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SFF Author: Chad Oliver

Chad Oliver (1928-1993) was the working name that U.S. anthropologist and writer Symmes Chadwick Oliver used for his science-fiction titles. He was born in Ohio but spent most of his life in Texas, where he studied for his MA. He later took a PhD in anthropology at the University of California, which lead to his appointment as a professor of anthropology at the University of Texas, Austen. Oliver’s sci-fi work reflected both his professional training and personal roots: much of it is set in the outdoors of the American Southwest and most of his characters are deeply involved in outdoor activities. Oliver was also always concerned with the depiction of Native American life. His first published story, “The Land of Lost Content,” appeared in Super Science Stories in November 1950.


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Shadows in the Sun: Oliver’s story

Shadows in the Sun by Chad Oliver

Although it’s been almost seven years since I read Chad Oliver’s masterful fourth novel, Unearthly Neighbors (1960), such are the evocative atmosphere and compelling alien depictions in that book that I still manage to remember it quite well. And indeed, Unearthly Neighbors just might be the most convincingly realistic description of “first contact” on another world that a reader could ever hope to encounter.


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Unearthly Neighbors: A hugely satisfying novel of first contact

Unearthly Neighbors by Chad Oliver

The conventional wisdom for aspiring writers has long been “Write what you know,” a piece of advice that Cincinnati-born author Chad Oliver apparently took to heart. Greatly interested in the field of anthropology, Oliver, over the course of seven novels stretching from 1952 – ’76, as well as four collections of short stories, eventually carved out a place for himself as one of the leading lights in that curious subgenre known as anthropological science fiction. And the author was hardly a dabbler in his chosen scholarly field.


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The Shores of Another Sea: Monkey shines

The Shores of Another Sea by Chad Oliver

1961 was something of a banner year for Cincinnati-born sci-fi author Chad Oliver. In the first part of that year, having already released four novels of anthropological science fiction, he received his Ph.D. in anthropology at UCLA, a degree that would help him become an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin two years later, and the Chairman of the Dept. of Anthropology there in 1967. And in the latter part of 1961,


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Giants In The Dust: Oliver shines in his final sci-fi novel

Giants In The Dust by Chad Oliver

At this late date, the authors who have penned works in the fields of science fiction and fantasy must number well into the multiple thousands, but the ones with an actual background in science, who have used their education and scientific training to both inform and add veracity to their stories … ah, they are indeed amongst a much more limited crew. Let’s see … Isaac Asimov was, of course, an associate professor of biochemistry. Hal Clement had degrees in both chemistry and astronomy,


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Next SFF Author: Jana G. Oliver
Previous SFF Author: Malka Older

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