(1963- ) US author whose stories and novels frequently invoke and inhabit the fantastic, though most often the sophisticated and fluent Equipoise of his telling of these varied tales prohibits any pigeonholing definition of most of the stories assembled in A Model World and Other Stories (coll 1991) or Werewolves in their Youth (coll 1999) as Fantasy or supernatural Horror or sf, or aspiring to the aesthetic jostle of Fantastika at the hands of a Mainstream Writer of SF: a label that became decreasingly appropriate in his case. The original Golem of Prague literally appears in his most famous novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000; exp 2012), though not in animate form; and the highly foregrounding "story-likeness" of the New York life-stories he tells here – both Kavalier and Clay are professionally involved in Comics, and their stories clearly echo the Myth of Origin [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] structure of comics biographies – is clearly non-mimetic: but Equipoise holds, especially in passages conveying Chabon's complex sense of the deep horrors of World War Two. Kavalier and Clay's comics, as here described, became the basis for a Dark Horse comic book, The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist (2004-2005), an initial gathering of this material being Michael Chabon Presents: The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1 (graph 2004). A near-definitive coverage of this canon has been assembled as Michael Chabon's The Escapist: Amazing Adventures (graph 2018) with Freddye Miller and Michael Chabon's The Escapist: Pulse-Pounding Thrills (graph 2018) with Freddye Miller, which include many episodes (plus new material). Brian K Vaughan's Michael Chabon's The Escapists (graph 2007) incorporates into individual episodes spoof biographical information about Kavalier and Clay themselves.
Less forgivingly, in The Final Solution: A Story of Detection(2004), a steely reticence – as in many of the finer Horror novels of recent years – masks any direct confrontation with the malice of the world, in this case Auschwitz, which hovers, unspoken but uncanny with dread (see Holocaust Fiction), in the margins of a text whose protagonist, a barely disguised Sherlock Holmes, is inherently unable to penetrate through ratiocination the underlying terror of the vastation at the heart of the tale. Summerland (2002), on the other hand, is an unambiguously-couched Baseball fantasy for Young Adult readers; but The Yiddish Policemen's Union (2007) – an Alternate History sf novel where a temporary Jewish homeland in Alaska has been necessitated by somewhat different World War Two in which Berlin is A-bombed in 1946 and the Arabs drive the Jews out of Palestine two years later – returns to his home territory, the fertile interzone between the world we measure and the worlds we understand with the necessary tools of Fantastika. This novel won the Hugo, the Locus Award, the Nebula and the Sidewise Award.
The various genres displayed in Chabon's three original anthologies McSweeney's Mammoth Treasure of Thrilling Tales (anth 2002), McSweeney's Enchanted Chamber of Astonishing Stories (anth 2004) and Michael Chabon Presents: The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, Volume 1 (graph 2004), stories created around a fictional comics Superhero – run the gamut from tales sometimes awkwardly evocative of Pulp magazine fiction to Magic Realism. Gentlemen of the Road (28 January-6 May 2007 The New York Times Magazine; 2007) follows a scarecrow/ghost physician through medieval Europe. Chabon also wrote a draft of the screenplay for Spider-Man 2 (2004). [JC]
see also: Race in SF.
born Washington, District of Columbia: 24 May 1963
- The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (New York: William Morrow and Company, 1988) [hb/Paul Bacon]
- Wonder Boys (New York: Villard Books, 1995) [hb/Peter Levine]
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (New York: Random House, 2000) [hb/Marc Burckhardt]
- Summerland (New York: Hyperion Books for Children/Miramax Books, 2002) [hb/William Joyce]
- The Final Solution: A Story of Detection (New York: Fourth Estate, 2004) [hb/Jay Ryan and Jason Harvey]
- The Yiddish Policemen's Union (New York: HarperCollins, 2007) [hb/Will Staehle]
- Gentlemen of the Road (New York: Ballantine Books, 2007) [first appeared 28 January-6 May 2007 The New York Times Magazine: hb/Gary Gianni]
- Fountain City: A Novel Wrecked (San Francisco, California: McSweeney's, 2010) [chap: four chapters of an abandoned novel: pb/Leon Krier]
- Telegraph Avenue: A Novel (New York: Harper, 2012) [hb/Milan Bozic]
- Moonglow (New York: Harper, 2016) [hb/Adalis Martinez]
collections and stories
- Maps and Legends (San Francisco, California: McSweeney's Books, 2007) [nonfiction: hb/Will Staehle]
- Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son (New York: HarperCollins, 2009) [nonfiction: hb/]
works as editor
The Escapist (selected; see also further reading below)
individual titles as editor
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