(1949- ) US author who began publishing sf with "... Of No Return" for Fiction Magazine in 1974. His first novel, Seas of Ernathe (1976), which serves as an introduction to his loose Star Rigger sequence of Space Operas, showed early signs of a love of plot and thematic complexity which would take him some time, and several novels, to control. The continuation, Star Rigger's Way (1978), for instance, combines quest routines, new starflight technologies, various planets and transcendental Aliens in a tale whose final effect is incoherent, though promising; nor is Panglor (1980) significantly better behaved. But The Infinity Link (1984) is a large and ambitious recasting of his abiding material – space epic venues, striving human protagonists in transcendental communion with aliens or AI s – into the tale of a human woman Telepathically linked with a passing interstellar race (see Exogamy). The Rapture Effect (1987) brought the Arts into the mix, suggesting in the end that a secret war between a human-built AI and its distant alien counterpart might be resolved, finally, through the mediation of some ambitious human artists. And in the Starstream sequence – From a Changeling Star (1989) and Down the Stream of Stars (1990) Carver created at last a galactic environment of sufficient richness to contain a still somewhat overexuberant imagination. In the first volume, a "starstream" has opened up between Earth space and the centre of the Galaxy, allowing for intercourse and settlement; the plot, which is extremely complicated, involves its protagonist in a quest inwards to regions where stars are numerous, by the end of which, killed and rekilled and reborn, he is saved by the overseeing AI which narrates the second volume. Nanotechnologies are described; poetries and epiphanies and space wars proliferate. Dragons in the Stars (1992), and its sequel Dragon Rigger (1993), return to the Star Rigger universe. A later sequence – the Chaos Chronicles series comprising Neptune Crossing (1994), Strange Attractors (1995) and The Infinite Sea (1996) – again features AI/human interactions, intersections with Chaos Theory that benefit from Carver's love of intensely complicated plots, and extensive hints of the exogamous allure of galactic cultures conveyed most vividly through the World Ship to which the series' ongoing protagonist is transferred in the second volume. Carver has avoided any tampering with his basic narrative premise: relatively easy-to-understand folk may immerse themselves in fractally complex environments without anyone (reader or protagonist) losing the thread for long; and has not therefore been a participant in what has various been called the space opera "renaissance" or the New Space Opera. But he continues to convey a sense of the thorough enjoyment his worlds can give. [JC]
see also: Music; SETI.
Jeffrey Allan Carver
born Cleveland, Ohio: 25 August 1949
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