Besher, Alexander

Tagged: Author | Editor

(1951-    ) China-born Japanese-raised US editor, who published David Lindsay's posthumous tales The Violet Apple; And, the Witch (1976) in his Chicago Review Press, and who began to publish sf in English (some stories had appeared in Japanese) with his Rim cycle, comprising Rim: A Novel of Virtual Reality (1994), Mir: A Novel of Virtual Reality (1998) and Chi (1999). The first of these is perhaps the most innovative – Brian Stableford has used a term of his own coinage, Orphean Fantasy, to describe the tale's conflation of Virtual Reality (see also Cyberspace) and the classic Underworld, and the immersive descent of its protagonist into a realm where (as in most Posthumous Fantasies) he must not only quest for a loved one but sort out his life. The protagonist, a "consciousness detective" from a Near Future California, discovers that his son is trapped in a vast Virtual Reality world, which has gone down after an enormous earthquake in Tokyo; descending into the "hell" of this disjunctive psycho-space, which Besher has based partly on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, he experiences fully the raw the technology/biology interfaces that govern the new century. The sequels further but do not much enrich this remarkably sophisticated tale, though a sense of Equipoise as between technological innovation and supernatural intervention continues engagingly to operate; and the Ape as Human plot of Mir underlines Besher's constant plays on transgressive Sex and other iterations of the stresses involved in being human (or not). [JC]

Alexander Besher

born China 1951






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