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SFF Author: John Brunner


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The Atlantic Abomination: There goes Jacksonville!

The Atlantic Abomination by John Brunner

In his 1953 novel The Kraken Wakes, English author John Wyndham gave his readers a tale concerning aliens who land on Earth and proceed to terrorize the planet from their bases on the ocean floor. But this, of course, was not the last time that a British writer would regale his readers with a story about malevolent space visitors living beneath the seas. Thus, in John Brunner’s novel of seven years later,


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The Super Barbarians: Jonesing for java

The Super Barbarians by John Brunner

Ever since the mid-15th century, and continuing on for some 600 years now and counting, coffee has been one of planet Earth’s favorite beverages. Today, I believe, it holds the No. 3 spot, with only water itself and tea being consumed more frequently. But whether taken black or light, as an espresso or cappuccino, with sugar or not, the fact remains that the men and women of our 21st century drink something on the order of 2.25 billion cups a day, or over 800 billion cups a year.


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The Squares of the City: Addresses racism with a chess metaphor

The Squares of the City by John Brunner

In 1892, Wilhelm Steinitz and Mikhail Chigorin squared off in the finals of the World Chess Championship in Havana, Cuba. One of the deciding matches, so original in gamesmanship and rife with strategically interesting play, it has become one of the more well-known matches in history. (The game can be replayed virtually here and with analysis here.) Picking up on its nuances and seeing the potential, John Brunner decided to use the match to structure a novel.


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Stand on Zanzibar: It’s time for everybody to read it

Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner

George Orwell and Aldous Huxley were two writers who initially established themselves not only in the world of realist fiction, but also as effective observers on society. As a result, their later novels Nineteen Eighty-four and Brave New World are heralded as two of the greatest science fiction novels ever written, with literary purists even willing to make allowances despite the sci-fi leanings. Perhaps it is John Brunner’s misfortune that his career was established in the world of science fiction.


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The Jagged Orbit: A dark, unsettling read

The Jagged Orbit by John Brunner

The 1950s and 60s was a time in the US rife with social tension and conflict. With unpopular wars being fought on foreign soil, blood was also being shed on American streets as ethnic, gender, and counter-culture concerns often turned to violence. Partially a reaction to these social issues, the New Wave science fiction movement, spearheaded by such writers as Ursula Le GuinSamuel DelanyRobert Silverberg, Barry Malzberg, Joanna Russ, and others shifted the genre’s gears,


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The Traveler in Black: Short stories by Brunner

The Traveler in Black by John Brunner

Breaking into the business with Silver Age space opera but putting himself on the map by writing intelligent dystopia with a social conscience, for a brief moment John Brunner put aside science fiction and dabbled in fantasy. After the success of Stand on ZanzibarThe Jagged Orbit, and The Sheep Look Up, he wrote the four novelettes starring the other-wordly traveler in black. Unconventional to say the least,


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The Shockwave Rider: An important SF work from a lesser known writer

The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner

Something of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, John Brunner is one of the more intriguing though lesser recognized figures in science fiction history. Much the same as Robert Silverberg, he cut a path for himself in genre writing that is essentially pulp sci-fi but later began introducing novels of significantly greater depth to his oeuvre. Stand on ZanzibarThe Sheep Look Up, and The Jagged Orbit are some of the most important novels the field has produced.


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The Penguin Science Fiction Omnibus: An all-star lineup

The Penguin Science Fiction Omnibus edited by Brian W. Aldiss

The Penguin Science Fiction Omnibus (1973) is a compilation of three short story anthologies: Penguin Science Fiction (1961), More Penguin Science Fiction (1963), and Yet More Penguin Science Fiction (1964), all edited by Brian Aldiss. Presenting an all-star lineup of established Silver Age and burgeoning New Age writers, most all are well known names in the field, including Isaac Asimov


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Next SFF Author: Rhett C. Bruno
Previous SFF Author: Ed Brubaker

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