(1968- ) Scottish author who made his debut with the grimly told Veteran sequence comprising Veteran (2010) and War in Heaven (2011), set initially on a Cyberpunk-inflected war-torn distant Near Future Earth, after 60 years of an unequal war with the Alien civilization known only as Them. The frequently invoked Military SF tropes of the first volume, which are at times extremely violent, intensify in the second, which is set in interstellar space, and involves terminal conflicts with a Villain whose aspirations to subordinate the universe to AI control do not bode well for humanity. The Age of Scorpio (2013), first volume in the loose Scorpio sequence, is again notably violent, interweaving three eras as three lives: Britha, who inhabits a Prehistoric SF world with witchcraft; Beth, a contemporary murderer; and Scab, whose Superpowers have been stripped and who inhabits a world similar to that depicted in Veteran, though not directly related to that series. Britha sacrifices all to save her tribe from supernatural menaces; Beth faces the End of the World; Scab causes havoc in the future. A similar tripartite braiding structures both A Quantum Mythology (2015) and The Beauty of Destruction (2016), which complexly expand upon the earlier tale, with some continuing characters; at the climax of the sequence, all times meld, though not indistinguishably. The Bastard Legion sequence, beginning with The Bastard Legion (2017), returns to a simpler Space Opera structure in Military SF mode, featuring a Dirty Dozen cadre of prisoners shipped via Suspended Animation into a situation demanding mercenaries, several centuries hence [for Dirty Dozen see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below].
Smith's collaborations with Stephen Deas, both writing together as by Gavin Deas, include Elite: Wanted (2014), a Tie to the Massively Multiplayer Online Game Elite Dangerous, which is Space Opera. Their Empires series – a Near Future sequence comprising Empires: Extraction (2014) and Empires: Infiltration (2014) – deals with the simultaneous Invasion of Earth by two separate Alien civilizations. The Pleasure are featured in Empires: Infiltration, which is primarily by Smith; they have infiltrated Earth, selling offworld Drugs and other corrupting pleasures, and compete with the Weft in tracking down a McGuffin of galactic significance hidden on Earth. Special Purposes: First Strike Weapon (2017) is an Alternate History novel about guerrilla warfare in World War Three, which here begins in 1987.
Smith is an author whose grasp perhaps exceeds his reach: his ample narrative skills do not yet seem to have found a subject matter to test them thoroughly. He should not be confused with the Gavin Smith (no middle initial) whose novel is DogFellow's Ghost (2008). [JC]
Gavin G Smith
born Dundee, Scotland: 1968
- Veteran (London: Gollancz, 2010) [Veteran: hb/]
- War in Heaven (London: Gollancz, 2011) [Veteran: pb/www.spyroteknik]
- Special Purposes: First Strike Weapon (Oxford, Oxfordshire: Rebellion/Abaddon Books, 2017) [pb/Clint Langley]
- Chivalry (Alconbury Weston, Cambridgeshire: NewCon Press, 2019) [chap: in the publisher's NewCon Press Novellas series: hb/Duncan Kay]
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