is the only way his family's luck will continue after the death of Cann's father. As Earl of Credesdale, Cann soon finds himself pursued by the beautiful Lissa Lo and a criminal mob as well. "The substance of Streaking is a long series of discussions between the bad-baronet protagonist and others about the nature of luck," wrote John Clute for Strange Horizons, adding in the same review: "The talk … is indeed brilliant at points, and it is never dumb." In another novel published in 2005, Kiss the Goat, the author provides a new take on a woman who is haunted by something with an infernal plan. A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that the author "shows how a truly inspired writer can find an original new angle" on a mainstay topic of supernatural writing.

The author has continued to write and edit nonfiction critical books about science fiction and fantasy as well, such as his Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction Literature. An Internet Bookwatch contributor called the reference book "an excellent quick-lookup resource." Stableford's Science Fact and Science Fiction: An Encyclopedia was commended by Reference & User Services Quarterly contributor Cindy Stewart Kaag, who noted that the author "has done a good job of covering the field."

Stableford once told CA: "I began writing fiction because it was the only halfway respectable alternative to what is nowadays called ‘getting a life.’ I began writing nonfiction because I labored under the double disability of keen curiosity and an analytic turn of mind. If only I'd contrived to be curious about anything that interested anyone else I might have made something of myself, but my tastes have always been relentlessly esoteric and woefully unfashionable. My academic career evaporated by virtue of its lack of a specialist focus; my writing career continues to drain away into the marginal ditches of various fields by virtue of its failure to make contact with any substantial audience.

"The most interesting aspect of my recent science fiction is a loosely knit series of sarcastic comedies extrapolating certain possibilities inherent in the advancement of biotechnology, although my inability to sell novels of this kind has restricted its manifestations to short stories and novellas. My recent novels are blithely bizarre genre-hybrids, each one having been heavily disguised as something other than science fiction in order to make it saleable in a UK marketplace whose gatekeepers no longer think that the genre is worth bothering with (except for TV tie-ins). My explorations of the French Decadent and Symbolist movements, which have mostly been conducted under the pseudonym Francis Amery, are on hold until I can find another publisher willing to entertain such eccentricities.

"I generally work nine-to-five, aiming to produce 500,000 words a year and publish as many of them as I can. I dare say that I shall continue to do so until I die; it's still the only halfway respectable alternative to ‘getting a life’ and whatever else I have failed to accomplish, at least I've never had to do that. Throughout my career I've been sharply aware of the fact that both Baudelaire and Oscar Wilde died—lonely, miserable, and almost universally despised—at forty-six; now that I'm forty-seven I feel that I'm ahead of the game."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost, and Gothic Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1998.

St. James Guide to Science Fiction Writers, 4th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.

PERIODICALS

Analog Science Fiction & Fact, February, 1999, Tom Easton, review of Inherit the Earth, p. 132.

Booklist, August, 1998, John Mort, review of Inherit the Earth, p. 1979; March 1, 2001, Roberta Johnson, review of Cassandra Complex, p. 1233; March 1, 2002, Bryan Baldus, review of Dark Ararat, p. 1099; December 1, 2002, Roland Green, review of Omega Expedition, p. 652; October 15, 2004, John Doherty, review of Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction Literature, p. 438; April 15, 2006, Regina Schroeder, review of Streaking, p. 34; May 15, 2006, Abbie Landry, review of Historical Dictionary of Fantasy Literature, p. 72; March 15, 2007, Jack O'Gorman, review of Science Fact and Science Fiction: An Encyclopedia, p. 76.

Internet Bookwatch, February, 2005, review of Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction Literature.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2002, review of Dark Ararat, p. 80; October 1, 2002, review of Omega Expedition, p. 1434; April 1, 2003, review of Year Zero, p. 512.

Kliatt, September, 2003, Deirdre B. Root, review of Dark Ararat, p. 28; November, 2003, Ginger Armstrong, review of Omega Expedition, p. 26.

Library Journal, September 15, 1998, Jackie Cassada, review of Inherit the Earth, p. 116; March 15, 2001, Jackie Cassada, review of Cassandra Complex, p. 111; March 15, 2002, Jackie Cassada, review of Dark Ararat, p. 111; March 15, 2004, Jackie Cassada, review of Five Star Science Fiction/Fantasy—Designer Genes: Tales from the Biotech Revolution, p. 111; April 15, 2006, Jackie Cassada, review of Streaking, p. 71.

New Statesman, October 4, 1985, review of Scientific Romance in Britain, 1890-1950, p. 28.

New York Times Book Review, September 26, 1999, Gerald Jonas, review of Architects of Emortality, p. 26.

Publishers Weekly, July 12, 1991, review of The Empire of Fear, p. 54; November 16, 1992, review of The Werewolves of London, p. 48; July 26, 1993, review of The Angel of Pain, p. 59; October 31, 1994, review of The Carnival of Destruction, p. 43; May 13, 1996, review of The Hunger and Ecstasy of Vampires, p. 60; May 25, 1998, review of The Year's Best Science Fiction: Fifteenth Annual Collection, p. 69; August 10, 1998, review of Inherit the Earth, p. 373; August 23, 1999, review of Architects of Emortality, p. 53; April 17, 2000, review of The Fountains of Youth, p. 57; March 5, 2001, review of Cassandra Complex, p. 67; February 11, 2002, review of Dark Ararat, p. 166; October 21, 2002, review of Omega Expedition, p. 59; May 9, 2005, review of Kiss the Goat, p. 51.

Reference & Research Book News, February, 2006, review of Historical Dictionary of Fantasy Literature; February 1, 2006, review of The A to Z of Science Fiction Literature.

Reference & User Services Quarterly, spring, 2005, Abigail Ellsworth Ross, review of Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction Literature, p. 266; summer, 2007, Cindy Stewart Kaag, review of Science Fact and Science Fiction, p. 91.

SciTech Book News, December, 2006, review of Science Fact and Science Fiction.

Times Literary Supplement, February 14, 1986, Brian Aldiss, review of Scientific Romance in Britain, 1890-1950, p. 171.

Utopian Studies, spring, 2006, Miguel Angel Fernandez-Delgago, review of Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction Literature, p. 373.

ONLINE

Infinity Plus,http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/ (July 6, 2008), Barbara Godwin, "Brian Stableford," interview with author.

SF Site,http://www.sfsite.com/ (July 6, 2008), Susan Dunman, reviews of Asgard's Conquerors and Asgard's Secret; Ian Nichols, review of Year Zero; Steven H. Silver, review of The Dictionary of Scientific Places.

Strange Horizons,http://www.strangehorizons.com/ (March 12, 2001), Cheryl Morgan, "Interview: Brian Stableford"; (July 10, 2006), John Clute, review of Streaking.

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